King Tetras

© Juan R. Lascorz, 05.inpaichtys kerri, CC BY-SA 3.0

The King Tetra originates from tropical South America. The rivers of the Mato Grosso, especially the Rio Aripuana and the Rio Madeira are its home. The fish like to stay in quiet places near the banks, which are richly vegetated.

King tetras are easy-care, uncomplicated fish for beginners, which are easy to keep in aquariums. The small ornamental fish can live up to 4 years if well cared for in the aquarium.

What distinguishes Königssalmler?

The King Tetr is a peaceful, small schooling fish, which is in good hands in community tanks. It gets along well with other small, equally peaceful fish. It is also suitable for socializing with dwarf shrimp (e.g. Sulawesi inland shrimp, Amano shrimp).

Although it likes live food, it cannot eat adult or large shrimp because of its small mouth, but it will certainly eat the smaller shrimp offspring if it catches them. Therefore, there should be enough hiding places for the crustaceans in the tank.


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The appearance of Königssalmler

The female representatives of this species in general, but in the beginning also the young males have an inconspicuous yellow-brown coloration. Only fully-grown males of the King Tetras then show the shimmering bright blue colour. Both sexes have a particularly prominent, broad black longitudinal stripe running along the middle of their body from head to tail. Above the stripe the males are steel blue, the females somewhat paler.

Sex differences

The males are with a length of up to 4.5 cm somewhat larger than the females and also more colourful. Females and males differ especially in the colour of their adipose fin. This is light blue in males and orange to reddish brown in females. The females also have a more pronounced belly and a more stable and robust body structure than the males.

Water values for King Tetras

The fish feel most comfortable at a pH value of 6.0 to 7.5, a GH value of 2 to 10° and water temperatures of 24 to 27°C. In soft water the beautiful colouring of the fish also unfolds best, therefore a water filtration over peat is recommended.


Food and nutrition for King Tetras

King tetras are voracious, insatiable fish that will eat anything that fits in their mouth and attract attention by moving around the tank. The fish love live food. However, they also accept flake food or frozen food without any problems.

The ideal aquarium for tetras

In the waters of its native country, the King Tetra is mainly found in quiet places near the banks, which are richly vegetated. Königssalmler are very lively fish that are eager to move, so the aquarium should have enough space for swimming. In order for the fish to show their natural behaviour, small groups of 6-10 animals consisting of a few males and several females are optimal. In aquariums from 80 L) with subdued light, loose planting and dark substrate the fish will thrive splendidly.

Keeping conditions

The ornamental fish thrive best in soft, slightly acidic water. Then they show themselves in their full blaze of colour. In the aquarium it likes to linger between root ramifications or in the area of aquatic plants. In aquariums that are too bare, the king tetra only shows washed out body colours. Its entire splendour is then lost. In the following the most important attitude conditions again in short form:

  • Swarm fish
  • Omnivores
  • Public pool
  • subtle lighting
  • Ample space to swim

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