Serpae Tetra – Care, Tank Mates, Feeding & Details!

Serpae Tetra – New aquarists often choose unpretentious fish to care for. Among them, one can distinguish a Serpae Tetra, which is also called a jewel tetra. It is popular due to its easy maintenance, but at the same time, it is playful and quite mobile.

Of course, the Serpae Tetra must be looked after. If the conditions of her aquarium are worsened, then her growth will slow down, her color will disappear, her life span will decrease, and this can also affect reproduction.


Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon eques, ex. Hyphessobrycon Callistus
Common Name: Serpae tetra, jewel tetra, Callistus tetra
Tank size: 20 gallons and more
Temperament: Peaceful
Diet: Omnivorous
Temperature: 72°F- 78°F (22 to 26 °С)
pH: 6.0-7.5
Size: up to 4 cm (1,75 in)
Lifespan: up to 5 years
Family: Characidae
Care: Easy
pH: 5.0–7.8
Hardness: 5–25 GH
Temperature: 72–79 F (22–26 C)

General Information

Serpae Tetra is a fish that lives in the center of South America. She loves forest ponds, where the water is still and slowly flowing.

In appearance, The Serpae Tetras are quite small fish. Their length is not more than five centimeters. The body is quite high, slender and elongated, slightly compressed from the sides.

The dorsal fin can be attributed to the distinguishing feature of these tetras – It is always vertical, quadrangular, and can be very elongated.

Across the body, you can see a longitudinal dark stripe. Serpae Tetra aquarium fish are olive-brown above and bright red from below. Due to this, this fish is often called jewel tetra. Fin with areas beyond the gills can cover small dark spots.

It is painted black and has a white tip or border. The rest of the body of the fish is covered in saturated red. There are no flakes at the base of the tail.

Females are very easy to distinguish from males. They are less bright but have a larger size and swollen abdomen.

Serpae Tetra Behavior

The Serpae tetras have a reasonably peaceful disposition. Usually, they are kept in a small school of at least four tetras. It is interesting to observe such flocks, as they are very active and continuously move throughout the aquarium.

Alone, the fish do not like to live. Over time, they can begin to behave aggressively, will attack small fishes in the aquarium. Slow veil brothers are especially unpleasant to them.

Serpaes can simply nibble their tails with fins, but they can’t fight back. Of course, this should not be allowed, settling a Serpae Tetra with other small fish.

Serpae Tetra Tank Mates

Peaceful species of fish can become good tank mates for these tetras.

To avoid conflicts, The tank mates should be about the same temperament and size. For example, good compatibility is observed with Tiger barbszebrafish, Pleco Fish.

Serpae Tetra Aquarium Conditions

The ideal conditions for the aquarium can be called the “rainforest”. It is the most preferred option for Serpae tetra fish. Maintenance under such circumstances will take place without any problems.

When preparing the aquarium, Take care of the following recommendations:

  1. Each fish requires ten liters of water. Such a volume is considered optimal. A lid is placed on top – this is a prerequisite since the fish are distinguished by jumping ability.
  2. Abundant thickets should be placed in the aquarium, while there should be room for swimming. These tetras are more fond of the middle and lower layers. Plants with roots are usually planted in the ground, floating leave on the surface of the water. Often, they prefer Javanese moss, echinodorus, Thai fern.
  3. The water temperature should average +25°Celsius. Fish can tolerate a slight decrease. Acidity should be in the range of 6.5–7, stiffness on average 4–8.
  4. Lighting is selected medium intensity.
  5. The soil is used in dark colors – gravel, sand. Besides, you can decorate the pond with snags, and they also serve as a shelter for the fish. Water inhabitants will always be able to relax behind them.
  6. Aerator and filter are required. Replacement can be carried out every week, adding a fifth of the liquid.

Nutrition Rules

In terms of nutrition, these small fish are not whimsical.

You just need to follow the simple recommendations for choosing food:

  1. The size should be suitable.
  2. Nutrition must be balanced. Feed usually alternate days. The condition of aquarium pets directly depends on this.
  3. In nature, These tetras feed on small aquatic animals, insects from the surface. In captivity, you can use both live food (crustaceans, bloodworms, small insects) and dry (special flakes, granules). Vegetable nutrition is also suitable (dandelions, spinach, cinnamon).

Serpae Tetra Breeding

Breeding must begin with the preparation of the spawning. To do this, use a small capacity of not more than twenty liters. A separator grid is placed at the bottom – it will protect future eggs from parents, who simply can eat them.

Use dim lights in the aquarium, and the soil isn’t necessary, but plants need to be used, especially small-leaved, long-stalked varieties. You can take a small bush of Javanese moss or fern.

For the breeding of Serpae Tetras, Water must meet the following requirements:

  • the temperature within 25-28 degrees;
  • acidity – up to 7;
  • stiffness – not more than 15.

For this, a concentrated decoction of peat is poured into distilled water, left to infuse for one or two weeks.

For breeding, a couple of fish or even a small group are selected. A week before the expected event, separate sex maintenance with abundant feeding is usually practiced. In the evening, the fish are placed in a spawning ground.

Spawning can occur in the morning or a few days. Then the fish are precipitated, and a container with caviar is provided with weak aeration. In addition, it must be darkened.

If spawning does not occur within five days, then this entire period of fish is not fed. If nothing happened, then the serpae tetras should be placed back into the aquarium and try to repeat the procedure after a couple of weeks or a month.

Offspring Care

Usually, you get two to three hundred eggs, which sink to the bottom, sticking to the foliage. Caviar is not touched – it is sensitive. The fry will hatch after a day or two. They will stick to nearby plants or glass containers. They begin to swim after 4-5 days.

When the fry begins to swim, they can start to feed. For this, use ciliates, nauplii of cyclops, rotifers, small nematodes. Every two weeks, the water in the tank is changed, gradually increasing hardness. Further care for the fry is no different from the content of adult individuals.

The growth of fry occurs rather quickly. After 8-10 months, they are ready for breeding. And if this is required to be done, then it is enough to repeat the simple procedure of breeding the fish only.

It’s quite simple to take care of and breed serpae tetras. It is only necessary not to forget about the individual characteristics of this type of fish and support for the purity of water in the aquarium.

If you approach the matter responsibly, then these small creatures will delight their owner with their bright appearance, activity, and fertility.