Fun Penguin Tetra Facts For Kids

Devangana Rathore
Oct 20, 2022 By Devangana Rathore
Originally Published on Sep 02, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Sakshi Raturi
There are a variety of fun penguin tetra facts to know.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.6 Min

Is the penguin tetra aggressive or calm? What do they eat and how do they live? There is so much to be known about this small, elusive fish. They are primarily tropical fish, preferring to live in the warmer waters of the world. These areas include Peru, Brazil, and the rivers in these areas. The small fish that they are, they are found close to the surface of these rivers. These fish are also omnivorous and will eat a variety of food. Not only do they eat brine shrimp and smaller worms, but they will also enjoy seaweed and other small vegetation. This peaceful species, tetra penguin, is known by various titles among aquarium hobbyists, including blackline penguin fish, penguin fish hockey-stick tetra, blackline thayeria, and penguin tetra. This species can be kept in a community aquarium with other soft water fish, having a minimum tank size of 20-30 gal (75.7-113.5 l).

Continue reading to learn about the penguin tetra, its diet, spawning, and habitat. You can also check out other animals and fish like the tetra or harlequin duck.

Penguin Tetra Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a penguin tetra?

The penguin tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) is a type of fish.

What class of animal does a penguin tetra belong to?

These penguin tetras belong to the class of fish.

How many penguin tetras are there in the world?

The estimated population of this aquarium fish species is not known.

Where does a penguin tetra live?

These tropical fish, that are popular in freshwater aquariums, lives in streams or rivers. For example, the penguin tetra is an river and tributary fish that greatly compliments any community aquarium.

What is a penguin tetra's habitat?

The natural habitat of tetra penguins (family Characidae) is small streams, including the edges of smaller rivers within the lowland Amazon basin region. It is a member of the extraordinarily diversified Neotropical fish fauna.

Who do penguin tetras live with?

Penguin tetras are a schooling fish with tens of thousands of individuals. When housed in groups of six or more, these tank fish really flourish. Glowlight danios are another type of peaceful fish that live with other fish in the same species.

How long does a penguin tetra live?

The penguin tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) fish has a limited lifespan in the wild. However, this community tank fish can live about three to five years in an aquarium.

How do they reproduce?

Breeding a penguin tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) is not difficult. In captivity, increase the ratio of live meals like brine shrimp with bloodworms to flakes or pelletized foods to enhance breeding. Females will develop enormous, spherical bellies full of eggs, and males will start chasing females all around the tank. Females will lay their eggs on plants. A male penguin tetra highly fertilizes the eggs. In less than 24 hours, the eggs will hatch. As soon as the penguin tetra fry hatch, they will begin feeding. Flakes and ground pellets are excellent starter foods.

What is their conservation status?

This peaceful tank penguin tetra fish (family Characidae) of South America have a conservation status of Least Concern, according to the IUCN Red List.

Penguin Tetra Fun Facts

What do penguin tetras look like?

This aquarium fish has a silver belly with a prominent black line running along the lateral into the lower surface of the tail fin, giving it a penguin-like appearance.

The penguin tetra's name comes from the fact that it swims in a somewhat upright stance rather than in a horizontal pattern like other fish.

How cute are they?

The peculiar swimming motions of this species can be rather eye-catching, and they offer the fish a strong individuality among tank mates of comparable size.

How do they communicate?

People can't hear them communicate, but when one of the fish in the school spots anything, the rest of the school will approach to investigate.

How big is a penguin tetra?

In a well-kept aquarium, the penguin tetra size can reach around2.5 in (6.3 cm), with an average size of1.2 in (3 cm), making it one of the larger members of tetra species. The size of the x-ray tetra is about 1.6-1.9 in (4-4.8 cm) in length.

How fast can a penguin tetra swim?

The tetra penguin can quickly swim out of locations with faster currents in their natural habitat. They can continue swimming until they find locations with slow currents. In an aquarium, it is critical to keep the water flowing properly. Neon tetras are fast swimmers.

How much does a penguin tetra weigh?

These tropical fish aren't choosy about their diet and weigh 0.004 oz (0.11 g) in the wild. The size of the female species is slightly larger and broader than males.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female penguin tetras have no unique names. This yellow tank fish prefers acidic water conditions for breeding and spreading their eggs among plants in an aquarium.

What would you call a baby penguin tetra?

Fry refers to the infant of these tropical freshwater fish from South America. They are able to swim after four days of hatching.

What do they eat?

Penguin tetras aren't picky about their diet and will eat almost everything. In the little streams where they emerge, they eat on small worms, crustaceans, and insects. In an aquarium, you can feed this fish smaller pellets and flake foods. Brine shrimp, thawed blood worms, and other freshwater items can and should be included in their diet. This species is comfortable with foods such as frosted, freeze-dried, or live foods.

Are they dangerous?

These community aquarium fish are not dangerous and prefer to live in groups.

Would they make a good pet?

Tetras are schooling fish that do well in groups of six or more fish. They can live with other peaceful community tank mates like cardinal tetra, black skirt tetra, black neon tetra, clown loach, and silver dollar. Guppies, danios, and rasboras are small, gentle fish, and make good tank mates.

Because their original environment is densely forested and covered by a jungle canopy, they are accustomed to indirect lighting. These fish can adapt to a wide range of water conditions. These tropical fish of South America will thrive in aquariums with floating plants or tall plants to diffuse the intense aquarium lighting.

Did you know...

The Buenos Aires tetra enjoys nibbling on living plants, and its diet is mostly vegetation-based. Therefore, include plenty of vegetables and plants in its diet since they appear to enjoy grazing on them.

Are penguin tetras known as fin nippers?

Penguin tetras are freshwater schooling fish and are known for being fin nippers, in addition to their peculiar swimming stance. Don't be turned off by this characteristic. When you keep them in a group of peaceful fish, their nipping is either non-existent or considerably decreased.

Are penguin tetras hardy?

The penguin tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) is an excellent starter fish because they are hardy but peaceful, yet they will nip the fins of sluggish tank mates. It's best to use a dark substrate containing bushy plants. The best groups are those with six or more tetras.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these x-ray tetra facts and glowlight danio facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable penguin tetra coloring pages.

Penguin Tetra Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Small worms, brine shrimp, insects, and freshwater foods

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?

Up to 1000

How Much Did They Weigh?

0.004 oz (0.11 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

amazon river basin and the araguaia river

Where Do They Live?

peru and brazil

How Long Were They?

1.2 in (3 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Thayeria boehlkei

What Do They Look Like?

Golden and black

Skin Type

Wet scales

What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Devangana Rathore

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana Rathore picture

Devangana RathoreBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language, Master of Philosophy

Devangana is a highly accomplished content writer and a deep thinker with a Master's degree in Philosophy from Trinity College, Dublin. With a wealth of experience in copywriting, she has worked with The Career Coach in Dublin and is constantly looking to enhance her skills through online courses from some of the world's leading universities. Devangana has a strong background in computer science and is also an accomplished editor and social media manager. Her leadership skills were honed during her time as the literacy society president and student president at the University of Delhi.

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