Most varieties of tetras are peaceful, community fish. However, we should remember that various factors can affect their behavioral traits. Some types of tetras are aggressive and can be downright nasty towards their kind and other fish. But do tetras eat other fish?
Yes, tetras do eat other fish. Commonly, tetras in aquariums will not eat other adult fish. However, they will gobble up any fish eggs and fry that they come across in the aquarium. Larger tetra varieties, like the vampire tetra and bucktooth tetra, will eat adult fish as they are very aggressive.
Having said that, let’s talk about the aggressiveness of tetras.
Are Tetras Aggressive?
You may already know that there are several varieties of tetras.
Each of them displays different behavioral traits. Some are aggressive. Others are peaceful, easygoing fish.
The behavioral pattern of a tetra depends on various factors, including its living circumstances.
Peaceful, easygoing tetras may become aggressive when they are intimidated or stressed.
Some tetras will not trouble their kind. But they may show aggression towards other fish.
Most tetras may also show aggression towards their kind while establishing a pecking order.
In general, smaller varieties of tetras like neon tetras and cardinals are peaceful fish.
However, black skirt tetras, congo tetras, and lemon tetras have aggressive tendencies.
Larger tetras like the vampire tetras and bucktooth tetras are known to be very aggressive.
Most of the time, semi-aggressive tetras will target smaller fish in the tank.
For instance, panda tetras will not attack their species. However, they will harm other fish like zebra danios.
Hence, it is important to consider how compatible tetras will be with the other fish in your tank.
It will help you prevent the aquarium from becoming a battleground.
Now, some common household tetras, like black skirts, are active fin nippers.
Although they will not chase and attack other fish, they are drawn to the long tails and fins of slow-moving fish.
Given the opportunity, they will target these delicate organs and nip them.
Such activities can cause significant stress to the other fish.
Recommended Further Reading:
- Why Do Tetras Die? (13 Primary Reasons)
- Why Do Tetras Hide? (12 Main Reasons Explained)
- Why Do Tetras Chase Each Other? + How To Stop Them?
- Do Tetras Like Current? (Neon, Cardinal, Glofish, Etc.)
Do Tetras Kill Other Fish?
Tetras are very popular with fish hobbyists because of their peaceful nature.
Smaller varieties like neon tetras and cardinal tetras are always preferred for community tanks.
It is because these fish do not cause any trouble and usually mind their own business.
However, not all tetras have a peaceful disposition. Small tetras like black skirts and serape tetras can be aggressive.
These fish target slow-moving angelfish and bettas and nip their fins and tails.
Although fin-nipping may not fatally wound the other fish, it can cause a lot of stress to the victim.
It will also lead to different health problems and affect the overall well-being of the other fish.
The aggressive traits of such tetras can be contained to a great extent by keeping them with their kind.
When tetras have other fish of their kind to interact, their aggression will be limited.
They will ignore the other inmates of the tank and let them live peacefully.
Now, large tetras are notorious for their aggressive and violent behavior.
The bucktooth tetra is a species that will eat anything smaller than itself.
It will constantly fight and even fatally wound other fish, including its kind.
Another carnivorous and dangerous fish is the vampire tetra.
This tetra grows very big and is seldom suitable for home aquariums.
It is very violent and will attack and kill any other fish that comes near it.
Will Tetras Eat Other Tetras?
Tetras are omnivores. They need both plant and animal nutrition to thrive.
The dietary preferences will vary from one type of tetra to another.
In the wild, the non-vegetarian part of the diet of smaller tetras consists of insect larvae, worms, and other invertebrates.
Commercially available fish pellets, flakes, and freeze-dried food like bloodworms and brine shrimp will satisfy their nutritional requirements in a tank.
These fish are not killers and will not eat other tetras in their tank.
Depending on the circumstances, they may however nip the fins or get into fights with other fish.
Nevertheless, it is not unusual for tetras to feed on dead fish.
If a fish dies in the tank while you are away, your tetra may consider it to be regular food and eat the dead fish.
Related Further Reading:
- Why Do Tetras Twitch? (Causes, Exceptions, And Cure)
- Why Do Tetras Glow? (Do They Glow All The Time?)
- Why Do Tetras Swim Upside Down? (Is It Normal For Tetras?)
- Do Tetras Sleep? (How And Why They Sleep?)
Do Neon Tetras Eat Other Fish?
Neon tetras are peaceful fish. They rarely attack or chase other fish for food.
Due to their small size, they usually end up as targets for larger fish.
Although neon tetras are omnivores, they do not eat other fish to satisfy their nutritional requirements.
They will instead eat small invertebrates, insect larva, and worms.
In a home aquarium, you can treat your neon tetras to brine shrimp, blood worms, and other freeze-dried or fresh food to keep them healthy.
If a neon tetra is well-fed and kept in a large enough group, it will not cause any trouble to other fish.
Do Black Neon Tetras Eat Other Fish?
Just like neon tetras, black neon tetras also do not attack or eat other fish.
They are peaceful fish that get along with most other peaceful fish. They do best when kept in schools of six or more.
If you keep black neon tetras in smaller groups, they can feel insecure.
However, they seldom attack other fish, even in such circumstances.
Black neon tetras will go into hiding and stay out of view instead.
Related Further Reading:
- Are Tetras Schooling Fish? (Why Do They Prefer Schools?)
- Do Tetras Eat Algae? (Neon, Ember, Cardinal, Etc.)
- Will Tetras Eat Snails, Baby Snails, Or Snail Eggs?
- Can Tetras Eat Betta Food? (How About Betta Pellets & Flakes?)
Do Black Skirt Tetras Eat Other Fish? (Do Black Widow Tetras Eat Other Fish?)
Black skirt tetras are semi-aggressive. They like to chase after slow fish with long tails and fins.
If they are kept in the same tank as a betta fish or angelfish, the black widow tetra will be tempted to show its fin-nipping tendencies.
Nonetheless, black skirts are not known to eat other fish.
Although they need meat-based nutrition, they get it from insects, worms, and other small sources of protein.
Do Redeye Tetras Eat Other Fish?
Redeye tetras are generally non-aggressive and do not attack other fish for food. However, some of them can be fin nippers.
It is more likely for redeye tetras to become aggressive when there are just a few of them in the tank.
Redeye tetras may attack the fins of larger fish or bully small fish like guppies when there are fewer than three or four of them.
This tendency will not be there if you keep the fish in a large group.
Do Serpae Tetras Eat Other Fish?
Serpae tetras are generally peaceful, calm fish.
However, when their school size is less than six, they may end up constantly fighting with each other.
They will not only pick on the other members in their school but also attack other tank inmates.
While these brawls may result in significant wounds, they will seldom kill and are not known to eat the other fish.
Interesting Further Reading:
- Why Do Tetras Lose Or Change Their Color? (5 Main Causes)
- Can Tetras Live In Brackish Water? (Is It Safe For Tetras?)
- Why Do Tetras Jump Out Of The Tank + How To Stop Them
Things To Remember
Tetras are generally friendly, peaceful fish.
However, their temperament may vary based on their living circumstances and the species.
Factors like the size of the school, tank size, and other tankmates will affect their behavioral traits.
Nonetheless, it is wise to analyze the general tendencies of a certain species before adding it to a tank.
Some species like neon tetras and cardinal tetras are easier to keep than black skirt tetras and lemon tetras that have a greater tendency for aggression.