Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Hyphessobrycon rosaceus

Rosy tetra

Rosy tetra, Hyphessobrycon rosaceusRosy tetra, Hyphessobrycon rosaceus
Photos by Andy Rapson


Hyphessobrycon: Greek, hyphesson, -on, -on = a little smaller + Greek, bryko = to bite

General Notes:

Rosy tetras should be housed in a group of at least five individuals in an aquarium with other peaceful and sedate fishes. The lighting should be diffuse and the substrate dark in colour in order to bring out the true vibrancy of this species because bright lights and pale colours will make the fish appear washed out.

Use a mixture of open swimming spaces with some hiding places using plants and bogwood to create a natural looking biotope.

Although rosy tetras will tolerate neutral or even mildly alkaline water they really should be kept in soft acidic water because they are by nature a black water species.


Rosy tetras predominantly eat small inverts such as crustaceans, worms. In captivity they are quite unfussy and will accept a good quality flake food or suitably sized pelleted food, their diet should also include lots of live or frozen food such as daphnia, tubifex (not live), brine shrimps, cyclops and others.


Rosy tetras are schooling, exceptionally peaceful and a little shy. Keep with other peaceful fish which require the same environment, some corydoras, loricarids, Discus, Apistogramma and other tetras.


Males have a longer and more pointed dorsal fin when adult. Adult females are more plump.


Not easy by any means. A small breeding tank should be set up with boiled water and allowed to stand for a few days prior to use. The water should have a pH between 5.5 - 6.5 and a carbonate hardness between 2 -4 with a temp between 75-79°F (24-26°C)

Use a mature air powered sponge filter, and some fine leaved aquatic plants tied in bunches.

Select a mature pair of fish and separate them and feed them lots of live or frozen food and fruit flies. After about seven to ten days the pair should be fully conditioned and should be placed in the breeding tank together. Spawning normally takes place quite quickly.

The eggs and fry are light sensitive and so keep the tank unlit and in a dark corner somewhere.

The eggs will hatch after 24 - 36 hours and the fry will be free swimming after a further few days, the fry can be fed using infusoria drip fed from a culture, commercially made liquid fry food, micro worms or freshly hatched brine shrimps. At two weeks old the fry should be large enough to accept finely crushed flake food.

Partial water changes are every bit as important as good nutrition for raising fry, make small 10 - 20% daily water changes in order to achieve the best and most even growth rate of the fry. Uneven growth of a brood is a sign that insufficient water changes have taken place.

Wild status

The IUCN Red List of Endangered Species have not yet evaluated this species. Some are still collected from the wild but the majority in the aquatic trade have been commercially bred.

Additional information

Hyphessobrycon rosaceus is often confused with Hyphessobrycon bentosi, the two can be distinguished by a dark spot near to the gills on Hyphessobrycon bentosi but which is absent from Hyphessobrycon rosaceus.

Information at a glance

pH: 5.8 - 7.5
dGH: 4 - 12
Temperature: 24 - 28°C (76 - 82°F)
Lighting: Diffuse
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 3.4cm (1.5in)
Min tank size: 100 litres
Difficulty level: Moderate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: Middle

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Rosy tetra, Hyphessobrycon rosaceus

Origin: South America: Essequibo, Corantijn and Suriname River basins

Habitat: Slow, black water forest streams with heavy vegetation.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Characidae
Genus: Hyphessobrycon
Species: H. rosaceus, Durbin, 1909

Other common names:

Hyphessobrycon bentosi rosaceus,
Hyphessobrycon ornatus,
Cheirodon troemneri