Red phantom tetra

Aquarium fish: Red phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi)
Size: 4.5 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-27 ° C
Aquarium volume: 54 l

Red phantom tetra (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi) – a small, freshwater aquarium fish from the tetras family ( Characidae ).


South America . The occurrence of the species is limited to the Colombian part of the Amazon basin. It lives in slowly flowing rivers in forest areas. It lives in acidic waters with a brown color, which is evidenced by a large amount of tannins and other organic substances.

Characteristics and disposition

Adult fish are about 4 cm long. The body is colored red with a darker belly and a characteristic spot behind the gills and on the top of the dorsal fin. The tip of the dorsal fin is edged with white. In mature fish, the abdominal and anal fins are also delicately edged. The male’s dorsal fin is elongated and pointed.

Females are usually slightly thicker. A shoal species. It is recommended to keep at least 6 individuals , preferably 10 or more. It looks more interesting and effective in larger quantities.

Nutrition and feeding

Feeding is easy.

They accept most of the foods available. However, the best condition and coloration of the fish will be provided by enriching the diet with live or frozen foods.


To set up a biotope aquarium for Red Phantoms, you will need: a substrate (preferably river sand), dried wood or a few twisted roots, a handful of dry leaves (e.g. oak, beech). Plants are not a natural feature of the waters inhabited by this species.

Wood and leaves will color the water in the aquarium a tea color. For this purpose, you can also use a bag with peat, which you place in the filter. Lighting should not be too strong. These fish also do well in tanks densely planted with plants. In scantily decorated aquariums they are sometimes shy and their colors are not so intense.

Very calm fish that will not be suitable companionship for large, vigorous species. They go well with other South American fish such as Hemigrammus or Hyphessobrycon, microorganisms, cichlids, kiryskami and small armorers . They can also be combined with smaller razors , barbs, dyes or labyrinth fish.


Red phantoms are fish that are easy to breed . For this purpose, however, you will need a separate aquarium with dimensions of 45x30x30 cm, dimly lit, with several large clumps of small-leaved plants, e.g.

java moss . The bottom can be lined with a mesh with small meshes, so that only the grains pass through them. The water should be soft (1-5 gH) and acidic in the range 5.5-6.5 pH and temperature 24 – 26 C. Filtering the water through peat or using RO water may also be helpful. A small sponge filter is sufficient for filtration.

Fish can be bred in larger groups (e.g. 12) where the ratio of males to females is 1: 1. Better results and more fry, however, are achieved by breeding the fish in pairs. It is a good idea to separate the fish by sex into separate tanks and to give slightly larger amounts of live or frozen food than usual. When the females are clearly thicker and the males more intensely colored, we choose the thickest female and the best looking male and transfer them to the breeding aquarium in the evening.

Spawning usually takes place in the morning of the next day. Interestingly, during this act, the fish are in the opposite position, i.e. back down. Adult individuals eat both eggs and fry and should be separated as soon as possible after spawning. Hatching takes place after 24-26 hours.

The larvae begin to swim independently after another 3 – 4 days. For the first few days, we feed them with micro-foods until they can eat micro-nematodes, artemia or shellfish larvae. Roe and fry in the initial period are very sensitive to light .


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