Congo Tetra Fish Care, Diet, Breeding, Raising Fry, and More!

This article is going to cover the basics of Congo Tetra fish care. The Congo Tetra is a freshwater fish that originates in Africa. This post will go over the aquarium maintenance, feeding, breeding, and raising fry.

The habitat for this type of fish is small rivers and creeks with slow-moving water located throughout the Congo River basin.

The Congo Tetra is a moderate-sized fish compared to other tetras. They will grow up to 3 inches in length but are usually only about 2 .5 long.

Average Life Span

Most experts agree on 3-5 years as the average life span for this type of fish. In reality, this average is much longer and some have been known to live up to 10 years in captivity.

Are Congo Tetras hardy Fish?

Congo Tetras are considered very hardy fish.

When choosing a tank, remember that the size of the tank should be two to three times longer and five to ten times wider than the Congo Tetra you intend to place in it.

A small tank is not only bad for the fish but it can be dangerous as well. An overcrowded tank can cause stress which is bad for the fish and could lead to illness.

Also, Congo Tetras like to have a lot of space in their tanks, or else they will become stressed and not do well. For this reason, it’s best to keep at least three fish together.

Congo Tetra Disease

The most common disease seen in Congo Tetras is a parasite called Ichthyophthirius, or white spot disease. This disease will quickly spread throughout the tank and attack all fish it comes in contact with. To prevent this disease you should treat it when adding new fish to your tank.

The best defense is to quarantine any new additions for at least 2 weeks to make sure they are disease-free.

Temperature Requirements

The Congo Tetra fish will thrive in temperatures ranging from 68-78 degrees Fahrenheit. They are very warm water fish, so colder temperatures should be avoided. If the temperature drops below 65 or rises above 82 you can expect a small decrease in their activity level.

Possible Tankmates

This fish is a schooling fish. They should be kept in groups of at least 6, with more being better. It will work best to have 1 male per 3 females in the school. If there are not enough females the males may become overly aggressive toward each other and possibly cause death of some individuals.

Keeping them with tropical, warm water fish that are at least their size is a good idea.

Some great tank mates could be:

  • Other Tetras like the Red-Tailed Black Shark and Silver Tip Tetra
  • Mollies
  • Catfish
  • Plecos

Tank Size Requirements

Even though this fish is moderate in size, it will grow quite large. It is important to have a tank that is at least 55 gallons with a species tank being the best option if you plan on keeping more than one male.

Some people have had success with the Congo Tetra living in less than 55 gallons but they usually outgrow the pH and temperature requirements for them.

Are Congo tetra fin nippers?

Congo Tetras are not known to be fin nippers. They, like most fish, will occasionally nibble on other fish but it is not something that affects their health and they usually do not do any long-term damage.

Breeding the Congo Tetra

The breeding of the Congo Tetra fish isn’t terribly difficult. It can be a little time-consuming, but not excessively so. The first thing to do is get two tanks set up for the job. You will need one tank that is at least 2 feet long and 12 inches deep for raising the fry in.

This tank should have slightly acidic water. The pH should be between 6.4 and 6.8 with a temperature in the mid to upper 70s Fahrenheit.

You will then need a tank that is 5 gallons or larger for the breeding adults. The water should also be slightly acidic although it doesn’t have to be nearly as low as for the fry tank, just slightly less than the pH for your main tank.

You should also stock this tank with plants to provide a place for the fry to hide when they are young and feed them infusoria or liquid fry food until they can eat regular fish flakes and pellets.

The breeding pair of Congo Tetras should be conditioned on live foods before attempting to breed them, and this should be done at least a week or two before the actual breeding.

The male will be able to tell when the female is ready to lay eggs as her body will become larger, and darker in color with some blue highlights on it. The female will also hang around the surface of the water for longer periods of time until she is released by the male.

When the female is released, she will swim to the bottom of the tank and begin laying her eggs. The male will follow behind her until she has laid all of them then he will fertilize them for her before swimming off. She wards off any other fish that may come near while this is happening.

When she stops laying eggs the pair should be removed to their own tank.

The eggs will take about 24 hours to hatch, and when they do you will notice that they are all grouped together on the bottom of the tank in a small patch of gravel or whatever substrate is used. You can feed them liquid fry food until they are big enough to eat baby brine shrimp.

The young fish will grow quickly so you should remove any that are too large for the fry tank into the main tank. If there aren’t enough small ones to go around, they can be separated and put into other tanks with similar water conditions as you want to continue raising them.

How can you tell if a tetra fish is pregnant?

Congo Tetra females have a spot under their belly that is not normally there. You should be able to see this when the fish is full-grown and it will be very easy to notice because of its distinctive shape.

The female will usually carry around 5-8 babies until they are fully formed (around 5 days) before she releases them into the water.

How to sex Congo Tetra fish?

Congo Tetras are hard to sex by looking at them, but there is a very easy way of telling that works about 70% of the time. The best way is to get an aquarium store employee or someone who knows about fish and have them check it for you.

The first thing to do is try to find a fish that has the “egg spot” under its belly. This is the best way of determining if it’s a female, although sometimes males will have them as well.

If you are finding it hard to tell, you can gently press down on the surface of the abdomen where it connects to their body. If the fish is a female it will have an egg embedded under its belly skin.

When you are buying Congo Tetras you can ask for the sex of the fish and make sure that you get 3-4 males for every female in order to prevent aggression.

How do I feed my Congo Tetra?

Congo Tetras are not picky about what they eat. They eat a wide variety of both flakes and live foods.

They enjoy consuming bloodworms, brine shrimp, spinach (not as much frozen), zucchini, krill, small insects like fruit flies or daphnia, and occasionally some tiny pellets.

Can Congo tetras live with angelfish on the same tank?

Congo tetras will sometimes nip at the fins of angelfish. It does not seem to cause any harm, but they can often get aggressive with their tankmates when they become older.

If you do decide to keep them with other fish, make sure that the tank is very large because they will eventually grow larger than most angelfish. You should also only buy one male for every 4 females.

Do congo tetras eat shrimp?

Congo tetras do not naturally eat shrimp. Some of them will learn to grab onto the legs of shrimp and pull at them, but more than likely they are only playing with the food.

A large percentage of the time Congo Tetras will spit out a piece of food that is too big for their mouths. This means that if you give them shrimp to eat, it will probably be spit out and not eaten.

Do congo tetras have teeth?

Congo tetras do not have teeth. They only have thin lips that cover their mouths and gills.

How big can congo tetras grow?

Congo Tetras can grow up to 9 inches (23 cm) in length. Make sure your tank is at least 55 gallons if you would like to keep more than one fish or want to have multiple generations live at the same time.

Do congo tetra eat plants?

Congo tetra fish will occasionally snack on plants but it is not something that they do constantly. Do not worry about this as long as the plants are in healthy condition and growing.

If you feel that your plant needs protection, place a few pieces of shrimp or bloodworm in front of them so that if your Congo tetras decide to nibble on them they will not be harmed.

Are congo tetras aggressive?

Congo tetras are one of the few fish that are not aggressive towards their own kind. They will occasionally have “disagreements” with other species and sometimes even their own kind, but most of the time they get along just fine.

Can Congo tetras live with discus?

Congo tetras can live with discus, but only if you have enough space. The tank should be at least 175 gallons with a group of 6 or more Congo tetras and 2-3 discus.

The only reason that they are not recommended for larger groups is that there will be too much competition for food in the tank.

If you can provide enough space for all of the fish, then they are great for community tanks and can look very nice swimming around with other types of tropical fish.

Can Congo tetras live with cichlids?

Congo tetras can live with very large cichlids. The biggest problem is that they will outgrow most tanks before they reach adulthood. Unless you are willing to upgrade your tank frequently, you should probably steer clear of them because of this reason alone.

They can also harass smaller fish in a community tank which might make it worth it to avoid them together.

In Conclusion

Congo Tetras are a hardy and beautiful species of fish that can be challenging to care for. With the right knowledge, you can provide them with optimal living conditions.

Congo tetra fish are a great option for intermediate and advanced aquarists. They can be kept by beginners if they have the proper tank size, or if there is a large enough group of them.

If you decide to try out these colorful swimmers, make sure that you provide them with an appropriate diet and plenty of space to swim around.

Congo tetras might look nice in a large aquarium, but please make sure that you regulate their temperature and provide them with the right amount of oxygen to prevent any issues.

Do not feed your fish live food if you want to avoid digestive problems later on as well. Also, be careful about overfeeding because it is one of the leading causes of death in these freshwater fish.

Congo tetra care is something that you will want to research thoroughly before purchasing them or adding them to your tank. If you do not have much experience with them, it might be a good idea to start off with one or two and see how they are fair before investing in a larger group.