Colombian tetra

Colombian Tetra Essentials: The Ultimate Guide to Care, Compatibility, and Colorful Aquariums

Uncover the secrets to keeping Colombian Tetras healthy and vibrant in our comprehensive care guide. From setup to behavior, master the art of creating a harmonious aquarium environment for these captivating fish.

Dive into the captivating world of the Colombian Tetra, a jewel among freshwater aquarium fish. With its vibrant colors and peaceful nature, this species, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon colombianus, adds a touch of elegance to any aquatic landscape.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll unravel everything you need to know about caring for Colombian Tetras, from creating the perfect habitat to fostering their health and natural behaviors. Whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or new to fishkeeping, join us on a journey to discover the beauty and tranquility these mesmerizing fish bring to the aquarium.

Colombian Tetra Overview

Attribute Information
Scientific Name Hyphessobrycon colombianus
Common Name Colombian Tetra
Origin Colombia, South America
Size Up to 2.5 inches (6.35 cm)
Life Expectancy 5 years
Different Colors Blue, red, silver
Diet Omnivore (flakes, live, frozen foods)
Temperament Peaceful
Tank Size Minimum 20 gallons
Temperature 72-80°F (22-27°C)
pH 6.0-7.5
Water Hardness Level Soft to medium (up to 12 dGH)
Care Level Easy
Breeding Style Egg-layer
Compatible Fish Other peaceful community fish
Type of Tank Most Suitable Planted community tank
Tank Mates Small peaceful fish, snails, shrimps

Understanding Colombian Tetras

Origins and Natural Habitat

The Colombian Tetra, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon colombianus, is indigenous to the freshwater habitats of the Acandi River in Colombia. These tetras thrive in the warm, soft waters of South America, where they are often found in slow-moving streams and tributaries. Their natural habitat is characterized by an abundance of aquatic vegetation and subdued lighting, providing the perfect environment for these dazzling fish to display their vibrant colors and social behaviors.

Physical Characteristics and Behavior

Colombian Tetras are renowned for their striking appearance, featuring iridescent blue bodies that shimmer under the light, complemented by vibrant red fins. They are a relatively small species, typically reaching a maximum size of around 2 inches (5 centimeters) in the home aquarium. These tetras are known for their peaceful nature and sociable behavior, making them an excellent choice for community tanks.

They are most active when kept in groups of six or more, where their natural schooling behavior can be observed as they gracefully navigate their aquatic surroundings.By understanding the origins and natural behaviors of Colombian Tetras, aquarists can create an aquarium environment that closely mirrors their native habitat, promoting the well-being and natural tendencies of these captivating fish.

Setting Up the Perfect Aquarium

Tank Requirements

Colombian Tetras thrive in a well-maintained aquarium with specific tank requirements to ensure their health and vitality. A minimum tank size of 15-20 gallons is recommended to accommodate a small school of these tetras, allowing them ample space to swim and exhibit their natural behaviors. The horizontal swimming space is particularly important, as Colombian Tetras are active swimmers that appreciate open areas for movement.

Aquarium Setup

When creating the perfect habitat for Colombian Tetras, it’s essential to consider the aquarium setup. Providing a natural environment that mimics their native habitat is key. This can be achieved by incorporating live plants such as Amazon swords, Java ferns, and floating vegetation, which not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of the aquarium but also offer hiding places and security for the tetras. Additionally, a dark substrate, such as fine gravel or sand, can help accentuate the vibrant colors of the fish and create a visually appealing contrast.

Water Parameters

Maintaining stable water parameters is crucial for the well-being of Colombian Tetras. They prefer slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.0-7.5 and a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C). Furthermore, they thrive in soft to moderately hard water, so it’s important to monitor and adjust the water hardness as needed to ensure it aligns with their preferences.

Filtration and Lighting

A reliable filtration system is essential to keep the aquarium water clean and free from debris, as Colombian Tetras are sensitive to poor water quality. Additionally, providing subdued lighting that replicates their natural habitat helps create a tranquil environment and allows their vibrant colors to shine.

Colombian Tetra Care

Colombian Tetra Diet

Colombian tetra diet

Maintaining a well-balanced diet is essential for the health and vibrancy of Colombian Tetras. These omnivorous fish readily accept a variety of foods, including high-quality flake food, micro pellets, and frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. Offering a diverse diet helps ensure they receive the necessary nutrients to support their immune system and vibrant coloration. It’s recommended to feed them small portions multiple times a day, as this aligns with their natural feeding behavior and prevents overeating.

Health and Maintenance

Colombian Tetras are generally hardy fish, but they are sensitive to fluctuations in water quality. Regular maintenance, including bi-weekly water changes of 25-50% to maintain stable water parameters, is crucial for their well-being. Additionally, monitoring the aquarium for any signs of stress or disease and addressing issues promptly is essential. Providing a well-maintained environment and a nutritious diet goes a long way in preventing common health issues and promoting the longevity of these captivating fish.

Compatibility and Tank Mates

Colombian Tetras are known for their peaceful and sociable nature, making them excellent candidates for community tanks. When selecting tank mates for Colombian Tetras, it’s important to choose species that share similar water parameter requirements and exhibit non-aggressive behaviors.

Suitable tank mates include other peaceful fish such as Neon Tetras, Corydoras Catfish, Dwarf Gouramis, and small species of Rasboras. These companions create a harmonious community tank and complement the vibrant colors and social behaviors of the Colombian Tetras.

It’s advisable to avoid housing them with large or aggressive fish that may intimidate or outcompete the Colombian Tetras for food and swimming space. Additionally, fin-nipping species should be avoided, as the long, flowing fins of the Colombian Tetras make them susceptible to harassment. By carefully selecting compatible tank mates, aquarists can create a serene and visually captivating aquarium that showcases the natural beauty and social dynamics of the Colombian Tetras.

Breeding Colombian Tetras

Breeding Colombian Tetras can be a rewarding experience for aquarists interested in observing the natural reproductive behaviors of these fish. To encourage breeding, a separate breeding tank with soft, acidic water and ample plant cover for egg deposition is recommended.

The use of a spawning mop or fine-leaved plants provides an ideal surface for the tetras to scatter their adhesive eggs.Once the breeding pair has spawned, it’s essential to remove the adult fish to prevent them from consuming the eggs. The eggs typically hatch within 24-48 hours, and the fry will benefit from infusoria or commercial liquid fry food during their early stages of development. As they grow, they can be transitioned to finely crushed flake food and baby brine shrimp.


Colombian Tetra, with its vibrant colors and peaceful nature, is a wonderful addition to any freshwater aquarium. By understanding their origins, setting up the perfect habitat, and providing attentive care, aquarists can create an environment that allows these fish to thrive and display their natural behaviors.

From the gentle sway of their schooling movements to the striking contrast of their iridescent blue bodies and vivid red fins, Colombian Tetras bring a touch of elegance to the aquatic landscape.By carefully considering their dietary needs, maintaining excellent water quality, and selecting compatible tank mates, aquarists can ensure that Colombian Tetras lead healthy and fulfilling lives in the aquarium. Whether you’re a seasoned hobbyist or a newcomer to the world of fishkeeping, the Colombian Tetra offers a captivating and low-maintenance option for adding color and vitality to your aquatic sanctuary.


What is the ideal tank size for Colombian Tetras?

The ideal tank size for Colombian Tetras is a minimum of 15-20 gallons to accommodate a small school of these tetras.

What water parameters do Colombian Tetras prefer?

Colombian Tetras thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH range of 6.0-7.5 and a temperature range of 72-78°F (22-26°C). They also prefer soft to moderately hard water.

Are Colombian Tetras peaceful fish?

Yes, Colombian Tetras are known for their peaceful nature, making them excellent candidates for community tanks.

What should I feed my Colombian Tetras?

Colombian Tetras accept a variety of foods, including high-quality flake food, micro pellets, and frozen or live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

How large do Colombian Tetras grow?

On average, Colombian Tetras grow to about 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length, making them a relatively small species that is well-suited to smaller aquariums.

Do Colombian Tetras require a heavily planted aquarium?

While Colombian Tetras appreciate the presence of live plants in the aquarium, they don’t necessarily require a heavily planted setup. However, plants provide them with security and help replicate their natural habitat.

Can Colombian Tetras be kept in a species-only tank?

Colombian Tetras can be kept in a species-only tank, but they also do well in community tanks. Keeping them in a species-only tank allows their natural behaviors and interactions to be more prominently observed.

Are Colombian Tetras prone to any specific diseases?

Colombian Tetras are generally hardy, but like all fish, they can be susceptible to common aquarium diseases such as ich (white spot disease) and fin rot.

How can I differentiate between male and female Colombian Tetras?

Male Colombian Tetras are often slimmer and more colorful than females, especially when they are ready to breed. Females tend to have a rounder belly, particularly when carrying eggs.

What is the lifespan of Colombian Tetras in captivity?

When provided with proper care, Colombian Tetras can live for an average of 3-5 years in captivity, although some individuals may live longer under optimal conditions.

Do Colombian Tetras need a heater in their tank?

Yes, it’s recommended to use a heater to maintain the appropriate temperature range for Colombian Tetras, which is between 72-78°F (22-26°C).

Can Colombian Tetras be kept with aggressive fish?

It’s best to avoid keeping Colombian Tetras with aggressive or fin-nipping fish, as their peaceful nature makes them vulnerable to harassment.

How many Colombian Tetras should be kept together?

Colombian Tetras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six individuals to ensure their well-being and reduce stress.

Do Colombian Tetras jump out of the water?

While not common, there is a possibility of Colombian Tetras jumping out of the water, especially if they feel stressed or startled. It’s advisable to have a secure lid on the aquarium.

Can Colombian Tetras be kept in a coldwater tank?

No, Colombian Tetras require tropical water conditions and should not be kept in a coldwater tank.

Are Colombian Tetras finicky eaters?

Colombian Tetras are not finicky eaters and readily accept a variety of foods, making them relatively easy to feed.

Do Colombian Tetras need a lot of light in their tank?

Colombian Tetras do not require intense lighting and actually prefer subdued lighting that replicates their natural habitat.

Can I keep Colombian Tetras with shrimp?

In general, small freshwater shrimp species can be compatible with Colombian Tetras as tank mates, but larger or aggressive shrimp may pose a threat to the tetras.

Are Colombian Tetra shoaling fish?

Yes, Colombian Tetra are shoaling fish that exhibit schooling behavior and feel more secure when kept in groups.

Can I keep only one or two Colombian tetra together?

It is not recommended to keep only one or two colombian tetra together as they are schooling fish and thrive best when kept in groups of at least six individuals.


  1. International Federation of Online Clubs and Aquatic Societies (IFOCAS)
  2. Federation of British Aquatic Societies (FBAS)
  3. Northeast Council of Aquarium Societies (NEC)
  4. Federation of American Aquarium Societies (FAAS)
  5. Ornamental Aquatic Trade Association (OATA)

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