Whether tetras like current or not depends on the tetra species. Most tetras prefer current because they come from rivers and streams with moving water. However, they like mild and steady water current. If the current is too strong, tetras will struggle to swim in the water and become stressed.
To understand the current requirements of tetras, we should take a closer look at their natural habitats. So, let us explore the origins of these aquarium fish.
Tetras In The Wild
We can trace the origin of tetras to America and Africa.
Most varieties of tetras belong to the Amazon and other river basins of South America.
Tetras are schooling fish that live together in groups of twenty or more.
They are generally peaceful fish that get along with their kind and other species.
Due to their tiny sizes, they are easily intimidated by large fish.
Some tetras are aggressive. Such varieties are fin-nippers, and they bully others in their school as well as other fish.
In the wild, tetras prefer soft water with an acidic pH. They also like a water temperature of 75°F to 80°F.
Now, we already mentioned that the tetras live in streams and river basins. So, this fish prefers current.
However, if you take a closer look, you will find that tetras typically live near the banks and in quiet creeks and basins.
They are less likely to venture into areas with strong currents.
Hence, we can conclude that although tetras like moving water, they are not comfortable in very fast-flowing water.
Ideal Water Current Settings For Tetras In Fish Tanks
In their natural habitat, tetras can easily swim out of areas with faster currents.
They can swim around till they find areas with slow currents.
However, they do not have this luxury in a closed space like a fish tank. Hence, it is important to maintain the right flow of water in an aquarium.
A proper water flow rate will keep your fish happy.
If your tetras must constantly swim against the current, they will be under immense stress.
However, if the water current is just right for their needs, they will frolic around and enjoy themselves.
So, you should find that fine balance to ensure optimal living conditions for your fish.
In aquariums for tetras, the ideal current setting should be mild but steady.
If you find your fish pressed against the walls of the tank, it indicates that the current is too strong.
Hence, the fish are being pushed outwards towards the edges of the tank.
Tetras will also resign themselves to various hiding places in the tank if the current is too strong.
They look for resting places in planted zones of the tank.
However, it is not normal to find them hanging around the densely planted areas of the tank all the time.
It could be because they are tired of the strong current.
Reduce the flow of water, and your tetras will be better off. Tetras will also appreciate the presence of dense plants.
Not only does it replicate their natural habitat, but it also provides them plenty of places for relaxing.
Let us also look at the preferences of different varieties of tetras as they can vary from one species to another.
Do Cardinal Tetras Like Current?
Cardinal tetras are characterized by their bright red streak and fluorescent blue-green stripe.
They are small, peaceful community fish. They are active schooling fish that constantly swim all over the tank.
Cardinal tetras do not like strong currents.
If you put them in fast-flowing water, they will restrict themselves to the farthest corners. They will also not display much social interaction.
However, if you reduce the water flow and keep it at a moderate level, cardinal tetras become active.
You will find them forming schools and swimming all around the tank.
Do Ember Tetras Like Current?
Ember tetras have a fiery red or orange color. They are very small fish with elongated bodies and dark gradients on their fins.
They are very easy to keep and are peaceful community fish.
Ember tetras disklike strong currents. In the wild, they live in slow-moving, gentle water.
So, they will prefer similar conditions in their tank. Choose a water filtration system that creates gentle water currents as you see in a slow-moving river.
Ember tetras also like a lot of vegetation in their surroundings. Plants like Java moss and hornwort will help to produce the same effect as they enjoy in the wild.
Do Glofish Tetras Like Current?
Glofish tetras are an engineered type of fish with fluorescent coloring. Since they have the same physiology as other tetras, their habitat needs are similar.
Glofish tetras do not need fast-moving water. They will do well in slow water and thrive in water with moderate to low currents.
Make sure that their tank offers ample hiding places. It will allow the glofish tetra to rest if they are tired of swimming against the current.
Do Congo Tetras Like Current?
As the name suggests, the Congo tetras are from the Congo basin in Africa.
They are commonly seen in the streams, ponds, marshes, and river basins of the area.
Congo tetras have bright colors and a characteristic shimmer that makes them very attractive.
Congo tetras live in murky water in the wild. However, they need good filtration and water circulation in smaller tanks to stay healthy and happy.
Since they inhabit pools and water bodies with very slow-moving water, they will not appreciate strong water currents.
Maintain a slow to moderate water flow, and your Congo tetras will enjoy their stay in a tank.
Do Rummy Nose Tetras Like Current?
Rummy nose tetras are small, shy fish with slender bodies and round heads.
Their head is a bright red color, and they have vivid black and white stripes on the tail.
This variety of fish prefers slow-moving backwaters. Hence, they would struggle in tanks with fast water.
When the water current is high, rummy nose tetras tend to become stressed. Hence, it may lose its bright colors and become pale.
Do Black Skirt Tetras Like Current?
Black skirt tetras are schooling fish that belong to the rivers of Brazil, Argentina, and other parts of South America.
They have a characteristic deep silver color and vertical black stripes on the head. Some of them may also have black fins.
Black skirt tetras are active swimmers. They constantly move around within the school.
However, they do not enjoy swimming against the current. They prefer slow-moving water currents and swim with the current.
Nonetheless, black skirt tetras will not mind additional aeration in the tank. They tend to move all over the tank despite strong currents.
They will identify slow current areas and hang there if they are tired.
However, if you find them going everywhere, you can conclude that they are comfortable, and the current is to their liking.
Since they like to swim, they prefer overhanging vegetation to dense plants in the substrate.
A heavily planted tank will restrict their movement. They need plants only to hide and rest.
Do White Skirt Tetras Like Current?
White skirt tetras have a pristine white color and translucent fins and tails. Their care is very similar to that of black skirt tetras.
White skirt tetras will be fine in tanks with moderate to slow currents.
They will also tolerate high currents and find slow current zones in the tank to rest in.
If you wish to increase the flow of water in the tank, do it only in one area.
It will allow your white skirt tetras to relax in the other parts of the tank with low water flow.
Do Neon Tetras Like Current?
Neon tetras are one of the most common aquarium pets. They are hardy, low-maintenance, and peaceful fish.
A blue-green line and red coloring at the base characterize neon tetras. These fish are very active swimmers.
Nonetheless, neon tetras do not like to be in strong currents all the time.
Although they will play in the current and enjoy themselves occasionally, they mostly prefer moderate and steady currents.
Do Black Neon Tetras Like Current?
Black neon tetras are a variation of neon tetras. They are also peaceful, community fish with similar needs as their brighter cousins.
Black neon tetras are found in murky blackwaters in the wild.
They stick to the middle and upper parts of the water, where the water current is not too strong.
Hence, they may not like strong water currents in their tank. They will need areas with slow-moving water to rest in when they aren’t swimming actively.