Lemon tetra

Aquarium fish: Lemon tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis)
Size: 3.5 – 4 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 23-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 54 l

Lemon tetra (Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis ) – a small freshwater aquarium fish from the tetras family. In aquarium shops it does not attract attention, but in the right conditions it reciprocates with an intense lemon yellow color.


South America . The habitat of this species in nature is not entirely clear. Most reports point to the Rio Tapajós basins in central Brazil, one of the main tributaries of the lower Amazon basin.

At the same time, at least one field survey suggests that it also occurs in the Rio Xingu, which borders Tapajós to the east, and some completely exclude its occurrence in Tapajós. Nevertheless, most records attribute the occurrence to the middle and lower parts of the Tapajós in the state of Pará. It probably prefers smaller tributaries, smaller rivers, oxbow lakes, and flooded forest areas, rather than major river channels

Characteristics and disposition

They reach up to 4 cm in length. The body is laterally flattened, quite tall, translucent yellow, sometimes pearly. An iridescent stripe runs from the gills to the base of the caudal fin.

Dorsal fin black with a yellow spot in the middle. The first three rays of the anal fin are bright yellow, the rest are transparent black. The caudal fin is mostly glassy, ​​and in males it can take on a blue sheen. The pectoral fins are glassy. Pelvic fins are translucent yellow, more transparent in males, with a black edge.

They have a fat fin, which in some cases may also have a black border. A distinguishing feature of this species is the eyes. When the fish is in good shape, the top half of the iris is intensely ruby ​​red. When the red fades or disappears completely, it indicates a medical condition. Adult males are slender, slightly smaller and more intensely colored.

A reliable method of distinguishing the sex of adult fish is to compare the black edge of the anal fin. In females, the edge is less visible, it looks as if it was drawn with a thin pencil. In males, especially dominant males, the edge is wider and the border is clearly marked. During the breeding season, females appear fuller when viewed from above. In their natural habitats, they swim in large shoals, even several thousand individuals.

In such a number of their characteristic yellow-black coloration becomes a real nuisance for a predator. In danger, they move with a high speed in a wavy motion, which additionally confuses the predator. They are most often found in the middle parts of the water. Temporary hierarchies are formed within the group where males constantly compete with each other for the position and favor of females. It is recommended to keep min.

8-10 individuals. They show more interesting behavior and more beautiful coloration in larger numbers. They are considered to be softer with tetras and will rarely nibble the fins of other cohabitants , provided they are kept in sufficient quantity and a well-kept aquarium with plenty of hiding places.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous. In nature, they eat small invertebrates, crustaceans, algae and fruits that fall into the water.

In the aquarium, they can be fed with good-quality dry food, but the best condition and health is ensured by the regular supply of various live and frozen food, e.g. mosquito larvae, bloodworm, daphnia, artemia.


They require an aquarium with a length of min. 60 cm (preferably larger), with a dark substrate, partially densely planted with vegetation. For decoration, you can use dry roots, branches that will provide the fish with shaded places and shelters.

A good addition will also be dry leaves, which will reflect the nature of the natural habitat and, along with decomposition, will provide an additional source of food for the fry and will release the desired tannins. They feel best in soft water up to 8 ° dGH and acidic water, approx. 6.6 pH, but they also easily adapt to slightly higher values. They prefer a temperature in the range of 21-28 ° C. Although they are quite a hardy species, keeping them in hard or alkaline water can harm their health .

They require good filtration and oxygenation of the water. One of the milder tetras. They will perform well in a well-arranged, spacious social aquarium with other similarly sized tetras, slender, cuirass and armored species, as well as gentle small cichlids.


Beautiful finnibs spread their eggs and show no parental care . In a mature tank, fish in good condition spawn willingly and frequently, and small amounts of fry may appear without the intervention of the aquarist.

If we want to get a large number of fry, a more controlled approach will be needed and the preparation of a separate breeding aquarium. Such a tank should be dimly lit and filled with mature water from the main aquarium. At the bottom, a roe grate or a mesh with fine meshes should be placed so that only the eggs can fit through them and the parents do not have access to them. Alternatively, you can use a few clumps of small-leaved plants, artificial grass, glass balls or aquarium mops. The water should be soft (6-8 ° dGH), slightly acidic (between 5.5-7.2 pH, 6.6 pH – optimal) with a temperature of 24-27 ° C.

A sponge filter or air stone is sufficient for oxygenating and moving the water. Before spawning, fish are best separated by sex for about 1 to 4 weeks and fed more frequently with live or frozen foods during this time. When the females are clearly thicker, full of eggs, and the males are more intensely colored, choose the thickest female and the prettiest male and transfer them to the breeding aquarium in the evening. Spawning usually takes place the next day at dawn. As soon as eggs are found, adult fish should be separated.

Roe is most common among small-leaved plants, and an adult female can lay up to 300 eggs. Hatching takes about 72 hours. Over the next 24-48 hours, the larvae consume the yolk sac and begin to swim freely. Since then, the finest micro foods should be fed in liquid or powder. After about a week, they should be able to eat brine shrimp larvae.

In the 12th week, they begin to resemble their parents, and after 9 months they reach puberty. Eggs and fry are very sensitive to light and water pollution.


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