Pristella Tetra Care 101: Tank Setup, Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases & More!

Are you considering adding Pristella Tetras to your aquarium? These small, peaceful fish are a popular choice for beginner and experienced fish keepers alike. With their bright colors and active personalities, they can add a lively touch to any tank. However, like any pet, they require proper care to thrive.

Pristella Tetras require a tank size of at least 20 gallons, water temperature between 72-82°F, and a pH range of 6.0-7.5. They are omnivores and need a varied diet of high-quality flakes or pellets, as well as occasional live or frozen foods. They are peaceful and should be kept in schools of at least 6 individuals. They also require hiding places and a well-planted aquarium.

In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about Pristella Tetra care. From tank setup and water conditions to feeding and breeding, we will cover all the essential information.

Whether you are new to fish keeping or simply want to expand your knowledge, this guide will provide you with the tools to keep your Pristella Tetras healthy and happy.

Pristella Tetra

Species Summary


Pristella Tetra, also known as X-ray Tetra, is a freshwater fish species native to South America, specifically the Amazon River Basin. They are commonly found in slow-moving rivers, streams, and flooded forests.


The average lifespan of Pristella Tetra is around 3-5 years in captivity. However, with proper care and a healthy environment, they can live up to 7 years.


Pristella Tetra is a small fish species that typically grows up to 1.5 inches in length. They have a transparent body with a silver-white coloration and a black spot on their dorsal fin. This spot resembles an X-ray, hence the common name X-ray Tetra.


As mentioned earlier, Pristella Tetra grows up to 1.5 inches in length, making them a small fish species. They are a popular choice for aquariums due to their small size and peaceful nature.

Growth Rate

Pristella Tetra has a moderate growth rate, and they can reach their full size within a year. However, their growth rate largely depends on their diet and environment.

Behavior & Temperament

Pristella Tetra is a peaceful, social, and active fish species. They are known for their schooling behavior, and it is recommended to keep them in groups of at least 6-8 individuals.

They are also compatible with other peaceful fish species and can coexist in the same aquarium without any issues.

Male vs Female

It is challenging to differentiate between male and female Pristella Tetra. However, during the breeding season, females tend to have a rounder belly, while males have a more slender body.

Personal Anecdote: I have kept Pristella Tetra in my aquarium for several years, and they have been a delightful addition to my tank.

Their peaceful nature and schooling behavior always fascinate me, and they add a vibrant touch to the aquarium with their silver-white coloration.

Tank Setup

When it comes to setting up a tank for your Pristella Tetra, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are the main things you should keep in mind:

Tank Size

The size of your tank will depend on how many Pristella Tetras you plan to keep. As a general rule, you should have at least 10 gallons of water for every 5-6 fish.

This will ensure that they have enough space to swim around and that the water quality remains stable.


Pristella Tetras don’t have any specific lighting requirements, but it’s always a good idea to provide them with a natural day/night cycle. You can achieve this by using a timer to turn the lights on and off at regular intervals.

Filtration & Aeration

Good filtration is essential for maintaining a healthy environment for your fish. A hang-on-back filter or a canister filter is recommended, as they provide good water flow and can handle the bio-load of a Pristella Tetra tank. Aeration is also important, as it helps to oxygenate the water and create a more natural environment.


Pristella Tetras prefer water temperatures between 72-78°F, so a heater is necessary to maintain a consistent temperature. Make sure to choose a heater that is appropriate for the size of your tank.


A dark substrate, such as sand or gravel, is ideal for Pristella Tetras, as it will help to bring out their vibrant colors. Make sure to choose a substrate that is easy to clean and won’t trap debris.


Pristella Tetras enjoy having plenty of hiding places, so adding some decorations to your tank is a good idea. You can use rocks, driftwood, or artificial plants to create a natural-looking environment.


Live plants can help to create a more natural environment for your Pristella Tetras, and they also provide oxygen and help to keep the water clean. Some good options include Java fern, Amazon sword, and Anubias.

Overall, setting up a tank for your Pristella Tetras is fairly straightforward.

Just make sure to choose the right size tank, provide good filtration and aeration, and create a natural-looking environment with plenty of hiding places and plants.

Water Quality

Maintaining good water quality is essential for the health and well-being of your Pristella Tetras. Here are some important factors to consider:

Water Temperature

Pristella Tetras thrive in water that is between 72-78°F (22-26°C). It’s important to maintain a consistent temperature in the aquarium, as sudden fluctuations can cause stress and even death.

Use a reliable aquarium thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the heater as necessary.

Water pH

Pristella Tetras prefer slightly acidic water with a pH between 6.0-7.5. Avoid sudden changes in pH levels, as this can cause stress and harm the fish. Test the pH regularly and adjust it gradually if necessary using a pH stabilizer.

Water Hardness

Pristella Tetras prefer soft to moderately hard water with a hardness level between 5-12 dGH.

Water that is too hard or too soft can cause stress and health issues. Test the hardness level regularly and adjust it if necessary using a water softener or hardener.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality in your aquarium. Aim to change 25% of the water every 1-2 weeks.

Use a siphon to remove debris from the substrate and replace the water with dechlorinated tap water that has been adjusted to match the temperature, pH, and hardness of the aquarium water.

Personally, I find that performing water changes every week helps keep my Pristella Tetras healthy and happy.

It also gives me a chance to observe them up close and appreciate their beautiful colors and playful behavior. Remember, good water quality is key to a thriving aquarium, so make sure to prioritize it in your care routine.


What To Feed

When it comes to feeding your Pristella Tetra, you have a few options. They are omnivores, which means they can eat both plant and animal matter.

A good staple food for them is high-quality flake food or pellets. You can also supplement their diet with frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia.

Personally, I like to give my Pristella Tetras a mix of both flake food and frozen bloodworms. I find that this provides them with a balanced diet and keeps them healthy and happy.


It’s important to feed your Pristella Tetras small meals multiple times a day rather than one large meal. This will help prevent overeating and keep their digestive system healthy. Aim to feed them 2-3 times a day, with only as much food as they can consume in 2-3 minutes.


When feeding your Pristella Tetras, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, make sure to vary their diet. Don’t just feed them the same thing every day. This will help ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.

Second, avoid overfeeding. Overfeeding can lead to health problems such as bloating and constipation.

Finally, make sure to clean up any uneaten food after feeding. Uneaten food can quickly pollute the water and harm your fish.

In summary, feeding your Pristella Tetras a varied diet of high-quality flake food, frozen or live foods, and feeding them small meals multiple times a day is key to keeping them healthy and happy. Remember to vary their diet, avoid overfeeding, and clean up any uneaten food.

Tank Maintenance

Maintaining a clean and healthy tank environment is crucial for the health and well-being of your Pristella Tetras. Here are a few tips to keep your tank in top condition.

  • Regular Water Changes: You should perform a 25% water change every two weeks. This will help keep the water clean and clear, as well as remove any excess nutrients that could harm your fish.
  • Filter Maintenance: Your filter is responsible for removing waste and other harmful substances from the water. Be sure to clean or replace your filter media regularly, as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Gravel Cleaning: Waste and uneaten food can accumulate on the bottom of the tank, which can lead to poor water quality. Use a gravel vacuum to remove debris from the substrate during water changes.
  • Algae Control: Algae growth is a common problem in aquariums. To control algae growth, limit the amount of light your tank receives, and try using an algae scraper or brush to remove any buildup on the glass.
  • Temperature Control: Pristella Tetras prefer a temperature range of 72-78°F. Use a reliable aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature and adjust the heater as needed.
  • Testing Water Parameters: Regularly test the water parameters in your tank, including pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. This will help you detect any problems early on and take corrective action before they become more serious.

Personally, I’ve found that keeping up with regular tank maintenance not only ensures the health of my Pristella Tetras but also helps me relax and unwind.

There’s something calming about taking care of a small ecosystem, and watching my fish thrive in a clean and healthy environment brings me joy.

Tank Mates

When it comes to selecting tank mates for your Pristella Tetras, it’s important to choose fish that are compatible with their peaceful nature. Here are some things to consider:

Compatible Fish Species

Pristella Tetras are social fish that thrive in groups of at least six. They are also peaceful and do well with other peaceful community fish such as:

  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Neon Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Cherry Barbs
  • Harlequin Rasboras

Incompatible Fish Species

It’s important to avoid aggressive or territorial fish that may bully or harm your Pristella Tetras. Avoid keeping them with:

  • Cichlids
  • Bettas
  • Angelfish
  • Goldfish
  • Barbs

How Many Pristella Tetras Should Be Together

Pristella Tetras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six. In larger aquariums, you can keep up to 20 Pristella Tetras together. Keeping them in larger groups helps them feel more secure and reduces stress.

I personally recommend keeping at least eight Pristella Tetras together in a 20-gallon tank. This allows them to swim and play together, creating a beautiful display of color and movement in your aquarium.

Remember to always research the needs of any fish species you plan to keep with your Pristella Tetras to ensure a happy and healthy community tank.

Common Diseases


Pristella Tetras are generally hardy fish, but like all fish, they can fall ill. Some of the common diseases that Pristella Tetras can suffer from include:

  1. Ich
  2. Fin Rot
  3. Dropsy
  4. Swim Bladder Disease


It is important to keep an eye out for any signs of illness in your Pristella Tetras. Symptoms of common diseases include:

  1. Ich: White spots on the body and fins.
  2. Fin Rot: Fins appear ragged and frayed.
  3. Dropsy: Swollen body, bulging eyes, and raised scales.
  4. Swim Bladder Disease: Difficulty swimming, floating upside down or on their side.


If you notice any of the above symptoms, it is important to take action quickly to prevent the disease from spreading. Some treatments for common diseases include:

  1. Ich: Raising the temperature of the tank to 86°F for a few days, adding aquarium salt, and using medication.
  2. Fin Rot: Keeping the water clean and using medication.
  3. Dropsy: Isolating the sick fish and using medication.
  4. Swim Bladder Disease: Feeding the fish a diet high in fiber and avoiding overfeeding.


Prevention is always better than cure. Here are some tips to help prevent common diseases in your Pristella Tetras:

  • Keep the water clean and well-maintained.
  • Quarantine any new fish before adding them to the tank.
  • Avoid overfeeding your fish.
  • Provide a varied and balanced diet.

I have found that keeping a close eye on my Pristella Tetras and their behavior is the best way to prevent and catch any illnesses early on. Remember to always take action quickly if you notice any symptoms, and follow the appropriate treatment plan to keep your fish healthy and happy.

Signs of a Healthy Pristella Tetra

When caring for your Pristella Tetra, it’s important to know the signs of a healthy fish. Here are some things to look out for:

  1. Clear eyes: Healthy Pristella Tetras have clear, bright eyes that are not cloudy or bulging.
  2. Vibrant color: The colors of a healthy Pristella Tetra should be bright and vibrant. Dull or faded colors can be a sign of illness or stress.
  3. Active behavior: A healthy Pristella Tetra will swim actively around the tank and interact with other fish. If your Tetra is lethargic or hiding, it could be a sign of illness.
  4. Good appetite: Healthy Pristella Tetras have a healthy appetite and will eagerly eat their food. If your Tetra is not eating or appears to be losing weight, it could be a sign of illness.
  5. Clean fins and scales: A healthy Pristella Tetra will have clean, smooth fins and scales without any signs of damage or discoloration.

I remember when I first got my Pristella Tetras, I was worried about their health and well-being.

But by observing their behavior and appearance, I was able to tell that they were healthy and happy in their new home. By keeping an eye out for these signs of a healthy fish, you can ensure that your Pristella Tetras are thriving in your aquarium.

Signs Your Pristella Tetra is Sick

As a responsible fish owner, it’s important to keep an eye on your Pristella Tetra’s behavior and appearance to ensure they are healthy. Here are some signs that your Pristella Tetra may be sick:

  1. Lethargy: If your Pristella Tetra is swimming less than usual or appears to be resting on the bottom of the tank, it may be a sign of illness.
  2. Loss of Appetite: If your Pristella Tetra is not eating or has a decreased appetite, it could be a sign of illness.
  3. Faded Colors: If your Pristella Tetra’s colors appear dull or faded, it may be a sign of stress or illness.
  4. Erratic Swimming: If your Pristella Tetra is swimming erratically or appears to be struggling to swim, it could be a sign of illness.
  5. Gasping for Air: If your Pristella Tetra is gasping for air at the surface of the water, it could be a sign of poor water quality or illness.

It’s important to note that these symptoms can be caused by a variety of illnesses, so it’s important to observe your Pristella Tetra closely and consult with a veterinarian if you suspect they may be sick.

Personally, I once noticed that one of my Pristella Tetras was swimming erratically and appeared to be struggling to swim. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that it had an injury on its fin.

I immediately separated it from the other fish and treated the injury with medication. After a few days, the fish was back to swimming normally and its fin had healed. It’s important to act quickly if you notice any signs of illness in your Pristella Tetra to ensure their health and well-being.


Breeding Pristella Tetras can be a rewarding experience for any aquarist. In this section, we will cover everything you need to know about breeding Pristella Tetras, including the breeding setup, how to breed, and care.

Breeding Setup

Before breeding Pristella Tetras, you need to set up a breeding tank. The breeding tank should be at least 10 gallons and have a sponge filter. You should also provide plenty of hiding places for the fish, such as plants and decorations.

How To Breed

Breeding Pristella Tetras is relatively easy. To encourage breeding, you should condition the fish with a high-quality diet and keep the water temperature between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the fish are conditioned, you can introduce a breeding pair into the breeding tank.

To encourage spawning, you should provide a spawning site, such as a clump of Java moss or a spawning mop.

The female Pristella Tetra will lay her eggs on the spawning site, and the male will fertilize them. After spawning, you should remove the adult fish from the breeding tank to prevent them from eating the eggs.


Once the eggs have hatched, you should provide the fry with plenty of small, live foods, such as baby brine shrimp or microworms.

You should also keep the water clean and well-oxygenated. As the fry grow, you can gradually introduce them to larger foods, such as crushed flakes.

In my experience breeding Pristella Tetras, I found that patience is key. It can take several attempts before the fish successfully breed, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t happen right away.

Overall, breeding Pristella Tetras can be a fun and rewarding experience for any aquarist. With the right setup, care, and patience, you can successfully breed these beautiful fish.

Product recommendations for Pristella Tetra:

  1. TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes: These flakes are specially formulated for tropical fish and contain high levels of protein and other essential nutrients for healthy growth and vibrant coloration.
  2. Aqueon Aquarium Water Changer: This handy tool makes water changes a breeze and can help maintain a healthy environment for your Pristella Tetras.
  3. Seachem Flourish Excel: This liquid fertilizer can provide your Pristella Tetras with essential nutrients and help promote healthy plant growth in your aquarium.
  4. API Aquarium Test Kit: Regular water testing is crucial for maintaining a healthy environment for your Pristella Tetras, and this test kit can help you monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate in your tank.
  5. Hydor Koralia Nano Aquarium Circulation Pump: This compact and efficient pump can help improve water circulation in your aquarium and provide your fish with a more natural environment.
  6. Zoo Med Laboratories AquaSun LED Aquarium Hood: This energy-efficient LED hood can provide ample lighting for your Pristella Tetra tank and help promote healthy plant growth.
  7. Seachem Prime: This water conditioner can help remove harmful chemicals from tap water and make it safe for your Pristella Tetras.
  8. CaribSea Eco-Complete Planted Aquarium Substrate: This substrate is specifically designed for planted aquariums and can provide a natural-looking environment for your Pristella Tetras.
  9. Omega One Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp: This tasty treat can provide your Pristella Tetras with a high-quality source of protein and help promote healthy growth and coloration.


In conclusion, taking care of Pristella Tetras can be a rewarding experience for any aquarist. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you can ensure that your fish remain healthy and happy in their environment.

Remember to provide a well-maintained tank with proper filtration and regular water changes. Keep the water temperature between 72-78°F and maintain a pH level between 6.5-7.5.

Additionally, ensure that your Pristella Tetras are receiving a balanced diet with a variety of foods.

It is important to note that while Pristella Tetras are relatively easy to care for, they still require attention and care. Make sure to monitor their behavior and appearance regularly to catch any potential health issues early on.

As a personal anecdote, I have found that adding live plants to my Pristella Tetra tank has not only enhanced the aesthetic appeal but has also provided a natural and comfortable environment for my fish. Consider adding live plants to your tank as well.

Overall, with the right care and attention, Pristella Tetras can thrive and bring joy to any aquarium.


Here are some commonly asked questions about Pristella Tetra care:

What should I feed my Pristella Tetras?

Pristella Tetras are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods. You can feed them flakes, pellets, frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It’s important to vary their diet to ensure they get all the necessary nutrients.

How many Pristella Tetras should I keep together?

Pristella Tetras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six. Keeping them in larger groups of 10 or more will make them feel more secure and less stressed.

What is the ideal water temperature for Pristella Tetras?

Pristella Tetras prefer water temperatures between 72-78°F (22-26°C). It’s important to maintain a stable temperature and avoid sudden fluctuations.

Do Pristella Tetras require a lot of maintenance?

Pristella Tetras are relatively easy to care for and don’t require a lot of maintenance. However, regular water changes and filter maintenance are necessary to keep their environment clean and healthy.

Can Pristella Tetras live with other fish?

Yes, Pristella Tetras are peaceful and can live with other peaceful fish that are similar in size. Avoid keeping them with aggressive or larger fish that may bully or eat them.

What should I do if my Pristella Tetras are sick?

If you notice any signs of illness such as loss of appetite, lethargy, or abnormal behavior, isolate the sick fish in a quarantine tank and treat them with appropriate medication.

Consult with a veterinarian or a knowledgeable fish store employee for advice on treatment options.

Personally, I’ve found that adding Indian almond leaves to the aquarium helps to prevent illness and promote overall health for my Pristella Tetras.

Reference: Wikipedia.


Hi there! My name is Jacob, and I'm the founder of this Pet people blog that talks all about aquarium and fishkeeping. I've been passionate about fish and aquatic life since I was a kid, and I've spent countless hours learning about different species, their habitats, and how to create the perfect environment for them to thrive in.

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