Gold Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide to Breeding, Disease, Feeding, and more

gold tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Table of Contents

Gold Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide to Breeding, Disease, Feeding, and more

Gold Tetra, scientifically known as Hemigrammus rodwayi, is a great addition to any aquarium. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into all aspects of Gold Tetras, from their appearance to breeding, to help you provide the best care for these tropical fish.

Scientific NameHemigrammus rodwayi
Common NameGold Tetra
ClassActinopterygii (Ray-finned fish)
HabitatSouth America, Rio Orinoco and Rio Negro basins
SizeApproximately 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm)
Lifespan3 to 5 years in captivity
DietOmnivorous, including high-quality flakes, live/frozen foods, and occasional plant matter
BehaviorPeaceful, prefers to be kept in schools of at least six individuals
CompatibilitySuitable for community aquariums with peaceful tank mates
Tank SizeMinimum of 10 gallons (38 liters) for a small school
Water ParametersTemperature: 74°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C); pH: 6.0 to 7.5; dGH: 2 to 15
Breeding MethodEgg scatterers, require a separate breeding tank with soft, slightly acidic water
Breeding Temperature78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C) for breeding stimulation
Notable FeatureGolden scales and translucent fins, with minimal sexual dimorphism
Common DiseasesIch (White Spot Disease), Fin Rot, Internal Parasites
Source: wikipedia

Gold Tetra Appearance

gold tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Gold Tetras are known for their striking appearance. These small fish have an elongated body with shimmering scales that exhibit a golden hue, giving them their name. Their fins are often translucent, adding to their appearance. These tetras can grow up to 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) in length, making them a perfect fit for community aquariums.

Gold Tetra Lifespan

With proper care, Gold Tetras can live for an impressive 3 to 5 years in captivity. To ensure a long and healthy life, it’s essential to provide them with an appropriate environment and diet.

Gold Tetra Size

Gold Tetras are relatively small, making them an excellent choice for fish keepers with limited space. On average, they reach a size of about 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm), but individual sizes may vary.

Gold Tetra Male vs. Female

Distinguishing between male and female Gold Tetras can be challenging, as they exhibit minimal sexual dimorphism. However, mature females are generally plumper when viewed from above, especially during the breeding season when they may appear slightly rounder due to eggs.

Gold Tetra Pregnant

Gold Tetras are egg layers, so they don’t become pregnant in the traditional sense. Instead, the females will carry eggs in their bodies until they are ready to spawn. At this point, you may notice a slight bulge in their abdomen, indicating that they are carrying eggs.

Gold Tetra Tank Size

To provide Gold Tetras with a comfortable habitat, it’s recommended to keep them in a tank with a minimum capacity of 10 gallons (38 liters). This size allows for a small school of these tetras and provides enough swimming space.

Gold Tetra Water Parameters

Maintaining good water conditions is crucial for the health of Gold Tetras. Here are the key water parameters to consider:

  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature between 74°F to 80°F (23°C to 27°C).
  • pH Level: Maintain a slightly acidic to neutral pH range of 6.0 to 7.5.
  • Hardness: Gold Tetras thrive in soft to moderately hard water, with a dGH (degree of general hardness) between 2 and 15.

Regular water testing and adjustments are important to make sure that these parameters remain stable.

What to put in Gold tetras Tanks

Here is some ideas to create the best aquarium setup for your tetras


Use fine gravel or sand as the substrate. Gold Tetras like digging and sifting through the substrate in search of food.


Live plants like Java Moss, Amazon Swords, and Anubias provide shelter and create a natural ambiance. They also aid in maintaining water quality and keeping your water clear.


Incorporate caves, driftwood, and rocks to give your tetras hiding spots and places to explore.


Provide moderate lighting to mimic their natural habitat, but ensure there are shaded areas to retreat to when needed.

Gold Tetra Common Possible Diseases

Gold Tetras, like all aquarium fish, are susceptible to various diseases. Being aware of these potential health issues and taking preventive measures is crucial for ensuring the long-term health of your fish.

1. Ich (White Spot Disease)


  • Small white cysts or spots on the skin, fins, and gills.
  • Increased scratching against objects.
  • Rapid gill movement (sign of respiratory distress).


  • Increase the tank temperature to around 82-86°F (28-30°C). This speeds up the life cycle of the parasite.
  • Administer an over-the-counter ich treatment as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Remove activated carbon from the filter, as it can absorb medications.
  • Ensure excellent water quality through regular water changes.


  • Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank.
  • Avoid sudden temperature fluctuations and maintain stable water parameters.
  • Ensure a stress-free environment, as stress can weaken fish and make them more susceptible to diseases.

2. Fin Rot


  • Tattered or decaying fins.
  • Redness and inflammation at the base of the fins.
  • Reduced swimming activity.


  • Improve water quality through frequent water changes.
  • Isolate infected fish to prevent the disease from spreading.
  • Administer a broad-spectrum antibiotic as prescribed.


  • Maintain good water quality with regular water changes.
  • Ensure a well-balanced diet to boost the immune system.
  • Avoid overcrowding the tank, which can lead to stress and aggression.

3. Internal Parasites


  • Weight loss despite a healthy appetite.
  • Pale or discolored feces.
  • Lethargy and reduced activity.


  • Administer an appropriate anti-parasitic medication following the instructions.
  • Isolate affected fish to prevent the spread of parasites.


  • Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank.
  • Ensure that any live or frozen foods are properly cleaned and prepared to minimize the risk of introducing parasites.

4. Fungal Infections


  • Cotton-like growth on the skin, fins, or mouth.
  • Sluggish behavior.
  • Red or inflamed areas on the fish’s body.


  • Isolate infected fish to prevent the spread of the fungus.
  • Administer a fungal treatment as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Improve water quality through regular water changes.


  • Maintain excellent water quality and avoid overcrowding.
  • Ensure proper filtration and aeration to prevent stagnant water.
  • Quarantine new fish to prevent the introduction of fungal spores.

5. Columnaris (Cotton Wool Disease)


  • White, cotton-like patches on the skin or fins.
  • Sluggish behavior and loss of appetite.
  • Ulcers and lesions on the body.


  • Isolate affected fish.
  • Administer antibiotics or a specific columnaris treatment following the instructions.
  • Improve water quality through frequent water changes.


  • Maintain stable water parameters and excellent water quality.
  • Avoid overcrowding and monitor fish behavior for signs of stress.
  • Quarantine new fish to prevent the introduction of the disease.

6. Stress-Related Illnesses

Stress can weaken Gold Tetras and make them susceptible to various diseases. Common stressors include poor water quality, overcrowding, aggressive tankmates, and sudden changes in tank conditions. To prevent stress-related illnesses, maintain good water conditions, provide suitable tankmates, and avoid overstocking your aquarium with too many fish and not enough filtration.

Regular Monitoring and Quarantine

To ensure the health of your Gold Tetras, it’s important to perform regular visual inspections of your fish and monitor their behavior. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank to prevent the spread of diseases. Additionally, maintain a clean and stable environment by performing regular water changes and providing a balanced diet to boost their immune systems.

By understanding common diseases, their symptoms, treatments, and prevention methods, you can be well-prepared to provide the best care for your Gold Tetras and maintain a thriving and disease-free aquarium.

Gold Tetra Food & Diet

Feeding Gold Tetras a balanced and varied diet is key to good health. These omnivorous fish are not particularly picky eaters, but providing them with a range of foods is important to support their health, coloration, and overall vitality.

Staple Diet: High-Quality Flake Food

High-quality flake food serves as the base diet for Gold Tetras. Look for flakes formulated specifically for tropical or community fish. These flakes typically contain a balanced blend of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

  • Frequency: Feed your Gold Tetras small portions of flake food 2-3 times a day. Offer only what they can consume within a few minutes to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues.

Live and Frozen Foods

To enhance their diet and promote growth and coloration, supplement their meals with live and frozen foods. These options mimic their natural diet in the wild and provide essential nutrients.

1. Brine Shrimp: Brine shrimp, either live or frozen, are a favorite among Gold Tetras. These tiny crustaceans are rich in protein and are excellent for stimulating natural behaviors.

2. Daphnia: Daphnia are small, nutritious organisms that Gold Tetras relish. They provide essential nutrients and help maintain the fish’s digestive health.

3. Bloodworms: Bloodworms, available in both live and frozen forms, are a high-protein option that can add variety to their diet. However, feed them sparingly due to their fat content.

Key Points:

  • Variety: Rotate between different live and frozen foods to prevent dietary deficiencies and boredom.
  • Occasional Treats: Offer these foods as occasional treats, typically 2-3 times a week. Overfeeding with these foods can lead to digestive issues.

Vegetable Matter

Gold Tetras, like many omnivorous fish, can benefit from some plant matter in their diet. While they may not consume large quantities of vegetables, including these options occasionally can provide essential fiber and nutrients.

1. Blanched Spinach: Blanched spinach is a suitable vegetable option for Gold Tetras. Simply blanch it by dipping it briefly in boiling water to soften it, then cool it down before offering it to your fish.

2. Spirulina Pellets: Spirulina-based pellets or flakes contain valuable plant-based nutrients and can be included as part of their diet.

Key Points:

  • Moderation: Offer vegetable matter as a supplement, not a primary food source.
  • Freshness: Remove any uneaten vegetables promptly to maintain water quality.

Feeding Tips

Here are some additional tips to ensure effective feeding:

  • Observation: Pay close attention to your Gold Tetras while feeding. Adjust the quantity of food offered based on how quickly they consume it. Uneaten food can foul the water, so aim to minimize waste.
  • Sinking Pellets: Consider including sinking pellets in their diet. These can be especially beneficial for fish that prefer to feed at different water levels.
  • Occasional Fasting: Occasionally, it’s beneficial to give your Gold Tetras a day of fasting. This helps prevent digestive issues and mimics their natural feeding patterns in the wild.
  • Quality Matters: Invest in high-quality fish food to ensure it contains the necessary nutrients. Avoid overfeeding, as it can lead to obesity and health problems.

In summary, providing a well-rounded diet for your Gold Tetras is key to their health. A combination of high-quality flake food, live or frozen foods, and occasional plant matter will keep your tetras healthy and their beautiful colors in your aquarium. Remember to maintain a balanced feeding schedule and monitor their consumption to ensure they receive the right amount of nutrition.

Gold Tetra Behavior & Temperament

Gold Tetras are known for their peaceful demeanor, making them excellent community fish. They thrive when kept in groups of at least six individuals, as they feel safer and exhibit their natural schooling behavior. They are not aggressive and rarely bother other tankmates.

Gold Tetra Tank Mates

Choosing compatible tankmates is crucial to ensure the well-being of your Gold Tetras. Opt for other peaceful, community-oriented fish such as:

Avoid keeping them with aggressive or larger fish that may intimidate or harm them.

Gold Tetra Breeding Guide

Breeding Gold Tetras can be rewarding for aquarists interested in observing the natural behaviors of these captivating fish and expanding their aquarium population. Here is a detailed guide on how to successfully breed Gold Tetras:

Preparing for Breeding

  1. Separate Breeding Tank: To maximize breeding success, set up a separate breeding tank. A tank with a capacity of 10 to 20 gallons is suitable for a small group of Gold Tetras. This isolated environment provides better control over breeding conditions.
  2. Water Parameters: Create ideal water conditions by maintaining a temperature of 78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C), which simulates their natural breeding environment. Keep the water slightly acidic with a pH level ranging from 6.0 to 6.5. Maintain soft to moderately hard water with a dGH (degree of general hardness) of 2 to 8.
  3. Substrate and Plants: Use fine-grained substrate or a spawning mop as a surface for egg deposition. Gold Tetras prefer laying their adhesive eggs on plant leaves, so include plenty of live plants like Java Moss, Amazon Swords, or Anubias. These plants also serve as hiding spots for the fry once they hatch.
  4. Condition the Breeders: Prior to introducing the breeding pair, condition them with a varied diet rich in protein. Include live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. This diet will prepare the fish for the energy-intensive breeding process.

Gold Tetra Breeding Temperature

Maintain a slightly higher temperature of around 78°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C) in the breeding tank to stimulate breeding activity in Gold Tetras.

Introducing the Pair

  1. Selecting the Pair: Choose a healthy male and female Gold Tetra for breeding. It can be challenging to distinguish between sexes, but mature females tend to appear slightly rounder when viewed from above, especially during the breeding season. Ensure the selected pair is in prime condition and free from diseases.
  2. Placement in the Breeding Tank: Transfer the conditioned pair to the prepared breeding tank. Provide ample hiding spots with plants or spawning mops for the female to deposit her eggs. The male will actively court the female, often displaying vibrant colors and performing courtship dances.

Egg Laying and Collection

  1. Egg Deposition: Gold Tetras are egg scatterers. The female will lay adhesive eggs on the chosen substrate or plant leaves. They are tiny and translucent, making them somewhat challenging to spot.
  2. Monitoring the Process: It’s crucial to monitor the breeding pair closely. Once the eggs are laid, the male should be removed from the tank to prevent him from eating the eggs. Continue to observe the female as she guards the eggs, ensuring they remain undisturbed.

Gold Tetra Eggs

Gold Tetra eggs are adhesive and typically laid on the undersides of leaves or on other surfaces near plants. They are translucent and can be challenging to spot due to their small size. Ensure you provide appropriate surfaces for the females to deposit their eggs during breeding.

Raising the Fry

  1. Hatching: Gold Tetra eggs typically hatch in about 24 to 36 hours after being laid. The newly hatched fry, often called “wrigglers,” will initially attach themselves to the substrate or plant leaves using an adhesive organ called a yolk sac.
  2. First Food: After a few days, the yolk sac will be absorbed, and the fry will start swimming freely. At this point, begin feeding them with infusoria, paramecia, or specialized fry food formulated for small fish. You can also provide crushed high-quality flake food to supplement their diet.
  3. Regular Feeding: Maintain a strict feeding schedule, offering small, frequent meals throughout the day. Gradually transition the fry to larger food particles as they grow.
  4. Water Quality: Keep the water pristine by performing regular partial water changes to remove uneaten food and waste. Maintaining excellent water quality is critical for the health and growth of the fry.
  5. Growth and Development: As the fry mature, you will notice their coloration developing, though it may not resemble that of adult Gold Tetras. As they grow, you can begin to differentiate between males and females based on body shape and fin size.
  6. Integration: Once the fry have reached a size of approximately 0.5 to 0.75 inches (1.3 to 1.9 cm), they can be gradually integrated into the main aquarium or sold or traded with other aquarists.

Breeding Gold Tetras requires patience and dedication, but the experience of witnessing their entire life cycle, from egg to adult, is incredibly rewarding. By following these guidelines and maintaining the appropriate breeding conditions, you can successfully breed these charming fish in your home aquarium.

In conclusion, Gold Tetras are enchanting fish that can thrive in your aquarium with the right care. Understanding their needs, from water parameters to diet and breeding conditions, will help you create a flourishing aquatic environment for these captivating creatures.

Related Posts You May Like

Leave a Reply

Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

Lee Johnson
My Personal Favorites