Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra) Ultimate Guide

Serpae tetra

The Serpae tetra is also referred to as:

  • Jewel tetra
  • Callistus tetra
  • Hyphessobrycon callistus

Some specialists consider the Serpae tetra to be another variety from the H.callistus callistus group, closely related or perhaps even identical to the rose tetra H.rosaceus, the ornamental tetra H. bentosi or the H.copelandi. The Serpae tetra is now also described as Hyphessobrycon eques.

Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra): Quick facts

Scientific name:Hyphessobrycon eques
German name:Serpae tetra, Jewel tetra, Callistus tetra, Hyphessobrycon callistus
Difficulty level:for beginners
Origin / Distribution:South America
Coloring:Orange reddish, often with a more or less large black spot behind the gill cover, dorsal fin with a black spot lined with white behind, black lined ventral fin
Age expectation:about 5 years
Water parameters:GH 8 to 15, KH 0 to 7, pH 5.5 to 7.5, temperature 23 to 28 ° C
Pool size:from 150 l
Lining:Omnivorous, also needs frozen food or live food
Breed:pretty easy
Behavior:not always peaceful with other fish, can eat shrimp offspring
Group size:Swarm of at least 10

Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra): Distribution and Habitat

The lively Jewel tetra, also known as Serpae tetra comes from the South American Amazon region and is a real tetra.

The serape tetra lives in plant-rich stretches of water, mostly black rivers, of the southern Amazon region, the so-called Paraguay basin (the catchment area of Rio Paraguay and Rio Guaporé) and the Mato Grosso area.

Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra): Characteristics, Shape and Color

The high-backed aquarium fish are orange-red in color. They often have a more or less large black spot behind the cheek, and the dorsal fin also has a black spot lined with white at the back. The ventral fin is lined with black. The tetra typical adipose fin is rather small in the Serpae tetra. The coloring of the females is less intense than that of the males, but they are a little higher and also a little rounder.

Serpae tetra grow to about 4 cm long.

  • The coloring and drawing of the Serpae tetra vary.  The basic color ranges from reddish to intense purple-red.
  • The drawing in the shoulder area varies from a pale black spot to an intensely black-colored sickle or a vertical line.
  • In older specimens, this black mark can fade a lot.
  • The dorsal fin is black with a white base and tip, while the anal fin is Serpae red with a wide, black border.
  • The caudal fin, customary and pectoral fin are single-colored red.
  • The males are slimmer and more intensely colored than the females.
  • This tetra also has an adipose fin.
Serpae Tetra | Beginner Guide

Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra): In the Aquarium

The Serpae tetra is an agile, but peaceful fish that is also suitable for the community tank, e.g. with hatchet-bellied tetras, armored catfish and dwarf cichlids.

It can however be somewhat aggressive and occasionally pluck other fish’s fins.

Obviously, this only applies if it is kept en masse in too small a space.

An aquarium with a length of 60 cm is sufficient as a species tank (this corresponds to about 50 liters volume).

In order to achieve the black water effect, it is recommended to filter the aquarium water with a peat additive.

The Serpae tetra needs a lot of space to swim, but also a dense thicket of plants at least in places so that weaker specimens can retreat from the stalking of their conspecifics.

It is best kept in a group of 8 to 10 specimens, with the number of females predominating. Older males of the Serpae tetra should tend to separate themselves from the group and form their own territories.

The Serpae tetra feels most comfortable in a dark aquarium with a floating plant cover and a dark substrate.

Serpae tetra
Serpae Tetra

Serpae tetra fit in a community tank with other robust fish preferably from South America. Since Hyphessobrycon eques is a very assertive aquarium fish, it should not come into the aquarium for very calm fish. In the event of incorrect feeding, it is possible that the Serpae tetra will nibble on the fins of other fish. Small shrimp are eaten, so the Serpaes tetra should only be placed in the aquarium with larger shrimp species such as Amano shrimp, or with very well reproducing shrimps such as Red Fire (Neocaridina davidi) or Sulawesi domestic. These shrimp then need shrimp, many hiding places and finely structured plants such as dense cushions of aquarium moss.

Serpae tetra are mainly to be found in the middle water layers and therefore offer dwarf crabs a slightly more attack surface than other tetra, which are mainly in the upper area of ​​the aquarium. Here minded should only more friendly dwarf crayfish are socialized.

Serpae tetras need space to swim and proper planting around the edges to hide. They come from unshaded biotopes and therefore do not necessarily need a shaded aquarium.

As a schooling fish, the Serpae tetra should be kept with 10 conspecifics in a sufficiently large aquarium of at least 150 liters. Overstocking and keeping them too tight lead to serious intra-species friction. This can lead to fin damage, but they heal very quickly in this type of fish. Serpae tetra can live for around 5 years in an aquarium if they are kept well.

The Serpae tetra likes soft to medium-hard water.

You should also ensure there is a high content of humic substances in the aquarium.

The water temperature should be between 23 and 28 degrees.

Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra): Feeding

Jewel tetra like the majority of South American tetras like a varied diet. In addition to animal food (frozen food, live food), they also eat vegetable food. They are therefore well served with flake food for omnivorous aquarium fish. Frozen food or live food should always be part of the weekly menu.

The Serpae tetra is omnivorous, i.e. also that you should feed him as varied as possible, e.g. with small flaky dry food, Cyclops and water fleas, smaller mosquito larvae, and occasionally scalded lettuce that is cut into small pieces.

Make sure that you feed it constantly otherwise it will nibble on fellow species or other ornamental fish that are associated with it.

Because of this intensive feeding and the threatening cloudiness of the water, the water should be replaced with fresh water up to a quarter a week.

In the aquarium the Serpae tetra can live between 5 and 6 years under optimal conditions.

Food recommendation

You should ensure that you feed the Jewel tetras in the form of soft granules which, thanks to its grain size of half a millimeter, can be easily absorbed by small to medium-sized fish. The soft consistency is similar to that of insect larvae in nature and protects the fish mouth from micro-injuries.

Serpae tetra (Jewel tetra): Breeding

For breeding , Hyphessobrycon eques needs rather soft and slightly acidic water with 26-28 ° C. For spawning, a pair of the blood tetra is placed in a breeding aquarium of 54 liters with finely feathered plants or mosses as a spawning substrate. Blood tetra are free spawners , so the female lays her eggs in the water, which then sink into the plant cushions. Before mating, the male chases the female intensely. After spawning, the adults should be put back in the large tank so that they do not eat the eggs. After the transition to free swimming, the fry can be reared first with infusoria and then with artemia nauplii.

How to breed Serpae tetras

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