Ruby Tetra: Care Tips, Health, Tank, And More

Scientifically known as Axelrodia riesei
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: July 16, 2024
Review Process and Evaluation Criteria
We conduct hands-on testing for all the products highlighted in our reviews and guides. Through anonymous product ordering and involving an independent team of testers, we gather direct experience to offer recommendations backed by data.

Curious about keeping your ruby tetra happy and healthy? Stop worrying! This awesome guide offers **key tips** for their best care. It covers setting up their tank and boosting their well-being too. Wave goodbye to doubts and get ready for a lively aquarium full of these tiny underwater gems. Dive in to learn more!

Article Summary

  • Ruby Tetras are native to the Rio Meta river in Colombia and require specific water parameters for their habitat.
  • They are vulnerable to diseases like Ich and bacterial infections.
  • Breeding Ruby Tetras involves differentiating sexes, setting up a dedicated breeding tank, encouraging spawning behavior, and caring for eggs and fry.

Ruby Tetra Facts: A Freshwater Fish

The ruby tetra (Axelrodia riesei), commonly called Riese, is a freshwater fish native to Columbia. This stunning fish caught the attention of aquarium enthusiasts when it was first introduced to the market in 1988. Its vibrant colors and unique patterns quickly made it famous in aquariums worldwide.

Natural Habitat

The ruby tetra species is found in the Rio Meta, a river in Colombia, and specific water parameters characterize its habitat. Due to its particular water parameter tolerance, the ruby tetra has a limited distribution in the wild. This means it can only be found in certain areas where the water conditions meet its requirements.

The Rio Meta provides the ideal habitat for the ruby tetra, allowing it to thrive and display its vibrant colors. However, its limited distribution makes it a prized addition to any aquarium, as it is not commonly found in the wild.

Ruby Tetra Overview

Physical Appearance

Ruby tetras have a torpedo-shaped body with a rounded head, tapered tail end, and dorsal placement. Their bodies are orange-red with a distinctive black spot on the tailfin, while their fins display iridescent blue streaks.

Males and females can be distinguished by their coloration and appearance. Males tend to have more vibrant colors, with deeper shades of orange-red and more pronounced iridescent blue streaks on their fins. Females have slightly duller colors and less prominent streaks.

As adults, ruby tetras reach a size of approximately 1.5 inches, making them a relatively small species of fish.

Ruby Tetra Behavior

Ruby tetras are known for their unique behavior and intriguing group dynamics. These fish exhibit a shoaling fish behavior, meaning they prefer to swim in groups rather than alone. This social behavior sets them apart from other characins.

Ruby Tetras heavily rely on their vision, as diurnal creatures…

Ruby tetras tend to be active, constantly moving around their tank. They heavily rely on their vision, as diurnal creatures are most active during the day. However, there are times when ruby tetras may hide and exhibit darting movements within their tanks. This behavior can be a sign of stress or fear.

Ruby Tetra Health

The Ruby Tetra is a beautiful freshwater fish species that requires proper care to maintain its health. Here are some important points to consider when it comes to the health of your Ruby Tetras:

Lifespan Potential

Ruby Tetras have a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, but this can be influenced by various factors such as diet, water conditions, and stress levels. These vibrant fish can thrive and live for several years with proper care.

A balanced diet that includes a mix of high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods can contribute to their overall health and longevity.

Maintaining optimal water conditions with appropriate temperature, pH levels, and regular water changes is crucial for their well-being.

Stress levels also play a significant role in their lifespan…

Stress levels also play a significant role in their lifespan, so it is essential to create a peaceful and comfortable environment for them by avoiding overcrowding and providing hiding spots.

By considering these factors and providing the necessary care, Ruby Tetras can live a fulfilling and healthy life in your aquarium.

Diet and Feeding

Ruby Tetras have opportunistic feeding habits and exhibit micro-predatory behavior, hunting for insects and tiny invertebrates in the wild.

These adaptable fish readily accept varied diets in captivity, including high-quality flakes, pellets, and live foods like Artemia (brine shrimp), micro worms, Tubifex worms, bloodworms, and baby brine shrimp.

Feeding Tips

To ensure that Ruby Tetras receive proper nutrition, it is recommended to feed them multiple times a day in small portions. This helps prevent overfeeding and reduces the risk of water pollution.

Additionally, when feeding hiding fish like Ruby Tetras, ensuring that all individuals receive their fair share of food can be challenging.

One useful trick is to scatter the food throughout, ensuring that all individuals receive their fair share of food can be challenging and that even the shyest fish get their fill.

Diseases and Health Considerations

Due to their selective habitat adaptation, Ruby Tetras are known to be vulnerable to certain diseases like Ich (white spot disease) and Neon Tetra Disease.

In addition to these ailments, they are also prone to other common conditions such as skin flukes, bacterial infections, and parasites.

These health issues can be detrimental to the well-being of Ruby Tetras and can greatly affect their overall health and vitality. Fishkeepers must be aware of these potential diseases and take precautions to prevent and treat them effectively.

Preventive Measures And Treatment

Quarantining new fish before introducing them into your main tank is essential in preventing the spread of diseases among your Ruby Tetras. This precautionary measure helps ensure your fish population’s overall health and well-being.

You can closely monitor new fish for any signs of illness or disease by isolating new fish. This allows you to take appropriate action, such as providing treatment or seeking veterinary assistance, before introducing them to your main tank.

Monitoring water conditions involves regularly testing the water parameters, such as pH levels, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. Any fluctuations or abnormalities in these parameters can indicate potential issues that could compromise the health of your fish.

Ensure a well-balanced diet for your Ruby Tetras for their overall health and disease resistance. Providing a varied diet of high-quality fish flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods will help to boost their immune system and minimize the risk of diseases.


Identifying the symptoms and seeking appropriate treatment is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases to other fish in your tank.

Consulting with a veterinarian specializing in fish health can provide guidance and medication to treat the specific illness.

Tank Requirements

Ruby Tetras are relatively easy to care for once they have acclimated to their environment. Still, it is crucial to regularly check and adjust the water parameters as these fish are sensitive to changes. Provide a minimum tank size of 10 gallons to ensure enough space for these active fish.

Water Parameters

Maintain a temperature range of 68°F – 79°F and a pH between pH 5.0 – 6.5. Ruby Tetras prefer stagnant or slow-moving water, so consider creating such an environment in the aquarium.

Ruby Tetras thrive in tannin-rich, acidic black water as it closely mimics the acidic water in their natural habitat. This type of water provides essential nutrients and creates a more comfortable and stress-free environment, promoting their overall health and well-being.

Tank Setup

Ruby Tetra in a Tank With Plants
Ruby Tetra in a Tank With Plants

Mimicking their natural habitat is crucial, and one way to achieve this is by creating a dimly lit tank. Incorporating floating plants enhances the overall ambiance and mimics the low-lighting conditions of their native environment.

Use a dark substrate in the tank to help enhance the vibrant colors of Ruby tetras, making them truly stand out. Providing hiding spots and exploration areas is also essential to ensure the fish feel secure in their environment. Adding driftwood and rocks can create these hiding places and spaces for exploration.

Consider adding Indian almond leaves to maintain pH levels and recreate the natural habitat of Ruby tetras.

Following these tank setup guidelines, you can provide a comfortable and visually appealing environment for your Ruby tetras.

Ruby Tetra Tank Mates

Ruby Tetras are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their vibrant red color and peaceful nature.

It is essential to consider their peaceful temperament and specific water requirements. Suitable tank mates for Ruby Tetras include other Ruby Tetras themselves, as they will form a cohesive and visually appealing school.

Best Tank Mates

Otocinclus (dwarf suckermouth catfish) is another good choice as they are peaceful, algae-eating fish that can help keep the tank clean.

With their bottom-dwelling habits, Corydoras Catfish can also be compatible tank mates for Ruby Tetras.

Pencil Fish, known for their slender bodies and peaceful nature, can add an exciting dynamic to the aquarium.

Apistogramma, a type of dwarf cichlid, can also be considered tank mates for Ruby Tetras, as long as the aquarium provides enough hiding spaces for both species.

Similar in size and peaceful nature, Neon Tetras can create a visually stunning display when kept with Ruby Tetras.

Snails like Nerite or Mystery snails can be added to the aquarium as they help clean up excess food and algae.

Species to Avoid

It is crucial to avoid species that are known to be aggressive or territorial. These types of fish can cause significant stress to the Ruby Tetras, negatively impacting their health and overall well-being.

Creating a peaceful and harmonious environment for Ruby Tetras to thrive is important. By avoiding aggressive or territorial fish, you can help ensure the happiness and longevity of your Ruby Tetras.

Shrimp in a Tank

Regarding keeping Ruby Tetras with shrimp in a tank, please know the risk of predation on shrimplets. While Ruby Tetras can make exciting and colorful tank mates, their predatory nature can threaten the survival of shrimp offspring.

Shrimplets are particularly vulnerable to being hunted and eaten by these fish. Therefore, it is essential to carefully consider the compatibility of these species before introducing them into the same tank.

If you decide to keep Ruby Tetras with shrimp, providing plenty of hiding places for the shrimp to seek refuge and ensuring that the tank is well-established with a stable ecosystem is recommended.


Regularly monitoring the tank and removing any shrimplets that are at risk can help minimize the chances of predation.

Following these tank requirements, you can create an ideal home aquarium for your Ruby Tetra friends while ensuring their health and well-being.

Breeding Ruby Tetras

A Pair of Ruby Tetras Exploring The Tank
A Pair of Ruby Tetras

Breeding ruby tetras in captivity can be challenging due to the need for established protocols. However, with proper care and attention, it is possible to breed these beautiful freshwater fish successfully.

Differentiating Male And Female

To start breeding ruby tetras, it is crucial to differentiate between mature males and females. Males often display more vibrant coloration and have a slender body shape than females.

Dedicated Breeding Tank

Creating a dedicated breeding tank is essential for successful reproduction. Ensure the tank provides suitable conditions for the tetras, including appropriate water parameters and ample hiding spots. A spacious tank with plants or spawning mops will encourage the fish to lay their eggs.

Spawning Behavior

During spawning, male ruby tetras will engage in an embrace with the female ruby tetra before releasing their eggs. The eggs are then fertilized externally by the male’s milt. This process usually occurs near plants or other surfaces within the breeding tank.

Care For The Eggs And Fry

Once the eggs are laid, providing optimal care for their development is crucial. Remove adult tetras from the breeding tank after spawning to prevent them from consuming the eggs. The eggs typically hatch within a few days, and you can feed the fry baby brine shrimp or finely crushed flakes as they grow.

Breeding ruby tetras can be a rewarding experience for aquarists who appreciate their striking coloration and peaceful nature. You can successfully breed these captivating freshwater species by understanding their reproductive behavior and providing suitable conditions.

Ruby Tetra vs. Ember Tetra

Ruby tetras and ember tetras are famous for adding color to aquariums. While they share some similarities in water parameter requirements and peaceful nature, there are distinct differences between the two species.

Size: Ruby tetras have a larger size compared to ember tetras.

Coloration: Ember tetras showcase a more intense red coloration than ruby tetras.

Peaceful Nature: Both species are peaceful and suitable for community tanks.

Main Differences: The main differences between ruby and ember tetras are their coloration and body shape.

Water Parameters: Both species require similar water parameters, making them easy to care for.

Ruby tetras outshine their ember counterparts…

Ruby tetras outshine their ember counterparts with a larger physique. However, if you’re seeking vibrant red hues that catch the eye, ember tetras take the prize. Their intense red coloration adds a striking element to any aquarium.

Both ruby and ember tetras possess peaceful temperaments, making them ideal companions in community tanks. They coexist harmoniously with other fish species without causing disruptions or conflicts.

The primary distinctions between these two species revolve around their appearance. While ruby tetras boast larger bodies, the ember tetra’s captivating red hue steals the show. Their body shapes differ slightly.

One advantage of keeping either ruby or ember tetras is that they share similar water parameter requirements. You won’t need to drastically adjust your tank conditions when switching between these colorful options.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Take Care of a Ruby Tetra?

Taking care of a Ruby Tetra involves maintaining a suitable aquarium environment. Keep them in a tank of at least 10 gallons with a pH range of 6.0 to 7.5 and a temperature between 72°F to 79°F. Provide ample hiding spots among plants and soft substrates. Regular water changes and balanced filtration are crucial and avoid aggressive tankmates to reduce stress.

What Is the Behavior of a Ruby Tetra?

Ruby Tetras are known for their peaceful and schooling nature. They thrive in groups of 6 or more, which helps them feel secure. These tetras are active swimmers, often exploring all areas of the tank. Despite their small size, they exhibit vibrant red coloring that adds liveliness to any community aquarium.

What Do Ruby Tetras Eat?

Ruby Tetras are omnivores who prefer small insects, worms, and plant matter. A home aquarium readily accepts high-quality flakes, pellets, and live/frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. A varied diet ensures their overall health and vitality.

How Long Do Ruby Tetras Live?

On average, Ruby Tetras have a lifespan of 3 to 5- years lifespan when kept in optimal conditions. Providing a suitable environment, a proper diet, and minimizing stressors can contribute to a longer and healthier life span for these fish.

How Big Do Ruby Tetras Get?

Ruby Tetras typically grow to around 1 to 1.5 inches (2.5 to 3.8 cm) in length. Their small size makes them suitable for smaller aquarium setups, and their vibrant coloration adds an appealing touch to the tank.

Image Reference

  • Featured Image – Green Aqua (2020, February 20). Axelrodia riesei – Ruby Tetra [Photo]. Facebook.
  • Content Image – Peter Maguire (2015, July 11). Photo by Peter M4 – axelrodia-101 [Photo]. Pinterest.
  • Content Image – (2009, August 10). Tetra – Akvaristika : Tetre [Photo]. Pinterest.
You May Also Like