Fish Description

Rosy Tetra (Hyphessobrycon rosaceus): Everything You Need To Know About

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Rosy Tetra is one of the most popular and active fish found in South America. Rosy tetra is a community fish that makes a great addition to your community aquarium. The scientific name of Rosy tetra is Hyphessobrycon rosaceus, which belongs to the Characiformes family. This small tetra has a deep salmon color with a combination of red accents and bright white tips on the fins.

Most people find rosy tetra attractive and cheerful, which has earned them quite a fame in the community aquarium. Sometimes you might find them as White-finned rosy Tetra or Rosey tetra in the market.

Hyphessobrycon rosaceus is a peaceful species of tetra and does best in the aquarium with other tank mates (except predator fish) as long as you keep them in small groups. Rosy Tetra is a hardy fish that can adapt to a variety of water conditions; however, extremely hard water condition can cause color fade. They love to be in darker substrates with some plants that help to hide them from predators. Rosy Tetra is not an aggressive one, so they do well with smaller species or similar types of fish.

The tetra which you will find in the store is a captive one rather than wild-caught, but still, you can see their beauty.

In this article, you will uncover all the known or unknown facts and information about the Rosy Tetra. So let’s go even deeper to know about Rosy Tetra.

Origin / Background / Habitat in Wild

Durbin described the Rosy tetra ( Hyphessobrycon rosaceus ) Previously known as Hyphessobrycon bentosi rosaceus, which is also known as White-Finned rosy Tetra, Rosy Finned Tetra, Black flag tetra, Ornate tetra, and Bento’s tetra in 1909. This tetra species is not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which is good news for people who love them deeply and want to pet them in their aquarium world.

Rosy tetra can be found in South America of the Rio Guopore region of Paraguay along in the lower Amazon River Basin of Guyana, Surinam, and Brazil. They are the peaceful fish which love to be in the river system of the Rio Essequibo, and Rio Corantijn.

In its natural places, you will see them on heavily forested where they can hide and caught more food easily. Sometimes, they prefer sluggish tributaries off of main rivers channels. They inhabit where the water is normally stained brown with tannins and more acidic from the rotten vegetation which gives them to hide from the predators and other big fishes.

Rosy tetra usually eats small insects, crustaceans, and live worms where they can easily find them due to dense vegetation.

Distribution of Rosy Tetra

Rosy tetra is good choice for an intermediate fish keeper as they are moderate hardy that will shine your aquarium with its beautiful salmon body. With the changing environment, it will be difficult to find the pure wild species of tetra in the market. Some of the people might want to keep wild-caught but it seems not to be possible.

Mostly, the vast majority of fish are sold in the trade are captive bred on commercial farms of the UK which originate from Eastern Europe. From that area, they bred them and sold it into the market. The price of the Rosy tetra is not excessiveness as they are captive bred instead of the wild one.

It does not matter whether it’s a captive or wild one, Rosy tetra always looks stunning.

Characteristics of Rosy Tetra

Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon rosaceus

Family: Characidae

Class: Actinopterygii

Behavior: Peaceful

Lifespan: Maximum 3 to 5 years (if cared properly)

Color: Red body with black marking (including other variety of color)

Size: ½ inches (4 cm)

Experience Level: Intermediate

Water Temperature: 75.0 to 82.0 F

pH: 5.5 – 7.5

Water Movement: Moderate

Lighting Needs: Moderate – normal lighting

Rosy Tetra Difficulty

Making a plan to buy Rosy tetra or giving it to someone?

First of all, you need to know the behavior of the fish. It does not matter which fish you are buying from the market. If you add any fish without knowing the actual behavior of fish it can cause you into serious trouble

Rosy tetras are not that difficult to care for if they are provided with clean and stable water conditions. As they are hardy fish, they can adapt to a wide range of aquarium parameters. However to replicate their natural habitat keep them in soft acidic water as they are blackwater species.

As your home aquarium is a closed system, regardless of size, all need some sort of maintenance. Do a 10% water change every week, don’t overfeed your fish which can degrade your aquarium water due to uneaten foods and fish excreta.

Color and Marking of Rosy tetra

When people see the Rosy tetra at first glance, it attracts people with its deep salmon-colored body. Not only other people, but you will also get attracted to Rosy tetra when you see them moving around the aquarium with stunning color.

This remarkable tetra has a small body with almost red accents on the entire body that looks even more spectacular inside the aquarium. Rosy tetra has a little bit of white color underneath the body where stripe comes from the head to the center of belly underneath. Besides that, all body is covered with red color expect the dorsal and anal fin.

Rosy tetra dorsal fin has a combination of three colors which are red, black, and a little bit of white where the red comes at first then black and white. Besides that, the anal fin has a deep red color and a little bit white on the tip. The last tail fin looks a little bit transparent with the combination of red color on left and right. All these marking and color makes the Rosy tetra more popular for the home aquarium.

Rosy Tetra Care
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Sometimes, you will get confused with this tetra as they look almost similar to its close relative the Ornate tetra along with the coloration and appearance. Both of the tetras have a deep red marking on the fin but the Ornate tetra will often look more transparent.

If you want to learn more about the Ornate tetra, then I have written an article on them in detail where you can find all the information.

You will never get tired looking at rosy tetra due to its amazing combination of color. They will make your home even more beautiful than before when you keep them in the aquarium with care. Always keep them in a group of at least 6 as they are schooling fish. You will definitely love their schooling behavior and the shine to their body when they move in a group.

Sexual Differences

Sometimes people buy Rosy tetra and even don’t know whether they are male and female. You can differentiate them with these characteristics:

  • Male Rosy tetra has longer and more pointed dorsal fin than female tetra.
  • Males are more slender and brightly colored however females are rounder and less colored.
  • Adult females are plumper than males.

Rosy Tetra Tankmates

Rosy tetra is a peaceful and active species of tetra that looks attractive in the home aquarium. They are peaceful fish, does not mean you should put them in a tank with other aggressive fish species.

Choosing the perfect tank mates for the Rosy tetra will not be difficult if you follow the things which I have mentioned in this article. When you buy them for your aquarium, just remember to keep at least 6 tetras of their species. That will help them to feel secure and comfortable just like in its natural habitat. Keeping them in a group will also help them school better which is stunning to look at.

Rosy tetra is small in size and most do best with other similar or peaceful species of fish such as small fish, Shrimps, Crabs, Snail, small rasboras, barbs, and dwarf cichlids. They can also be kept with South American species such as pencil fish, small Loricariids. In simple words, fish, that are peaceful in nature and are small in size are best suited as the Rosy tetra’s tankmates.

Rosy tetra is shoaling species of tetra by nature and will do much better when you keep them with a company of its own kind. However, fin nipping can occur when you keep only one or two of them with other species of fish in an aquarium. Keeping in groups usually means that control over fin nipping which is also best for you and other small fish.

Keeping them with slow Swimmers and eaters will not cause any trouble and do well with them.

So, what species of tank mates you should avoid?

Just do not keep them with boisterous or larger tank mates such as bettas and angelfish, as they will eat them. Not only larger tank mates but other aggressive fish can also be a threat for Rosy tetra as they are one of the most peaceful and sometimes a bit shy kinds of tetra.

Diet and Feeding for Rosy tetra

For a person, good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. The same goes for your fish. You need to provide a balanced diet for your fish so that the fish gets good nutrition that helps fight against disease and infections.

Let’s suppose, you bought Rosy tetra for your aquarium and left just like that on one side of the corner of your room. You did not even maintain good diet or food for your fish. And after a couple of months, you find them dead.

In most of the case, cause of death and disease in fish is due to poor balance diet and cheap foods. You need to give them a variety of quality foods, like flakes, plant-based, and protein-based foods, live foods, blood worms, dried blood worms, etc.

Since rosy tetra is omnivorous, they can eat both plants and live food. In the wild, they eat live insects, worm and other plants matter. However, in the aquarium maintaining their diet is a bit difficult if you don’t know how to feed them right. Rosy tetra needs fairly high vitamin so feed them with quality flakes food, Pellet which should be about 60% to 80% of their diet. This will help them to grow stronger and maintain the best color. Sometimes, feeding live blooded worm, shrimp, and fishes would be the perfect gift for them that will be nutritious as well as healthy.

Always maintain the feeding frequency or ratio which should be several times per day. Too much feeding can lead to death due to the exploding of the stomach or water pollution due to uneaten food. Always siphon the uneaten food and the fish poop to maintain healthy aquarium water.

Note: Offer only those foods that they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding time siphon uneaten foods and food wastes.

Aquarium Care

As a beginner aquarist, we most of the time don’t know how to care for the fish we pet. What tank size they require, how to maintain water parameters and temperatures, and so on. All of these things seem a bit hard to understand. However, they are rather simple and easy, when you know what care your fish require. So, here in this section, I am going to simplify how to care for your aquarium so that your fish can live happily there.

Before you buy any fish, you need to do homework first. Like, how many fish are you planning to pet; at what location of your house are you planning to keep the fish tank; what filtration method to choose; and temperature of the location throughout the year where you live.

As for rosy tetra, they are hardy fish, they can thrive a wide range of water parameters. However, the aquarium is a closed system, regardless of the size, it needs some sort of maintenance. Over time, harmful chemicals like nitrate, nitrite, and ammonia spike up due to the decomposition of organic matter. So, you need to have a good aquarium filter and you must do at least 10% water change every week.

So, let’s get into the aquarium care for Rosy tetra.

Tank size

The first item to check for before buying any fish is the tank size or the volume of your aquarium. From my personal experience, I have seen that most beginner aquarist makes mistake while choosing their first aquarium.

Rosy tetra is peaceful in nature and fairly hardy. They always move from one side of the river or pond to the other side. There should be plenty of places for Rosy tetra to move around in the aquarium.

Overstocking is the major problem of fish death that occurs when you are a beginner. Think it like this: one inch of your fish requires two gallons of water. If you are planning to keep 6 tetras, you must have at least a 12-gallon tank. However, bigger is better.

Nobody likes to live in a small tank that will make them feel uncomfortable. Rosy tetra will do best on 15 to 20 gallons of tank size that should be enough for 6 groups of species. Let them feel home in your tank. Since rosy tetra will inhabit in all places of the aquarium, they usually spent most of the time in the surface or middle of the water; just like in its natural environment and prefer to swim with other species of tetras.

Water Parameter

The next important factor is the water parameter.

If we inhale polluted air every day, drink polluted water every day then we will definitely get sick right, we can die of intoxication right? The same goes for your fish.

Rosy tetra can be kept in slightly alkaline water. They tend to be more colorful in the acidic water with a pH range of 5.5 – 7.5. If the water hardness can be maintained between 5-19 dGH then they look more stunning in the aquarium. The temperature of the water should be 75.0 to 82.0 F which is ideal for this tetra and helps them to feel just like in natural habitat. The water movement needs to be soft where you can find them moving around.

An aquarium is a closed system, unlike in nature, the water inside your aquarium keeps on circulating unless you change them often. Keeping an aquarium filter is not enough to maintain your aquarium water. Filters only make things a little easier for you when it comes to water changes.

Changing at least 10% of your aquarium water and eliminating aquarium waste every week helps to maintain your aquarium water parameter.

Use a good quality aquarium filter in your aquarium. An aquarium filter will not only filter your aquarium water but will also help beneficial bacteria to colonize inside the filter media. This helps in the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle. Rosy tetra prefers more sluggish water so good quality of water filters which produce less current will be better for tetra. For me, a Canister Filter works best. You can find a canister filter for you tetra fish in your fish store or you can purchase it online.

Lightning for Aquarium

Rosy tetras are found in a dense forest where a minimal amount of sunlight gets through the water. So, adding too much light in your Rosy tetra’s aquarium can stress them out which opens the door to various fish diseases.

So always provide the low or subdued aquarium lights for Rosy tetra as they will feel comfortable and more relax.

Decoration and Aquarium Substrate

Fish in the aquarium looks unpleasant to watch without any decorations or substrate. In nature, every fish live in the water where there is plenty of grass, sand, and other aquatic plants.

The most natural option to decore your aquarium is to use driftwoods and plants. Live plants will help in the Nitrogen Cycle as well as plants use nitrate as food sources in the photosynthesis process.


Adding driftwood and plants will not only make your aquarium beautiful, but it also provides a hiding place for your rosy tetra.

As for your aquarium substrate, use a substrate that is a bit bigger than the mouth of your fish. Tetra fish are good with any substrate unless they fit in their mouth or buy substrate with tiny particles such as sand.

To create a natural habitat and maintain the ph of your aquarium, you can add aquarium soil as well. Aquarium soil has the nutrients, live plants require.

Therefore, the use of river sand with few driftwood branches will help them feel secure from the predators and a perfect place to hide. Adding a few tiny rocks to scape can add even more beauty to the aquarium.

Rosy Tetra Breeding Technique

When the breeding season comes, male fish usually leave small bubbles inside the aquarium which is a sign that they want female fish.

Sometimes, people do not know about the sign and they miss a chance to breed rosy tetra in their aquarium.

Breeding the Rosy tetra is simple and secure. You just have to know some information regarding the breeding technique.

Aquarium Setup

The breeding technique is similar to other species of tetra. You will need a separate tank for the breeding process. This will helps you raise a decent amount of fry in one aquarium which is much more secure than breeding on the same tank with other species of fishes.

You at least need 10 to 15 gallons of tank size when you are breeding tetra fish.

Tetra usually doesn’t breed single as the male and female will not attach together. You should keep them in groups of 6-7 tetra inside the same aquarium. Once the tetra is together, they will introduce each other for a couple of days.

The water parameter should be checked or maintain during the breeding process as it will not be the same as in the community aquarium. Fairly soft water and the temperature of 80 to 82 F (26.6-28 C) would be perfect for spawning. Keeping slightly acidic water with a pH of 6.5 to 7 and hardness of 4 dGH or less helps the groups of tetra feel comfortable during the breeding. This will experience them just like its natural habitat and sometimes take less time to spawn.

Besides that, the use of a small air-powered sponge filter will help them feel the soft flow of the natural river in the aquarium.

Feed them good quality of food every day until they start to spawn. Food such as live and frozen provides your fish proper nutrients.

Rosy tetra usually lays eggs on the leaves or moss. So put some plants in the aquarium for the eggs. When the mature female has eggs inside her belly, she seems more rounded and noticeable while the male tetra will be more colorful. They usually spawn in the morning where the female will release the eggs on the plants. So better to keep a pair of tetra in the evening. Remove the parent from the tank immediately after spawning or put them on separate 10 gallons of the tank. Otherwise, they will eat the eggs.

Fish eggs are very sensitive to light as they will explode due to bright light. Keep them on the darker side of the room.

These eggs will hatch within 24 hours and the next morning you will see the little fry at the bottom of the aquarium. It takes about 5 days until the fry will be free swimmers that will look stunning.

Rosy Tetra Fry Care

Taking care of fry is so simple that you don’t need to be a perfect fish keeper. These fries are so small that you will have to look into your aquarium twice to find them.

You might be wondering when should you feed them. How to keep them alive?

Feeding the little fry will not be difficult for you as you can give them infusoria type foods, brine shrimps are the best source of food to your baby fish.

When they get a little bit bigger in size, feed them small live insects this will help them to grow faster. After a couple of months, they grow into their full size. You should introduce them to your community tank only when they are fully matured. Or else, there is a high chance of being eaten by larger fishes.


Rosy Tetra is beautiful in color as well as peaceful tetra that looks amazing in the home aquarium. Most of the people will be attracted by its salmon-red color and even sometimes get excited to keep them as a pet. Keeping them with the other groups of fish will entertain you for hours.

Be aware of fraud people who can sell you the wrong fish. So it’s better to gain some information regarding the fish which you are going to purchase.

If you are going to buy Rosy tetra, then I think you have acquired all the information regarding the fish. So thank you for reading and check out our other article about different species tetra on Tetra-fish-care which might be helpful for.

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