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Senseless about Serpae Tetras

Time and time again fishkeepers keep stocking their stunning tanks with neon or rummynose tetras. Yet, for those willing to try something a little bit different, serpae tetras might just be the fish your looking for…

The Hyphessobrycon eques pops up almost everywhere in South America. They have adpated themselves to a range of water conditions which translates to them being adaptable little fish in aquariums.

Within this wide range of environments, the one that is most common to them is Sluggish clear water tributaries. There the pH is roughly neutral, being  around 6.5 – 7.5 and the KH is often between 1 -7 degrees hardness. Within these environments, the temperature can vary from season to season. Falling to 22°C in colder weather and potentially reaching 30 °C + in the dry season.

Yet, Most importantly, these clear Water Rivers are often jam packed with plants all competing for light and nutrients; meaning serpae tetras thrive in planted aquaria.

Being one of the most spectacularly coloured tetras. Serpae’s are a rich blood red with a striking black sail acting as its dorsal fins. Finishing this off,  a fine white fringe frames them perfectly. In terms of colouration, sex makes no difference. Mature females are much deeper bodied and rounder when viewed from above.

When it comes to housing them in aquariums, bigger is better.

However, a small shoal of six fish can be housed in 75 litre aquarium. Due to the fact that’s these fish rely on each other for predator cues and safety. Six should be your absolute minimum but if space permits, get as many as you possibly can.

Countless fishkeepers chose to have several shoals of different species, yet this just creates odd looking tanks.  For a natural feel and for the benefit of your fish, scrap the groups of cardinals, penguins and Endlers and substitute them for a group of twenty five Serpae’s (Space permitting).

When you’re embarking on the delicate task of choosing tank-mates, it is a fortunate fact that serape’s are generally peaceful.

Yet, you’re still best to keep them away from very docile, slow-moving fish. Instead opt for more robust, peaceful species such as Corydoras species or larger dwarf cichlids.

Once you’ve found the perfect tank-mates, designing your aaurium is fairly easy. Simply use large amounts of bogwood and plants to create plenty of hiding spaces. This will give your tank a natural feel along with perfroming the important taks of minimiseing conspecific aggression. As rival males will compete for the attention of females and group standing.

For more information on seprae tetras visit their profile on the seriously fish website:

Serpae Tetras profile – Seriously fish

Alexander S. Howson

Alexander S. Howson is a naturalist and nature writer.

Along with a heavy interest in Aquatics, birds and ecology. Alexander now directs a large deal of energy attempting to re-educate the public about aquatics and promoting the conservation of a range of wildlife species.

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