The diamond tetra, Moenkhausia pittieri, is a small freshwater tropical fish found in and around Lake Valencia in Venezuela. Males have much longer dorsal fins than the females and tend to be more brightly coloured, but both sexes are attractive fish and have become popular with aquarists. The dorsal and anal fins are purple and the body is silver. The eye is marked with red above the pupil, and a dark band runs along the midline of the body. Their common name comes from the bright, iridescent scales along the flanks. Maintenance in aquaria is similar to that of other tetras, although they will not do as well in hard, alkaline water as they do in soft, slightly acidic water filtered through peat.
The diamond tetra is an omnivore. In the wild they eat whatever they can get, with a preference for animal food, especially mosquito larvae. In an aquarium, they eat most normal fish foods, including flakes. They benefit from a variety of food such as live daphnia or frozen bloodworms.
Breeding[edit | edit source]
A pair of diamond tetras spawns in an aquarium with an area well planted with fine-leaved plants to create a shaded area. The pair should be well conditioned before breeding with rich foods, including live food. The tank should be darkened before and during breeding, and then the light should slowly be increased over a few days to create a natural lighting.
The water should be very soft and a pH of 6 is preferable. A temperature of 28°C (79°F) is suitable. The fish usually spawn in the early morning. They will eat their eggs, so are normally removed after spawning. The eggs normally hatch in 36 hours and the fry are usually swimming free in four days. The young grow quickly; they will eat fry foods, but suitably sized live foods help at all stages.