Ornate tetra

Ornate tetras are native to tropical South America. There they live in the flowing streams and rivers of Guyana. The species is agile, but peaceful and sociable fish. Their care is considered to be easy, which is why they are suitable for beginners in aquaristics.

What are the characteristics of the ornamental tetra?

Ornate tetras are unproblematic and robust fish. They are socially active, do not care for their brood and do not form territories. For this reason their behaviour is peaceful and balanced. They are the ideal inhabitants for a social aquarium.

In addition, they decorate the aquarium especially beautifully with their splendid coloration.

The appearance of the ornamental tetra

The physique of the characins is elongated and slightly high-backed. The mouth is underdeveloped. The sides are strongly flattened. Depending on its origin, the ground colour is almost transparent light grey to bright reddish. If they feel well, the reddish colouring can be even stronger.

The fish have large fins, which are very colourful and in places show a striking white hem. The dorsal fin is widely extended and becomes even larger in older animals, the dark spot is conspicuous. The anal fin extends to the base of the caudal fin. Like most characins the ornamental tetra also has a fat fin.

The fish can reach a size of about 4 cm.

Keeping conditions at a glance:

  • Community tank with at least 6 to 10 animals
  • An aquarium with 6 animals needs a minimum length of 60 cm
  • Sufficient freedom of movement and a light water current
  • Low nitrate, slightly acidic and germ-free water
  • Loose planting
  • Omnivores with emphasis on live food

Gender differences

The male of the jewellery collector has a long extended dorsal fin. This is clearly smaller in the female.

Water values for the jewellery tetra

Characins prefer low-nitrate and slightly acidic water. Soft water makes the magnificent colours shine even better.

Temperature: 23 °C to 26 °CpH Value
: 5.5 to 8.5Total hardness
: 2° to 20 °dgHCarbonate hardness
:2° to 15 °dKH

For healthy fish the water quality is crucial. Samplers require a low germ and low nitrogen quality. A regular and extensive partial water change 1/3 to 2/3 should be scheduled weekly. The water is to be exchanged with tempered fresh water of the same quality. The addition of alder suppositories and peat helps against germs.

Food and nutrition for tetras

In the wild, characins feed on worms and insects. They also eat decaying organic substances ( detritus ). The aquarium fish are omnivores, which mainly eat animal food.

The following food types are possible:

  • Commercially available flake, dried or other prepared feed for ornate tetras
  • Small live food like black mosquito larvae, fruit flies Drysophila, Tubifex, Cyclops

The ideal aquarium for the ornamental tetra

The ideal aquarium has sufficient freedom to swim, a light flowing current and a group of at least 6 characins. The tank length should be 10 to 15 times the size of the fish.

The preferred water region is in the middle area and the aquarium should be structured accordingly. Loose planting should be mainly in the rear or side areas of the tank. The plants offer protection and retreat possibilities. Especially floating plants increase the feeling of security and the well-being of the animals. Furthermore, plants serve as biological filters and slow down the growth of bacteria with their active ingredients.

In accordance with their natural habitat, characins should be able to access secondary plant substances at any time. An addition of autumn leaves from trees such as walnut, sea almond, red beech and oak is recommended.

A dark ground of fine gravel or sand and a somewhat dim light bring out the wonderful colourfulness of the Schmucksalmler even more.

In a species-appropriate aquarium, the fish can reach an age between 3 and 9 years, depending on the species.

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