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Do Congo Tetras Have Teeth?

There is so much to learn about the Congo tetra. They are one of the most popular freshwater fish, but how much do you really know about them? Do they have teeth, for example? There’s only one way to find out–read on!

You might be surprised, but yes, Congo tetras, do have teeth. In fact, most tetra fish have teeth. Congo tetras can become fin nippers if they don’t feel safe in their tank. If you’re considering owning Congo tetras, don’t worry, as most don’t end up nipping other fish.

One would think that with teeth, the Congo tetra would then be carnivorous however, they are omnivorous. For the most part, these beautifully colored fish are a real treat to keep in a large tank. There are certain precautions you should take regarding how your aquarium is setup and maintained to prevent your Congo tetra from using its teeth.

Continue reading to find out if the Congo tetra is right for your aquarium or if you should choose another fish instead.

Do Congo Tetras Nip Fins?

It’s possible for Congo tetras to nip fins. In fact, it’s not uncommon for them at all. Fish that are not compatible with the Congo tetra should be avoided as Congos will nip fins under certain circumstances.

If your fish tank is too small and it leads to your Congos feeling crowded, they could easily become agitated and start to lash out at other fish.

If you have two males and no females, they could fight and other fish in the tank could be harmed in the process.

If you keep fish such as guppies with big flashy tail fins, the Congo’s might be enticed to nip on them.

That said, in general, a Congo tetra is a calm fish that usually won’t start nipping unless the conditions in the tank aren’t optimum for them.

Do Congo Tetras Nip on Live Plants?

For the most part, yes, Congo tetras like to eat plants. In fact, you should make sure your live plants are sturdy enough to be able to withstand the attention.

If you have live plants in your tank and the Congos are eating them, it could be a sign that they’re getting too hungry. They should be fed at least once a day – actually, it’s best if they’re fed twice when you run into this issue.

Remember that Congo tetras are omnivorous which means they eat meat and plants.

If you don’t want to feed the fish twice a day, then why not place a chunk of lettuce or spinach in the tank on a plastic clip and let them nibble on that whenever they want?

Just make sure to take the lettuce out at the end of the day as you don’t want it to decompose and affect the ammonia levels in the water.

Do Congo Tetras Swim in Schools?

Congo tetras are docile fish and prefer to be kept in groups of at least 6. This behavior helps them to feel more comfortable in their surroundings and allows them to keep one another safe from potential predators.

Six Congos would be nice, but it’s probably too many for any tank under 50-gallons. I am saying that because these fish grow up to 3″ long and, chances are, you will want other fish in the same tank as well.

If, by chance, you can get young Congo tetras, then having 3 to 6 in a 20-gallon to 30-gallon would be fine until they start growing. By young I mean no larger than 1″ to 1.5″ in length.

One word of caution is to do your best to have only one male if your tank is smaller than 30-gallons. This will minimize any inter-species fighting. If your tank is 50-gallons or larger, then having 2 males with 4 to 6 females would be fine.

school of Congo tetras

Can I Put Congo Tetras with Other Fish?

It is possible, as Congo tetras are peaceful fish. It would probably be best to keep them with other fish that are of the same size and temperament otherwise, they won’t be able to get along.

Especially, if you have small tetras or other fish that can be preyed on like guppies.

Bottom dwellers like cory catfish are an excellent option to add to a Congo tetra tank. You could also add other bottom dwellers like amano shrimp, provided they’re large enough not to fit in a tetra’s mouth!

Keep all other community fish about the same size or larger than your Congos.

Having a moderately planted tank and hiding places for bottom dwellers and some fish will also keep everything in the tank feeling safe and allow you more options on different varieties of fish.


In general, Congo tetras are gentle fish and are an ideal choice for any beginner needing new ideas for types of fish.

They’re easy to take care of and have a very peaceful temperament but can be thrown into situations where they start to act a bit nippy. These situations would be things like the tank being overcrowded, too many males, insufficient diet, etc.

Congo tetras do have tiny teeth and will use them when they need to. However, 99% of the time they are peaceful with no need for concern.

Good luck if you choose to keep some Congo tetras in your aquarium.

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