Maximum size : 2.5 cm

Domino Tetra - Neolebias powelli : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Prepare to be captivated by the allure of the Domino Tetra (Neolebias powelli), a small and peaceful fish that thrives in the serenity of a well-planted or nano aquarium. While these Tetras flourish in a species-only setup, they can also be harmoniously combined with other micro Tetras, Aphyosemion Killifish, and Dwarf Cichlids such as Pelvicachromis taeniatus. For those seeking diverse tank inhabitants, Dwarf Shrimp prove to be excellent companions for these charming fish. However, caution should be exercised when considering other species typically found in a community aquarium, as these may lead to intimidation or competition for food resources.

To ensure the utmost well-being of the Domino Tetras, it is highly recommended to maintain them in a group of at least ten individuals, preferably more. This social dynamic is crucial for the thriving of these small yet captivating fish.

Designing an aquarium that emulates the natural habitat of the Domino Tetra is a recipe for success. First, create an environment that incorporates subdued lighting achieved through floating plants, a dark substrate, and multiple sheltering areas. Optimal plant choices include species that thrive in low light conditions, such as Java Fern, Microsorium Pteropus, or smaller variants of Anubias. These additions not only enhance the aesthetic appeal but also provide the ideal backdrop for the vibrant display of the Domino Tetras.

Behold the mesmerizing appearance of the Domino Tetra, characterized by a yellowish-orange body adorned with emerald green to iridescent turquoise spots, ranging from one to four in number. Adding to their charm, the top half of their iris showcases an orange hue, while their fins gracefully exhibit transparency, creating an exquisite visual spectacle.

Domino Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Domino Tetras presents a certain level of challenge as they exhibit near-identical physical characteristics. Nevertheless, some subtle distinctions can be observed. Females generally possess slightly rounder bodies compared to males and may display a minute reduction in overall brightness. These nuanced variations provide valuable cues for discerning the sexes of these captivating fish.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameNeolebias powelli
Year Described1990
Other NamesPowell's Dwarf Tetra
Max Size2.5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 5.5 - 7.5
GH 5 - 20
KH 0 - 8
Ideal Temperature
72 - 78
22 - 25

Natural Habitat

Prepare to embark on a journey to the Niger Delta in Nigeria, West Africa, where the enchanting Domino Tetras are endemic. These remarkable fish thrive within the confines of small bodies of water, characterized by a moderate flo, found in the creeks, streams, and ponds adorned with abundant vegetation.

Regrettably, the habitat of the Domino Tetras faces a formidable challenge as the quality of their environment continues to decline, primarily due to the activities associated with oil exploration. The consequential impact has rendered the Domino Tetras critically endangered, further emphasizing the importance of conservation efforts and raising awareness regarding the preservation of their delicate ecosystem.

Bear witness to the urgency of protecting these captivating fish and their fragile habitat, as their survival relies on our collective dedication to preserving the unique biodiversity found within the Niger Delta. Let us unite in safeguarding the Domino Tetras, ensuring that their irreplaceable presence continues to grace the waters of West Africa for generations to come.


While the information on breeding Domino Tetras is limited, successful breeding endeavours have been achieved in home aquariums. In a well-structured and mature aquarium, the emergence of small numbers of fry may occur naturally, without human intervention. However, if the goal is to maximize fry production, setting up a separate breeding tank becomes essential.

The breeding tank should feature dim lighting and be adorned with bundles of fine-leaved plants, such as java moss, which provide suitable spawning sites. Spawning mops can also serve as effective mediums for egg deposition. To protect the eggs, the tank's base can be covered with mesh, ensuring the holes are large enough for the eggs to fall through yet small enough to prevent the parents from reaching them.

Domino Tetras can be spawned in a group comprising both males and females, typically around half a dozen individuals. Adequate conditioning with a plentiful supply of live and frozen foods is vital to facilitate successful spawning. Alternatively, pairs can be formed for breeding purposes. In this scenario, females and males are conditioned separately in tanks equipped with high-quality diets consisting of frozen and live foods. The main breeding tank should maintain a slightly elevated temperature and somewhat acidic water. Once the females exhibit gravidity and the males display their most vibrant colours, select the healthiest female and the most visually striking male and introduce them to the breeding tank. Spawning typically occurs on the following day.

Regardless of the breeding method employed, removing the adults promptly after spawning is crucial to prevent them from consuming the eggs. The eggs will hatch within approximately 24 to 36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming about a week later. During the initial weeks of their lives, nourishing the fry with infusoria-based foods is recommended until they reach a size suitable for accepting baby brine shrimp and microworms. Given their sensitivity to fluctuating water chemistry, it is advisable to refrain from performing water changes during the early stages of the fry's development.

Diet & feeding

Within the confines of the home aquarium, the Domino Tetra exhibits a favourable acceptance of high-quality dried foods, including flakes, pellets, and granules specifically tailored to their small size. However, it is essential to complement their diet with a regular offering of small live, freeze-dried, and frozen food varieties. These additions, such as baby brine shrimp, Moina, daphnia, grindal worms, tubifex, or bloodworms, contribute to the optimal nutritional balance required for the well-being of your Tetras. By incorporating this diverse array of nourishment, you ensure that their dietary needs are met while promoting their overall health and vitality.

Other Tetras of interest