What Do Tetras Eat? (Favorite Foods & Feeding Tips)

Tetras are one of the most attractive fish for tank fish lovers in the world. Rich shimmering blue and red color skin is eye-catchy and a big reason for the huge collection and export of this fish. Also, the big concern for the people is what do Tetras eat?

What Do Tetras Eat In The Wild?

Despite their export volume from forests to aquariums, they are also famous for their lifestyle in the wildlife.

what do tetras eat, feeding tetras, tetra fish foods

Food is an essential aspect of every species, the same for tetras. Tetras are famous for their eating behavior of a different variety of foods.

Wild tetras love to have a variety in their diets. They can eat all small species alive in the water, such as shrimps, lobsters, shellfish, crabs, fish fry, eggs, flies, larvae, mosquitos, bugs, ants, and plant-based food.

Smaller tetras take tiny rotifers in their diet along with other food. Tetras are also found munching on the meat of other big dead fishes. Not averse to scavenging on dead fish.

What Can I Feed Tetras? 

Tetras can be offered a great variety of food, and it should be offered mixed servings from every food segment. Following are some categorized foods for feeding tetras.

Processed Food

Processed food includes pellets, flakes, and other food items available in stores. All these food items vary in their contents and nutritional values. Usually, tetra food is a mix of proteins and plant-based food.

Choosing pellets for tetras needs special attention. Processed foods should also be including some vegetable matter, instead of just being meaty.

Algae-based flakes are preferred for feeding tetras. When it comes to flakes, you need to avoid selecting wheat-based flakes.

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Frozen Meaty Food

Frozen food is rich in vitamins and other nutritional values. Frozen food for tetras is easily available in pet shops or shopping stores.

As mentioned above, while living in the wild, tetras mostly like to eat insects and tiny crustaceans. This needs to take care of when frozen food is selected for tetras.

Avoid serving frozen food directly to tetra fish. Instead, keep a small amount of it in the refrigerator for some time as direct feeding of frozen food may result in a loss of vitamins.

Live Meaty Food

Live food is tempting for your tetras as they are used to eating live food in wildlife. You can purchase live foods from fish/pet stores, or they can be prepared at home as well.

Brine shrimp, fruitflies, mosquito larvae, and bloodworms are popular and favorite food for tetras.

While this food will make your tetras more energetic and active in a fish tank, it will also welcome parasites into the tank.

Frozen-Dried Food

Frozen-dried food is based on a single organism and may include blood worms, shrimps, crabs, etc. This food type is served in the same manner as flakes are served.

Frozen-dried food is prepared by drying the moisture in the food. It can be served directly, but that may cause bloating in the fish’s stomach as it will expand in the stomach. You can soak it in water or any other liquid to avoid this issue.

Can Tetras Eat Fruits?

Tetras are not picky eaters, and they will grow healthy when served a variety of food. Fruits can be added to their diet in moderate quantity and 2 to 4 times weekly.

Following fruits can be served for feeding tetras.


Grape is a watery fruit, and tetras can get it as their food but with care. First, remove the skin and seeds of grapes, then serve them to your tetra fish. It can be messy since grapes are watery and can pollute tank water.


Strawberries can be a favorite and healthy fruit for your fish. Also, it contains vitamin C, manganese, and other antioxidants.

Raw strawberries can be served, but it is difficult for them to nibble as tetras have small mouths. It should be boiled and cut into small pieces before serving to tetras.


Tetras can be served with raspberries but in the same style as strawberries. It contains Vitamin K and antioxidants, which help tetras avoid certain diseases.

How Do You Feed A Tetra?

You can follow these ways for feeding your tetras.

Choose your free time and understand tetras activity for feeding.

It would be best if you would feed your tetra in a proper scheduled way. This time is enough to feed them and observe their healthy activity.

If your tetras are sleeping while you are free to feed them, you should let them relax and wait until they are active in the tank water.

You can also let them have one day of fasting in a week. It will help them clear their digestive system and help their stomach if they suffer from bloating or constipation.

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How Often To Feed Tetras?

Tetras should be fed not more than 2 to 3 times daily to avoid any impact on their health and energy level.

Feeding time can be early morning, noon, and late night, if you want to feed three times daily. Otherwise, feeding 2 times daily and 12 hours apart is great for them, 

How Much To Feed Tetras?

Tetras, like other animals, don’t understand their hungry time and how much they should fee. It can be a challenge for new fish owners to understand the amount of feed to be served at a time.

Start serving your fish with a pinch of food, and if they finish it in 2 to 3 minutes, it is enough for them.

If they finish their food within 2 minutes, then more food can be served. On the other hand, if they finish eating food and still have some leftover food in the fish tank, you should reduce the serving amount in the next feed.

Overfeeding tetras can cause severe problems related to their healthy growth and energy. The stomach size of tetra should also be kept in mind while feeding them.

Putting too much food in the fish tank is dangerous as it will pollute the water, and tetras will overfeed them.

Best Food For Tetra Fish

Processed food to live food, frozen food to freeze-dried food, and human food are all possible food varieties to feed tetras. They are not selective eaters hence will nibble on every food type when they will be hungry.

Tetras are omnivores which makes them more plant-based eaters than protein-based. Fish food mix of fewer proteins and more nutritional values is best for tetras. 

Fish flakes are the best example of plant-based food but avoid choosing wheat-based flakes because they are high in carbs and cause some bloating and constipation issues in tetra.

Are Tetras Bottom Feeders?

Different types of tetras act differently when it comes to surface feeders or bottom-feeding.

Some tetras are surface feeders, which means that they start grabbing food from the water’s surface. Other types of tetras will wait for food to be sunk to the bottom of the water and then start nibbling.

Algae is a favorite food for tetras, usually found at the bottom of the tank.

How Long Can Tetras Go Without Food?

Tetras take food 2 to 3 times daily, and for their healthy growth, fasting should also be done weekly. Tetras are smaller in size, so they can’t digest and keep more food in their stomach for a longer time.

According to some researchers, tetras shall not be left without food for more than a week. Some fishes can last longer than a week if they are in an aquarium filled with more plants.

As in this case, fish will start eating plants to survive and keep them active. But longer breaks can cause serious health issues and decrease their energy level to move actively in the water tank.

Can Tetras Eat Chicken?

Chicken is a protein-based food and contains other nutritional values such as iron, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. Proteins are always a portion of good food for fish development and growth.

Tetras can eat chicken without any hesitation. To feed chicken to your tetras, boil the chicken or steam it. Make small boiled or steamed chicken pieces and put them in the fish tank.

The amount of serving and several servings per week should be taken into account to avoid any harmful impact on fish health.


Tetras can eat a different kinds of suitable foods without any hesitation whenever served to them. As discussed above, you need to feed tetras in a proper way with a schedule. So that, they can grow up in a healthier way.

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