Origin: Amazon, Guaporé, and Paraguay River basins
Size: 1.5 inches
Temperament: peaceful in schools
Sociability: schooling, six or more recommended to prevent possible nippiness
Sexing: males are slimmer and have brighter colors
Diet: omnivorous, accepting all foods
Water Chemistry: pH 6.0–7.8; dH 10–25
Serpae tetras (pronounced sur-pee) get their name from the Amazonian village of Serpa. Wild fish are brick red with a greenish sheen, but tank-raised specimens often are bred to show a deep crimson color. In any case, these highly attractive schoolers look great in a community aquarium. Keep at least six, as the species is sometimes reported to be nippy when kept in small numbers.
Serpae tetras are easily bred. Males chase females into plant thickets, where the fish release adhesive eggs. It is common to see serpae tetras spawning in the aquarium when morning sunlight hits the tank. However, eggs and fry are readily eaten, so a separate breeding tank should be used if you want success in reproducing this species.
Flake foods are accepted readily. Feed foods high in carotenoids, such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and color flakes, to keep the red colors bright.