Do Tetra Fish Sleep?

Estimated read time 6 min read

If you recently purchased some new Tetras you may be asking a few of the following questions:

  1. Do Tetra Fish Sleep?
  2. How Do Tetra Fish Sleep?
  3. Why Do Tetra Fish Sleep?
  4. How Can You Tell When Your Tetra Is Sleeping?
  5. Is Your Tetra Sleeping Enough?
  6. Do Tetras Play Dead?

Luckily we will answer all these questions below and share a few tips to ensure your Tetras get the rest they need.

But first, let’s see where Tetra Fish come from?

Tetras are from South America and are widely known for their vibrant colors and peaceful nature.

But their most prominent feature is the adipose fin that’s present between caudal and dorsal fins.

Tetras are among the most common Fish you’ll find in your local fish store and home aquariums because they are small, colorful, and fun to watch.

There are many interesting facts about these colorful Fish and their sleeping habits.

For example:

Did you know that Tetras can change color while sleeping?

It’s true!

If you own some Tetras and curious about their sleeping habits then read on;

I’ll tell you everything you need to know!


Do Tetra Fish Sleep?

Tetra fish do sleep it’s just different than what you and I think sleep is. Most fish sleep by hiding, changing color, and becoming still.

Here is a helpful video to give you a better idea of what a sleeping fish looks like.

How Do Tetra Fish Sleep?

It can be challenging to spot a sleeping Tetra because fish sleep with their eyes open.

Because of this, you’ll need to look for other signs that they are sleeping such as:

  • Color changes
  • They become inactive

One fact that distinguishes Tetra Fish from other species is they can change color while sleeping. Unlike the vibrant, colors of an awake Tetra, a sleeping Tetra becomes pale and lose their color.

Why Do Tetra Fish Sleep?

Although their sleeping habits are not as complicated as ours, Tetra Fish sleep for the same reasons. They do it to rest their bodies.

That said, no one knows why we sleep.

That said, lack of sleep can be detrimental to your Fish.

According to a PMC study, sleep deprivation affects fish performance on the next day. Their gill-movement gets slower, and their mouths don’t move as frequently. They also have slower breathing while sleeping.

So, when your Tetra is in this tranquil state, it’s likely sleeping, so don’t disturb it.

It’s just resting its small body.

How Can You Tell When Your Tetra Is Sleeping?

Most aquarists can’t tell when their Fish are sleeping. This is likely because Fish don’t close their eyes when they sleep.

So, as mentioned above, look for other signs your Fish is sleeping, loss of color and inactive Fish is usually a sign they are sleeping or resting.

Another way to tell if your Fish is sleeping is to try to track their sleeping schedule.

Most Fish have a routine; just like us, they will rest and sleep at similar times from each day. Tetras are moving most of the time, so you’ll know when they’re resting.

Once you know this routine and pair it up with some of the other signs like loss of color, I’m sure you can figure it out.

Is Your Tetra Sleeping Enough?

While you don’t need to track your Fish’s sleeping patterns to have a successful aquarium, it is essential to have a schedule that promotes rest.

If your Tetras are not getting enough, it can lead to other health issues.

You can make sure your Tetra is getting enough rest by installing an aquarium light that works on a timer.

That way, you’ll create a day/night routine for them. They’ll automatically sleep when the light is off.

If you can’t get light, you can install a curtain and draw it when it’s nighttime, so your Tetra gets the hint.

Do Tetras Play Dead?

Tetras can sometimes play dead if they feel threatened, scared, or want to grab your attention.

In any case, it doesn’t happen often. However, if you notice it’s something that happens more than once or twice, in some cases, it could be a sign of some disease.

For example:

If you notice the Fish whirling while isolated, it could be a parasitic disease or a head injury.

If you notice this type of behavior, the first thing you should do in this case is to isolate the Fish that does it, in case it’s a contagious disease.

How To Promote Good Sleeping Routine For Your Tetras

If you want to promote a good sleeping routine for your Tetras, there are a couple of things you can do to ensure that your Tetra gets the sleep they need.

Use An Aquarium Light

In general, Tetras require light to be on for 12-14 hours a day to maintain their circadian rhythm. It helps them stick to a sleeping routine.

Installing an aquarium light that works on a timer is the best way to keep things on schedule.

However, light preferences can vary from one Tetra species to another.

For example:

Neon and Cardinals prefer low light, so a densely planted tank with low light and some tannins would be perfect.

Set The Ideal Temperature & pH Level

Tetras are tropical Fish, which means they prefer warmer water.

Keep their tank water temperature between 74 and 82 Fahrenheit. Moreover, the ideal pH level for their tank is 6.0-7.8.

You can add many things to alter your aquariums water parameters; for instance, you can add some aquarium salt.

Salt can prevent some health issues, and brighten the colors of some fish. However, beware that some fish aren’t salt tolerable, so do some research.

Find The Right Tank Mates

The type of tank mates you keep with your Tetras can impact their ability to rest and sleep.

For example:

Keeping large, aggressive Fish may cause stress, and your Tetras may not feel safe enough to sleep, ultimately leading to other health issues.

Also, most Tetras are schooling Fish and enjoy companionship. Having adequately sized schools will keep your Tetras feeling safe and part of a community.

Wrap Up

Tetras are among some of the most beautiful aquarium fish. Their vibrant colors and delicate shape are a great addition to most aquariums.

However, they come with responsibilities, as all pets do. And these responsibilities are not limited to their food and aquarium equipment.

With the answers above, you should now understand their sleeping habits and create a safe, welcoming environment that will promote a healthy lifestyle for your Tetras.

Just be sure to always look out for any changes in their daily behavior and sleeping patterns – Which could be a sign of something that is troubling them.

Otherwise, have fun raising those little colorful guys!

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