Serpae tetra

Aquarium fish: Serpae tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques)
Size: 3 – 4 cm
Origin: South America
Water temperature: 22-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 76 l

Serpae tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques ) – an interestingly colored, freshwater aquarium fish from the tetras family.


South America. Widely distributed species. It occurs in the Amazon basin in Brazil, Peru and Bolivia, and in the Paraguay River in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, as well as in the Rio Guaporé. It mostly inhabits stagnant and slow-flowing tributaries and backwaters, including ponds and small lakes.

It usually gathers near coastal vegetation or submerged tree roots.

Characteristics and disposition

It grows up to 4 cm in length. The body is laterally flattened red-brown in color, the lower part is yellow-brown. Shades of red can vary from bright red to brownish red. Just behind the gill covers, a dark spot is visible, which may vary in shape, size, and sometimes fade away in older specimens.

The lower part of the anal fin is black and has white edges. The pectoral and caudal fins are always red. Dorsal fin black and white – during reproduction in males the blackness gains intensity, in females it fades. Sex of young fish is difficult to distinguish, adult females are rounder and slightly larger than slender males. Wild populations, depending on the place of occurrence, differ in color and shape of a characteristic spot.

In pet stores, you can find artificially obtained forms, e.g. metallic, balloon, veil. It is a gregarious species that creates loose hierarchies, males constantly compete with each other for the favor of females and position in the group. It is recommended to keep min. 8-10 individuals.

In this amount, they should focus more on themselves instead of other residents and they will present themselves more effectively. Males in particular show more vivid colors in the company of competitors.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous. In nature, they feed on small invertebrates, crustaceans, algae and fruit falling into the water. You can give them dry food in the aquarium, but the best condition will be ensured by a varied diet.

A good supplement will be live and frozen food of animal origin, e.g. mosquito larvae, bloodworm, daphnia, artemia.


They require an aquarium with a length of min. 80 cm. They look best in reservoirs that are partially densely planted with vegetation, with a dark substrate.

Dry branches and roots will give the aquarium a more natural look and provide many hiding places and dark places. The dry leaves will additionally emphasize the biotope feeling, and with decomposition, they will provide an additional source of food for the fry, they will also release the desired tannins into the water. In social aquariums they are considered aggressive, with a tendency to gnaw the fins of other fish. In most cases, this behavior is caused by keeping them too small or in a too small aquarium. They will not be suitable companionship for shy, slow-swimming species, as well as those with elongated fins.

You can try to combine them with durable fish of similar size and with similar environmental requirements, e.g. with the genus Gasteropelecus, Lebiasinidae (Lobsters, e.g. slashes, microorganisms ), with smaller cuiras and armors ( Ancistrus ). Nevertheless, before combining with other species, we recommend that you carefully verify the selection .


The colored burrows scatter eggs and show no parental care.

In a mature tank, being in good condition, they approach spawning willingly and frequently, and small amounts of fry may appear without the intervention of the aquarist. If we want to maximize its amount, 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 and the parents do not have access to them. Artificial grass or glass balls can also be used for this purpose.

Aquarium mops and clumps of small-leaved plants, e.g. moss, will also work. The water should be soft (6-8 dGH), slightly acidic (between 5.8-7.6 pH, 6.8 pH – optimal) with a temperature of 24-27 ° C. A small sponge filter or air stone is sufficient for oxygenating and circulating the water. Before spawning, fish are best separated by sex for a period of about 1 to 4 weeks and fed more frequently with live or frozen foods during this time.

When the females are clearly thicker and the males are more intensely colored, we choose the thickest female and the prettiest male and in the evening we transfer them to the breeding aquarium. Spawning usually takes place at dawn the next day. As soon as eggs are found, adult fish should be separated. An adult female can lay 200 to 300 grains of eggs. Hatching occurs within 24 hours.

For the first 5 days or so, the larvae feed from their yolk sac. As soon as they begin to swim freely, start giving them the finest micro-powdered or liquid foods. After a few days, brine shrimp larvae can be introduced into their diet. After 4-5 weeks, the cubs will start to look like their parents. Eggs and fry are very sensitive to light and water pollution.


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