Candy Cane Tetra: Fish Care Guide


Candy Cane Tetra is one of the most common species of the Characidae family. It is a freshwater fish that is native Amazon basin in Peru. This fish is one of the newest discoveries in the aquarium world.

Candy Cane Tetra originated from vitamin-rich water. You will often find them in the densely vegetated part of their natural habitat.

Although this fish is relatively hard to breed, you will still find them in several aquariums. They are also available for sale in various pet stores. They work better in a school of 6 or more. So, you can trust them to add colors and elegance to your fish tank.

Typical Behavior

Candy Cane Tetra is one of the most peaceful species among tetras. Even though they move in school, you won’t find them causing any trouble. Hence, this fish species is a reasonable consideration for community tanks.

However, Candy Cane Tetra can exhibit some semi-aggressive behaviors when they are under stress. It is best to eliminate any risk factor that might cause them stress. Candy Cane Tetra can quarrel slightly within their school but will not cause any significant harm.

Candy Cane Tetra will only maintain their sane behavior when they are with suitable tank mates. Avoid keeping them with aggressive tank mates that might stress them out.

Also, ensure that you feed them properly. Proper feeding will ensure that the fish in the tank grow together in almost the same size. Candy Cane Tetra tends to exhibit size hierarchy when some fish grow more extensive than others.


Candy Cane Tetras are distinct in their appearance. You can easily differentiate them from other tetras. One of their noticeable features is their white-tipped fin.

The other parts of the fin usually have dark red marks, and these marks are unique for this species. Candy Cane Tetra has a flat body with translucent pink coloration.

Putting them together in a school of 6 or more will undoubtedly add beauty to your tank. You can mix them with other bright-colored species to create a beautiful mix in your fish tank.


The lifespan of a fish is how long they should live under suitable conditions. On average, Candy Cane Tetra can live up to 3 to 5 years under appropriate conditions.

Various factors can influence the lifespan of this fish species. One of the notable factors is size. Small Candy Cane Tetra tends to live longer than bigger ones.

Other factors that can influence Candy Cane Tetra’s lifespan include;

  • Feeding and nutrient supply
  • Water quality and general living conditions
  • Tankmates
  • Other risk factors

Feeding Candy Cane Tetra appropriately with the proper diet will aid their growth and increase their lifespan. Poor feeding can shorten their lifespan.

A similar rule applies to other risk factors. The more you make these conditions suitable for your fish, the better for their lifespan.


Size is a crucial factor with any fish. It determines a lot in their care guide and even their lifespan. Candy Cane Tetra has moderate sizes.

On average, Candy Cane Tetra can be between 1.6 inches to 1.8 inches (4 – 4.5 cm) at complete growth. Some can fall outside this range on rare occasions.

Gene and other living variations can be responsible for their size variation. Feeding and water quality are huge determinants here. But you might not be able to tell the difference between males and females from their general size.


Sexing helps you to tell the difference between male and female Candy Cane Tetra. The good news is that you can figure it out with ease because they exhibit sexual dimorphism.

The main difference between male and female Candy Cane Tetra is in their dorsal fins. Male Candy Cane Tetras have a long and distinct dorsal fin. Females tend to lack a distinctive dorsal fin. Also, female Candy Cane Tetra are plumper than the males.

Compatible Tank Mates

Tankmates can make or mar the existence of Candy Cane Tetra. This fish species love to stay together in a school of 6 or more fishes. But you can still keep them with other suitable tank mates.

Candy Cane Tetras are peaceful with small bodies. So, it is best to keep them with other mild fish of similar size. Keeping them with aggressive tank mates can stress them out, which can be detrimental to the success of your tank. Bigger fish can also prey on Candy Cane Tetra and snack on them as food.

Also, fish tank mates must have similar water and environmental requirements. For instance, Candy Cane Tetras are freshwater fish. It is not appropriate to keep them with saltwater species.

Some suitable tank mates for your fish include similar sized;

  • Rasboras
  • Tetra
  • Angelfish
  • Anabantids
  • Corydoras
  • Barbs
  • Guppies
  • Platys
  • Gouramis
  • Dwarf cichlids
  • Discus

Water Conditions

Water conditions are one of the significant factors that influence Candy Cane Tetra’s life quality. The good news is that this fish species is hardy. They tend to tolerate a wide range of water conditions.

Candy Cane Tetra is freshwater fish species, and it is best to use a 20-gallon tank. They thrive best when the water hardness is within the range of 3 to 12 dGH.

They require clean and stable water conditions for them to thrive. They do not like too much water movement or water current. Keep the water slow and passive!

Also, water filtration is vital in Candy Cane Tetras’ tank. You can use the filters that are designed to fit tetra’s tank. Alternatively, you can use some plants that can act as filters.

Good filters will help you to keep the tank clean by removing debris and toxins. Suitable substrates can also help in this regard. They will also provide a hiding place for the fish to limit stress.

Keeping Candy Cane Tetra’s tank clean requires regular water changes. It is best to carry out 30% to 50% water change weekly. You should also remove the biowaste while carrying out these water changes.


Temperature refers to the hotness or coldness of the tank water. Some species are warm-water fish, while others prefer cold water. Candy Cane Tetras are tropical fish. So, they prefer warm water. This fish species will thrive best in a temperature range of 22.7 degrees Celsius to 28 degrees Celsius (73ºF to 82ºF).

You can consider getting a water heater for your Candy Cane Tetras tank, but it is not compulsory. They can cope without a heater in a tropical area, but you would need it in cold regions. You can also explore other ways of increasing and maintaining water temperature without heaters. Consider keeping them indoors or at room corners.

Also, Candy Cane Tetras might need an increased temperature during breeding seasons. Raising the temperature during this period can lead to increased activity.

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PH Level

PH is another crucial factor in any fish tank. Candy Cane Tetras will also respond to the PH level in their tank. It is best to keep the temperature in Candy Cane Tetras’ tank at a near neutral level. The best PH for this species is between the range of 6.6 to 7.2.

Candy Cane Tetras are tolerant to this PH range because they are hardy. They can cope in slightly acidic conditions but thrive best at a neutral PH. This fish species can react sharply and negatively to unsuitable PH conditions.

You cannot tell the PH of your tank with mere physical evaluation. It is best to get a PH testing kit and test the water regularly for PH change. You can balance the water PH by carrying out partial water changes. Also, you can get PH-regulating chemicals but make sure that they don’t affect your fish.

Oxygen Level

Like most other fish, Candy Cane Tetras need oxygen to survive. Along with the cleanliness of the tank and other parameters, they also need oxygen to survive.

Ensure proper aeration of the fish tank to enhance adequate oxygen circulation. Also, it is best to avoid overcrowding your fish tank. Lack of oxygen can be as fatal as killing your fish.


Feeding is a crucial part of any living organism, and Candy Cane Tetras are not an exception to this rule. Their diet consideration can affect several aspects of the fish’s life, including growth and overall lifespan.

Their diet can reflect in their activity and rosy colors. A balanced diet will also keep the sanity of the tank intact. Candy Cane Tetras are omnivorous, which means they can feed on both plants and animals.

The natural diet of Candy Cane Tetras contains protein-rich foods and vitamins. They go after prey that can fit into their mouth in the wild. They feed on insects and various planktonic animals.

What to Feed Candy Cane Tetras?

Feeding omnivorous Candy Cane Tetras isn’t challenging. They are hardy eaters, and they will snack on almost anything that fits into their mouths.

You can choose to replicate their natural food while wide. Alternatively, you can choose to feed your fish with processed food and flakes.

You can feed them with quality micro pellets and fish flakes. Ensure that the composition of any processed food you are getting fits the requirements of tetras.

Aside from this, you can feed Candy Cane Tetras with live foods. Consider blending their food with high-protein live foods. You can try out various foods like brine shrimps, bloodworms, and daphnia. Tubifex is also a good feed for Candy Cane Tetras.

How Often to Feed Candy Cane Tetras?

Feeding Candy Cane Tetras is relatively easy. All you need to do is to add the food to the fish water in the appropriate quality. For fish, it is always quality over quantity.

It is best to feed Candy Cane Tetras in tiny amounts about twice daily. Avoid overloading the tank with too much food at once.

Offer them food that they can finish in three minutes or less. Also, remember to get rid of any leftovers in the tank. Otherwise, they will accumulate to form organic wastes, which are harmful to your fish.

You can make them happier and healthier by varying their diet. Mix things up so that your fish won’t get bored of having the same taste every time.


Breeding Candy Cane Tetras is not as difficult as it is in some other fish. But you have to focus on various crucial factors in the fish tank like lighting, diet, and water quality. You should also pay attention to the tank temperature, PH level, and plants.

The factors are essential for aiding the breeding process of Candy Cane Tetras. Pairing is also vital. So, it is best to treat Candy Cane Tetras breeding as a stepwise procedure, starting from the basics.

How to Tell If Candy Cane Tetras Pregnant

Most individuals, even experts, find it challenging to tell if a female Candy Cane Tetras is pregnant. Figuring out if Candy Cane Tetras is pregnant requires deep examination.

The first sign of a pregnant Candy Cane Tetra is the increase in body mass. The pregnant fish will appear more extensive, especially around their abdomen. The increased size around the belly will become more apparent right before spawning.

Also, you will notice a dark spot under the fish’s belly or somewhere close to the tail. The black dot will become very visible when it is close to spawning time.

How Long Are Candy Cane Tetras Pregnant For?

Candy Cane Tetras are egg layers. So, they carry the eggs around in their body for a while before spawning. Candy Cane Tetras carry their eggs for up to fourteen days (two weeks) before spawning. This period gives the eggs enough time to develop and mature.

But it is noteworthy that fertilization is external. The pregnant fish span unfertilized eggs for males to complete the tasks.

How long does it take to hatch Candy Cane Tetras eggs?

Hatching is a process that follows spawning. It starts with the male Candy Cane Tetras carrying out external fertilization. It only takes less than 24 hours for Candy Cane Tetras eggs to hatch.

You can monitor the process and start caring for your fry right after the procedure. Nevertheless, not all the fry will survive regardless of how much you try.

But start caring for the fry immediately after hatching to boost their chances of further survival.

How to Breed Candy Cane Tetras?

Breeding Candy Cane Tetras is a stepwise procedure that starts with preparing the breeding tank and ends with caring for the fry.

Find out the stepwise process of breeding Candy Cane Tetras below;

STEP 1: Prepare the Breeding Tank

The first step in breeding Candy Cane Tetras is to start preparing a suitable tank for this activity. You will be preparing two tanks in this case. The first tank will be for the breeding pair and the other tank for the fry when they hatch.

You will need to ensure some primary conditions in both tanks. Some of these conditions include proper aeration, plants, decoration, filtering, etc. You will need a bed for the breeding pairs to lay and fertilize their eggs.

Besides this, it is crucial to maintain regular water parameters. Ensure stable PH, temperature, and hardness. Proper feeding and suitable water movement.

The best plant for the tank is fine-leaved plants with no sharp edges. The filters for the fry tank should have mesh. This mesh will prevent the fry from entering into the filter.

STEP 2: Choose the Right Breeding Pair

Now it’s time to move compatible pairs into your breeding tank. Choose a mature male and female Candy Cane Tetras. The ratio of the male to female should be 1:2 or 1:3.

This ratio ensures that the males will have enough females to mate. If the males are more than the females, they will end up stressing out the latter.

Also, it is vital to ensure that both males and females are mature. They must be compatible in size as well. However, there shouldn’t be any problem if the male is larger than the female.

STEP 3: Breeding and Spawning

Once you have compatible and mature Candy Cane Tetras in your breeding tank, the process begins naturally. The process typically starts 24 to 48 hours after adding them to the same tank.

It is best to pay attention to this process. You need to observe the fish right from when they start carrying the eggs until they spawn. It might be risky to wait for Candy Cane Tetras to lay eggs. Their eggs are usually too small and might not be visible until they hatch.

Also, you must be aware that Candy Cane Tetras, like most other tetras, are egg scatterers. So, they tend to scatter their eggs all over the tank.

Once you notice the eggs in the tank, fertilization takes place in less than 24 hours. So, you need to start preparing for the evacuation of the fry once they arrive.

STEP 4: Hatching

Hatching occurs within 24 hours after fertilization. Try as much as possible to make the tank suitable for them on arrival. However, be prepared that not all the eggs will survive this process regardless of how much you try.

STEP 5: Evacuate the Parents

If you are unable to prepare a separate tank for your fry, you can evacuate the parents. You need to carry out this process as soon as you notice the fry in your tank.

Candy Cane Tetras’ fry does not need any parental care. In fact, the parents exhibit cannibalism after hatching. They will snack and feast on the fry.

Suitable plants and decorations can provide a hiding place for your fry until you evacuate the parents. Once you remove the parents, rearrange the tank and move on with the fry care.

Candy Cane Tetras Fry Care

Candy Cane Tetras fry is not difficult to care for in the tank. Start by ensuring suitable and stable water conditions. Avoid fluctuations in the water parameters and ensure the cleanliness of the tank.

Also, don’t rush Candy Cane Tetras fry with food. You should only start feeding them after five days. Besides providing them with suitable diets, it is also essential to ensure that what you are feeding to them fits their mouth.

Candy Cane Tetras’ fry diet can include planktons and crushed flaked foods. Crushing the flake foods will help them fit into their mouth. And the diet in these foods contains enough nutrients to support their active growth.

Watch your Candy Cane Tetras fry grow and monitor their growth. Ensure to maintain suitable and stable water conditions. Also, note that you should never add the fry into the main tank until they are big enough to compete and survive.

Diseases of Candy Cane Tetras

No one wishes for disease outbreaks in their fish tank, but it happens after all. So, it is best to learn about these possible diseases and how to combat them. Below are some common conditions in Candy Cane Tetras’ tank.

  • Ich

Ich is common with Candy Cane Tetras. This condition causes loss of appetite and abnormal hiding behavior in fish. Besides, it causes white spots to appear on the fish’s body.

The best way to cure itch is by raising the temperature of the tank. You can quarantine affected fish or add aquarium salt to the tank. Other medications can help too.

  • Dropsy

Dropsy causes fluid to build up inside the tissue cavity of Candy Cane Tetras. It can result from several conditions, including bacterial infection, liver dysfunction, and other parasitic invasions.

Dropsy can be damaging in a fish tank because it is difficult to cure. One of the best recommendations is to isolate and euthanize affected fish to avoid further spread.

  • Skin flukes

Flukes are caused by parasites known as “flukes” or “Trematoda.” The condition causes reduced appetite, sluggishness, and other abnormal behaviors. The best way to get rid of skin flukes in Candy Cane Tetras’ tank is by using various medications.

Ensuring cleanliness of the tank will work well too.


Candy Cane Tetras is a newly discovered fish species, but their popularity is growing geometrically. They are hardy, and it is easy to care for them. They are valuable additions to your fish tank because of their beautiful colors.

This fish species is peaceful and will cope in community tanks. Their best tank mates are other non-aggressive species of comparable size. Candy Cane Tetras love to move in a school of 5 or more.