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Serpae tetra

Hyphessobrycon eques

Photo: Serpae tetra
Weights and measures
Length from 4 to 5 cm
Biological data
Lifespan from 3 to 5 years
Animal description
The Serpae Tetra, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon eques, is a captivating and popular freshwater fish that has garnered attention among aquarium enthusiasts worldwide. Originating from the Amazon Basin, it thrives in the densely vegetated and slow-moving waters of South America, including regions of Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. This species is renowned for its vibrant coloration and dynamic social behavior, making it a favorite among those looking to add a splash of color and activity to their aquatic habitats.

Characterized by its striking deep red or burgundy body, the Serpae Tetra typically reaches an adult size of about 1.5 to 2 inches (4-5 cm) in length. This size makes it an ideal inhabitant for a variety of aquarium setups, from small desktop tanks to larger community aquariums. One of its most distinctive features is the small, black vertical stripe located just behind the gill cover, which can appear more pronounced in certain individuals. Additionally, their fins, especially the dorsal fin, are often adorned with black and white markings, adding to their visual appeal.

Serpae Tetras are schooling fish and exhibit a strong preference for being in groups of six or more. This social structure not only helps reduce stress among individuals but also enhances their natural colors and encourages more vibrant displays of their schooling behavior. In a well-planted aquarium that mimics their natural habitat, with ample hiding spots and open swimming areas, Serpae Tetras can be seen darting around in unison, adding a dynamic element to the aquatic environment.

Their diet in the wild consists primarily of small insects, larvae, and plant matter, making them omnivores. In the aquarium setting, they are not particularly fussy eaters and will readily accept a variety of foods, including high-quality flake food, frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. A balanced diet is crucial for maintaining their vibrant coloration and overall health.

When it comes to water conditions, Serpae Tetras are relatively hardy and adaptable, but they thrive in soft, slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 5.5-7.5) with temperatures ranging from 72°F to 79°F (22°C to 26°C). Regular water changes and good filtration are essential to keep their environment clean and to replicate the clean, flowing waters of their natural habitat.

Breeding Serpae Tetras in captivity can be a rewarding experience. They are egg scatterers and do not exhibit parental care. To encourage spawning, a separate breeding tank with softer water conditions and fine-leaved plants or a spawning mop for egg deposition is recommended. After spawning, the adult fish should be removed to prevent them from eating the eggs. The fry, once hatched, can be fed with infusoria or commercially available fry foods until they are large enough to accept crushed flake food.

In conclusion, the Serpae Tetra is a jewel among freshwater aquarium fish, celebrated for its vibrant colors, engaging social behavior, and adaptability to various aquarium conditions. Whether for the novice aquarist or the seasoned hobbyist, Hyphessobrycon eques offers a glimpse into the dynamic and colorful world of tropical freshwater fish, making it a delightful addition to any aquarium.
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