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CHARACINS

By Rhett Butler

CHARACINAE SUB-FAMILY
The Characinae or Characin sub-family is the best represented group of characins in the hobby. Included, among others, are the genera Acestrorhynchus, Aphyocharax, Astyanax, Boehlkea, Chalceus, Exodon, Hasemania, Hemigrammus, Hyphessobrycon, Inpaichthys, Megalamphodus, Moenkhausia, Nematobrycon, Paracheirodon, Petitella, and Thayeria.


Freshwater Barracuda, Spotted Cachorro
[Pictures]
Acestrorhynchus falcatus
SYN: Hydrogon falcatus, Xiphoramphus falcatus, Xiphorhynchus falcatus
PD: A somewhat elongated fish that has a large mouth and eyes. Its body is silver in color. The dorsal fin is located far back on the body and stands tall. Its tail is forked and has a large black spot at its base. The other fins are transparent. Sometimes a black horizontal line, that runs from the eye to the tail spot, develops.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm)
SS: Other Acestrorhynchus species.
HAB: South America; found in the Amazon Basin and the Paraguay River watershed.
S: middle, top
TANK: 48" (122 cm) or 55 gallons (209 L) is minimal. The tank should be spacious with plenty of open swimming areas. Provide a cover of floating plants to dim the lighting. Use a tight-fitting cover as this fish is known to jump. The tank should be heavily planted.
WATER: pH 5.8-7.5 (6.9), 4-15 dH (10), 79-86F (26-30C)
SB: Will eat smaller fish. A schooling fish that should be either keep singly or in groups of 6 or more. If kept in groups of 2-5 fish, fighting will occur.
SC: Pimelodids, large Loricarids, Pacus, Piranhas, Silver Dollars, Arawana
FOOD: Live: mostly fish; earthworms, aquatic insects, Tubifex; pellets; chopped meat.
SEX: Females are plumper.
B: Unsuccessful in captivity
BP: 10. This fish has not been bred in captivity.
R: Little is known about these fish, even though they are frequently sold in aquarium stores. Acestrorhynchus nasutus is distinguishable from Acestrorhynchus falcatus by its more slender body and the absence of a black spot behind the gill cover. This species is often referred to as a "Freshwater Barracuda" because of its body form, not because of any relationship to the true marine Barracuda. An important food fish in South America.
DC: 6. A large and aggressive fish that requires a diet including live foods.

Slender Freshwater Barracuda, Big-eyed Cachorro [Pictures]
Acestrorhynchus nasutus
SYN: Hydrogon nasutus, Xiphoramphus nasutus, Xiphorhynchus nasutus
PD: A slender, elongated fish that has a large mouth and eyes. It body ranges from yellow to silver while its belly is white. The dorsal fin is located far back on the body and stands tall. Its tail is forked with yellow marking and a black spot can be found at its base. The other fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 16" (40 cm)
SS: Other A cestrorhynchus species.
HAB: South America; northern Amazon Basin
S: middle, top
TANK: 60" (150 cm) or 90-plus gallons (342 L). See A. falcatus for other specifications.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (7.0), 8-16 dH (12), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: As for Acestrorhynchus falcatus
SC: A. falcatus
FOOD: Live: mostly fish; earthworms, aquatic insects, Tubifex; pellets; chopped meat.
SEX: Females are plumper.
B: Unsuccessful in captivity
BP: 10. No success in spawning this fish has been reported
R: See Acestrorhynchus falcatus. This species is not an aquarium fish.
DC: 7. A large and aggressive fish that requires a diet including live foods.

Bloodfin [Pictures]
Aphyocharax anisiti
SYN: Aphyocharax rubripinnis, A. affinis
PD: This elongated fish ranges in color, depending of the light, from blue to yellow. Its belly is white while the fins are blood red. The outer parts of these fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 2.2" (5.6 cm)
SS: Other Aphyocharax
S: middle, top
HAB: South America; Rio Parana, Argentina
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank should be arranged in dark colors including a dark substrate. Have well-planted areas, but leave some open swimming areas. Use a tight-fitting cover to contain this leaping species.
WATER: pH 6-8 (7.0), 2-28 dH (8), 64-82F (18-28C)
SB: An active, peaceful, schooling fish that does well in a community tank. Does best in groups of four or more fish.
SC: Corydoras, small loricarids, tetras, Hatchetfish
FOOD: Live; small flying insects, shrimp, Tubifex, insect larvae; flake.
SEX: Males are smaller, more colorful during spawning season, and have small hooks on anal fin.
B: This fish is fairly easy to breed for an egg-laying fish. Spawning takes place near the surface, just after dawn in slightly acidic, soft water. 300-800 clear eggs are laid among plants. As these eggs fall to the bottom, the parents quickly begin to devour them. Remove the parents, or use netting that can be placed just above bottom, so the eggs fall through, out of the parents reach. The eggs hatch in 20-25 hours. Start feeding with Brine Shrimp nauplii, crushed flake food, and other small live foods.
BP: 5. Breeding is not difficult.
R: This fish can be kept in an unheated tank, but the colors may fade. This fish is hardy and has reportedly lived more than 12 years in captivity. Catch this fish with care, so not to tear the small hooks on the anal fin of the male.
DC: 2. A hardy community fish recommended as a fish fit for a beginning aquariasts.

Blind Cavefish, Blind Cave Characin, Blind Cave Tetra [Pictures]
Astyanax fasciatus mexicanus
SYN: Anoptichthys jordani, A. hubbsi
PD: The body is flesh colored with a silvery iridescence. The fins are colorless and transparent. Where the eyes should be, there are dark areas where the eyes have been covered with skin.
SIZE: To 3.5" (9 cm)
SS: None
S: middle
HAB: This fish is found in underwater lake and stream caves, and sub-terrain streams. North and Central America; from Texas to Panama.
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (57 L). Very undemanding with regards to the tank set-up. The tank can include live plants as this species will not harm them.
WATER: pH 6-7.8 (7.2), 10-30 dH (14), 64-79F (18-26C)
SB: A peaceful fish that can be kept with other calm fish in a community tank. Can be kept singly or in groups.
SC: Livebearers, Corydoras, Loricarids, tetras, Gouramis.
FOOD: Live; aquatic insects, shrimp, Tubifex, insect larvae; flake.
SEX: Females are plumper and larger when mature.
B: Can be bred in cooler water temperature from 66-70F (19-21C). The eggs are laid at random. The eggs hatch in 24-72 hours and the fry are free swimming after six days. They can be feed small live and crushed dry foods. They grow quickly. The young have eyes which disappear shortly after hatching.
BP: 6. Breeding this fish is not difficult in tanks with a cooler water
R: This fish locates its food by its excellent sense of smell. The Blind Cavefish was formerly known as Anoptichthys jordani . This fish can mate with A. mexicanus, the regular, non-blind form. The Blind Cavefish navigates its way around the tank by using its lateral line. It is able to find foods and avoid obstacles.
DC: 2. A hardy, and excellent community fish.

Blue Tetra [Pictures]
Boehlkea fredcochui
SYN: Microbrycon cochui
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed species with a forked caudal fin. The back is dark green to olive while the flanks are blue-green. The flanks are marked with A broad blue stripe that runs from the gill cover through the caudal fin. The belly is lighter blue. The upper part of the iris is bright orange. The fins are colorless.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: None
HAB: South America; Peruvian Amazon
S: middle, top
TANK: A 24" (61 cm) or 10-20 gallon (38-75 L) tank is suggested. The tank should be arranged in dark colors to bring out the Blue Tetra's attractive coloration. Use heavy plantings along the sides and rear, but leave open swimming areas in the center. Use dim lighting and provide a cover of floating plants. The water should be well-oxygenated.
WATER: pH 5.5-7.5 (6.8), 2-15 dH (8), 73-79F (23-26C)
SB: A small, peaceful community fish that should be kept in schools of five or more. An active species.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , small Loricarids
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, small crustaceans, white worms.
SEX: Females are plumper and less colorful.
B: Few details are available. Use soft, acidic water and condition the pair. Females are said to deposit their eggs on the underside of broad leafed plants. Remove the eggs to a rearing tank having soft water. Raise the fry like other tetras-on paramecia.
BP: 8. Although few details are available, breeding is feasible.
R: This species does not ship well. Use a good water conditioner before adding new water.
DC: 5. This delicate species requires well-maintained water to survive and develop its stunning colors.

Pink-tailed Characin [Pictures]
Chalceus macrolepidotus
SYN: Brycon macrolepidotus, Chalceus ararapeera, C. erythrurus, Pellegrina heterolepsis
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed species with large scales. The upper parts have rows of large scales, while the lower parts have much smaller ones. The back is brownish-silver while the flanks are silver with a greenish iridescence. The belly is pinkish-silver. The fins range from yellow to dark red in color. The upper part of the iris is yellow to orange. There is a dark spot near the gill cover.
SIZE: To 10" (25 cm)
SS: Other Chalceus species
HAB: South America; from Guyana to Peru.
S: middle
TANK: A 40" (101 cm) or 45-55 gallon (170-209 L) tank is sufficient for fish up to 5" (13 cm) in length. However, once exceeding 5" (13 cm), a tank measuring at least 60" (152 cm) with a capacity from 90 gallons (342 L) is required. The tank should be equipped with a tight-fitting cover. Plant along the edges and rear of the tank and leave plenty of open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (7.0), 6-18 dH (12), 73-82F (23-28C)
SB: A predatory schooling fish that can be combined with other large, robust species. This characin should be kept singly or in groups of eight or more. When this species is kept in small groups, fighting often occurs.
SC: Oscars, Colossoma, Serrasalmus, Brycon, Metynnis, Myleus, Mylossoma, Pimelodid catfish, Crenicichla .
FOOD: Live; fish, crustaceans; chopped meat; pellets; flakes; tablets
SEX: Unknown
B: Has been bred only rarely and few details are known. On all occasions , spawning has occured in very large tanks. About 2000 eggs are scattered amongst plants. The pair should be removed. Start feeding with Artemia nauplii.
BP: 10. Breeding is not feasible under most conditions.
R: This species can be long-lived in a large, well maintained tank.
DC: 6. This hardy species is not suitable for most tanks due to its size and aggressive behavior.

Bucktoothed Tetra [Pictures]
Exodon paradoxus
SYN: Epicyrtus exodon, E. paradoxus, Hystricodon paradoxus
PD: An elongated, laterally compressed species having a forked caudal fin. The body is yellow-silver with a yellow to green iridescence. A dark stripe runs from the gill cover to the caudal peduncle. The lower parts are dull yellow. The body is marked with two conspicuous black spots: one near the base of the dorsal fin, and another at the caudal peduncle. The fins are colorless except for the red base of the dorsal fin and first red rays of the anal fin.
SIZE: To 6" (15 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Inhabits small, moving streams in South America; Rio Branco, Rio Madeira, Rio Marmelo in Brazil and Guyana.
S: middle
TANK: A 40" (102 cm) or 45-55 gallon (170-209 L) tank is adequate, although larger tanks are preferred. The tank can be well-planted. A tight fitting cover is required.
WATER: pH 5.5-7.5 (6.5), 0-18 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28F)
SB: A predatory species that should be kept singly or in schools of ten or more fish. Fish in smaller groups have a tendency to eat the scales and eyes of other fish. This species is not suggested for the typical community tank.
SC: Larger characins, Loricarids, Pimelodids, Cichlasomines
FOOD: Flake; pellet; live; fish, worms, insect larvae, crustaceans; chopped meat.
SEX: Females are plumper.
B: Use soft, peat-filtered water to initiate spawning. Eggs are scattered among plants, and the parents should be removed. The eggs hatch in 24-30 hours and the young can be fed micro-foods and Artemia nauplii. The young must be frequently sorted to prevent cannibalism.
BP: 8. Breeding is unusual.
R: A hardy species.
DC: 6. The hardy and predatory species is not suggested for most community tanks.

Black Tetra, Black Widow, Petticoat Fish, Blackamoor [Pictures]
Gymnocorymbus ternetzi
SYN: Moenkhausia ternetzi, Tetragonopterus ternetzi
PD: This fish is somewhat oval-shape. Young are more attractive than adults. The main body color is dark gray to black while the fins are black. Older fishes' colors fade and their fins and body color become smoky gray. Two black bands extend vertically; one just behind the gill cover and the other in its midsection.
SIZE: To 2.5" (6.4 cm)
SS: None
HAB: South America; in shaded, calm areas with plants thickets in small brooks in rainforest tributaries, of the Rio Negro, Rio Paraguay, and Rio Parana.
S: middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 l). The tank should be well-planted and arranged in dark colors. Use a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. Leave an open area for free-swimming.
WATER: pH 5.8-8.2 (6.8), 4-28 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is an excellent community fish. Occasionally large, adult males can become aggressive towards smaller fish, but this is not usually a problem in a well-planted tank. Keep in a school of at least five individuals.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, Angelfish, Livebearers, Gouramis, Rasboras, Loricarids.
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, crustaceans, aquatic insects; flake.
SEX: Males are smaller and slimmer. Females have rounded dorsal fin and a rounded body cavity when seen against the light.
B: This fish is easiest to breed in a breeding tank with marbles as a substrate or a mesh netting for the eggs to fall out of reach of the cannibalistic parents. Use warm water (84-86F) to initiate spawning. After courting procedure of the male swimming around females with fins spread, many tiny transparent eggs that fall to the bottom. Parents must be removed or eggs will be eaten. The eggs hatch in 24-28 hours and the fry are free-swimming after 3 to 5 days after. Start feeding with small live and crushed flake foods.
BP: 6. Breeding the Black Tetra is not difficult.
R: The are variants of this fish who have longer, more elaborate fins. These are slightly harder to care for because these fins are often nipped at. A gold variety is also a product of selective breeding. This fish matures in about a year.
DC: 2. A hardy fish ideal for a beginner's community tank.

Silver-tipped Tetra [Pictures]
Hasemania nana
SYN: Hasemania melanura, H. marginata, Hemigrammus nanus
PD: A slightly elongated fish with a yellow to gray body color. The head is silver while the fins are yellow. The tail, dorsal, anal fins have white tips. A yellow line that turns black near the tail, extends the length of the body. No adipose fin is present.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Small black and white water streams. South America: Brazil; in tributaries of the Rio Purus, and in Rio Sao Francisco Basin.
S: middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 l). The tank should be arranged in dark colors and a cover of floating plants should be used to dim the lighting. The tank should have areas of heavy planting and some open swimming areas. Provide good aeration.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.6), 5-20 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish recommended for community tank. Keep in groups of at least 4 individuals.
SC: Colisa, Corydoras, Apistogramma , tetras, Loricarids.
FOOD: Live; Brine Shrimp, insect larvae; flake.
SEX: The male is slender and more colorful. It also has a white tip on its anal fin, while the female's tip is yellow.
B: Use water with a pH of 5.5-6.5, a water hardness of 2-5 dH, and a water temperature of 72-79F (22-26C). Suggest peat filtration. Use a breeding tank with mesh netting or marbles at tank bottom so the eggs fall out of the reach of cannibalistic parents. The eggs hatch in 20-30 hours. The fry are easy to raise and should be fed crushed dry and small live foods.
BP: 7. Breeding the Silver-tipped Tetra is fairly difficult.
R: This fish differs from Hemigrammus and Hyphessobrycon by its lack of an adipose fin. Long-lived.
DC: 2. A hardy fish ideal for the community tank of a beginning aquariast.

Genus Hemigrammus
SIZE: The fish of the Hemigrammus genus are for the most part small-ranging from 1.2" (3 cm) to 3.5" (9 cm).
HAB: The majority of Hemigrammus fish are found in small creeks, streams, and brooks in the Amazon and Orinoco River watersheds.
S: The fish of this family usually swim in the mid-water levels.
TANK: Most of these fish can be kept in a small, 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallon (38 L) tank. The tank should be heavily planted with some open areas for free-swimming. The tank should be arranged in dark colors, and have the lighting diffused by a cover of floating plants.
WATER: These fish can tolerate a pH from 6-7.5, but prefer slightly acidic water. They like soft water ranging from 2-15 dH, and require a temperature of 72-82F (22-28C).
SB: Hemigrammus fish are usually peaceful, schooling fish that are easily maintained in a community tank with other schooling characins of a similar size.
SC: Small tetras, Corydoras, Loricarids, Apistogramma , Discus, Gouramis.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
B: The pair should be about a year in age for best spawning outcomes. Condition the pair (preferably each separated) several times a day on insect larvae. In most cases, these fish can be bred in a heavily-planted breeding tank with no artificial light (excessive light appears to be detrimental for the eggs and the fry). Introduce the pair into the tank which should have a slightly higher temperature, and soft water (peat filtration). The pair should spawn within three days of their introduction into the tank. If the pair does not spawn within three days, they are not ready, and the process should be repeated. In all cases, the parents will try to consume their eggs as they are laid. Thus, the parents should be removed right after spawning. After hatching the fry should be fed on small live foods (Infusoria, Brine Shrimp nauplii, roftiers, microorganisms) and crushed flake foods.
BP: Breeding difficulty depends entirely on the species. For some, such as the Buenos Aires Tetra, spawning comes easily; while others, such as the Rummy Nose Tetra, breeding is very difficult.
DC: Most of the fish of this genus are fairly hardy.

Red Nose Tetra, Rummy Nose Tetra [Pictures]
Hemigrammus bleheri
SYN: None
PD: The body is silver to olive brown in color. A gold to brown stripe extends from the red area on the head to the base of the tail. The iris and snout are blood red when good water maintenance are maintained. The tail has three black stripes and four white ones. The other fins are transparent. The mouth is also red which allows this species to be distinguished from H. rhodostomus and Petitella georgiae.
SIZE: To 2.5" (6.4 cm)
SS: This species is often confused with H. rhodostomus and Petitella georgiae. these species are hard to distinguish from one another and are often sold under the wrong name. H. rhodostomus is slightly less colorful, but easier to keep and breed. H. bleheri can be distinguished from P. georgiae by H. bleheri's sharper, and more distinct white marking on the caudal fin. P. georgiae has a less colorful red marking on its head.
HAB: South America; small, shaded blackwater in still or slow-moving creeks and river bends in the tributaries of the Rio Negro (Brazil), and the Rio Vaupes (Columbia)
S: middle
TANK: 28" (70 cm) or 20 gallons (75 L). The tank should be well-planted and arranged in dark colors. Leave open swimming areas. The Rummy Nose Tetra is best kept in a tank with peat filtration. This fish is very sensitive to water pollutants.
WATER: pH 5-7 (6.5), 2-8 dH (5), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: An active, peaceful, species recommended for a community tank. Keep in schools of five or more fish.
SC: See genus description.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, small aquatic insects.
SEX: The female is plumper during the spawning season.
B: Use a breeding tank with a temperature of 79-82F (27-28C), a pH of 5.5-6.5, and a water hardness of 1-4 dH. A few eggs are dropped, landing on the bottom or in feathered plants. To prevent parents from eating eggs as they are laid, feed them whiteworms. Remove parents after spawning. The fry hatch in 30-36 hours, and are free-swimming after 4 days. The young are very small and can only be fed tiny foods such as microorganisms. The fry are difficult to raise.
BP: 8. Breeding is very difficult.
R: Regular water changes must be performed and a good water conditioner should be used. This fish is somewhat susceptible to "Ich".
DC: 5. Rummy None Tetras are excellent community fish, but they are sensitive to water pollutants and disease.

Buenos Aires Tetra [Pictures]
Hemigrammus caudovittatus
SYN: None
PD: The body is brown to silver in color with the back darker than the belly. The upper part of the iris is red. In males, parts of all fins are red. The female's have light pink fins. A black stripe extends from the base of the tail to its apex. Also near the base tail, the color is lemon yellow. At the tips of the dorsal, anal, and pectoral fins is a white fringe.
SIZE: To 3" (7.5 cm)
SS: None
HAB: South America; watershed of the Rio de la Plata in Argentina and Paraguay
S: middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (35 L). This fish cannot be kept in tanks that contain live plants as they will be eaten. Use plastic plants and rock formations for decoration. Leave large, open swimming areas and use a filter that creates strong current.
WATER: pH 5.5-8.5 (7.0), 2-35 dH (10), 64-86F (18-30C)
SB: A hardy active fish that is suitable for any beginner's community tank. Likes to school. Occasionally it may nip at long, flowing fins of other fishes.
SC: Small Doradids, Corydoras, Loricarids, some robust tetras, gouramis, barbs, danios.
FOOD: Flake; plant matter; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, small aquatic insects.
SEX: Males are smaller and more colorful.
B: Easy to breed at 75F (24C). Spawning takes place among hardy plants and is stimulating by morning sun. The eggs hatch is 20-24 hours. Remove parents after they are laid. Start feeding with small live and dry foods.
BP: 4. The Buenos Aires Tetra is easily bred.
R: One of the most popular of all aquarium fishes. It was introduced in 1922, but has lost popularity because of its tendency to eat live plants.
DC: 1. A sturdy fish with the annoying habit of eating live plants

Glowlight Tetra [Pictures]
Hemigrammus / Cheirodon erythrozonus
SYN: Hemigrammus gracilis
PD: The body color is silver. An iridescent orange to red stripe extends from the snout to the base of its tail. The front part of the dorsal fins are the same color as the stripe. Other fins are silver to transparent.
SIZE: 1.6" (4 cm)
SS: Red-line Rasbora ( Rasbora pauciperforata) of Malaysia and Indonesia has similar coloring.
HAB: South America; Essequibo River, Guyana.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 20" (45 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank should have a dark substrate to help bring out the Glowlight Tetra's neon-orange stripe. Use a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. The tank should be well-planted.
WATER: pH 5.7-7.5 (6.8); 4-15 dH (6); 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A peaceful, shoaling fish that is recommended for a community tank.
SC: Tetras, Discus, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Gouramis
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, small aquatic insects.
SEX: Females are larger.
B: Use a 10 gallon (38 L) breeding tank furnished with Java Moss and other plants. The tank should have dim or no lighting and a water temperature from 79-82F (26-28C). Peat filtered water makes for the best results. After conditioning a pair on live foods for a few weeks, introduce the pair into the breeding tank during the evening. The pair should spawn within two or three days. If the pair does not spawn within three days, try the process over again. 120-150 eggs are dropped in plants and on the bottom. The fry hatch in 20 to 25 hours. Feed the young crushed flakes and paramecia and Rotifers. After about 15 days, the young develop the characteristic orange stripe.
BP: 6. The Glowlight Tetra is not difficult fish to breed.
R: Among the most popular aquarium fish. Most fish available to the hobby are bred in captivity, especially in Southeast Asia. A "gold" form has been developed.
DC: 3. A hardy fish suggested for the beginning aquariast.

Green Neon, January Tetra [Pictures]
Hemigrammus hyanuary
SYN: None
PD: The body color is silver to olive green. An iridescent yellow to green stripe extends from the snout to the base of its tail. A black band runs below this stripe, extending from the tail to about mid way across the body. A silver to orange patch can be found above the stripe at the base of the tail. The fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 1.6" (4 cm)
SS: Boeseman's Tetra ( Hemigrammus boesemani), Golden Neon Tetra ( H. levis)
HAB: South America; in Lake Hyanuary near Manuas in Brazil. Now most are captive bred in Singapore.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (39 L). The tank should be well-planted with open areas left for free-swimming. The tank should be in a position to receive early morning sunshine.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (7.0); 6-15 dH (10); 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful fish that is recommended for a community tank. Likes to shoal, so keep in groups of five or more individuals. A lively fish.
SC: See H. erythrozonus.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, small aquatic insects.
SEX: The male is slimmer and smaller, and has small hook on anal fin
B: Use water with a pH of 6.0, 4 dH, and a temperature from 75-79F (24-26C). Will spawn at night in a breeding tank with soft water among fine-leafed plants. The eggs hatch after 24-32 hours and the fry are free-swimming after 2 or 3 days. Feed with micro-organisms and crushed flakes after the egg sac is consumed. The fry water should be changed weekly.
BP: 7. A moderately difficult fish to breed.
R: The iris of the Green Neon develops into a bright green color when mature. This fish needs regular water changes to thrive. Use a good water conditioner. This species is easily caught in net because of small hooks on the anal fin.
DC: 4. A hardy fish, once acclimated, as long as it is kept under a regime of frequent partial water changes.

Head and Tail Light, Beacon Fish [Pictures]
Hemigrammus ocellifer ocellifer
SYN: Holopristis ocellifer, Tetragonopterus ocellifer
PD: The body is oval-shaped and silver in color. The back is arched and the dorsal fin stands tall. There are two black spots; one just behind the gill cover and the other at the base of the tail. A silvery-white line runs from the eye to the tail. The upper part of the iris is bright red and there is an orange to copper spot right above the black one at the base of the tail. The fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: Much confusion has been created by the close resemblance of Hemigrammus ocellifer falsus to this fish. Hemigrammus ocellifer falsus is found in the tropical rivers of Northwestern Argentina and is more colorful and common in the hobby.
HAB: South America; in coastal regions of French Guyana and widespread throughout the Amazon and Orinoco rivers.
S: middle
TANK: 16" (40 cm) or 5 gallons (19 L) is adequate. The tank must be arranged in dark colors for this fish's iridescent orange spots to show. Provide open swimming areas and have a cover of floating plants to diffuse the light. Have well-planted areas for hiding.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 4-25 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish recommended for community tanks.
SC: Tetras, Loricarids, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, Livebearers, Gouramis
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, small aquatic insects.
SEX: The pointed swim bladder of male fish can be clearly seen when viewed in a glass against the light. Only part of the rounded swim bladder is visible in females. Females are also plumper.
B: A prolific fish. Spawning is stimulated by morning sun and a warm temperature (82F). 200-1000 eggs are laid and hatch in 20-24 hours. The parents should be removed after eggs are laid. The fry are free swimming after 1-2 days and should be fed egg yolk the first 2-5 days, and small live foods thereafter.
BP: 5. Breeding is fairly easy for an egg-layer.
R:
DC: 2. A hardy fish that does well in a community tank.

Pretty Tetra, Garnet Tetra, Black-wedge Tetra [Pictures]
Hemigrammus pulcher
SYN: None
PD: a disc-shaped fish with an arched back and a deep body. The dorsal fin is large and tall. The body ranges in color, depending on the light, from violet to copper. The belly is lighter in color, sometimes yellow. Just behind the gill cover, there is a shiny copper marking. The upper part of the iris is red and the mouth is turned upwards. The fins are transparent. Near the base of the tail is a copper colored line that extends midway across the body. Below this is a thick black band.
SIZE: To 2.5" (6.4 cm)
SS: None
HAB: South America; shaded creeks, brooks, and river bends in Peruvian Amazon near Iquitos.
S: middle
TANK: 16" (40 cm) or 5 gallons (19 L). The tank requirements are the same as H. ocellifer .
WATER: pH 5-7 (6.6), 4-15 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful schooling fish recommended for a community tank. Occasionally males may hassle gravid females in bare tank with no hiding places.
SC: See H. ocellifer.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, small aquatic insects.
SEX: The male is smaller, slenderer, and has a pointed swim bladder.
B: This fish can be difficult to breed in that pairs do not always spawn together. The male should be replaced if this happens. Once a pair is established they can be very prolific. These fish tend to spawn in slightly warmer, soft, acidic water. Spawning takes place among plants, and eggs are dropped. Remove the parents. The eggs hatch in 20-25 hours and the fry are free-swimming after 2-3 days. Start feeding with small live foods.
BP: 8. The Pretty Tetra is a difficult fish to breed.
R: This species is not common in the hobby as other Hemigrammus species. There are two sub-species.
DC: 2. The Pretty Tetra is a hardy fish, excellent for the beginning aquariast.

Genus Hyphessobrycon
SIZE: The fish of the Hyphessobrycon genus are small, ranging from 1.2" (4 cm) to 3.2" (8 cm) in size.
HAB: Most Hyphessobrycon are found in shallow, heavily vegetated areas of rivers and creeks. Although the genus Hyphessobrycon are distributed throughout South America and even as far north as Southern Mexico (Central America), the most concentrated populations of Hyphessobrycon species can be found in the Amazon and Orinoco River Basins.
S: The fish of this family usually swim in the mid-water levels.
TANK: Most of these fish can be kept in a small, 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L), tank. The tank should be heavily planted with some open areas for free-swimming. The tank should be arranged in dark colors, and have the lighting diffused by a cover of floating plants.
WATER: These fish can tolerate a pH from 6-7.5, but prefer slightly acidic water. They like soft water ranging from 2-15 dH, and require a temperature of 73-82F (23-28C).
SB: Hyphessobrycon fish are usually peaceful, schooling fish that are easily maintained in a community tank with other schooling characins of a similar size.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Gouramis.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: For most Hyphessobrycon species, the sexes are easily differentiated. Usually the male is more slender and has a more pointed swim bladder in comparison with the female.
B: Prior to spawning, a year-old pair should be selected and separated. Each fish should be conditioned on insect larvae and Drosophila . The pair can be introduced into a breeding tank after two or three weeks. For most species a 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallon (38 L) breeding tank should do. The water properties of the tank should be as follows: a temperature between 75-79F (24-26C), a pH from 5.5 to 6.5, and a soft water hardness of 2-4 dH. This soft water hardness can be reached by filtering boiled water with large amounts of peat. Clean the tank carefully, and use no substrate. The tank should be kept dark, and fine leafed plants should be included. Use a calm (little current producing) filter-possibly a foam or sponge type-for filtration. The pair should spawn within three days after introduction into the spawning tank. If the pair does not spawn, they should be reconditioned and reintroduced. Depending on the species and size of a fish, up to 300 eggs will be scattered among the plants. The pair should be removed immediately after spawning. In most cases the fry hatch after 24-36 hours and are free-swimming a few days later. Start feeding-after the egg sacs have been consumed-with microorganisms and Brine Shrimp nauplii. After about 10 days, the fry can start being given crushed flake foods. Make weekly, partial water changes for the fry.
BP: Breeding difficulty depends entirely on the species. For some, spawning comes easily, while for others, breeding is very difficult.
R: There are more than 60 species of Hyphessobrycon. Hyphessobrycon can be distinguished from Hemigrammus by its scaleless caudal fin base and caudal flank.
DC: Most of the Hyphessobrycon are not difficult to care for, especially if kept in a tank with favorable water conditions.

Jewel Tetra, Callistus Tetra, Blood Characin, Serpae Tetra [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon callistus
SYN: Hemigrammus melanopterus, Hyphessobrycon melanopterus, Tetragonopterus callistus
PD: A laterally compressed, deep-bodied fish. The base body color is brilliant red to reddish brown. A black spot is located just behind the gill cover and ranges in size depending on the age of the individual. It lessen in size with age. The black dorsal fin is tall and has a white fringe. The tail, pectoral, and pelvic fins are red. The pelvic fins have a white fringe. The anal fin is red, but has a black and white fringe.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: Red Phantom Tetra ( Megalamphodus sweglesi)
HAB: Calm blackwater with little current, often full of vegetation. South America; from the Southern Amazon Basin to the Paraguay River Basin. Now most are imported from Asia.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank should be arranged in dark colors, and a cover of floating plants should be used to diffuse the light. Have well-planted areas for hiding, but leave open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.7); 5-25 dH (5); 73-82F (23-28C).
SB: Usually a good community fish. Keep in groups of six or more fish. Individuals behave towards each other much like Piranhas, as weaker fish are bitten and attacked, although they are not usually killed. This aggressive behavior can usually be attributed to a lack of food.
SC: Corydoras, hardy tetras, gouramis.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: The male is smaller and brighter in color
B: Use a breeding tank with water qualities of: pH 6-7 and 4-8 dH. The Blood Characin is easy to breed in soft, peat-filtered water. The fry hatch in 24-28 hours. Feed the young small crustaceans, Infusoria, egg yolk, and later, crushed dry food.
BP: 5. The Blood Characin is easily bred.
R: There are several different variants, which have long flowing fins.
DC: 3. A hardy fish that is recommended for a community tank.

Bleeding Heart Tetra [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon erythrostigma
SYN: Hyphessobrycon rubrostigma, H. callistus rubrostigma
PD: The body is deep and disc-shaped. The back is orange to brown and the belly is the same. The body color is pinkish violet to orange and in reflected light, purple. The upper half of the iris is red. Just behind the gill cover is a bright red spot from which this fish gets its name. The male's dorsal fin is sickle-shape and black, pink, purple, and white in color. His anal fin is white. The female's dorsal fin is not as elongated, has the same colors. Its anal fin is smaller with less white color. The back is more high-arched with older individuals. the other fins are pink to gray.
SIZE: To 3" (7.5 cm)
SS: Bentos Tetra ( Hyphessobrycon bentosi bentosi), Rosy Tetra ( H. bentosi rosaceus), Copeland's Tetra ( H. copelandi ), Flame-back Bleeding Heart Tetra ( H. pyrrhonotus), Bleeding Heart Tetra ( H. socolofi ).
S: middle
HAB: Small creeks and river bends with heavy vegetation. South America; the Upper Amazon in Colombia and Peru.
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (55 L). The tank should be well-planted and arranged in dark colors. Provide a cover of floating plants to help mute the lighting. Leave open spaces for swimming and provide hiding places. This fish prefers peat filtration.
WATER: pH 5.5-7.3 (6.5), 3-12 dH (6), 73-82F (23-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that can be kept in a community tank. These fish must be kept in groups of at least six individuals. They do poorly if kept in smaller numbers. Do not combine with fin-nipping fish. An easily frightened fish.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex. Requires varied diet.
SEX: Males are more colorful and have more elaborate fins.
B: Difficult, because females often do not respond to mating attempts of males. Eggs are laid in floating plants and some fall to the bottom. Remove parents after eggs are laid. Fry hatch after 2-3 days and are free-swimming after 2-4 more. The fry are hard to raise and must be kept under a constant regime of regular, partial water changes. Start feeding with small live and crushed dry foods.
BP: 9. A challenging fish to breed.
R: This fish is somewhat susceptible to velvet disease and "Ich". This fish is sensitive to water conditions. Does not usually live more than five years. Requires frequent partial water changes.
DC: 5. The Bleeding Heart Tetra is sensitive to water pollutants and disease. It must be fed a varied diet in order to thrive.

Flame Tetra, Red Tetra [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon flammeus
SYN: Hyphessobrycon bifasciatus
PD: The body color ranges from brown to red, depending on the water conditions. The belly is silver. The back half of the body, the pelvic, and the anal fin are blood red. Three vertical spots are located just behind the gill cover. The iris can develop a beautiful turquoise color in optimum conditions. The dorsal, adipose, and pectoral fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: Griem's Tetra ( Hyphessobrycon griemi). This fish can easily be distinguished from H. griemi by the number of shoulder markings. H. flammeus has two marking behind its gill cover, while H. griemi has three.
WATER: pH 5.8-7.5 (6.8), 4-25 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
S: Middle
HAB: South America; near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). See genus description for other tank requirements.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: The anal fin of the male is blood red while the female's fin is lighter. Males are also slimmer.
B: A prolific fish that breeds easily. The female lays 150-300 eggs which hatch in 2-3 days. Remove parents after the eggs are laid. The fry hang from plants for 3-4 days before they are free swimming. Start feeding with small live foods.
BP: 4. An easily bred fish.
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is recommended for community tanks. Keep in groups.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
R: This species only displays its colors when kept in water with good maintenance. Sometimes dull in aquarium store show tanks.
DC: 2. A hardy fish recommended for a community tank.

Griem's Tetra, Flame Fish [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon griemi
SYN: None
PD: The body color ranges from brown to red, depending on the water conditions. The belly is silver. The back half of the body, the pelvic, and the anal fin are blood red. Three vertical spots are located just behind the gill cover. The dorsal, adipose, and pectoral fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 1.5" (4 cm)
SS: Flame Tetra ( H. flammeus)
HAB: South America; Brazil.
S: Middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank should be arranged in the same manner as H. flammeus.
WATER: pH 5.8-7.5 (6.8), 4-25 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is recommended for community tanks. Keep in groups.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: The anal fin of the male is blood red while the females is lighter. Males are slimmer.
B: A prolific fish that breeds easily. Spawning is similar to H. flammeus. Also see the Hyphessobrycon genus description.
BP: 4. Breeding comes easily.
R: Most fish available to the hobby are captive-bred in Southeast Asia.
DC: 2. A hardy fish that is recommended for a community tank.

Black Neon [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi
SYN: None
PD: Laterally compressed body. The back is brownish black to silver, while the belly is silver. A black band extends from the gill cover through the tail. Above is an iridescent green to yellow stripe. The iris is orange to red.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: Flag Tetra ( Hyphessobrycon heterorhabdus), Vilma's Tetra ( H. vilmae)
HAB: South America; Rio Taquari of the Mato Grosso, Brazil
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). Arrange the tank in dark colors and provide a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. The tank should be well-planted and open swimming areas should be left. Use a filter that provides a moderate current.
WATER: pH 5-7.5 (6.7); 6-15 dH (8); 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A peaceful community fish that likes to be kept in shoals of five or more fish.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae-especially black mosquito larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: Mature females have a fuller stomach.
B: If fed with such live foods as black mosquito larvae, they will breed in breeding tank that has water filtered through peat. Remove the parents after spawning. The fry hatch after 36 hours. Start feeding with Paramecia and Brine Shrimp nauplii.
BP: 6. The Black Neon is not a difficult fish to breed.
R: Not closely related to Neon as its name suggests. Named after well-known American Ichthyologist, Dr. Herbert Axelrod.
DC: 3. A hardy fish that requires frequent partial water changes to thrive.

Flag Tetra, Belgian Flag Tetra [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon heterorhabdus
SYN: Tetragonopterus heterorhabdus, Hemigrammus heterorhabdus
PD: Laterally compressed body. The back is brownish black to silver, while the belly is silver. A black band extends from the gill cover through the tail. Above is and iridescent green to yellow stripe. Above this stripe is an orange line. The iris is orange to red.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: Ulrey's Tetra ( Hemigrammus ulreyi), Black-lined Tetra ( Hyphessobrycon scholzei), Vilma's Tetra ( H. vilmae )
HAB: South America; Rio Tocantins, Lower Amazon
S: middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). As for other Hyphessobrycon species; see the genus description.
WATER: pH 5.5-7.5 (6.7), 5-15 dH (7), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is recommended for a community tank. These fish only do well in groups, single specimen often die.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: Females are plumper and larger
B: Difficult. Use a breeding tank with a pH of 6.0, a water hardness of 4 dH, and a temperature of 82F (28C) 100-200 eggs are laid and the fry hatch after 30-36 hours. The eggs are susceptible to fungus and the fry often get diseases. The young do not readily take food, but try crushed flake and small live foods.
BP: 8. A challenging fish to breed.
R: This fish was first introduced in 1910.
DC: 4. The Flag Tetra is not as hardy as most other tetras, because it is susceptible to disease.

Lemon Tetra [Pictures]
Hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis
SYN: None
PD: The body is translucent with a yellow to orange color. Behind the gill cover is an orange to red marking in reflected light. The iris is bright orange to red. A yellow stripe extends from the tail to the gill cover. The fins are transparent except for the dorsal which sometime develops a red sheen, and the anal, which has a yellow front edging and a black ridge.
SIZE: To 2" (5 cm)
SS: None
HAB: South America; in small, overgrown creeks and streams in the Rio Tocantins and its tributaries.
S: middle, top
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). Tank set-up should be like other Hyphessobrycon species. See genus description.
WATER: pH 5.5-8 (6.5), 3-25 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is recommended for community tanks. Keep in groups of at least five fish.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex. Best colors develop only when fed a variety of nutritious foods.
SEX: The male is slender and has a broad black edge on its anal fin while the female's remains the same color.
B: Some say spawning is difficult while others claim that it is easy. This fish can sometimes be prolific laying 100-200 eggs among plants. The eggs hatch in a day and are free-swimming after 2-3 days. They are slow-growing and tend to hide most of the time. Start feeding with crushed flake and small live foods.
BP: 7. Breeding the Lemon Tetra is moderately difficult.
R: This fish will develop its beautiful colors only when kept in soft water that has frequent water changes.
DC: 3. A hardy, community fish.
Blue Emperor Tetra, King Tetra [Pictures]
Inpaichthys kerri
SYN: None
PD: The male and female are different in coloration. The male's dorsal fin is elongated and adipose fin is blue. The other fins are transparent, but the pectoral and anal fins also have a tinge of blue. The back is light blue. A broad iridescent dark blue stripe extends from the snout through the eye and to the tail. From this stripe up the body is light blue. Under the stripe is pale blue until the belly where the color changes to beige. The female also has an elongated dorsal fin but the adipose fin is brown or black. It has a broad black line instead of blue and the area above it is beige with silvery-blue sheen, in reflected light. The belly is white and occasionally has a silvery sheen. The fins are transparent.
SIZE: Males to 1.6" (4 cm), while females reach 1.2" (3 cm)
SS: Emperor Tetra ( Nematobrycon palmeri)
S: middle
HAB: South America; Rio Aripuana, a tributary of the Rio Madeira in Brazil.
TANK: A group can be kept in a 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallon (38 L) tank. Although, a 28" (70 cm) or 20-30 gallon (75-114 L) tank is preferred. Arrange the tank in dark colors, including a dark substrate. Use a cover of floating plants to darken the tank. The tank should be heavily planted with an open swimming area provided. A piece of driftwood should be used to serve as a retreat for a harassed female.
WATER: pH 6.5-7.5 (7.0); 4-15 dH (12); 75-82F (24-28C)
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SB: A peaceful fish that is recommended for community tanks having other calm fish. Do not combine with aggressive or fin-nipping fish. Keep this fish in a small school.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
SEX: Male has larger fins and is more colorful.
B: After separate conditioning, place the pair in breeding tank that is 73-79F (23-26C), has a water hardness from 4-8 dH, pH of 6-7. The tank should be well planted. After the female lays the eggs on plants, both parents should be removed. The eggs will hatch in 24-30 hours and the fry are free swimming after five days. Feed the young, crushed flake food and paramecia.
BP: 7. Breeding is fairly difficult.
R: A delicate species; use good water conditioner. If good water qualities are maintained, the beautiful colors of this fish will develop. The Blue Emperor is commercially bred in Germany.
DC: 4. The Blue Emperor is sensitive to water pollutants.

Black Phantom Tetra [Pictures]
Megalamphodus megalopterus
SYN: None
PD: The black dorsal fin is tall and elongated. The body color is smoky-black. A faint black line extends from the gill cover to the tail. The belly is silver. A large black, comma-shaped mark is located behind the gill cover, but it lessens in intensity with age. The anal and pectoral fins are elongated and like the rest of the fins, black in color.
SIZE: To 1.8" (4.5 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Shaded areas with heavy vegetation. South America; in the Rio Guapore, on Bolivia and Brazil border.
S: middle
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (55 L). A cover of floating plants is needed to diffuse the lighting. Offer shelter with well-planted areas, but leave some open areas for free-swimming.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 4-18 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is recommended for a community tank. This fish can be kept in a pair or groups. Do not keep singly, as single fish lose color, stop eating, and often die. Males may battle, although no injuries occur.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: Males are slimmer with larger and more elaborate fins. The female has red adipose, pectoral, and anal fins.
B: The pair can be introduced into a breeding tank after separate conditioning. Use a breeding tank with muted light, a pH of 5.5-6.0, and a water hardness of 4 dH. After an impressive courtship, spawning takes place among fine-leafed plants during the morning hours. Eggs hatch in 1-2 days and the fry are free-swimming after 2-4 more. The fry are slow-growing and sometimes difficult to raise. Start feeding with small live foods.
BP: 6. Breeding is not difficult.
R: Fishes of the genus Megalamphodus are very similar to Hyphessobrycon, the only difference being that they have a difference in the skull structure.
DC: 3. This fish is somewhat susceptible to fish tuberculosis, otherwise the Black Phantom Tetra is a hardy fish.

Red Phantom Tetra [Pictures]
Megalamphodus sweglesi
SYN: None
PD: The dorsal fin of the male is tall and elongated. It is multicolored; usually red, black, and white. The female's dorsal fin is also elongated and is red and black. The body color ranges from brown to blood-red depending on the fish's condition. A red line extends from the gill cover to the tail. The head is brighter red than the rest of the body. A large black, comma-shaped mark is located behind the gill cover, but it lessens in intensity with age. The anal and pectoral fins are elongated and like the rest of the fins, red in color.
SIZE: To 1.6" (4 cm)
SS: Blood Characin ( Hyphessobrycon callistus)
HAB: Shaded areas with heavy vegetation. South America; in the Rio Muco and the Rio Meta, Columbia.
S: middle
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (55 L). Set up the tank as one would for M. megalampodus .
WATER: pH 5.5-7.5 (6.5), 4-20 dH (6), 68-75F (20-24C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish that is recommended for a community tank. This fish can be kept in a pair or groups. Do not keep singly, as single fish lose color, stop eating, and often die. Keep with fish that can tolerate slightly lower water temperatures. Males often fight battles, but neither fish is harmed.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: Males are slimmer with larger and more elaborate fins. The female has a multicolored dorsal fin.
B: Use a breeding tank with muted light, a pH of 5.5-6.0, and a water hardness of 1-2 dH. Spawning takes place among plants during morning hours. Eggs are susceptible to fungus, so treat accordingly. The reddish-brown eggs hatch in 1-2 days and fry are free-swimming after 4-5 more. The fry are slow-growing and are delicate. Start feeding with small live foods.
BP: 8. The Red Phantom Tetra is a challenging fish to breed.
R: This fish is commonly kept in water with too high a temperature which causes some trouble. Their colors will fade slightly and their life-span is shortened, when kept in too high a temperature. Requires frequent water changes to thrive.
DC: 4. A sensitive fish that must be kept in cooler water to thrive.

Diamond Tetra, Pittier's Tetra [Pictures]
Moenkhausia pittieri
SYN: None
PD: The fin of the male are quite elongated and silver in color. The female's fins are elongated, but no as much as the male's. The fins are transparent. The body is oval shaped and green to silver in color. It gets its name from the shimmering scales that develop when adult. In reflected light the scales can have a violet to gold iridescence. The upper part of the iris is red to orange.
SIZE: To 2.5" (6.4 cm)
SS: None
HAB: South America; found in well-planted shallows of Lake Valencia, the Rio Bue, and the Rio Tiquirito in Venezuela.
S: middle, top
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (55 L). The tank should be well-planted with of cover of floating plants to help filter the lighting. Arrange the tank in dark colors to help bring out the Diamond Tetra's iridescence. Leave open swimming areas. This fish prefers peat filtered water.
WATER: pH 5.5-7 (6.7), 2-10 dH (5), 75-82F (24-28C)
SB: A calm, peaceful, schooling fish that can be kept in a community tank. Do not combine with fin-nipping fish.
SC: Corydoras, Loricarids, Hatchetfish, tetras, Discus
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, terrestrial insects, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex.
SEX: Males have more elongated fins, especially the dorsal.
B: After separate conditioning, the pair can be introduced into the breeding tank. Use a small breeding tank (16" or 5 gallons) with peat-filtered water, a pH of 5.5-6.0, and a water hardness of 1-4 dH. Daybreak and the feeding of mosquito larvae help initiate spawning. Use fine fiber, fine-leafed plants, or plastic grass. The eggs will be laid in this fiber. Remove the parents after spawning, but sometimes they will not harm the eggs if fed sufficiently. The eggs hatch after 24-40 hours-depending on the water temperature-and hand from glass or plants for 3-6 days, and are free-swimming after that. Start feeding with Artemia and other small live foods.
BP: 7. The Diamond Tetra is a moderately difficult fish to breed.
R: Young fish's coloration is often misleading, as it is very plain and dull, nothing of the shimmering, diamond-like coloration of the adult fish. Perform frequent partial water changes in order to keep the Diamond Tetra in peak condition. The Diamond Tetra is occasionally bred in Southeast Asia.
DC: 5. A handsome, but somewhat sensitive fish.

Red-eyed Tetra, Yellow-banded Moenkhausia, Red-eyed Moe [Pictures]
Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae
SYN: Moenkhausia agassizi, M. australis, M. filomenae, Tetragonopterus sanctaefilomenae
PD: A deep-bodied characin with a silver color. The back can have a green iridescence. The scales are large and easily seen. The upper half of the iris is orange to red. The fins are transparent. The front part, near the base of the tail, is a black vertical band. Next to this marking, is a white to yellow band.
SIZE: To 2.8" (7 cm)
SS: Glassy Tetra ( M. oligolepis)
HAB: Found in brooks, swamps, and marshes in the Paraguay and Paranaiba Rivers.
S: middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 l). An open swimming area is essential in the tank set-up for this fish. The tank should also be well-planted with a cover of floating plants to subdue the lighting. To bring out the stunning orange crescent on the upper part of the iris, the tank should be arranged in dark colors.
WATER: pH 5.5-8.5 (6.8), 2-30 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: An active, schooling fish that is recommended for a community tank. Keep this fish in groups.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Loricarids, Discus, Colisa.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, flying insects, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex; vegetable flakes. Vegetable food is important to fish of this genus.
SEX: The males is slimmer.
B: Use a breeding tank with peat filtration and a water hardness of 1-4 dH. This fish spawns in schools or in pairs. Up to 2000 eggs are laid. Remove the parents as soon as they are laid. The fry hatch 1-2 days and in another 1-3 days they are free swimming. They can be fed crushed flake and small live foods.
BP: 5. This Moenkhausia is fairly easy to breed.
R: Often bred in Southeast Asia.
DC: 2. A hardy fish that is readily available and will not harm plants.

Emperor Tetra [Pictures]
Nematobrycon palmeri
SYN: Nematobrycon amphiloxus
PD: The body is "club-shaped." The dorsal fin is elongated and has a dark fringe on its edge. The other fins also have dark fringes with yellow base coloration. The back is olive brown. A broad iridescent stripe extends from the eye to the base of its tail. The stripe ranges in color from yellow to green to blue to violet and even black. Below this colorful stripe is a broad black band. No adipose fin is present.
SIZE: To 3" (8 cm)
SS: Blue Emperor Tetra ( Inpaichthys kerri), Rainbow Emperor Tetra ( Nematobrycon lacortei )
HAB: South America; the Rio San Juan and the Rio Atrata of the watershed of Western Columbia
S: All
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The tank must be arranged in dark colors to have this fish's splendid colors to come out. The lighting should be subdued by a cover of floating plants. Provide dense planting for hiding. A piece of driftwood should be used to serve as a retreat for a harassed female.
WATER: pH 6-7.5 (6.8); 5-25 dH (8); 73-78F (23-26C)
SB: A territorial fish that can be kept in a community tank. A male will establish his own territory and only allow juvenile or ready-to-spawn females to enter it. Keep one male with two or more females. Males are aggressive towards each other and often the smaller or weaker is killed during a conflict. A dominant male may pick on a female fish.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, gouramis.
FOOD: Flake; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex; occasionally offer boiled spinach and vegetable flake foods.
SEX: The male is higher backed with age, has longer fins, including elongated dorsal fin. The male is much more colorful.
B: Spawning is fairly easy. The major difficulty usually encountered is the incompatibility of a pair. If this occurs, try a different female. The compatible pair should be placed in a 16" (40 cm) or 5 gallon (19 L) tank. Use no substrate. The water should have a pH from 5.0-6.0 and a water hardness of 2-8 dH. Use fine leafed plants or Java Moss as a spawning substrate. Keep the pair separated in different tanks for two-three weeks prior to spawning, and feed them on a varied diet of black mosquito larvae, glassworms, bloodworms, and Daphnia. Spawning follows after the female assumes a head-down position in the plants. Each time the pair embraces, a single egg is produced. This process continues for three-four hours and produces up to 150 eggs. After spawning, the male will attack the female, unless plenty of hiding places are provided. Remove the pair. The clear eggs hatch in 24-30 hours. The clear, transparent fry cling to plants and the glass tank sides. In five days, the young are free-swimming. At that time they can be fed powdered foods and Infusoria. After three-four more days, the fry can be fed larger foods such as brine shrimp nauplii. After two weeks, the young begin to develop the characteristic band that extends from the snout through the tail. The fry require frequent partial water changes to prosper. Try to feed the fry a varied diet.
BP: 6. The Emperor Tetra is a fairly easy fish to breed.
R: Use a good water conditioner when performing water changes. With age, this fish will develop bright blue eyes. Delicate when first introduced, but once acclimated is hardy. Juvenile fish are dull and pale. If good water qualities are maintained, the beautiful colors of this fish will develop. Live plants may be nibbled if vegetable foods are not included in this fish's diet.
DC: 4. The Emperor Tetra is a relatively hardy fish as long as favorable water conditions are maintained.

Cardinal Tetra, Cardinal Neon [Pictures]
Paracheirodon axelrodi
SYN: Cheirodon axelrodi, Hyphessobrycon cardinalis

PD: The body is elongated and laterally compressed. An iridescent blue to green stripe extends across the body from tail to snout. Below the stripe is a bright red band that also extends the whole length of the body. The fins are colorless and the back and belly of the fish is silver in color.
SIZE: To 2.8" (7 cm)
SS: Neon Tetra ( Paracheirodon innesi), False Neon Tetra ( P. simulans)
HAB: Shaded areas in small, slow-moving, clear and blackwater creeks. South America; in the Rio Negro and Orinoco rivers.
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L) is sufficient, although slightly larger tanks are best. Use a well-planted tank with some floating plants to diffuse the light. Have a good air supply and try to keep waste levels low, as Cardinal Tetras are sensitive to these toxic compounds. The tank should be arranged in dark colors to bring out its beautiful colors.
WATER: pH: 4.5-7 (6.0); 2-8 dH (6); 75-82F (24-28C)
FOOD: Flakes; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, Daphnia.
SEX: The males are more slender and may have tiny hooks on anal fin
B: The pair should be selected when about a year in age. Separate the pair and condition them on insect larvae and crustaceans. Use a 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallon (38 L) tank for breeding. Its water properties should be as follows: a pH of 5.5, a water hardness of 0-2 dH, and a temperature around 82F (28C). Provide a great deal of fine leafed plants to serve as spawning substrates and use no light. The female will spawn in the evening, laying about 500 eggs which fall to the gravel and into plants. The pair should be removed after spawning. The eggs hatch in 24 hours and the fry are free-swimming five days later. The tiny young are difficult to raise. Start feeding the fry with paramecia. Later the fry can be fed on Brine Shrimp nauplii. Frequent partial water changes should be made.
BP: 8. A challenging fish to breed-this is why most fish available are wild-caught.
SB: A shoaling fish that must be keep in groups of at least six. A good community fish that can be kept with other small fish. The Cardinal Tetra will fall prey to large fish, such as Angels.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, gouramis, Hatchetfish.
R: The neon stripe of the Cardinal Tetra and other characins serves to keep the shoal together where water is dark. The Cardinal uses external light for the source of neon stripe. Iridescent particles in pigment cells of neon stripe capture light and reflect it. Depending on the angle of light, the stripe can change from green to blue. At night, the reflects have no light to reflect and the fish are a brownish gray color, almost transparent. It takes about 15 minutes for the reflectors to start reflecting light again. In nature, the Cardinal is a feeder fish for many fish. They die by the thousands and are very common. In 1993, over 30 million Cardinal Tetras were left unsold in Brazil alone! These fish were caught by fishermen, who receive about $1.50 in U. S. dollars for every thousand Cardinals they capture ( T. F. H. #459, Axelrod 197). In well-maintained tank, individuals have been known to live an excess of 10 years. Since most Cardinal Tetras come from the wild, newly imported fish have trouble acclimating to aquaria. After a danger period of three weeks, when these fish are very susceptible, the fish become hardy.
DC: 3. A hardy and delightful fish recommended for a community tank, that does best under a regime of frequent partial water changes.

Neon Tetra [Pictures]
Paracheirodon innesi
SYN: Hyphessobrycon innesi
PD: This fish has a slender body and is slightly laterally compressed. The back is silver to olive brown while the belly is silver. A green to blue iridescent stripe extends from the eye near the tail. Below this, beginning in the middle of the body, is a bright red band that runs to the base of the tail.
SIZE: 1.6" (4 cm)
SS: Cardinal Tetra ( P. axelrodi), False Neon Tetra ( P. simulans )
HAB: South America; Rio Putumayo, Eastern Peru; Most are now captive bred in Hong Kong
S: bottom, middle
TANK: 20" (50 cm) or 10 gallons (38 L). The lighting should be dimmed by a cover of floating plants. The tank should be well-planted and have a dark gravel substrate.
WATER: pH 5-8 (6.8); once acclimated 1-25 dH (8); 68-77F (20-25C)
SB: A peaceful fish ideal for a community tank. Do not keep the Neon Tetra with substantially larger fish such as Angles, for the neon may get eaten. Keep this fish in groups of five or more.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, gouramis, Hatchetfish, Livebearers, Danios, Rasboras.
FOOD: Flakes; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, Daphnia.
SEX: Males are slimmer and their neon blue stripe is straight. Females have a fuller stomach and their blue neon stripe bent.
B: Use a small breeding tank with a pH of 5-6, a water temperature of 75-77F (24-25C), and a water hardness of 1-5 dH. The tank should have subdued lighting and be well-planted with bushy plants. The female lays up to 130 eggs. Remove the parents after spawning. Leave the eggs in the dark tank to keep down the growth of fungus. The fry hatch after 24 hours. The young are free swimming after five days, after which time they can be fed crushed flakes and paramecia.
BP: 7. The Neon Tetra is a moderately difficult fish to breed.
R: Susceptible to incurable neon disease. Among the most popular of tropical freshwater aquarium fish. Neon tetras are sensitive during acclimation, during this period neons are most likely to expire. After the initial week or two, the fish become adjusted and are fairly hardy.
DC: 3. The Neon Tetra is a hardy, community fish. Avoid fluctuating water conditions.

False Red Nose, False Rummy Nose Tetra [Pictures]
Petitella georgiae
SYN: None
PD: The body is silver to olive brown in color. A gold to brown stripe extends from the red area on the head to the base of the tail. The snout to the mouth to the gill cover is blood-red as is the iris of the eye when good water maintenance is maintained. The tail has three black bands and four white ones. The other fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 2.5" (6.4 cm)
SS: Rummy Nose Tetra ( Hemigrammus bleheri), Red-nosed Tetra ( H. rhodostomus ).
HAB: South America; in white water streams near Iquitos, Peru and in the Rio Branca
S: middle, top
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (55 L). Arrange the tank in dark colors and use a cover of floating plants. Provide dense vegetation and use a dark gravel bottom. The False Rummy Nose Tetra does best in peat filtered water.
WATER: pH 5.5-7 (6.5); 3-12 dH (6); 72-79F (22-26C)
SB: A peaceful, but active, schooling fish that can be kept with other fish that like soft acidic water.
SC: Tetras, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, gouramis, Hatchetfish
FOOD: Flakes; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex, Daphnia.
SEX: To hard to distinguish
B: Few details are available. Breeding is said to be similar to that of the Cardinal Tetra.
BP: 9. Breeding is very difficult and unusual.
R: Use a good water conditioner when performing the frequent partial water changes necessary for this fish to thrive. This fish is very similar to the Rummy Nose Tetra in its coloration. These two fish only differ in that the False Rummy Nose Tetra has a different arrangement of tooth structure and the central black marking on the tail extends farther forward on the Rummy Nose Tetra
DC: 5. A sensitive fish that is susceptible to disease.

Boehlk's Penguin Fish, False Penguin Fish [Pictures]
Thayeria boehlkei
SYN: None
PD: An elongated fish with a base body color of brown to golden. The belly is white to silver. a broad black stripe extends from the gill cover down the tip of the lower flank of the tail. The other fins are transparent.
SIZE: To 3" (8 cm)
SS: Penguin Fish ( T. obliqua)
S: middle, top
HAB: South America; well-planted sections with slow-moving water in the Rio Araguaia (Brazil) and the Peruvian Amazon
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (55 L). The tank should be well-planted and have a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. Leave open swimming areas.
WATER: pH 5.8-7.5 (6.5), 4-20 dH (8), 72-82F (22-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish recommended for a community tank. Keep this fish in groups.
SC: Tetras, Hatchetfish, Corydoras, Apistogramma , Discus, Loricarids, gouramis
FOOD: Flakes; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, Tubifex
SEX: The females are plumper.
B: Use a breeding tank that contains bushy plants. The spawning takes place at night. As many as 1000 eggs are laid at a time, which hatch in 20-24 hours. Remove parents after eggs are laid. The fry can be fed small live foods.
BP: 6. Breeding Boehlk's Penguin Fish is not difficult.
R: This fish is often sold as the Penguin Fish, a name which actually belong to Thayeria obliqua. This fish swims in an oblique position with its head toward the surface of the water. Boehlk's Penguin Fish is sensitive to toxic compounds, especially nitrate. Perform frequent partial water changes to keep this fish in top condition.
DC: 4. A fairly hardy fish recommended for a community tank.

Penguin Fish, Honey Stick Tetra [Pictures]
Thayeria obliqua
SYN: None
PD: An elongated fish with a base body color of brown to golden. The belly is white to silver. A broad black stripe extends from behind the dorsal fin down the tip of the lower flank of the tail. The other fins are transparent. A golden stripe extends from the gill cover to the base of the tail.
SIZE: To 3.2" (8 cm)
SS: Boehlk's Penguin Fish ( T. boehlkei)
HAB: South America; Rio Guapore, Rio Araguaia, Rio Madeira, and Rio Mamore in Brazil. In grassy brooks and creeks with heavy algae growth and vegetation.
S: middle, top
TANK: 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 l). The tank should be arranged in dark colors and have a cover of floating plants. Have well-planted areas for hiding, and leave open swimming areas. The water should be well-aerated.
WATER: pH 5.8-7.5 (6.5), 2-15 dH (8), 68-82F (20-28C)
SB: A peaceful, schooling fish recommended for a community tank. Keep in groups.
SC: See T. boehlkei.
FOOD: Flakes; live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, .
SEX: Females are plumper when mature.
B: Similar to Thayeria boehlkei. The brown eggs hatch in 12-20 hours. The fry can be raised on Brine Shrimp nauplii and powdered foods.
BP: 8. A challenging fish to breed.
R: This fish swims in an oblique position.
DC: 4. A somewhat sensitive fish, that can be kept in a community tank.


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