- Scientific name: Hemigrammus pulcher
- Synonyms: -
- Common name: Pretty Tetra
- Group: Characins
- Habitat: South America; the Upper Amazon region in Peru.
- Size: 4-4,5 cm
- Biotope: Found in slow moving rivers and tributaries usually under forest cover.
- Social behavior: A peaceful and active schooling characin, that is a good choice for a general community tank, but can be a little shy, so keep them only with similar sized and peaceful fish. They should be kept in a group of at least 6 species.
- Diet: Omnivorous; they will readily accept all kinds of foods, but regular live foods are necessary to maintain their colors.
- Breeding: Quite hard
- Tank: Minimum 60 litres
- Population: 6 fish for 70 litres
- Decoration: They can be kept either in a densely planted tank, or in a biotope aquarium. In the latter case use river sand as substrate and decorate the tank with some driftwood branches or roots. A few dried leaves in their tank can stain the water like in their natural habitat, or you can use peat filtered RO water. Use subdued lighting.
- Temperature: 23-27 °C
- pH: 5.5-7
- Hardness: 1-12 NK°
- Lifespan: 3-5 years
Description: It is hard to describe the body colors of Pretty Tetra, because it depends on the light, but it can range from violet to copper. The belly area is lighter, sometimes yellow. There is a shiny copper marking behind the gill cover. The upper part of the iris is red. The fins are transparent. A shiny light line extends on the caudal pedunce, and a thick black band runs below this line. Hemigrammus pulcher was first imported to Europe in the late 1930’s, and it has been succesfully bred a little later. Like all Hemigrammus, the taxonomic status of this species is currently uncertain and scientists agree that a full revision is required.
Mature females are slightly larger and plumper than males. Hemigrammus pulcher can be also sexed by examining the swim bladder, which is visible through the semi-transparent skin of the fish. Males have more pointed and taper, while females have rounder swim bladders. Despite the female is full of eggs, breeding is quite hard as pairs do not always spawn together so a little experience is required when selecting the suitable fish. Pretty Tetra can be bred in a smaller 20-25 litres separate tank. Cover the base of the aquarium with Java moss or with some kind of mesh that can protect the eggs from the adults. Use soft (1-5 dKH), slightly acidic (pH 5,5-6,5) water with a temperature of 26-28 °C, or alternatively peat filtered RO water can be used. Hemigrammus pulcher can be spawned in a small group or in pairs, but either way condition the fish with plenty of small live foods before the act. Place the fish into the breeding tank in the evening, and they will usually spawn in the following morning, but sometimes this can be a few days until they spawn. These fish scatter their eggs among the plants, and the number of the light yellow eggs can vary between 400 and 500. The eggs hatch in 24-36 hours and the larvae become free-swimming after another 3-4 days. The eggs and fry are light sensitive in the early stages of life, so do not use any lighting during this time. The fry can be fed with infusoria-type foods, or liquid foods in the first days, and later when they become larger, they can be fed with brine shrimp nauplii. They become sexually mature at 8-9 months.
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