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The Serpae Tetra Hyphessobrycon eques is a beautiful fish and really sparkles in the aquarium. A school of these tetras is an eye-catcher. Their beautiful reddish color picks up flashy, jewel-type highlights, and they have a large, almost diamond-shaped black spot just behind the gills.
A number of common names are used to describe this decorative tetra. These include Red Minor Tetra, Jewel Tetra, Callistus Tetra, Red Serpa, Blood Characin, Blood Tetra, and even Red Phantom Tetra. This fish is quickly recognized as a Red Minor Tetra while these other names have more of a story.
This tetra used to be described scientifically as Hyphessobrycon callistus. Today, that is a junior synonym but from it comes the term ‘callistus’ meaning ‘very beautiful.’ So this characin became known as Callistus Tetra. Also from this term, along with its flashy appearance, came the name Jewel Tetra. Another junior synonym, H. serpae, led to the not-so-flashy names Serpae Tetra and Red Serpa. A variety with long fins is usually referred to as Long Fin Red Minor Tetra or Long Finned Serpae Tetra.
The names Blood Tetra and Blood Characin are more curious. These names refer to this tetra’s belonging to a complex of `blood’ tetras. This loosely defined complex refers to a wide range of tetras with a red base body color that are often hybridized for the aquarium trade. Finally, some authors refer to this fish as the Red Phantom Tetra. Be careful not to confuse it with Hyphessobrycon sweglesi, which is more commonly accepted as the Red Phantom.
A school of Serpae Tetra is a real eye-catcher in the aquarium. These fish are also easy to care for. Serpae Tetra are usually fine in a community aquarium, but they are not always easy to get along with. Smaller fish, especially, may become the targets of relentless harassment and fin nipping. Serpae Tetra will do best with the company of their own kind in a school of at least 6. They can also get along fine with other similar-sized and active fish. Once established, they are very hardy, long lived, and easy to breed.
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