How Many Tetras in a 5-Gallon Tank? myfishkeepingworld

How Many Tetras in a 5-Gallon Tank?

There are many kinds of fish in the globe.

When it comes to different types of fish, many hobbyists who like aquatic life keep tetras in their homes.

Tetra is the generic name for the fish that make up this species.

Tetra fish come in so many different variations that picking one for your home aquarium might be difficult. Also, not everyone can afford a big tank to house a variety of tetras. Some individuals like maintaining a little tank in their room with a few happy tetra fish.

Tetra is a generic name for a variety of little characiform fish. They are mostly found in freshwater, therefore introducing them to salty or marine conditions will have a big impact on their survival.

The Following are Some of the Most Common Tetra Fish, Along With Their Scientific Names:

  • Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi)
  • Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)
  • Cardinal Tetra ( Paracheirodon axelrodi)
  • Diamond Tetra (Moemkhausia pitteri)
  • Rosy Tetra (Hyphessobrycon rosaceus)
  • Green Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon simulans)

Their vibrantly beautiful hues, along with their ease of maintenance, make them one of the most popular options for residential aquaria. The Neon Tetra, Lemon Tetra, Black Skirt Tetra and Glofish tetra are the most often cultivated species for a residential aquarium.

It’s a good idea to maintain several tetras in a 5-gallon tank since they like socializing and swimming together.

How Many Tetras in a 5-Gallon Tank?

Many individuals like to keep tetras, but they are unsure how to match the correct number of tetras to a tank of a certain size. Let’s find out how many tetras we can keep in a 5-gallon tank.

Types of Tetras to Keep in a 5-Gallon Aquarium

While there are many different species of tetras available, not all of them can be maintained in a 5-gallon fish tank due to their small size. The following are the types of fish that you may successfully keep in a 5-gallon aquarium:

Neon Tetras

The neon tetra is related to the ember tetra, and both are members of the Characin family. Its origins may be traced back to the Clearwater streams of the Amazon Basin in South America, where it first appeared.

Also in Peru, Western Brazil, and Colombia, there are many neon tetras to be found. The fact that they like to live in water with a temperature between 20 degrees and 28 degrees Celsius may explain why they are most often seen in these types of environments.

This is due in large part to the brilliantly colored exterior skin of the neon fish, which makes them very noticeable. The neon fish has a bright blue back cover with a silver-white belly.

You will see a blue horizontal stripe running from the fish’s nose to the back fin, if we look closely at the sides of the fish.

Neon tetras are known to be schooling fish, which means that they like to be in groups of other fish.  As a result, putting a single neon tetra in a tank by itself is not a great idea.

It is necessary to have two or more, but the total number should not be more than five fish.

Tetras for beginners

Ember Tetra

Ember tetra is one of the most frequent tetra varieties we can find in fresh water. It is a member of the Characin family of Characiformes.

Ember tetras consume a broad range of tiny meals, such as shrimp and crushed food flakes, to maintain their health. The ember tetra will also eat bloodworms and tubifex if they are available.

Make sure you keep the number of ember tetras in your 5-gallon tetra tank to about 5 to ensure optimum growth and development.

More will just present several problems to their health, and if necessary, modifications are not made, the situation might become disastrous.

Black Neon Tetra

Outward appearance-wise, the black neon tetras are perhaps one of the most basic looking fish on the planet when it comes to tetras in general.

The elongated fish has a simple coloring consisting of two stripes, one white and one black, on each side of its body.

These two horizontal stripes go from the fish’s eye to the base of its fin, and they are close to one another on the fish’s body.

The fish favors soft acidic water, which explains why its origins may be traced back to the Paraguay Basin in Brazil, where it was discovered. It’s nourishment consists mostly of plants and tiny invertebrates.

Place five or fewer black neon tetras in a 5-gallon tank if you want to keep the tank from over crowding.

Lemon Tetra

In an aquarium, this little tetra fish may grow to be as long as 5cm in length and is often regarded as one of the most desirable species to have in one.

When an adult lemon tetra is in its natural habitat, its body is generally transparent yellow. The anal and dorsal fins are a blend of black and yellow in coloration, respectively.

With a closer glance, the anal fin of the lemon tetra seems to have a glass-like appearance, which is correct.

An aquarists recommend keeping no more than five neon tetras in a 5-gallon tank to ensure that each one can live peacefully in the tank.

Penguin Tetra

The penguin tetra is a characin fish that lives in Brazil’s Amazon Basin.

Aquarium enthusiasts trade it under a variety of names, including penguin fish, black-line penguin fish and hockey stick tetra.

Worms and crustaceans are the main sources of food for the black-line penguin tetra. You may also feed flake food and tiny insects to it.

You can only fit no more then seven or less penguin fish in a 5-gallon fish tank.


If you are wondering how many tetras can be housed in a 5-gallon tank, the answer is as follows:

For starters, most tetra fish that we can maintain in a 5-gallon tank are 1.5 to 2 inches in length (you can keep bigger tetra fish in the 5-gallon tank). Accordingly, if we follow the basic rule of one gallon of water for every inch of fish length, we may maintain about 2 to 3 tetra fish in a 5-gallon tank.

An aquarium of just 5 gallons would very probably fail to offer the optimal, stress-free environment necessary for your tetras to flourish. In fact, it would likely stress your tetras to the point where they died prematurely. The optimal solution would be discussed in further detail in the next section.

They are freshwater fishes that are endemic to the tropics of South America, Africa, and Central America, where they may be found in abundance. Plants are their primary source of nutrition, but they also love brine shrimp and blood worms. It is also possible to supplement their diet with synthetic foods.

Even though a large number of tetras are peaceful, there have been reports of violent behavior in some of them.

Can Tetra Fish Be Happy in A 5-Gallon Tank?

The opposite is true; in fact, keeping tetras in a 5-gallon tank will cause them to become stressed and unhappy.

Your tetra fish will be dissatisfied in the smaller, more limited environment. When they do not believe that they have adequate room to swim about, they will begin to behave lethargic and eventually quit consuming their food.

As a side note, that’s for sure that you will lose your tetra fish first and foremost because of loneliness if you keep it alone to give it more room.

Shoaling fish

Shoaling fish are generally fish that stay in groups, which are known as schools, for the purpose of socialization and protection from predators. A tetra is an excellent example of a fish that live in a group or in ‘schools’.  Despite the fact that they are a very calm species, they may readily get irritated or afraid when their numbers are reduced.

A school of tetras is preferably formed of tetras with six members.

A five-gallon tank can accommodate just three fish, which is fewer than the optimal number of fish required to form a tetra school. Thus, a ten-gallon tank is required for one school of tetras.

Tetra fish tank

How many gallons does a tetra require?

As previously stated, the general rule of thumb for tiny fish such as the tetra is one inch for every gallon of water. A tetra school should have about 5-6 fish. So, a minimum of 10 gallons would be required to provide the best possible habitat for your tetra.

The exact gallon needed by your tetra is determined by the quantity of tetras that you want to maintain in your aquarium.

Since a starting point, it is fine to use 10 gallons of water for a maximum of 5-6 tetras, as you do not need to overfill your tank and cause issues to your fish. Besides that, tetras are very energetic swimmers that prefer to swim horizontally rather than upright.

It would be reasonable to expect your tetras to have ample swimming room in a ten-gallon tank. However, in order to provide your tetras with a greater feeling of security, it is preferable to maintain them in groups of approximately 15 or more in the suitable aquarium size (which should be a minimum of 15 or 20 gallons)

When choosing a tank, the size should not be the only thing to take into consideration

The temperature and ph of your tank should also be taken into consideration.

Tetras’ body temperature is determined by the temperature of their immediate environment. Therefore, it is critical to make sure that the water in your tank is between 72- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimal temperature for your tetra. Any number higher than this boosts the metabolic rate of your tetra, putting them under further stress.

One further consideration is the pH of your fish tanks. Tetras can tolerate a variety of pH values, but the recommended ph of your tank should be between 6 and 7 for best results. Once the pH rises over 7.5, fish are more prone to get stressed.

Lighting and shading should also be taken into consideration. The presence of plants in your tank would be advantageous since tetras prefer to hide behind the foliage of the plants. However, do so in moderation, since you don’t need your aquarium to get overrun with fish.

How to Set Up a 5-Gallon Tetra Tank

Now that you’ve learned which tetras you may maintain in a tiny tank, let’s talk about how to put up a stable environment. In order to properly set up a 5-gallon fish tank for Tetras, there are several considerations.

Set Up Your Aquarium

You will need an aquarium in order to keep tetra fish in your house. This is where they will dwell and spend their whole lives.

The first step in constructing an aquarium is to browse over your choices and choose the optimal fish tank for your tetra fish.

One aspect has been already taken care of for you. It’s the capacity. In this instance, we will concentrate on the 5-gallon tank.

All you need to do is choose a design and verify that the tank fits the other requirements you have in mind.

The next step is to get a suitable stand for the tank after it has been filled with all of the stuff you wish to put in it.

Check that the tank is designed for a 5-gallon container and that it is stable (does not wobble), since shaking may cause the container to tumble over and kill the fish.

After you’ve got everything in place, you’ll need to determine where to put the aquarium. The location of your tank has a big influence on the health of your tetra fish.

Make certain that the location you choose has a stable temperature.

Make certain that the tank is not too near to the wall. Additionally, make sure the location is not under direct sunlight, since this can promote excessive algae development, which is not ideal for tetras.

Include a Good Filter

To ensure the appropriate life and prospering of your tetras, you need invest in a reliable filter ideal for a 5 gallon fish tank. Filters are essential in tetra tanks. One of the responsibilities is to remove surplus food.

When you feed your fish and they don’t finish it all, you have to remove the excess food since keeping it in the water might make it unclean. In such cases, a decent filter comes in helpful.

Toxic chemicals in your aquarium create a significant risk to your tetras, therefore you must do everything necessary to remove them from the water.

The easiest method to do this is to use a filter. When you place a decent filter, removing hazardous substances from your tetra aquarium becomes a piece of cake.

Fish are living beings that expel food that has not been digested and has become waste a process known as excretion. When fish expel excrement, it stays in the water.

If garbage accumulates, the water becomes poisonous, and the fish may get poisoned.

That is why you want a high-quality filter that will make the process of removing such trash more convenient.

Include many live plants

Following the installation of a filter in your tetra aquarium, the next step is to locate live plants and incorporate them into the tank.

You should put as many plants as possible into the aquarium since they provide a variety of benefits. For starters, they provide oxygen to the fish while also absorbing the carbon dioxide and ammonia that the fish expel into the water.

Having plants in the aquarium ensures that the fish will always have a safe place to go to when they need to relax or when they are exhausted from swimming about in it.

Plants also provide a significant amount of protection for the tetras. Fish may take refuge between the plants if they feel unsafe.

Although it is typical for algae to grow in aquariums, this does not always imply that the growth is beneficial. Having a large amount of algae in your tetra tank is harmful to the life, growth, and development of your tetra fish and should be avoided.

Because of this, you must do all in your power to prevent their development in the tank. Having a large number of plants is one of the most efficient methods to do this.

Plants fight with algae for nutrients, and the greater the number of plants present, the more probable it is that they will outcompete the algae and survive.

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Incorporate Aquarium Lighting

Adding aquarium lights to your tank is one of the most important aspects of having your tank function properly. Lighting supplies the essential energy for the plants to photosynthesize, allowing them to survive.

The energy emitted by lights is also beneficial to the overall health of the tetra fish. Additionally, lighting is critical for the development of fish, corals, bacteria, and all of the other crucial living species in an aquarium environment.

Tetra fish tank size

A gallon holds how many neon tetras?

In common with other tetra species, the Neon tetra has a high level of visual appeal.

Their transparent body and brilliantly colored stripe along the length of their bodies make them stand out. Their glittering stripes give them a glistening appearance in the tank. In contrast to the Glofish, their opalescence is a result of natural processes. They are, without a doubt, the most common fish to be found in home aquariums.

Technically, you should maintain roughly one neon fish per gallon of water, since it is very vital to keep them in groups of at least five as they flourish better when they are in a group environment. If they are alone, they will strive to form a school with other little fishes that are similar in appearance to them.

When the tank’s condition is inadequate or when the fish are stressed, their color becomes less vibrant. It is important to note that the neon tetra may seem less ‘shiny’ while it is resting in order to avoid being eaten as prey. Despite the fact that they are really calm, they are also quite energetic and active. Because of this, they need to use most of the available swimming area.

They are likewise subject to the one inch per gallon rule, which is appropriate given that they grow to an average height of 1.5 inches. The lowest gallon size for one tetra school should be 10 gallons, depending on the number of neon tetras you want to have in your tank

It’s a great idea to put a few shady plants in your aquarium in order to create a model of their natural environment, since neon tetras like hiding beneath the cover of shaded plants.

Cleanup crew for the Tetra Tank

Your tank needs a set of bottom feeders which could also serve as the cleaning crew. Organic algae, particles and debris left in your tanks may decompose into dangerous chemicals like ammonia. It would decrease the life quality in your aquarium and also stress your fish, causing them to become ill.

To avoid adding to the already existing waste, make sure that your tank isn’t overloaded before picking your cleaning crew.

Another consideration is the size of the cleanup crew. They must be a minimum size in order to avoid creating a threat to the fish in your tank and also to avoid increasing the quantity of biodegradable trash that is formed.

In addition, you must include a filter into your tank design. Tetra generates such a little amount of bio waste that a standard sponge filter is more than enough.

Essentially, the cleanup crew feeds on algae, or as a component of their diet.

To operate successfully together, your cleaning crew must be made up of a variety of species

The Nerite Snail is known for its ability to clean up very well. It is also known for being quite beautiful and for not overpopulating aquariums since they do not breed in freshwater.

Corydoras Catfish: A little bottom feeder that feeds on algae as well as meat.

Suckerfish such as the Plecostomus Catfish and the Otocinclous are common. The Plecostomus Catfish is a great cleaner. This is only true before it reaches maturity. It may grow to be four times the size of a Tetra when fully grown.

Siamese Algae Eater: This kind of fish, are calm bottom feeders and quite effective at cleaning your fish tank. They also eat entirely on a wide variety of algae species.

Shrimps: They may be used as nutrition for the fish in your tank, in addition to cleaning up the aquarium.

Crayfish: If there is nothing to feed on, they will eat a fish meal, leaves and the Tetra’s waste.

Most aquarists neglect to feed the bottom feeders, assuming that they will be nourished by the leftover feed and waste. This is not an ideal situation for the bottom feeders. Try to feed the bottom feeders minimum once a week, if not more often.

Along with a cleaning crew, you should change 25-50 percent of your aquarium’s water every week to keep it clean. You must also be careful while changing the aquarium water too often, it may cause a chemical imbalance.


Other fish that are suitable

This list can assist you with identifying the kind of fish that may happily coexist with your Tetra. They include:

Midline swimmers at a bare minimum. Also, keep in mind that tetras are midline swimmers, meaning they spend most of their time in the aquarium’s center. Avoid grouping them with too many other midline swimmers, as this may result in overpopulation. The Guppy is a top swimmer and could be a good addition to the tank.

Guppies, Corydoras Catfish, Harlequin Rasbora, and the Halfbeak are all peaceful and quiet fish. They get along well with other peaceful and calm fish like Tetras.

Guppies, Platys, and Mollys, among other tiny fish, are common. Make sure to stay away from other big fish like as Oscars and Gouramis, since they will eat on them.

Species in the cleaning crew (including Shrimp and Crayfish) may effectively dwell with your Tetra since they are bottom feeders.

Avoid placing Tetras in tanks with larger fish that may feast on them.

Tetras are a fantastic fish species, and their peaceful attitude makes them ideal for a communal tank.

Despite the fact that their original environment in the tropics has an 8 to 10-year lifetime. If they are carefully looked for, they may live for as long as 5 to 8 years in your aquarium.

The tiny size of the Tetra fish is compensated for by its exceptional beauty and functionality. A school or two of them in your aquarium would be quite helpful to the whole fish tank!

How Many Tetras in a 5-Gallon Tank

What Comes If You Put Too Many Tetra Fish in a 5-Gallon Tank?

First and essential, do not. Why taking a risk harming your fish by keeping them in a crowded environment with poor lifestyle choices? In fact, overcrowding the 5-gallon tank with Tetra fish will result in the tank having very limited area for each individual fish.

Tetra like to swim freely in their tank, and if you limit their path, they will get irritated and unhappy. After a time, the fish will go into isolation and may even become depressed

Tetra fish will feel stifled, panting for air, craving for food, and weak to compete with other fish for food.

Pollution accumulates, and the ammonia level may reach dangerous levels, resulting in ammonia poisoning. Overcrowding your 5-gallon tank with tetras can result in sick, sluggish, starved, or dead fish.


Tetras are wonderful fish to have in your house. However, there is a lot that goes into the planning, preparation and establishing of the tanks to make fish happy.

This is because the number of tetras that can fit in a container varies depending on the size of container. In this scenario, used a 5-gallon tank as an example.

When it comes to Black Neon Tetras, you can only accommodate a maximum of five fish in a tank. The average number of neon tetras that can be kept in a 5-gallon aquarium is about 4-5. In tiny aquariums, Green Neon Tetras are the most suitable tetra to keep because of their smaller size. Ember tetras are a better option since they remain smaller than even Green Neons, making them a more attractive choice.

After you’ve taken care of that, you’ll need to learn how to make an aquarium function properly. So, the first step is to set up your tetra tank.

Once that is complete, you may install a high-quality filter to help remove waste from your tank.

Finally, fill the aquarium with a variety of live plants before finishing it off with aquarium lights.

Tetras are a great choice for a 5-gallon aquarium owing to their stunning glossy colors and ease of care.

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