Are Rasboras Tetras?

Rasboras are not tetras. Rasboras are Cyprinids, while tetras are Characids, and these families come from different areas. These tropical freshwater fish have similar needs and are often kept together. Rasboras and tetras are common aquarium fish kept because of their hardiness, small size, and peaceful nature. 

Tetras and rasboras are often mentioned when people ask about hardy fish that are good for community tanks. Although there are many similarities, these fish are not quite the same. Both are tropical freshwater fish, but what is the difference between them?

What Kind Of Fish Are Rasboras?

Rasboras are not one kind of fish. They are a genus from the family Cyprinidiedae, which makes up carp and minnows.

Cyprinids can range in size from ½ inch to nearly 9 feet, so there’s a lot of variety in the family, and not all are suitable for home aquariums.

Rasboras are native to South and Southeast Asian countries and, in general, are small varieties of fish. The largest rasboras can reach 6.7 inches, but most don’t grow larger than 4 inches.

Many rasboras have a distinctive horizontal band along their sides, and eighty-four species have been recognized in the genus Rasbora. Several of these are popular aquarium fish, partly because they are known to be hardy and fairly peaceful shoaling fish.

The characteristics of rasboras that make them so popular are their robust natures, hardiness to many aquarium diseases, and fascinating schooling behavior.

Some of the smallest fish in the home aquarium are rasboras like Chili Rasboras and Dwarf Rasboras.

While different rasbora types will have unique tank needs, recommended shoal sizes, and tank mates, for the most part, rasboras remain popular because they are peaceful fish that are easy to keep.

Close Up View of Harlequin Rasbora from Side

What Kind Of Fish Are Tetras?

Tetras are also small schooling fish, but they come from the family Characidae. Characids are freshwater fish from tropical and subtropical regions such as South America, Central America, and Africa.

Tetras have an additional adipose fin just before their tail, on the upper part of their bodies, and they are often rather small fish, rarely larger than about 1.2 inches.

Most tetras are river fish, but a few species, such as the Blind Cave Tetra, live in underground water systems in caves.

Many tetras are incredibly easy to keep, making them listed among the most popular aquarium species, though some can be aggressive and unsuited to community tanks.

The name tetra is short for Tetragonopterus and refers to its distinctive four fins. Because the moniker tetra is widely used, some species of fish that are not tetras are sometimes called tetras, such as the Sabertooth Tetra.

Are Rasboras Or Tetras Easier To Keep?

This is not a completely straightforward answer as it will depend on the type of rasbora or tetra. Some varieties are much harder to maintain due to their tank needs.

In general, however, rasboras are known to be hardy and easy to keep, even in comparison to tetras.

Many rasboras types are peaceful fish that will live happily in a shoal in a community aquarium and are easy to keep.

They present amateur fishkeepers with little trouble as they are not aggressive fin nippers and are fairly disease resistant. Many of them are small and do not require large tanks.

Rasboras usually require tank temperatures between 75-80 F and a pH of 6.8-7.8. These parameters are easy to establish and control and cover a variety of other species, which adds to their popularity as community fishes.

Rasboras are micro-predators that generally take a standard flake or pellet food, with some live food like daphnia and bloodworms.

Tetras are also usually easy to care for, and their small size makes them excellent choices for shoaling species in a community tank. Most tetra species are peaceful fish with lively personalities.

Tetras like tank temperatures to be between 72-78 F, with a pH between 5.5-7. Both tetras and rasboras can be kept in similar conditions and prefer soft water.

If the tank temperatures hit 80F, tetras usually have a shortened life span.

Omnivorous tetras will also happily feed on high-quality fish flakes or pellets and enjoy some freeze-dried bloodworms.

Both types of fish do well in planted tanks with an open area for swimming. Below are some easier varieties to keep, which will do well in community tanks.

Easy to Keep Tetras for Beginners

Red Eye Tetra

Serpae Tetra

Neon Tetra

Black Skirt Tetra

Bloodfin Tetra

Lemon Tetra

Black Neon Tetra

Glowlight Tetra

Easy to Keep Rasboras for Beginners

Harlequin Rasbora

Scissortail Rasbora

Blackline Rasbora

Lambchop Rasbora

Phoenix Rasbora

Fire Rasbora

Emerald Eye Rasbora

Can You Keep Tetras With Rasboras?

There is quite an overlap in the tank parameters that suit both rasboras and tetras, so depending on the specific species’ needs, you can usually keep rasboras with tetras.

Choose species that share the closest tank parameters to ensure a tank habitat that suits your rasboras and tetras.

Plant your tank with appropriate plants, such as Anubias, Vallisneria, and Ludwigia. Plant along the back of the tank and the sides to give small fish ample hiding space, and create shadowed areas with floating plants.

Rasboras usually do best with a dark substrate, while tetras are less fussy. Because you want a well-planted tank, it’s best to use a dark substrate that promotes plant growth.

Leave the center of the tank open so your shoaling fish have space to swim freely. This will also ensure you see their shoaling behavior, which is part of what makes these fish so much fun to keep.

Ensure your filter isn’t too strong, as the water flow could make it difficult for these small fish to shoal easily.


Rasboras and tetras are commonly kept aquarium fish species but come from different scientific families. Both are characteristically small, shoaling fish and are often found as part of a community aquarium due to their hardiness and generally peaceful nature.

Rasboras come from South and Southeast Asian rivers, while tetras hail from central and southern America and parts of Africa. Both species are freshwater fish with similar temperature and pH needs and usually, do better in soft water.

Thanks to their shared needs, you will often find them kept together in aquariums, despite their different origins.