Serpae Tetra Fish: Care, Profile And Breeding

Serpae Tetra is among the beautiful fishes kept in the aquarium. They are popular because of their stunning looks and ease of care. You can spend your time by seeing them moving slowly in your aquarium. This fish species is one of the most famous species in Tetra fishes. They have so many interesting physical characteristics and traits that I have mentioned below. Not only this, these fishes are very playful and silent. They have originated from the river basins of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. Keep reading the article to know more important and in-depth information about the Serpae Tetra fish. 

Serpae Tetra Fish

The Scientific name of this Serpae Tetra fish is ‘Hyphessobrycon eques’. The other common names given to this fish are red minor serpae tetra, jewel tetra, Callistus tetra, red serpae tetra, and blood characin. 

This tropical freshwater fish is native to the Amazon river and the regions of Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Peru, Paraguay, and Argentina. 

These are slow-moving fishes and are often found near the thick tree roots and in the thick sea vegetation where they can find both food and safety. 

This species is considered part of the blood tetras because of their orange to blood-red color.  They have a flat and tall body with a black-shaped comma spot behind their gills. 

Serpae Tetra Lifespan

The lifespan of this Serpae Tetra fish is in captivity has been observed between 5 to 7 years. The life expectancy of the fish also depends on several other factors like water conditions, temperature, and the quality of the environment in which they are living.  

Serpae Tetra Size 

The Tetra serpae can grow up to the size of 5 cm or 2 inches in the wild. In captivity, these fishes only grow up to 4.5 cm or 1.75 inches. It has been seen that males are slightly slimmer than female tetras. The dorsal fin is paler in female tetras while the male tetras have a fully black dorsal fin. 

Serpae Tetra Food 

The Serpae Tetra fish species are omnivores which means that they can eat both plants and flesh. 

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Freeze-Dried Food

  • Flake
  • Pellets
  • Frozen Fish Foods

Live Food

  • Blood Worms
  • Shrimp
  • Small insects, etc.


  • Fresh vegetables
  • Lettuce 
  • Ground grains

Serpae Tetra Care

You can take care of these fishes very easily and I have mentioned a few points for you to remember. 

  • They are originally from the amazon habitat and they like to live in quiet water with organic debris. So you can peat to add a similar effect to their water. 
  • These fishes like to live in dark substrates. You must the lighting a little bit subdued so that they find it more comfortable.
  • You must add some decor, artificial plants, or aquatic plants in their habitat for them to hide.
  • The water movement should be slow and there must be a large open space for swimming. These fishes are slower movers and they like to swim swiftly. 

Serpae Tetra Breeding

Breeding these tetra fishes is comparatively easy and below I have mentioned the steps.

  • Take a pair of male and female tetra and put them in a separate tank.
  • Add fine-leaved aquatic plants like the java moss or the Myriophyllum for the fish to lay eggs. 
  • Keep the water ph around 6 and maintain the water temperature at 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 degrees celsius. Feed the pair with well-nourished foods or live foods like worms or shrimp etc. 
  • The female tetra becomes fuller in size whereas the male tetra becomes more colorful when they are ready for spawning
  • Soon when you find the eggs scattered over the plants remove both the fishes from the tank to prevent them from consuming their own eggs. 

Serpae Tetra Tank Mates 

The tetra serpae fishes are very peaceful and should be kept in a school. They are compatible with many other fishes and their names are given below. You can keep other similar tetras with them in the aquarium. The serpae tetra school size can be between 6 fishes or more.

Compatible Tankmates 

  • Barbs 
  • Larger tetras
  • Loaches
  • Catfishes
  • Cichlid
  • Bristlenose Pleco

Fishes To Avoid

  • Serpae tetra with angelfish

Serpae Tetra Tank Size

While setting up the tank for these tetra serpae fishes you must keep certain parameters and requirements in mind. 

  • The minimum tank size should be 20 gallons or more. The substrate should be dark with fewer lightings. 
  • The ideal serpae tetra temperature is between 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit or 22 to 26 degrees celsius.
  • The water pH should be maintained between 5 to 7.8 whereas the water hardness should be between 5 to 25 dGH. 
  • You should add some aquatic plants and decor to provide a sufficient hiding place for the fishes. 

Serpae Tetra Facts 

Now, I will tell you some interesting and quick facts about these species of Tetra fishes.

  • The Scientific name of this tetra serpae fish is ‘Hyphessobrycon eques’ and the other common names are red serpae, red minor tetra, jewel tetra, and Callistus.
  • The origin of these fishes is from the amazon river and the basins of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. 
  • They can grow up to the size of 4.5 cm or 1.75 inches in captivity and has a life expectancy of 7 years.
  • The male tetras are more brightly colored than the female tetras and have slimmer bodies.
  • These fishes are not aggressive but they might nip the fins of other fishes especially during the feeding times. 


Are Serpae Tetras Aggressive?

No, this species of Tetra is not very aggressive. However, they can become a little aggressive among the other slow-moving species and can nip their fins. 

Are Serpae Tetras Fin Nippers?

Yes, the Tetra Serpae are fin nippers. They can nip the fin of other species especially during the time when they are fed by their owners. 

How Big Do Serpae Tetras Get?

These Tetra fishes can grow up to the size of 2 inches or 5 cm in the wild. In captivity, they grow up to the size of 1.75 inches or 4.5 cm. 

Will Serpae Tetra School With Other Tetras?

Yes, the Tetra Serpae can school with other tetras like Cardinal tetras, Neon tetras, and black widow tetras.  

Do Serpae Tetras Eat Algae?

When in captivity, they will eat just about anything to include fish flakes, frozen food, freeze-dried food and live food. It’s ideal to feed long find serpae tetras a varied diet to ensure proper nutrition and health. Offer brine shrimp, bloodworms, mysis shrimp, daphnia, as well as plankton, algae and fish flakes.

Do Serpae Tetras Need A Heater?

They do best in soft, neutral to slightly acidic water with a pH of between 6-7.5 and temperatures between 72°-79°, so you may or may not need a heater for them. Serpae tetras do best in a more dimly lit environment and thrive in blackwater aquariums.

How Many Serpae Tetras Should Be Kept Together?

We recommend keeping a group of 5 to 7.

Keep an eye on the group and take out any aggressors that cause harm or make it hard for other fish to eat. Aside from other Serpae Tetras, these fish are compatible with other fast-moving peaceful fish. It’s best to avoid slow fish that could be targeted for fin nipping.


Serpae tetra is one of the most popular tank fishes. They are known for their beautiful bright red to orange color. They have a peaceful and social nature. You can keep them in a school with more tetras or other fishes. These fishes are very easy to take care of and do not require anything specific. You can enjoy watching them while they are exploring the aquarium. To add more charm to their habitat you can add artificial plants and rocks. There are many interesting facts and information about the Serpae tetra that I have mentioned in the above article.  

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