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Red Phantom Tetra

red phantom tetra

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Scientific Name:   Hyphessobrycon sweglesi      
Min. Tank Size:   25 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   68-73°F      
pH:   5.5-7.5/2-12°dGH      
Size:   1.5"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in shoals with 6 or more of their own species; can be kept with other Tetras, Livebearers, Rasboras, Danios, Pencilfish, Corydoras, Gouramis and Dwarf Cichlids. Make sure any chosen tankmates can tolerate the same water requirements.

Red Phantom Tetra

Once a member of the Megalamphodus genus, the Red Phantom Tetra is now categorized in the Hyphessobrycon genus. This is mentioned only to alleviate any possible confusion you may experience when searching for this fish by the scientific name - as you may encounter both. These fish often exhibit an overall reddish hue on their bodies and fins. Most specimens have a round black spot just behind the gills and many have a black band bordered in white on the dorsal fin. Red Phantom Tetras are native to South America where they are primarily found in the Columbian portion of the Rio Orinoco drainage basin. These fish tend to inhabit forested areas and slow-moving tributaries off the main river channel.

Tank Set-up

These fish are similar in appearance to Serpae Tetras, however, Red Phantom Tetras make better additions to the community tank. This species tends to exhibit less fin-nipping behavior than its relatives and is less rowdy in general. The downside of these Tetras is that they can be somewhat picky when it comes to water quality. Red Phantom Tetras prefer well-maintained planted tanks, though they may also thrive in a biotope setup. Because the water in their native habitat is often highly acidic, these fish do not do well in alkaline conditions. If the water in your area is naturally acidic the Red Phantom Tetra would be a good choice. If not, you should consider another species unless you're prepared to purchase a reverse-osmosis (R/O) filter and perform frequent small water changes to provide the optimum water conditions for this fish. Filtration over peat will also be beneficial to keep the water in the preferred acidic range. Dim lighting, accomplished with floating plants, and a dark substrate will help to bring out the best colors of the Red Phantom Tetra.


Feeding the Red Phantom Tetra is relatively easy. For optimum health and coloration, feed a varied diet of live/frozen foods such as brine shrimp, Daphnia, and bloodworms along with a high quality flake. Frequent feedings in small portions are recommended over one large portion feeding.


Red Phantom Tetras are fairly easy to breed in the home aquarium and can be spawned in pairs or in groups. The breeding tank should be dimly lit and decorated with plenty of fine-leaved plants like Java moss to give the female somewhere to deposit the eggs. The water in the breeding tank should be in the pH range of 5.5-6.0. Condition the chosen breeding pair on live foods. Once the breeding pair have been introduced to the breeding tank they will typically spawn the next morning. Following spawning, remove the adult fish from the tank so they do not eat their eggs. eggs usually hatch within 24-36 hours and the newborn fry will normally start swimming in approximately 3-4 days.

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