Betta Trading

Serpae Tetra 

The Serpae Tetra, Hyphessobrycon eques or Hyphessobrycon serpae , is a very attractive little fish which comes from South America, from The Amazon, Guaporé and Paraguay Rivers. It has also been referred to as Hyphessobrycon callistus.  Other common names are the “Blood Characin”, “Blood Tetra”, “Jewel Tetra”, “Red Minor Tetra” and the “Red Serpae”.   The Serpae Tetra grows to about one and a half inches long (3.8 cm).  It can live up to 7 years old.

Water Conditions

The Serpae Tetra is a tropical fish and is unsuitable for unheated aquariums unless they are kept somewhere that does not get cold.   In the wild, Serpae tetras live in soft acidic water, but they will adjust happily to the conditions for a community aquarium with a temperature of 24 degrees C (75 degrees F), with a neutral pH and moderate hardness.


Like many Tetras, the Serpae Tetra is an easily fed omnivore.   It will eat any normal aquarium food, I suggest that it be fed a variety of food in different form, including flakes, pellets, frozen food like blood worms, and live food like wrigglers or daphnia when these are available.  They are not big fish, and do not need a huge amount of food, so a high-quality fish food is well worth getting.


The Serpae Tetra has the reputation of being a minor fin nipper. This slight tendency can be reduced by keeping them in as school of at least six, and in a reasonable sized aquarium (I suggest at least two feet (60 cm) long.)  In these conditions, they will not cause trouble to most fish, but I would not keep them with long finned and slow-moving fish like Siamese Fighting Fish, Guppies of Endlers Guppies.

Avoid large aggressive or predatory fish with Serpae Tetras.  As with animals in general, try to keep some similarity in sizes of creatures which are kept together.


It is not easy to determine the sex of Serpae tetras, but when in breeding condition, the female will be more rounded.


The Serpae Tetra is one of the easier Tetras to breed. The fish should be conditioned beforehand with rich foods, preferably including live foods.

The breeding tank should have some plants including ones with fine leaves. The water should be soft and slightly acidic.

The parents will eat the eggs and babies, so it is usual to remove them after spawning.  The eggs should hatch in 24-28 hours.  The fry can be fed on infusoria (protozoa), fine commercial fry foods and hardboiled egg yolk suspended in water.  Live foods will encourage growth of the babies at all stages.

Pest Fish

Do not allow your pets to get into an environment that they are not native to.


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Steve Challis