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Hasemania nana

Silvertip Tetra




Rio São Francisco basin, Brazil.


Tends to inhabit creeks and tributaries away from the main river channels. Apparently, it’s found in both white and black water environments.

Maximum Standard Length

2″ (5cm).

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

It’s an active species, so a small shoal will need a tank of at least 24″ x 15″ x 12″ (60cm x 37.5cm x 30cm) – 70 litres in size.


Adaptable and will do well in most types of setup, but is particularly well-suited to a heavily planted tank. Oddly enough, aquatic plants are not a feature of its natural environment. A biotope setup would be rather more simple, consisting of a sandy substrate, a few driftwood branches and twisted roots and a scattering of dried leaves over the tank base (oak and beech leaves are both aquarium-safe once thoroughly dried). It will show its best colours under slightly dimmed lighting.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 74-82°F (23-28°C)

pH: 6.0-8.0

Hardness: 5-20°H


Easy to feed. It will readily accept just about anything offered. For the best condition and colours, offer regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm, Daphnia and brine shrimp, along with dried flakes and granules.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

One of the best tetras for the ‘general’ community setup. It is lively, quite colourful and peaceful. It’s a good tankmate for most livebearers, danios, rasboras, other tetras and peaceful bottom dwellers such as Corydoras or smaller Loricariids. It can also be kept with the majority of commonly available gouramis and dwarf cichlids. Obviously, it shouldn’t be combined with larger species that may see it as food, such as angel fish.

While some individuals can be a little nippy if kept alone, this behaviour is reduced dramatically when it is maintained in a group. It’s therefore recommended to buy no less than 6 of these, preferably 10 or more.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males tend to be more intensely coloured and slimmer than females.


Quite easily bred, although you’ll need to set up a separate tank in which to do so if you want to raise any numbers of fry. Something around 18″ x 12″ x 12″ in size is fine. This should be dimly lit and contain clumps of fine-leaved plants such as java moss or spawning mops, to give the fish somewhere to deposit their adhesive eggs. You could also cover the base of the tank with some kind of mesh. This should be of a large enough grade so that the eggs can fall through it, but small enough so that the adults cannot reach them. It can be spawned in a group, with half a dozen specimens of each sex being a good number. Condition these with plenty of live and frozen foods and spawning should not present too many problems.

Alternatively, it can be spawned in pairs. Under this technique the fish are conditioned in male and female groups in separate tanks on a high quality diet of frozen and live foods, at a temperature around 75-78°F. Keep the temperature of the spawning tank a few degrees higher than the main tank, say around 82-86°F, with a pH on the acidic side of neutral. When the females are noticeably full of eggs and the males are displaying their best colours, select the fattest female and best-coloured male and transfer them to the spawning tank. The pair should spawn the following morning.

In either situation, the adults will eat the eggs given the chance and should be removed at the first opportunity ie. as soon as eggs are noticed. These will hatch in 24-36 hours, with the fry becoming free swimming a 3-4 days later. They should be fed on an infusoriatype food for the first few days, until they are large enough to accept microworm or brine shrimp nauplii. The eggs and fry are light sensitive in the early stages of life and the tank should be kept as dimly lit as possible.

NotesTop ↑

The genus Hasemania is one of the few in the family Characidae in which members do not possess an adipose fin. This species is ubiquitous in most dealers’ tanks and is one of the best choices for the newcomer to fishkeeping. All the fish sold in the trade have been captive bred and as such are unfussy with regard to both water chemistry and diet. It is sometimes seen for sale with the common name ‘copper tetra’.

One Response to “Hasemania nana (Silvertip Tetra)”

  • dave.neal

    I had seven of these. Quite belligerent and a definite pecking order. The ‘alpha’ has seen off 4 of the others, and is now including Glowlights and Rummy-nose tetras as targets. A real nuisance.

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