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

Updated: December 17, 2022

The January Tetra (scientific name: Hyphessobrycon innesi) is a peaceful freshwater fish that is perfect for beginner aquarium hobbyists. They are relatively easy to care for and are very active fish that will add some beautiful color to your tank.

As with any fish, there are some things you need to know before you bring them home. In this guide, we will go over everything you need to know about January Tetra care so that you can provide them with the best possible home.

Species overview

The January Tetra (Hemigrammus hyanuary) is a freshwater fish that is found in the rivers of Brazil. It is a brightly colored fish that is mostly blue with a orange belly.

The January Tetra is a peaceful fish that does well in a community tank. It is a good beginner fish because it is easy to care for.

The January Tetra is a omnivore and it will eat most aquarium foods. It is a good idea to supplement its diet with live or frozen foods.


January tetra

The January tetra is a very small and delicate freshwater fish. They have a long and thin body shape that is very streamlined.

The majority of their body is a beautiful iridescent blue. The blue coloration is broken up by a single stripe that runs along the length of their body (from mouth to caudal fin).

This stripe is a dark blue or black and it’s outlined by a thin line of white.

The fins on this fish are also blue, but they’re a bit lighter than the body. The dorsal fin is tall and thin and starts about two-thirds of the way back on the body.

The anal fin is a bit shorter but still tall and thin. The caudal fin is forked and slightly taller than the anal fin.

The January tetra has a very small mouth that is outlined by thin black lips.


5 to 7 years

The January tetra is a long-lived fish compared to other freshwater species. In the wild, these fish can live for up to 7 years, but in captivity, they typically only live for 5 to 6 years.

A number of factors can impact the lifespan of January tetras, including water quality, diet, and stress levels.


The average January tetra size is around 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) when they are fully grown. Some individuals may grow to be a little bit larger or smaller than this, but this is the average size for the species.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for January tetras is at least 20 gallons. This is assuming you want to keep a school of 5 or more fish. If you want to keep a smaller number of fish, you can get away with a 10 gallon tank.

As with most fish, the more space you can provide the better. If you have the room, we recommend a 30 gallon tank or larger. This will give you more flexibility in terms of stocking and provide a more stable environment for your fish.

Water Parameters

The January tetra is a freshwater fish that’s native to the Amazon River basin. In the wild, they prefer slow-moving waters with plenty of vegetation.

As far as water parameters go, they’re pretty easy to please. They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but prefer warm water.

The pH level can also vary, but should be on the acidic side. They’re not picky about hardness, but prefer softer water.

Here are a few guidelines to help you create a January tetra-friendly environment.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

January tetras are a schooling species, which means they feel more comfortable when they’re in the company of their own kind. Because of this, it’s recommended that you keep them in groups of 6 or more.

When it comes to setting up their tank, you’ll want to include some plants. These fish love to hide among the foliage, so the more the better.

If you can’t get your hands on live plants, then fake ones will work in a pinch. Just make sure they’re not made of anything that can harm your fish if they nibble on it.

The substrate you choose is up to you, but we recommend something on the darker side. This will help your fish feel more comfortable and make them less visible to predators.

As for other decorations, it’s really up to you. Just make sure there are plenty of places for your fish to hide.

Common Diseases

January tetras are a hardy and disease-resistant fish, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get sick.

The most common disease that affects this species is ich. This is a pretty common disease in the fish world, and it manifests itself as white spots on the body of your fish.

While ich is the most common disease that affects this species, there are plenty of others that can too.

Some other potential diseases include:

-Hole in the head disease

-Fungal infections

-Bacterial infections

-Protozoan infections

As with any other fish, the best way to prevent these diseases is by maintaining clean and stable water conditions in their tank.

If you notice any changes in your fish’s behavior or appearance, it’s always best to consult a vet or experienced fish keeper so you can get a proper diagnosis and start treatment as soon as possible.

Behavior & Temperament

The January tetra (a.k.a. Congo tetra) is a schooling fish that does best in groups of six or more. They are generally peaceful fish, but can be a bit nippy with long-finned tank mates.

In the wild, these fish inhabit slow-moving rivers and floodplains in Africa. They are used to living in densely-vegetated areas with plenty of places to hide.

January tetras are relatively shy fish, so you’ll want to provide them with plenty of plants and hiding places in their aquarium. They are also known to be jumpers, so make sure their tank is covered.

These fish are more active at night, so don’t be alarmed if you don’t see them much during the day. When they are active, you’ll see them swimming near the bottom of the tank in search of food.

Tank Mates

The January tetra is a schooling fish, so it does best when kept in groups of 6 or more. They’re also a peaceful species that gets along with most other fish.

In terms of compatibility, you have a lot of options. These fish are adaptable and can thrive in a wide range of water conditions.

To give you an idea of what January tetras can be paired with, here are some compatible tank mates:

  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Endler’s Live Bearers
  • Cherry Barbs


The January tetra is a beautiful little fish that’s perfect for beginners. They’re peaceful, easy to care for, and best of all – they’re easy to breed!

To increase your chances of success, start by setting up a breeding tank. It should be at least 10 gallons in size and filled with soft, slightly acidic water.

You can use an air stone to help keep the water oxygenated. Just make sure the flow isn’t too strong.

Add some live plants to the tank for the fry to hide in. Java moss is a good option. You’ll also need a spawning mop or some kind of fine-leaved plant for the female to lay her eggs in.

When everything is ready, add two females for every male. Once they’re in the tank, feed them live foods to help bring them into breeding condition.

After a few weeks, you should start to see the females getting plumper. That’s a good sign that they’re full of eggs and ready to spawn.

When the time is right, the female will lay her eggs in the spawning mop or plant. After she’s done, remove her from the tank. The male will stay behind and guard the eggs.

Eggs will hatch in about 24 hours. After they hatch, the fry will feed on microscopic organisms in the water. You can supplement their diet with live baby brine shrimp or other small foods.

As they grow, you can gradually start to feed them larger foods. They’ll be ready to move to the main tank when they’re about half an inch in size.


The January Tetra is a great fish for beginner aquarists. They’re easy to care for and don’t require a lot of special attention.

We think they’re a great option for people who are new to the hobby and are looking for a low-maintenance fish.

If you’re looking for a Tetra that’s a little more exciting, there are plenty of other options out there. But if you want a Tetra that’s easy to care for and won’t cause you any headaches, the January Tetra is a great choice!