Truly peaceful tetra - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-03-2019, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Truly peaceful tetra

Most community Tetra are described as peaceful shoaling fish. IME, it’s far from true and many community tetra are aggressive. Males often engage in combat with one another, and may nip fins on small and slow tankmates.

There are truly peaceful tetra that shoal or school in harmony, I can list the following: neon tetra, glow light tetra, black neon, cardinal, and rummynose. What else have you found to be peaceful?

Last edited by Tiger15; 07-03-2019 at 03:39 PM. Reason: .
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 12:19 AM
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Honestly the most aggressive tetras I have found are the ones with distinct sexual dimorphism (distinct difference between male and female). Any of the small species where the female and male are difficult to tell apart (or the only difference is plumpness of females) usually aren't that bad. Larger species all bets are off.

All that said even though my male reed tetras have extended rays on their dorsal and ventral fins and sometimes chase females or each other they are so small they don't bother anyone else. Diamond, bleeding heart, and Congo tetras can get quite nasty toward each other but also don't bother anyone else in my experience. Black Phantom tetras are fairly small so can't do much damage to other tank mates (though I have seen them tear shrimp apart). One exception is serpae tetras which have no distinct sexual dimorphism but can be aggressive and nippy toward other fish so I am sure there are other exceptions as well.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 01:41 AM
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These are the species that I have personally had that haven't been aggressive to con-specifics/other species in aquarium. These tetras were also in groups of at least 6 or larger and in appropriate sized tanks.

I will give scientific and common names because many, such as the "Congo tetra", have many varieties under this common name.

Non-aggressive:

Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi "Black Neon" tetra
Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma "Bleeding-Heart" tetra
Paracheirodon axelrodi "Cardinal " tetra
Aphyocharax rathbuni "Green Fire" tetra
Hyphessobrycon nigricinctus "Imperial" tetra
Phenacogrammus aurantiacus "Lamp-eye" tetra
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis "Lemon" tetra
Paracheirodon innesi "Neon" tetra
Alestopetersius brichardi "Red Congo" tetra
Alestopetersius smykalai " Blue Congo" tetra
alestopetersius cf. nigropterus "Flash Congo" tetra
Hemigrammus bleheri "Rummy-nose" tetra
Tucanoichthys tucano "Tucano" tetra
Paracheirodon simulens "Green neon" tetra



Semi-aggressive ( some nipped fins between con-specifics, aggressive chasing). I did not have any experience of these fish nipping fins or chasing species of other fish. The aggression was within males of same species.

Hemigrammopetersius pulcher "Copper" tetra
Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae "Red-eye" tetra
Inpaichthys kerri "Emperor" tetra



I have never had a tetra species harass or nip the fins of other species with the above list.

180 g. low tech w/ wild South American cichlids, corydoras eques, and African Congo riverine tetras.
60 g. low tech w/ F1 Alenquer pair /Stendker "Tefe" discus and wild Altum Angels
30 g. low tech w/ Wild Tucano tetras
30 g. low-tech African Biotope
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Triport View Post
Honestly the most aggressive tetras I have found are the ones with distinct sexual dimorphism
One exception is serpae tetras which have no distinct sexual dimorphism but can be aggressive and nippy toward other fish so I am sure there are other exceptions as well.
Is it correct to say that slender body tetra, lacking sexual dimorphism, are generally non aggressive? Tall body tetra, sexually dimorphic, are generally aggressive. Non-aggressive tetra are generally good schooler/shoaler because males don't break out to fight one another.

There are exceptions to the generalization, such as:

Silver tip tetra, slender but aggressive.
Amber and Lemon Tetra, tall but non-aggressive

I am sure you can identify more to the exception.

Serpae tetra is not an exception, aggressive and sexually dimporhic. Male dorsal fin is darker than female.

Not sure if bleeding heart is an exception as I got conflicting opinion on their aggression.

It is unfortunate that most peaceful tetra are small, bait fish like that are unsafe to coexist with angels and bigger tankmates.

Last edited by Tiger15; 07-05-2019 at 12:14 PM. Reason: .
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 11:20 PM
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In the cases I mentioned the aggression is more focussed on each other. I just think it is an important distinction to make for people who want calm soothing fish vs. very active fish who may chase each other around.

My diamond tetras don't bother any other fish but are very aggressive toward each other. So not a problem to keep with angels. They won't particularly nip them. They just might not be a calm soothing fish to watch the way cardinal tetras are. Same goes for other large tetras like bleeding hearts, and various Congo species. There will be some flashing and aggression toward each other but they leave everyone else alone.

There are other tetras like serpae, Buenos Aires, Columbian that are more likely to be fin nippers and aggressive toward others. Even some little pencil fish I have heard accounts of being nippy toward others. But there is a difference between aggression that might be unpleasant for some people to watch vs. aggression that actually is likely to cause harm.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 11:59 PM Thread Starter
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I don't mind and actually like to watch mild male to male aggression display as long as they don't hurt one another or chase one another relentless.

It's hard to believe that super peaceful rummy, neon and cardinal tetra belong to the same characin family as some of the most vicious freshwater fish such as piranhas, wolf fish, vampire tetra and African tiger fish.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 12:12 AM
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Pristellas are great schoolers & aren't the least bit territorial.



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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 02:09 AM
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I have 10 full size Congo tetras (err the usual blue kind with longish tails) in a 60g community and they are quite peaceful. They don't bother any other fish.

Though I suspect they might have chewed off the tail of my poor Royal farlowela. No other fish in there big enough for that. In their defense it does look like long white worms.and I had just moved the tank for renovations. The tail grew back and they settled down when I moved the tank again.

it's not that simple.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 06:22 AM
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Ember tetra I would say are one of best Iíve ever kept. But even they at times when breeding behavior kicks in are a little bit rambunctious. But their little angels compared to neons.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-07-2019, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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I am offering my personal experience of several community tetra and tetra like barbs.

Emperor Tetra: Adult males constantly battled one another and their fins were never intact. I had them in a 10 gal tank in the past, and am not sure how they would behave in a bigger tank.

Congo Tetra: I have 5 males in my 125 with large tankmates. They shoal together at one time, and break out to battle one another at another time. I have not observed any torn fins though.

Diamond Tetra: Resemble congo tetra in behavior and look. I currently have to isolate one male with the tail bitten off or else he would not last long due to handicapped mobility.

Rosy barbs: I had all males in a planted 125. They stayed on the top and showed no fear of big tankmates in day one. But they did not shoal and battle one another constantly with no fins intact. It's stressful to watch and I couldnt wait to get rid of them.

Silver tip tetra: I had them in a planted 75. They showed no fear of bigger tankmates, and battle one another constantly. They attacked my rummynose and broke up their school. I had to get rid of them.

Tiger barb: Despite what I read, they rarely bother one another or other fish. They shoal half the time, and spread out and rest among plants at other time. I have the Red Glofish tiger which is more intensely colored yet look natural.

Danison barb: I have 6 of them in my 125. They are large peaceful shoaling fish, never show aggression towards one another or tankmates.

Rummynose: Perfect small tight schooling fish, never show aggression. But too timid and bullied by silver tip of the same size, and not hardy as they are all wild caught.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 04:17 AM
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FWIW, my rummy nose, black neon, and neon tetras donít seem to have a mean bone in their bodies. I have a friend who keeps silver tips that harassed a larger angelfish to death in a 65g planted. As always, YMMV.


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 11:02 AM
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My blue and red tetras (Columbian) were so peaceful as to be boring..
Apparently not what other people have found but I can't remember any aggression whatsoever. They mostly just packed up and sat there...
Relatively heavily planted tank though.

Now my Buenos Aires Tetras are another story..

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:37 PM
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I have Emperor tetras, 5 in a 40b and no problems. They don't bother anyone in the tank.
I had in the past 6 Congo tetras in a 75g and no trouble there.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-09-2019, 01:53 PM
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Not necessarily aggression, but during feeding time all bets are off. Any bigger fish is capable of killing a smaller fish in it's haste to get food. Had Congo tetras for years with Harleys and on occasion one would be sticking out of the mouth of the Congo during feeding time.


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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 07-13-2019, 12:39 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Not necessarily aggression, but during feeding time all bets are off. Any bigger fish is capable of killing a smaller fish in it's haste to get food. Had Congo tetras for years with Harleys and on occasion one would be sticking out of the mouth of the Congo during feeding time.
Aggression and predator instinct are two different thing. All tetra fish have sharp teeth, and are equipped to be a predator. Small tetra are micro predator, and large tetra are piscivorous. There are herbivores such as Mbuna that are aggressive towards its and other kind. There are peaceful predators such as Oscar that donít harm fish of comparable size. Tetra can be both aggressive and predatory. Congo tetra is opportunistic predator, love to feed on baby fish, and males are aggressive towards each other..
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