Name: Hyphessobrycon sweglesi
Origin: Orinico Basin, Colombia
I had three pairs of this red phantom tetra. I lost them to cichlids. The group was really good to watch. Specially when one small one among the whole lot has wandered away, the others right from the biggest to the smallest one move in group and seek out the lost one.
A fairly easy fish to take care of. I keep them in a heavily planted 200 liter tank with other community fish, but I rarely see them. They spend most of their time hiding among rocks and plants, even though I've had the fish close to a year, and there are no real aggressive fish in the tank. The only time I really see them is when it's feeding time, and even then they hang out near the bottom and only catch the food that the more tenacious fish leave behind.
I recently introduced 12 M. sweglesi to my 180 L aquarium. The first inhabitants, a group of 7 Nannostomus trifasciatus and 5 Otocinclus affinis had to share their home with these little characins. As the pencilfish are very calm and tend to the upper layer, I was looking for easygoing small schooling fish to populate the middle layer in the aquarium. When walking around in the fishshop these red phantoms caught my attention. They were labeled as caught in the wild. A red body with a fascinating dorsal fin in white, black and yellowish colours. At first I was hesitant to buy these, because wild fish have the reputation of being somewhat more demanding and delicate. But the shopowner (30 years of aqua experience and a walking encyclopedia!) assured me that it wouldn't be that hard since I had good luck in keeping the Nannostomus in good condition. So I bought all twelve of them and they are a final wonderful addition. They do keep their stick-together instinct. Something that is often lost in shorter tanks (mine is 100 cm). They swim around in a stretched out group, in what seems an endless search for food. For such little critters, they sure eat! The more thoughtful pencilfish don't stand a chance at the frenzy of the little phantoms: no thinking but feasting! So I had to split up the hunting grounds: the left for the Nannostomus and the right for the phantoms. They are like ying and yang in many ways...
Red Phantoms are very beautiful and peaceful. They are not as hardy as Black Phantoms in my experience, but well worth keeping. Best in a peaceful planted tank.
I have 100 of these wonderful fish in a 400 L tank with 6 clown loaches and 2 eels. They have formed 2 shoals and seem to be very peaceful. This is a great addition to an aquarium, but be sure to keep them in shoals and not just 4 or 6.
I have 5 phantoms in a 220 liter planted community tank with various tetras, gouramis, loaches, catfish and rasboras. These fish weren't that cool looking when I first got them, they weren't even red or pink, they were see through and really small. My 8 black phantom tetras kept on hassling them non stop, but after a month they've doubled in size, are a bright red and quite active too. They like to school with my other tetras like my von rio tetras and black phantom tetras. You can't really see all the fish because there's a school of 22 neon tetras that hang out on only half of the tank, but the phantoms seem to stick out.
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