Max Size: 8cm

African Red Eyed Tetra (Arnoldichthys spilopterus)

African Red-eyed Tetras are a peaceful, hardy and highly active species that makes an excellent member of the West African themed community aquarium. These Tetras are a schooling species in nature; therefore, you should keep them in a group of at least ten individuals. Keeping these fish in more significant numbers will result in a more engaging, natural-looking display.

African Red-eyed Tetras are rare in the wild and are not usually available to fish keeping enthusiasts.

Ideal tankmates for African Red-eyed Tetras should be of similar size and temperament; these can include other Tetras from the same family, Catfish and robust African Dwarf Cichlids, to name a few. It would be best to avoid housing these Tetras with shy species, species with intricate fins or very small fish.

The ideal aquarium for these Tetras would contain driftwood roots and branches, smooth stones and aquatic plants; however, you must make sure you leave plenty of open swimming space for these active species. Filtering over peat would help mimic their natural waters, which are often stained brown from the tannins released by decaying organic matter. Adding a few dried leaves will also help to achieve this result. These fish are quite sensitive to poor water quality and will not do well if maintenance and water changes are not performed regularly.

Unlike many Characins, African Red-eyed Tetras have very large scales giving them a slightly barb-like appearance. In addition, these Tetras have a silvery body; however, they develop a very noticeable iridescent blue, green and yellow colouration as they mature. These fish also display black and yellow colouring in their dorsal fin and have a yellowish-gold hue on their upper eye.


African Red Eyed Tetra
Quick Facts
Scientific NameArnoldichthys spilopterus
Other NamesAfrican Red Eye Tetra, Large Scaled African Characin, Red Eyed Characin, Niger Tetra, Arnold's Red Eyed Characin, Arnold's Tetra
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan5 - 8 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 20
KH4 - 8
TDS18 - 268
73 - 82℉
22.8 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the African Red Eyed Tetra will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is straightforward to distinguish the male from the female African Red-eyed Tetra. Males are much more colourful than females, are usually slimmer and possess dark stripes in their curved anal fin. In contrast, females are more rounded in the body, are slightly duller and have a black tip on their straight anal fin.

Other Tetras of interest

Adonis Tetra(Lepidarchus adonis)
African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
Arowana Tetra(Gnathocharax steindachneri)
Black Chin Tetra(Piabucus melanostoma)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Emperor Tetra(Nematobrycon palmeri var. "Amphiloxus Black")
View all Tetras
Date Added: 07/12/2021 14:20:59 - Updated: 08/08/2022 15:52:12