How Many Tetras In A 5-Gallon Tank?

Lauren Kiekbusch
How Many Tetras in a 5-Gallon Tank

There are different Tetras types in a 5-Gallon tank in the whole world, whereby a tetra is the name of the fish in a specific species. Tetra is one type of fish that aquarists prefer keeping in their aquariums since they mostly live in water bodies with fresh water.

Keeping several tetras in a 5-gallon tank is good since they enjoy living with each other and swimming. Aquarists love keeping tetras and fail to maintain the requirements of the tetras in a tank.

Even though tetras require at least a 10-gallon tank, you can still use a 5-gallon tank for their safety. An aquarist must follow the instructions on keeping the tetras and conditions of the tank for the process to be successful.

The article shows the kinds of tetras an aquarist can keep in a 5-gallon tank and the number of tetras to keep in the tank. Follow the discussion below to help determine how many tetras are in a 5-gallon tank.

Also worth reading;

  1. How To Breed Neon Tetras? – The Complete Guide
  2. Neon Tetra vs. Cardinal Tetra: What Is the Difference?
  3. How Many Tetras In A 5-Gallon Tank?

Different kinds Of Tetras Can Stay In A 5-Gallon Tank

Not all tetras can stay in a 5-gallon tank as many people think of as they differ in one way or another. Below are the types of tetras that can stay in a 5-gallon tank.

1. Ember Tetra

Most aquarists recognize ember tetra of all the tetras that live in the freshwaters. Scientifically the ember tetras are in the character family of the characiformes. The ember tetra is unique as they cannot eat large sizes of meals.

Therefore, they usually feed on shrimp and small foods that are easy to swallow for the tetra. Sometimes the aquarists feed the tetras with blood worms and tubifex.

The total number of ember tetra in a 5-gallon tank must be below seven tetras since the tetras are small but need a larger space that facilitates faster growth and development of the ember tetra.

In case of too many ember tetras in a 5-gallon tank, the tetras will have to fight and struggle to survive, making them weak, and some might die due to a lack of enough space for swimming.

2. Neon Tetra

Neon tetras are like the ember tetras as they belong to the same family of the characin. Naturally, they live in freshwaters, mainly in the South American countries since they are in Amazon Rivers in Singapore and Thailand.

Some of them live in Brazil, Columbia, and Peru. The neon tetras are delicate and live in waters with certain conditions that meet their requirements. The average temperature for the neon tetras must be 20 to 28 degrees Celsius; hence they live mainly in these countries that have lower temperatures.

It is easy to identify the neon tetras as they have unique colors in their bodies. Neon tetras have attractive and bright colors in their bodies, making people prefer keeping them as pets.

The neon tetra has a bright color in the back, light blue, and an abdomen with a silver-white color. A blue horizontal line is visible when one moves closer to the neon tetra from the nose areas to the fin at the back of the fish.

Some people call the neon tetras schooling fish since they are in schools in most cases as they love being in groups and hence one should not keep one neon tetras in the tank as it may feel lonely, weaken its immune system and die due to some common diseases.

Therefore, the neon tetras must be more than two in a 5-gallon tank for the company but must not be more than five since they can lack space for movement and enjoyment.

3. Lemon Tetra

The uniqueness of a lemon tetra is that it can grow to a length of about 5cm in a tank. Most aquarists prefer using lemon tetra in their aquariums as they are small in size.

The lemon tetra has its name lemon because it turns yellow when it grows old while the fins, mostly the anal and dorsal fins, turn to have a mixture of black and yellow. A close appearance of the anal fin has a glass-like cover that is glassy and bright in water, making it attractive in a way.

In a 5-gallon tank, the lemon tetras need enough space for movement to make them comfortable in their daily lives therefore ensure you keep less than five lemon tetras in a tank.

4. Black Neon Tetra

The outer cover of the black neon tetra makes its appearance the basic one of all the types of tetras in the world.

The black neon tetra consists of a plain color in its body with some lines on its surface that are black and white hence getting the name black neon tetra.

The two lines in the black neon tetra are near each other from the eye of the tetra to the other end at its fin.

In most cases, the black neon tetra lives in slightly acidic waters, and most breeds in Brazil that its waters are acidic. The black neon tetras have specific meals since they are mostly omnivorous as they feed on vegetation and slightly carnivores in case the tetras need proteins when they feed on small animals like worms.

Therefore, keeping the black neon tetra in a 5-gallon tank ensures they are limited to five tetras to the maximum comfort of the tetras in the tank.

5. Penguin Tetra

Penguin tetra is like the neon tetra and the amber tetra from the characin family since they all originate in the Amazon Rivers in South American countries. Most aquarists refer to them with different names, as some call them hockey stick tetra, black line penguin, or just common penguin fish.

Mostly the penguin fish are carnivores as they feed on worms and crustaceans that are meats only to the penguins. When they lack worms and crustaceans, they can only feed on insects and some foods away from vegetation.

In a 5-gallon tank, ensure the penguin tetras are less than seven for maximum distribution of resources like food and space in the gallon.

Steps Of Making A 5-Gallon Tank

These are necessary steps to take when making a 5-gallon tank;

1. Set The Aquarium

To keep tetras in a place, you need an aquarium that stores them for their whole lives. Choose a tank of which you can use a 5-gallon tank like in this case. Ensure the tank is in a good state and meets all the requirements of the tetras.

2.  Put A Proper Filter On The Tank

Choose a good filter that fits the 5-gallon tank well as they help remove remains or excess food from the tank instead.

3. Put Live Vegetation In The Tank

Vegetation helps reduce the amount of light in the tank as tetras need low light. The plants help absorb harmful particles in the water and other functions.

 4. Create A Source Of Light For The Tank

Light in the tank is an essential factor since the tetras require specific amounts of light. Too much light in the tank can easily affect the survival of the tetras as they need low amounts of light for survival. The optimum light level can help grow the vegetation in the tank and the other living things in the water that the tetras can eat.

What Is The Number Of Gallons That A Tetra Needs?

    Typically a tetra of one inch needs a whole gallon to survive; moreover, a tetra mainly consists of five tetra which need 10 gallons to live. It is advisable to keep tetras in a 10-gallon tank for five tetras to avoid having too many tetras in a small tank that causes less cooperation from the tetras as they are living.

    A 10-gallon tank is big enough to create a good space for five members of the tetras such that they can swim while enjoying and can easily access food and increase their security.

    Consider checking the size of the gallon when deciding on a tank to use for the tetras. After choosing the size, check the water conditions, including the temperatures and acidity level, as they are the home of the tetras.

    A 10-gallon tank provides enough space for the breeding of the tetra as it has to lay eggs, after which the male tetra fertilizes that must have a good space for such.


    Tetras are the best fish to store in an aquarium as long as you are ready to keep them in place.

    The article shows the types of tetras one can keep in a 5-gallon tank, and the tetras in each tank since different tetras have different sizes some can accommodate five while some tanks can accommodate seven.

    Therefore, when choosing the number of tetras in a 5-gallon tank, consider the type of tetra you keep in your tank to determine the exact number to keep. Ensure the tank too matches the requirements of the tetras to keep.

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