The Diamond Tetra fish, better known to aquarium lovers as the Moenkhausia pittieri, is a member of the family Characidae and was originally found living in the Venezuelan Lake Valencia and a few select Venezuelan rivers. Male species of the fish may grow between two to 12 inches, but females are usually smaller. Though not a brightly colored fish, the Diamond Tetra is a silver color with greenish-colored highlights, and it stands out due to its beautiful reflective scales. In baby Diamond Tetras, the shimmering effect of its scales hasn’t developed yet, but it will become evident as it ages.
In terms of aquarium environment, the Moenkhausia pittieri should always be part of a school with a minimum of six fish. These should include others of their own species, and fish of others species should be around the same size. Within this school, one male will always be the dominant one. This male tolerates the others, but is always in control. Diamond Tetras have an ideal pH range of 6.6 to 7.0 and temperature preference of 74-82 degrees Fahrenheit (26-28 degrees Celsius), and if kept outside of this range, might take on a different appearance. Also, these fish like having lots of plants in their aquarium, and are luckily not very picky when it comes to feeding time. Moenkhaussia pittieri will love you for offering living food, but can eat anything from flakes to frozen food. Having learned a bit about this type of fish and its basic requirements, steps towards breeding it can now be taken.
Breeding Diamond Tetra Fish
The most difficult process of breeding Diamond Tetra fish is getting the right pairs together. Mature males have longer fins than females, especially when it comes to dorsal fins. Though females will most likely be smaller than the males, females that are ready for breeding often appear to be of a stockier shape. After selection of a pair of Diamond Tetras is complete, they should be separated and conditioned with good food. During the conditioning phase, they should be fed their preferred live food and also some frozen food. This should last for around 10 days.
While conditioning is going on, a separate spawning tank should be prepared. It doesn’t have to a very large tank, but needs to include lots of plants, especially those with dense leaves. The conditions in this tank should be similar to the tank that the other Diamond Tetras live in, though at first, there should be no light in the spawning tank. Soft water should always be used over hard water. Gravel is not required, but some netting should be included towards the bottom of the tank. It should be far down enough to give the breeding pair enough space to swim. The holes in the netting also need to be large enough for the eggs to fall through to the bottom of the tank. The spawning tank should also be placed in a quiet area of the home where there can be no disturbances to the fish.
After the allotted time for conditioning has expired, the selected pair should be placed in the spawning tank in the evening when it is dark, and again, no lights should be used in the vicinity of the tank. In the event that the pair of Diamond Tetras is compatible, spawning might take place immediately upon the fish being placed in the spawning tank or might not take place until a day or two afterwards. Sometimes the lighting that is present in the environment where the tank is situated will help speed up the process. Though the male may spend most of his time following the female, when the time has come for spawning, the female will release the eggs at the same time as the male releases the sperm. The eggs must then become fertilized, in which case it is helpful to have soft water in the tank. The netting is very important here, because Moenkhaussia pittieri tend to eat their eggs, and in order to prevent this, the eggs must fall through the netting, separating the eggs from their parents. After spawning has taken place, the male and female fish should be removed from the spawning tank and returned to their regular aquarium.
Though the eggs may see movement within 36 hours, it can take up to a week before the baby fish are capable of swimming around their spawning tank. The fry will be very hungry, but in an aquarium with lots of plants, will find things to eat in their first few days. After that, fry food is acceptable, and once they are large enough, appropriately sized live food is good for them. Keeping the spawning tank clean while the fry are developing is very important. Because they grow so quickly during their first few weeks, baby Diamond Tetras soon look like the adults, though smaller. Their coloring will be plain at first, with their breathtaking shimmering scales being fully developed around the time the fish are 9 months old. Once they have reached a size that wont put them in danger, they can be moved into the adult tank and the spawning tank can be utizilized again with a new pair of adult fish.
Breeding Diamond Tetras can be a challenge, mainly because it may take several tries to find a compatible pair of male and female fish. It is important to keep the adult Diamond Tetra environment healthy so as not to adversely impact their well-being and ability to spawn at a later time. Likewise, the spawning tank should be kept clean and the temperature, pH, and softness should be checked regularly. Enough time and resources should be spent on the conditioning portion of the breeding process, as it is of great importance. Keep different types of food, including fry food, on hand at all times, even if you are doubtful that spawning could occur. Within several weeks or months, you will be rewarded in all your efforts as you watch the eggs hatch and can see your fry growing up and gaining those beautiful shimmering scales the Diamond Tetra are known for.