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Red Blue Colombian Tetra

(Hyphessobrycon columbianus)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 3"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 72-80° F, pH 6.0-7.0, KH 4-10
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Rio Acandi, Colombia   • Family: Characidae
• Species: Tetra   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Red Blue Colombian Tetra native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Red Blue Colombian Tetra (Hyphessobrycon columbianus) originates from the Rio Acandi, near the Atlantic coast of Colombia. Their native river habitat generally has a sandy substrate and dense vegetation along the margins of the river. The tropical water is quite warm (72-80° F) and generally soft and acidic; however, they are very adaptable to water that is more neutral in pH and hardness. While the body of the fish is a brilliant silver color that is common in many species, the Red Blue Colombian Tetra really shines with the bold blue coloration on the top of their body and the dark red coloration of their fins. A group of these fish schooling together in the aquarium is truly an impressive and much sought after site.

Since being introduced to that aquarium hobby around the year 2000, the Red Blue Colombian Tetra was an instant hit with hobbyists due to their bold coloration, schooling behavior and their confident, bold swimming style. They are sold by a variety of common names including: Colombian Tetra, Columbian Tetra, Blue Red Colombian Tetra, Red Blue Colombian Tetra and the Red Tail Mirror Blue Tetra. Regardless of the name, hobbyists enjoy the size, speed and boldness of this species as they school within the aquarium and especially during feeding time. Along with their bold swimming, Colombian Tetra are incredibly hardy fish that tolerate a wide variety of aquarium water parameters and tank mates.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Red Blue Colombian Tetra in the home aquarium.

Whether you have a peaceful tropical community aquarium, a planted aquarium or even a mixed Cichlid and community fish aquarium, then the Red Blue Colombian Tetra could be the perfect schooling fish for your tank. The Red Blue Colombian Tetra has a temperament that is bold enough to allow it to hold its own with larger Cichlid species like Severum, Geophagus, Angelfish, Acara and other similar species, but is also peaceful enough to be kept with much smaller community fish species. With the exception of during feeding time, when the Colombian Tetra will greedily grab food (even from the mouth of larger fish) the bulk of the time they will peacefully school around the aquarium.

As a native schooling species it is best to keep the Red Blue Colombian Tetra in groups of at least 6 or more individuals. They prefer aquariums that have open swimming room, some plant vegetation or wood root structures to swim about and moderate water flow. As they reach an adult size of 3 inches, should be kept in groups and require adequate swimming room to accommodate their bold swimming style, this species should be kept in at least a 30 gallon aquarium. Larger aquariums will allow the fish to exhibit their bold swimming nature more fully and thus are recommended for hobbyists who want to view a school of these Tetra in their full brilliance. Whether as a showpiece schooling fish in a smaller aquarium or as a bold swimming dither fish in a community Cichlid aquarium, the Red Blue Colombian Tetra is a hardy and attractive larger schooling fish that does great in a variety of aquarium environments.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Red Blue Colombian Tetra and provide a healthy diet.

While technically an omnivore, the Colombian Tetra will prefer a diet that is heavier on the meaty foods with plant based foods making up a smaller portion of their diet. They are very aggressive feeders and will aggressively compete with even larger fish to get their share of any meal. In short they are not picky eaters and will readily consume all standard tropical community fish foods.

Young specimens should be fed smaller foods like flake foods, bug bites mini pellets, brine shrimp, etc. multiple times per day. As they grow older they will accept very small pellets, granules, blood worms and other similar items. They will of course still accept flake and other small foods, but as an adult they will reach close to 3" (7.6cm) in length and will appreciate slightly larger meaty food items. Additionally, as an adult the Red Blue Colombian Tetra will only need to be fed 1 to 2 times per day; where as, as a juvenile they should really be fed 3 to 4 times per day.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Red Blue Colombian Tetra in the aquarium environment.

Red Blue Colombian Tetra will readily breed within the aquarium environment given good quality water, ample room and suitable spawning material on which to lay the eggs. They can be both colony bred where a group of males and females will pair off and breed; as well as, separated into breeding pairs. If kept in a good sized group of 8 to 12 individuals, the Red Blue Colombian Tetra will often breed within the community aquarium. Excellent water quality, good and plentiful food and plenty of plants or other suitable spawning material will generally intice this species to begin spawning. Alternately, the hobbyist can identify a pair and attempt to breed them in a separate aquarium setup specifically for breeding.

Sexing Colombian Tetra is difficult until the fish reach maturity, at which point the thicker more rounded specimens are the females and the thinner ones the males. In order to raise the most fry, a mated pair or group of 4 females and 2 males should placed into their own dedicated 40 gallon breeder aquarium (or similar sized tank). The tank will need spawing material like plants (real or fake), spawning mop or similar items. After successful spawns, the parents should be removed to allow the eggs and then fry to escape being eaten by the parents. Fry can be fed crushed flake or foods designed for fish fry, then moved to baby brine shrimp and then larger typical community fish foods as they grow.

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