Blind Cave Tetra – Habitat, Diet, Breeding, Tank Size & Mates
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The Blind Cave Tetra, as its name suggests, has a very interesting characteristic. This species has no eyes, which you can tell just by looking at it. They are special, and they are absolutely beautiful with their pink, red and silver colored scales.
During their evolutionary process, their eyesight basically became useless. They have spent so much time living in dark caves that the ability to see has lost its purpose.
Although the fry still leaves its egg with fully functional eyes, it doesn’t take long until its organ of sight deteriorates.
This species is commonly confused with the Mexican Tetra. They are not far from the truth, as the Black Cave Tetra is the albino version of the Mexican one.
You can easily tell them apart just by their coloring. While the Black Cave Tetra has shades of pink besides the iridescent silver, the Mexican Tetra is rather drab and silver colored.
Blind Cave Tetra Natural Habitat
As we mentioned above, Blind Cave Tetras live in dark caves that are usually rocky. The albino version can only be found in Mexico. Plenty of underground caves can be found there that provide the optimal environment for this blind species.
Besides total blindness, they have developed a lack of pigmentation and clear fins compared to the Mexican Tetra. Although most of these albino subspecies are totally blind, some of them have very limited sight. There are plenty of them in a cave called Micos, while most of the fully blind ones can be found in the Pachon caves.
The Blind Cave Tetra can live and thrive in its natural environment without any issue. They have rather effective sensory organs that get stimulated by vibrations and changes in water pressure.
This way, they can easily find their food and orient themselves in the dark. Therefore, their lack of sight is not an issue in an aquarium either.
Blind Cave Tetra Fish Tank Requirements
Let’s say you want to keep five or six of these Blind Cave Tetras in the same fish tank. Then you need to buy an aquarium of at least 30 gallons of size.
The reason why you need such a big tank is because they are one of the largest species in the Tetra family. An adult tetra gets approximately 4 inches long.
The aquarium should mimic the environment the Tetra lives in out in the wild. You should provide plenty of rocks, driftwood and caves that your fish will use as hiding places. When looking for substrate, make sure to buy some dark gravel.
In order to respect the fact that the Blind Cave Tetra lives in dark caves, keep the lights as dim as possible. You can also fill the fish tank with other decorations according to your taste.
Since they won’t see it, those are definitely not going to bother them. The easiest way to decorate the aquarium is to buy some plants.
While setting up the tank, keep in mind that this species will spend most of its time in the middle of the tank. When it’s feeding time, they will look for food in the bottom. This also means that foods that tend to float on the surface are completely out of the question.
Blind Cave Tetra Water Conditions
The heater should be set to a minimum of 68 degrees Fahrenheit and it can go all the way up to 77 degrees. When it comes to water acidity, it should be held between 6.5 and 8.0 pH. The water shouldn’t be soft at all, as Blind Cave Tetras prefer it to be hard or moderately hard.
The filter is very important so don’t shy away from buying a high-quality one that does a good job keeping the water clean. Your best choice is to buy a hang-on filter, as those are not only highly effective but also more durable than any other type.
Although this species is quite hardy, it is still sensitive to nitrite and ammonia poisoning. The water in the tank can become overly contaminated if you overfeed your fish. The best way to keep them healthy is to keep the water as clean as possible.
They are used to slow water flow so you should run the filter on low settings. Fast flowing waters only cause them to be stressed on the long run.
Blind Cave Tetra Diet & Feeding Schedule
As mentioned above, Blind Cave Tetras look for food mainly in the substrate. Out in the wild, they can find plenty of crustaceans, insects and worms. At home, these foods can be substituted with pellets and flakes that provide the same amount of nutrition.
You can keep them on this processed food diet without any issue. If you want to add a bit of variety, however, then you can feed them with brine shrimp, black worms, frozen foods or daphnia. Don’t worry, your fish are going to find the food rather easily despite the fact that they are blind.
Besides their other sensory organs, they also have more taste buds. This allows them to easily distinguish between food and other things in the aquarium. Basically, if the food sinks down to the bottom, it is going to be eaten by them for sure.
As long as your fish keep their colors vivid, there is nothing that should be changed in their diet. It is very important to buy high-quality processed foods and to give them a diverse diet. This way, they can get all the nutrients and vitamins they need so that the risk of getting diseases is minimized.
Blind Cave Tetra Tank Mates
When looking for some tank mates, you should keep in mind that Blind Cave Tetras don’t get along well with smaller fish species. In fact, they are going to eat them and be thankful for the unexpected live food. This is especially true if that smaller fish is one of those slow drifters since those are much easier to catch.
Instead, look for some similar sized or larger fish. As long as they are peaceful, there won’t be any issues. Now obviously, the Blind Cave Tetra has its own specific tank requirements.
Therefore, it is only compatible with fish that are not off the charts when it comes to water conditions and such. Look for fish that have similar needs as them.
The reason why we said that you should keep 5-6 Blind Cave Tetras together is because they are schooling fish. They get along well if you keep them together.
The only thing to worry about is that the older ones can get semi-aggressive. But again, they are only going to attack slow-moving fish so you can prevent this by keeping them with more active ones.
Blind Cave Tetra Breeding
Blind Cave Tetras are not demanding, they don’t have complicated traits and it’s not hard to breed them either. If you want to breed them, then the first thing you need to do is to prepare a separate tank for it.
Place a male and a female in the separate aquarium. Then, make sure they are getting enough nutrients by feeding them frozen and live foods.
It is all about comfort and proper diet. In a proper environment and with a healthy diet, it takes less than a day for them to spawn. After that happened, the next step is to move the male and the female back to the primary tank. Otherwise, they are going to eat the eggs before you know it.
In case that is your only fish tank, there is no need to panic. You can still separate the parents from the fry by placing large marbles in the tank, thus making the fry inaccessible for them. You will surely notice those eggs because the female is going to lay down approximately 1000 of them.
Also, those eggs are all pure white so they are quite eye-catchy. During the breeding period, it is best to use a sponge filter. Other types can easily drag the fry in and they are definitely not going to survive it. That is all you need to know about breeding the Blind Cave Tetra.
We have good news for beginner fish keepers. Based on the information we shared above, you can already see that the Blind Cave Tetra is not demanding at all. If you are looking for something out of the ordinary but you don’t consider yourself an experienced fish keeper, then consider buying one.
You are not going to be disappointed. This species is a delight to look at thanks to its iridescent silver and pink colors. Not to mention the unique feature that it has no eyes, yet it still manages to get along quite well. It is easy to feed them, easy to set up a tank for them and straightforward to keep them healthy and thriving.
Hopefully this article got you motivated to get your own Blind Cave Tetra and take care of it the proper way. Just by following the tips we provided in our article, you are going to be able to guarantee a healthy and eventful life for your little pet.