Garnet tetra Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: December 17, 2022

The Garnet Tetra is a beautiful little freshwater fish that is perfect for beginners. They are very easy to care for and are very peaceful, making them a great addition to any community tank.

Despite their small size, they are very active and have a lot of personality. They are also very easy to breed, so if you are looking for a fun fish to breed, the Garnet Tetra is a great choice!

Species overview

The garnet tetra ( scientific name: Hyphessobrycon igneus) is a species of freshwater fish that is native to the Amazon basin in South America.

They are a popular choice for aquariums because of their bright red coloration. They are a relatively small fish, only growing to be about 2 inches in length.

Garnet tetras are a peaceful fish and do well in community tanks. They are not aggressive and get along well with other fish.

These fish are omnivorous and will eat both plants and animals. In the wild, they eat mostly insects and small crustaceans.


Garnet tetra

The Garnet tetra is a very small and delicate freshwater fish. They have a very thin and long body that’s a rich reddish-brown color.

This coloration is solid all over their body with no real patterns or markings. The only thing that interrupts this color is their fins which are all translucent.

The dorsal fin is very thin and starts about halfway back on their bodies. The anal fin is slightly shorter and placed just before their caudal fin.

Speaking of the caudal fin, it’s forked and extends back quite a ways. This fin makes up for about half the length of the fish when extended.

The pectoral fins are very small and thin. They’re placed just behind the operculum (the hard bony plate that covers their gills).

Garnet tetras have large eyes that really stand out on their head. These eyes are a deep golden color that really makes them pop.


The typical lifespan for a Garnet tetra is 5 to 8 years. However, there are reports of some living for up to 10 years in captivity.

As with any fish, their lifespan will be greatly impacted by the quality of care they receive. Things like water quality, diet, and stress can all shorten their lifespan significantly.


The average size of a Garnet tetra is around 2.5 inches (6.4 cm). However, some specimens have been known to grow up to 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) in length.


Tank Size

The recommended minimum tank size for Garnet tetras is 20 gallons. If you’re interested in keeping a school of these fish, which we recommend, you should add an additional 2 to 4 gallons of water per fish.

Water Parameters

The garnet tetra is a freshwater fish that is found in the South American countries of Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving streams and rivers with plenty of vegetation. The water is typically soft with a neutral to slightly acidic pH.

In terms of temperature, the garnet tetra does best in water that is on the cooler side. They are most comfortable in water that is between 68 and 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

Here are a few basic water parameters to help create a healthy environment for your garnet tetras.

  • Water temperature: 68 to 74 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

When it comes to setting up the interior of an aquarium for Garnet Tetras there are a few things you should consider.

The first is the substrate. These fish come from murky waters in the wild so a dark gravel or sand substrate would be a good choice.

The second is the plants. Tetras are known to nibble on plants so you’ll want to choose something that can handle that (Java Fern or Anubias are good options).

As for other decorations, it’s really up to you. Rocks, driftwood, and caves are all suitable. Just avoid anything too small that could be swallowed by these fish.

Common Diseases

The vast majority of diseases that affect freshwater fish will affect the garnet tetra. There are no real exceptions when it comes to these little guys.

The most common disease by far is ich. This is a parasitic infection that will present itself as white spots on the body, fins, and gills of your fish.

If left untreated, ich can be fatal. However, it’s fortunately very easy to treat. There are a number of different products on the market that will quickly eradicate ich from your tank.

The second most common disease is hole-in-the-head disease. This is another parasitic infection, but it’s not caused by the same parasite as ich.

This disease gets its name from the literal holes that it will cause to form in the head of your fish. It’s a bit harder to treat than ich, but it’s still possible to cure if you act quickly.

As always, the best way to prevent your fish from getting sick is to maintain a clean and healthy tank. This means doing regular water changes, using a good filter, and keeping an eye on your water parameters.

If you do all of this, the chances of your fish getting sick will be very low.

Behavior & Temperament

The garnet tetra is a peaceful little fish that does best in a community tank. It’s not an aggressive fish, but it can be nippy. So, it’s best to keep them with other non-aggressive fish that are too large to be seen as food.

These tetras are schooling fish, so they do best when they’re kept in groups. They’re social creatures that will become stressed if they’re kept alone. A group of 5-10 is ideal.

The garnet tetra is a relatively active fish. It’s constantly swimming around the tank, exploring every nook and cranny. It’s not a fast swimmer, but it’s always on the move.

When it comes to food, the garnet tetra is an omnivore. It will eat just about anything you give it. However, it’s important to give them a varied diet that includes both meaty and vegetable-based foods.

Tank Mates

The best tank mates for a garnet tetra are other small, peaceful fish. These fish come from slow-moving rivers in South America.

They’re not known to be aggressive, but they can be nippy towards slow-moving fish.

As a result, it’s best to stick with other small, active fish. This will help create a more balanced aquarium.

Some good tank mates for a garnet tetra include:


The Garnet tetra is another species that is easy to breed in captivity. They don’t have any specific requirements and will do everything on their own.

As with most other species, the first step is to identify the males and females. This can be tricky since they look very similar. A good way to tell them apart is by looking at their fins. Males have longer and more pointed fins.

Once you’ve determined the sexes of your fish, you can start the breeding process. The female will lay her eggs in an area that the male has claimed. Once the eggs have been fertilized, the male will guard them until they hatch.

After the fry have hatched, you can remove the adults and begin feeding them baby brine shrimp.


As you can see, there are many benefits to owning a Garnet Tetra. They are a beautiful addition to any freshwater tank with their bright colors and unique patterns. They are also active and peaceful, making them a great choice for community tanks.

They are relatively easy to care for, but there are a few things you need to be aware of to ensure that they thrive. Overall, we think they are a great choice for beginner and experienced fishkeepers alike!