Red Phantom Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide To Breeding, Care, Tank Setup and More

Red Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi)

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Red Phantom Tetra: A Comprehensive Guide To Breeding, Care, Tank Setup and More

The Red Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi) is a stunning and captivating freshwater fish species that has earned a special place in the hearts of aquarium enthusiasts. In this guide, we will delve deep into the world of Red Phantom Tetras, covering their appearance, lifespan, size, gender differences, care requirements, tank setup, water parameters, suitable tankmates, breeding, and more.

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon sweglesi
Common NameRed Phantom Tetra
OriginSouth America, Colombia
Size1.2 to 1.6 inches (3 to 4 cm)
Lifespan3 to 5 years
TemperamentPeaceful, shoaling
Water ParameterspH: 6.0 to 7.0, Temp: 75-80°F (24-27°C)
Tank Size20 gallons or larger
Breeding Temperature82°F (28°C)
Suitable TankmatesPeaceful community fish

Red Phantom Tetra Appearance

Red Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi)
Source: Wikipedia

The Red Phantom Tetra boasts a striking appearance that makes it a sought-after choice among aquarists. Its vibrant crimson-red body, accented by a jet-black vertical stripe running from its gills to the caudal fin, is truly captivating. This distinct coloration is often enhanced by a shimmering metallic sheen. The dorsal fin features a brilliant splash of red, while the anal fin exhibits a more transparent, almost glass-like appearance.

Red Phantom Tetra Lifespan

The average lifespan of Red Phantom Tetras typically ranges from 3 to 5 years when provided with optimal care and living conditions. As with most fish, their longevity is influenced by factors such as water quality, diet, and genetics.

Red Phantom Tetra Size

Red Phantom Tetras are relatively small fish, making them ideal for community aquariums. On average, they grow to a size of 1.2 to 1.6 inches (3 to 4 centimeters) in length. These petite dimensions contribute to their popularity, as they can be comfortably accommodated in a wide range of tank sizes.

Red Phantom Tetra Male vs. Female

Distinguishing between male and female Red Phantom Tetras can be somewhat challenging. However, there are subtle differences to look for. Males are typically slimmer and exhibit brighter, more vibrant coloration, especially during breeding periods. Females tend to be slightly plumper, especially when carrying eggs, and their coloration is slightly less intense.

Red Phantom Tetra Pregnant

Female Red Phantom Tetras can become pregnant when they are ready to spawn. You may notice a swollen belly, which is a sign that she is carrying eggs. To provide the best care for pregnant Red Phantom Tetras, ensure a well-maintained aquarium with suitable breeding conditions, including soft and slightly acidic water.

Red Phantom Tetra Care

Proper care is essential to ensure the health and well-being of your Red Phantom Tetras. Here are some key care considerations:

Red Phantom Tetra Tank Size

When setting up an aquarium for Red Phantom Tetras, it’s crucial to provide adequate space. A 20-gallon tank or larger is recommended for a small school of these tetras. These fish thrive in groups, so aim for a minimum of six to eight individuals.

Red Phantom Tetra Water Parameters

Maintaining the right water parameters is vital to the health of your Red Phantom Tetras. Here are the recommended conditions:

  • Temperature: Maintain a stable water temperature between 75 to 80°F (24 to 27°C).
  • pH Level: Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral pH level, ideally around 6.0 to 7.0.
  • Water Hardness: Keep water hardness in the range of 2 to 10 dKH.

Red Phantom Tetra tank ideas: What To Put In Their Tank

Creating an enriching environment for your Red Phantom Tetras involves adding suitable tank decor and plants. They appreciate densely planted aquariums with plenty of hiding spots and open swimming areas. Some suitable additions include:

Red Phantom Tetra Common Possible Diseases

Maintaining the health of your Red Phantom Tetras (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi) is of paramount importance in the aquarium hobby. Understanding common diseases that can affect these fish and taking preventive measures is essential to ensure their well-being. Below, we’ll explore some of the most common diseases that Red Phantom Tetras may encounter and how to prevent and treat them:

1. Ich (White Spot Disease)

Symptoms: White cyst-like spots on the skin, gills, and fins, accompanied by flashing (sudden darting movements) and rubbing against objects.

Prevention: Maintain stable water conditions, avoid overcrowding, and quarantine new fish before introducing them to your aquarium.

Treatment: Increase the temperature to around 82°F (28°C) and treat with a reputable ich medication following the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Fin Rot

Symptoms: Tattered, decaying fins, and frayed edges. In severe cases, the infection may spread to the body.

Prevention: Maintain excellent water quality through regular water changes and provide a balanced diet to boost the immune system.

Treatment: Isolate affected fish and treat with antibiotics. Improve water conditions to facilitate healing.

3. Dropsy

Symptoms: Swollen abdomen, protruding scales (pinecone appearance), lethargy, loss of appetite.

Prevention: Ensure proper nutrition and maintain pristine water quality.

Treatment: Isolate affected fish and treat with antibiotics. Dropsy is often a symptom of an underlying issue, so identifying and addressing the root cause is crucial.

4. Fungal Infections

Symptoms: Cotton-like growths on the skin, fins, or mouth, accompanied by behavioral changes.

Prevention: Maintain clean water and avoid injury to the fish.

Treatment: Isolate affected fish and treat with antifungal medication. Improve water quality to prevent secondary infections.

5. Internal Parasites

Symptoms: Weight loss, bloating, changes in feces color or consistency.

Prevention: Quarantine new fish and maintain a strict hygiene routine.

Treatment: Administer an appropriate antiparasitic medication as directed by a veterinarian or a fish expert.

6. Columnaris (Mouth Fungus)

Symptoms: White, cottony growth on the mouth, fins, or body, ulcers, loss of appetite, and rapid gill movement.

Prevention: Maintain excellent water quality, avoid overcrowding, and provide proper nutrition.

Treatment: Isolate affected fish and treat with antibiotics or antifungal medications. Improve water conditions to prevent further infections.

7. Stress-Related Illnesses

Stress can weaken the immune system, making fish more susceptible to diseases. Ensure that your Red Phantom Tetras are not subjected to sudden changes in water parameters, aggressive tankmates, or poor water quality.

Prevention: Create a stable and harmonious aquarium environment, maintain suitable tankmates, and perform regular water changes.

Treatment: Identifying and addressing the source of stress is key. Isolate stressed fish if necessary and provide a calm and secure environment.

Regular observation and proactive measures are crucial in preventing and addressing diseases in your Red Phantom Tetra aquarium. When you suspect a health issue, always quarantine affected fish to prevent potential outbreaks in the main tank. Consult with experienced aquarists or a vet specializing in fish if you encounter persistent or severe health problems in your tetra population. Additionally, practicing good aquarium hygiene and adhering to proper fishkeeping techniques will help keep your Red Phantom Tetras healthy and thriving.

Red Phantom Tetra Food & Diet

Red Phantom Tetras are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. Offer them a combination of:

  • High-quality flakes or pellets: These should be a staple in their diet.
  • Live or frozen foods: Brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms are excellent choices for occasional treats.
  • Vegetable matter: Supplement their diet with blanched spinach or cucumber slices.

Red Phantom Tetra Behavior & Temperament

These tetras are known for their peaceful nature, making them ideal additions to community aquariums. They exhibit shoaling behavior, so keeping them in a group of at least six individuals is recommended. Red Phantom Tetras are generally shy and prefer subdued lighting. Avoid housing them with aggressive or larger species that may intimidate them.

Red Phantom Tetra Tank Mates

Choosing suitable tankmates is crucial to ensure a harmonious aquarium environment. Ideal tankmates for Red Phantom Tetras include:

  • Other peaceful tetra species: Such as Neon Tetras or Cardinal Tetras.
  • Small catfish: Corydoras species are a good match.
  • Peaceful bottom-dwelling fish: Consider Otocinclus catfish or small loaches.

Avoid keeping them with aggressive or predatory species that may stress or harm them.

Red Phantom Tetra Breeding

Breeding Red Phantom Tetras (Hyphessobrycon sweglesi) can be a rewarding endeavor for aquarists interested in observing the fascinating process of fish reproduction. Below, we’ll delve into the details of breeding these colorful tetras:

Breeding Preparation

  1. Pair Selection: Begin by selecting a breeding pair from your group of Red Phantom Tetras. It’s often challenging to distinguish between males and females, but males are usually slimmer and exhibit brighter colors, especially during breeding readiness.
  2. Breeding Tank: Set up a separate breeding tank, preferably a smaller one, with a capacity of 10 to 20 gallons. This tank should have similar water conditions to the main tank where the tetras are kept.
  3. Substrate and Decor: In the breeding tank, use a fine-gravel substrate or spawning mop. Provide plenty of hiding spots using plants like Java moss or plastic spawning mops. Create a dimly lit environment to mimic their natural habitat.

Triggering Breeding Behavior

To encourage Red Phantom Tetras to breed, you’ll need to simulate the conditions that trigger their natural breeding instincts:

  1. Temperature Increase: Gradually raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C). This warmer water temperature mimics the conditions they encounter during the breeding season in the wild.
  2. Diet: Feed the selected breeding pair a high-quality diet rich in protein. Live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms can be offered to stimulate spawning readiness.

Spawning Process

Once the breeding pair is prepared and conditions are right, you can expect the following behaviors:

  1. Egg Laying: Red Phantom Tetras are egg scatterers. The female will lay adhesive eggs on the undersides of plant leaves or on the substrate. These eggs are tiny and transparent.
  2. Egg Collection: To protect the eggs from being consumed by the parents or other tankmates, it’s crucial to move the breeding pair to a separate tank after spawning or, alternatively, transfer the eggs to a separate container. Carefully detach the leaves with eggs or gently scrape the eggs from the substrate, ensuring they remain intact.

Fry Care

  1. Incubation Period: Red Phantom Tetra eggs typically hatch in about 24 to 36 hours after fertilization, depending on water temperature. During this time, they are vulnerable and need protection.
  2. Rearing Tank: Transfer the hatched fry to a separate rearing tank with gentle filtration to prevent them from getting sucked into the filter. This tank should be well-maintained with pristine water quality.
  3. Feeding Fry: Initially, the fry will rely on their yolk sacs for nourishment. As they absorb the sacs, you can start offering them infusoria or specially formulated powdered fry food. Gradually transition them to finely crushed flake food or newly hatched brine shrimp as they grow.
  4. Water Changes: Regular water changes are crucial for maintaining good water quality and promoting healthy growth in the fry.

Parental Involvement

It’s important to note that Red Phantom Tetra parents do not provide any care for their eggs or fry. In fact, they may view their own offspring as potential food. Therefore, separating the adults from the eggs or fry is essential to ensure the survival of the young tetras.

Breeding Red Phantom Tetras can be a challenging but rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts. It allows you to witness the full life cycle of these captivating fish, from courtship and egg laying to the development of tiny fry. Patience and attention to detail are key to successfully breeding these beautiful tetras in your home aquarium.

Red Phantom Tetra Eggs

Red Phantom Tetras lay their eggs on the undersides of plant leaves. These eggs are tiny and adhesive, sticking to the leaves until they hatch. The parents do not provide any care for the eggs or fry, so it’s essential to separate them to ensure the survival of the offspring.

Red Phantom Tetra Breeding Temperature

To trigger breeding, slightly raise the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C). This mimics their natural breeding conditions and encourages spawning behavior.

In conclusion, Red Phantom Tetras are captivating fish that bring beauty and tranquility to any aquarium. By providing them with the right care, suitable tankmates, and breeding conditions, you can enjoy the full splendor of these stunning fish in your home aquarium. Remember to maintain water quality, monitor their health, and create a safe and enriching environment for these charming tetras. Happy fishkeeping!

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Lee Johnson

Lee Johnson

Aquarium Enthusiast

I love sharing my knowledge about all things aquarium related. I have been keeping aquariums for over 20 years and cannot imagine a life without an aquarium. 

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