Serpae Tetra - Hyphessobrycon eques

Updated May 14, 2020
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Serpae Tetra is one of the more colorful tetras that sometimes gets a bad reputation for being a fin nipper. This behavior is usually brought on because they are not being kept in schools of 6 or more. Provided that you have the room for a small school of these fish, the Serpaes can make a good addition to a community tank.

Long fin Hyphessobrycon eques Hyphessobrycon eques


This tetra has a brown body, almost amber colored with a black dorsal fin and red caudal and anal fins. They look really good in an aquarium with a lush growth of aquarium plants.

You can usually find them swimming in a school in the middle to bottom regions of your tank. They should leave other fish alone and chase each other playfully around the tank.

Serpaes will accept nearly all fish food such as flakes, frozen, live and freeze dried.

side view Hyphessobrycon eques near gravel

Serpae Tetra Care Details

Scientific Name : Hyphessobrycon eques

Common Names : Jewel Tetra, Red Minor Tetra, Longfin Serpae

Care Level : Easy, good for freshwater beginners

Size : 1.5 inches (4 cm)

pH : 5 - 7.8

Temperature : 72°F - 79°F (22°C - 26°C)

Water Hardness : 10° to 25° dH,

Life Span : 5 - 7 years

Origin / Habitat : South America

Temperament / Behavior : This tetra is generally peaceful but they are sometimes prone to fin nipping on some of their tank mates. Keeping them in a school of 6 or more may help alleviate this problem. Serpaes can also be a little skittish at times so providing hiding places may make them feel more secure if they know they have cover to hide from perceived predators.

Breeding : Not too hard if the ph is between 6.5 and 6.8.

Aquarium Size : 10 gallon or larger.

Tank Mates : Other Tetras, Catfish and Plecos, Swordtails.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Diet / Foods : Omnivore, they will eat many fish foods including flakes, freeze dried and live foods. As with many fish, try to vary their diet for optimum health and colors.

Tank Region : Middle to bottom

Gender : Hard to determine, but the female may be more round in shape.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright

Site References :

Fish Forum : Serpae Tetra Forum

Forum Avatar :
Serpae Tetra

Serpae Tetra Comments

From: Will
My serpaes are very lively. I originally only bought 2 serpae and they started fin nipping. I now have 8 of these little guys in my 40 gallon and they pretty much stick to themselves - darting all around the tank. Fun to watch them.

From: Pat
I have 5 serpaes and recently upgraded from 5 to 10 gallon tank. Should I get more or perhaps different type of tetra?
For a 10 gallon you should probably reconsider getting more fish. You are just about right with the amount of fish for the 10 gallon and adding any more tetras will increase the bioload on the tank. If you regularly perform tank maintenance you would probably be ok adding 1 or 2 more serpaes. However, since the tetras usually like to school, I would avoid getting a different type of tetra because you would need to get 5 or more of them for them to be happy and that would be way to many tropical fish in your 10 gallon tank.

From: Lora
Serpaes are a very nice, beautiful fish to add to a community aquarium. Just make sure you have them in schools of four or more to avoid any problems with other fish. You should also keep them well fed, as this will take care of any aggressive behaviour problems, which sometimes Serpaes have.

From: Kris
I have 6 serpae tetras in my 55 gallon tank. MOST of the time they are peaceful. I added 8 neon tetras the other day and within a matter of 5 minutes I was down to 4. The serpaes had a wonderful feast on them. Today I added 6 more neons and almost the same result. As the bag was floating in the tank with the neons in it, the serpaes almost chewed through it trying to get at them. Once they were released, same result, almost. This time I threw some food in at the same time and the serpaes decided to go for the food instead of the neons. Now they will occasionally chase them around, but for the most part leave the neons alone.

From: Elke
We thought that a school of them would be a nice addition to our 46 gallon community tank that housed two Goldfish, two peppered Corydoras, and eight Zebra Danios. Well, after behaving for a couple of hours, the fin nipping started and our beloved Goldfish and Corydoras began to show signs of stress and frayed fins within less than 24 hours. I remembered reading that a larger school size and plants make Serpaes feel more comfortable and less likely to attack other species. We increased the school size from five to twelve Serpaes and added a ton of live plants to hide in and behind. Voila! It worked! The tank is peaceful again, yet very lively and fun to watch.

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