Lemon Tetra Care: Diet, Tank Mates, Size, Lifespan

Lemon tetras are beautiful freshwater fish that can give a splash of color to any aquarium. They are a good choice for beginners. Learn how to properly take care of them by reading this article!

Species Summary

Lemon tetras are usually found in freshwater and are freshwater fish or tropical water species that originated from South America. They can grow up to 2inches or 5 centimeters when they reach a certain age.

lemon tetra

They are often described as fairly hardy as they are very resilient to their environmental conditions. Their name indicates their lemony appearance or bright yellow appearance of the body.

They are famous for their low maintenance. Lemon tetras love to roam in large groups and are easygoing and friendly. Moreover, Lemon tetras can be easily tamed.


Tetra fish is usually tiny; they could be as long as 2 inches when they reach maturity, not more than that. They are called lemon tetra because of their lemony appearance. They have a stunning triangular dorsal fin that is semi-transparent.

Their body has a greenish color with a conglomeration of yellowish, grey, and black color elements. In addition, their pointed dorsal fin is usually marked with black and yellow color, and their anal fin is generally bolder and has black and yellow elements.

How long do lemon tetras live?

In general, a tetra can live in an aquarium or captivity with good conditions of their surroundings could live up to 8 years, 6 years being the average. But, if they are kept in exceptionally excellent condition, they may outlive their expected lifespan.

On the other hand, in the wild (river or pond) or aquatic conditions, it is tough to know the anticipated lifespan of the Tetra as many states are influencing their lifespan.

But, if the condition of the community tank is lousy, a Tetra fish may fall sick or get any disease that can be fatal and cause their lifespan to decrease.

Characteristics of the water around them can play a significant role in increasing their lifespan; factors like temperature, PH, and oxygen content of the water are critical and crucial for the health of Tetra. In addition, their diet matters a lot.

How big do lemon tetras get?

Lemon tetras are small species of Tetras. Therefore, they will not get tremendous. However, their size can vary depending on the present conditions and circumstances.

In general, your pet Lemon tetra can grow up to one to two inches or three to five centimeters. The properties of the water around them can play a meaningful role in their growth and health; factors such as temperature, PH, and oxygen content of the water are critical for the health and development of Tetra. Furthermore, their diet is vital.

Lemon Tetra Care

Food & Diet

Lemon tetra is an omnivore. Therefore, feeding them is very easy. But, they mostly like Shrimp, Mosquito Larvae, Bloodworms, And brine.

Lemon tetra is low maintenance and could eat anything, but you may want to feed them a healthy and well-balanced diet to complete their vitamin and mineral requirements for proper growth and development. They could eat live food or frozen food. Tetras are known for accepting any food available to them.

Furthermore, make sure to feed them several meals in small amounts. The amount should be just enough to get consumed in two to three minutes.

Also, make sure to provide them with fish food to complete their nutritional profile; giving high-quality food to them would ensure that they remain active and healthy throughout their lifespan.

Behaviour & Temperament

Lemon tetras are pretty small, measuring up to 2 to inches. They are generally docile and easygoing. But in a situation where they feel threatened, they may exhibit aggressive behavior.

Lemon tetras are social and love to move around in herds or school. But, if they are left alone in the tank, they may develop signs of depression and anxiety; thus, as a result, they may become slightly angry.

Little aggression between different males is prevalent, and there is nothing to worry about, and there is no need to separate those fish. But look for the signs of hostility among different species of fish.

Moreover, if their external conditions(environment, water condition) are vulnerable, their behavior may change; therefore, it is a sign to improve their prevailing conditions. They generally don’t do well on the lower scale of PH.

Lemon Tetra Tank Mates

Never keep large tetra species with small species. The larger species may appear intimidating to the smaller species, causing problems, and the smaller species may get devoured by the larger species.

When keeping adult tetras with juveniles, please pay close attention to their behavior. For example, lemon tetra is generally docile, but If the surrounding circumstances and conditions are safe and comfortable, they are usually docile and friendly.

However, if they become anxious or threatened for any reason, they may become aggressive. Therefore, never put two incompatible species of fish together. Friendly fish, such as neon tetras, can coexist in the same tank with other fish.

Small tetras, small catfishes, rasboras, and Corys, for example, coexist with tetras. Small tetras are usually easygoing and docile toward other terata of the same size because they are exposed to similar environments and conditions.

Tetra of similar color and similar size go well as they’re exposed to identical environmental conditions. Moreover, it is optimum to keep the same specimen together as they would bond quickly.

Moreover, never place small Tetra and particularly more significant species of Tetra, especially males, into the same tank as pairs, as larger species are seemingly intimidating. Thus, it is highly recommended not to do it.


Lemon tetra is moderately easy to breed depending on the environmental conditions. They usually scatter their eggs around without being concerned. Their eggs generally hatch under 24 hours, and in some couple of days, their offspring would have no problem with swimming.

But some owners reports they are moderately hard to breed as sometimes females have problems defenestrating the eggs; therefore, it becomes necessary to place the male lemon tetra relatively closed.

Sexual Dimorphism

The male Lemon tetra is usually more colorful than the female Tetra to captivate the female’s attention. This helps them during the mating process. The alpha male is generally broader than other male Lemon tetra. Male tetras have more pointed and longer dorsal fins.

Female Lemon tetras are generally had bland features as compared to their male counterparts. In some females, they have approximately the same dorsal fin, which sometimes creates hassle when determining the gender of the Tetra.

Lemon Tetras vs. Other Popular Tetras

Lemon Tetra in blue background

Many tetra species are equally famous as Lemon tetras due to their gorgeous color and build; one particular species of Tetra known as rainbow tetra is widely known for its captivating color.

Rainbow tetra or neon tetra has a similar temperament to lemon tetra. Almost all the Tetra requires the same environmental conditions and breeding ground.

They generally require similar water temperature and PH conditions to thrive; moreover, usually, all of them are docile and friendly except Bucktooth tetra.

Are Lemon Tetras Right For You?

Lemon tetras are easy to handle as they can eat almost anything and are very resilient to their external conditions.

Yellow Lemon Tetra

But, one should be a little concerned about their water conditions as it could hinder their growth and development.

Bucktooth Tetra: Worth the time and risk?

Bucktooth tetra is the most aggressive fish in the Tetra species. Even though they look gorgeous, they could be disastrous for other fish in the same tank.

If another fish is introduced, they might try to harm them. Therefore it is up to the fish enthusiast to choose whether they want to own a Bucktooth tetra or not.

List Of 5 Black Tetra Fish Ideas For Your Aquarium

Include these fish in your aquarium.

  • Black neon tetra,
  • Blackline tetra,
  • Black morpho tetra,
  • Black skirt tetra, and
  • Black phantom tetra

What fish can I put with my neon tetras?

Neon tetras are small species of Tetras, and they may grow up to 1.5-2.5 inches or 3.5- 6.35 centimeters. Therefore, one needs to be concerned when placing another fish into the same tank.

In general, never place a fish bigger than neon tetras in the same tank as the bigger fish may feed on the Tetra. Thus, it is not reliable to put them together.

But, fishes or tetras of the same size can be placed together as they live in the same freshwater aquarium and in similar conditions. Therefore, it is the safest option to try.

Moreover, other fish species such as Rasboras, Small catfishes, Corys, Dwarf gouramis, and many more could be preferred. Although neon tetras are pretty small, sometimes they could be aggressive too. Thus, serious care of the tank and fish should be done.

Can Tetra Fish Eat Human Food?

Yes! they can feed on human food.


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As a fish enthusiast, you would find growing a pet lemon Tetra way more manageable as they are hardy and could consume almost anything. Furthermore, due to their lemony appearance, they look beautiful. They are an excellent option for first-time homebuyers.

If you like to grow glofish then you need to check on this article How many GloFish in a 10 Gallon Tank


Do Lemon tetras need a heater?

Generally, tetras prefer and thrive at a water temperature between 21 to 28 degrees, but they can live at 32 degrees if the water has rich oxygen content.

Therefore, It is mandatory to install a heater and a filter in the tetra tank to maintain a constant temperature at all times. A tetra may feel threatened when they’re exposed to a hostile environment.

Temperature is considered one of the most acute conditions a tetra relies on to survive. Furthermore, due to the Tetra’s anatomy, their growth is linked with the condition of their surroundings, such as the temperature and salinity of the water.

Moreover, one should also look after their water conditions, as it would be hard for the Tetra to survive if the prevailing situation of the water is hostile. Therefore, installing a good quality filter is necessary as it makes sure that the water is clean.

If a filter is not installed, then water may become acidic. Acidic water can be fatal for any fish. Also, the water ph level would get disturbed if the filter is not present.

What other fish can tetras live with?

Friendly species, such as neon tetra, can be housed in the same tank as other fish. For example, small tetras, Small catfishes, Rasboras, and Corys live alongside tetras.

Because they live in the same environment and conditions, small tetras are usually easygoing and docile toward other terata of the same size. Tetras, in general, require at least five different tank mates.

Furthermore, tetras appear to do well in groups or herds. Never mix tetras of various sizes in the same tank because large tetras feed on small tetras. Tetras of the same color and size can quickly bond.

However, different types of tetras of varying sizes may not be the best-case scenario.

Never keep large tetra species together with small species, as the larger species may seem formidable to smaller species, creating some problems.

Also, pay close attention to their behavior when you’re keeping adult tetras with juvenile ones.

Do tetras attack each other?

Tetras are convivial and friendly species, but if the circumstances around them are egregious, it may make them anxious and uptight, making them aggressive towards each other.

For example, if the tank is relatively small or overcrowded, tetras will fight to acquire space and food. Therefore, this is not an optimal condition for tetras to live in. Therefore, a tank should be large enough to accommodate all the fish without causing a hassle.

Moreover, if the ph of water is not balanced, they may feel threatened by it. Thus, one should invest in good quality pieces of equipment to maintain Tetra’s health.

Also, if the fishes species are not compatible, it may engender feelings of hostility among them.

Are Lemon tetras aggressive?

Lemon tetras fall in the small species of tetras. They are generally docile and friendly if the prevailing circumstances and conditions are safe and comfortable. But if for some reason they feel anxious or threatened, they may start to show aggression.

Lemon tetras love to be in herds or schools. A tank having a capacity of 20 gallons should hold five to six tetras.

A Lemon tetra alone in the tank may get depressed or uptight; thus, as a result of it, it may show signs of aggression. Moreover, if the tank receives over-populated or is relatively small, it may become aggressive too.

Therefore one should invest in a suitable tank having a high quality of glass, and they should be concerned about the maintenance of the tank; otherwise, it can affect the tetras.

What fish can you mix with tetras?

It depends on the size of the tetras in the tank and how aggressive or peaceful they are in the water.

Usually, small tetras are easygoing and docile towards other terata of the same size exposed to the same environmental and aquatic conditions. In general, tetras needs at least 5 different tank mates.

Moreover, tetras seem to do well in groups or herds. Never put tetras of different sizes together in the tank as large tetras usually feed on small tetras.

Species such as neon tetra are friendly, and they can be allocated the same tank consisting of fish. Species that go along with tetras are Small tetras, Small catfishes, Rasboras, and Corys.

Tetras of similar color and size can quickly form a bond. However, different kinds of tetras having different sizes may not be the ideal case.

About the author

I'm Gulshan, a passionate pet enthusiast. Dive into my world where I share tips, stories, and snapshots of my animal adventures. Here, pets are more than just animals; they're heartbeats that enrich our lives. Join our journey!