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Costello tetra

Hemigrammus hyanuary

Photo: Costello tetra
Biological data
Lifespan from 4 to 6 years
Animal description
The Costello tetra, scientifically named Hemigrammus hyanuary, is a captivating species of freshwater fish that belongs to the Characidae family, which is known for its diverse and colorful members. This particular species is native to the Amazon Basin, thriving in the waterways of South America. It has garnered attention and admiration from aquarists around the world due to its vibrant appearance and dynamic behavior.

The body of the Costello tetra is elongated and somewhat compressed laterally, featuring a dazzling display of colors that can mesmerize any observer. The base color of its body is a translucent silver that beautifully reflects light, creating a shimmering effect in the water. This is complemented by a striking horizontal stripe that runs from the gill cover to the base of the tail, which can appear in hues ranging from a deep, iridescent blue to a vibrant red or orange, depending on the light and the angle of view. The fins of the Hemigrammus hyanuary are generally transparent but may exhibit subtle hints of red or orange, especially in the caudal (tail) fin, adding to the fish's overall allure.

One of the most distinguishing features of the Costello tetra is its size. It is relatively small, typically reaching only about 5 centimeters (2 inches) in length when fully grown. This diminutive size makes it a perfect inhabitant for community aquariums, where it can be kept with other peaceful species of similar size.

In the wild, the Costello tetra is found in a variety of freshwater habitats, including rivers, streams, and flooded forests known as igapó. These environments are characterized by soft, acidic water and a dense canopy that provides plenty of shade. The fish are adept at navigating the complex underwater landscapes, using the dense vegetation for both protection and as a hunting ground for food. Their diet primarily consists of small invertebrates and plant matter.

When it comes to behavior, the Hemigrammus hyanuary is a schooling fish, meaning it prefers to live and move in groups. This social structure is not only a defense mechanism against predators but also plays a crucial role in the fish's overall well-being. In the aquarium setting, it is recommended to keep them in groups of at least six individuals to ensure they exhibit natural behaviors and remain active and healthy.

Breeding the Costello tetra in captivity can be a rewarding experience for aquarists. They are egg scatterers, laying their eggs among plants or on a substrate, with no parental care given. The fry are tiny and require infusoria or other microscopic food until they are large enough to eat standard aquarium fare.

For enthusiasts looking to keep Costello tetras, it is important to replicate their natural habitat as closely as possible. This includes maintaining soft, slightly acidic water conditions, providing ample vegetation for shelter, and ensuring a peaceful community of tank mates. Proper care and attention to these details can result in a thriving aquarium where the beauty and grace of the Hemigrammus hyanuary can be fully appreciated.

In summary, the Costello tetra is a jewel among freshwater fish, with its striking colors, sociable nature, and adaptability making it a cherished species for both novice and experienced aquarists. Its presence in the aquarium not only adds a splash of color but also brings a piece of the Amazon's vibrant ecosystems into the home.
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