Name: Hyphessobrycon eques
Origin: Paraguay, Central Brazil
Serpae Tetras are small, hardy and very popular fish. They're usually quite peaceful towards other species, but spend a lot of time disputing ranks among themselves. It never seems to reach the point of actual aggression and injury, though. During these disputes, they boost their beautiful colors to their best, open their fins real wide and dance around each other like boxers, occasionally taking a charge towards the opponent. A very nice nice addition to any community tank.
I inherited a 35 gallon hex tank from a friend that contained one neon tetra. Thinking he might be lonely I rushed to the nearest pet store and bought four more Neons, and three Serpae Tetras. Unfortunately the Serpaes nipped at the tails of the Neons (one, now named Gimper has just a few shards left) and one didn't make it. I have talked to a few fish experts and they all say that this was a strange situation. The Serpaes are usually very docile fish and get along well in tanks.
I have five serpaes in a 30 gallon tank with three lamp eye tetras, a rainbow shark, 9 corys, two kuhli loaches, five oto's, and two small angels. Sadly, the serpaes, lamp eyes, and rainbow shark killed the angels. Whenever they went to the top of the tank, the lamp eyes picked on them, when they went to the mid-section of the tank, the serpaes picked on them, and when they went to the bottom of the tank, the rainbow gave them hell. I've heard that serpaes harass fish when they are mal-nourished but my serpae are not that. I feed them bloodworms twice a week, adult brine shrimp twice a week, and flakes everyday, I also feed them sun-dried shrimp, I don't know why they picked on my fish.
I started a 110 liter tank with 6 serpae tetras. Four weeks later I added 3 Cory cats that the serpaes terrorized, almost completely taking the tail off one. They also nipped at the tails of diamond tetras I added a few weeks later. I returned the serpaes and got some cardinals.
I have 6 Serpae Tetras in my 100 liter community. These are the most interesting of all the Tetras. They are constantly fighting over the ranks between themselves. They usually only end up with some torn fins or something to that extent.
I have 5 Serpaes in a 300 L tank along with a large Geophagus jurupari, Daemon and Red Hump, a Keyhole, a Curviceps, a Bolivian Ram, a small Geophagus brasiliensis, some large Swordtails and an African Butterfly fish. I had some Gold Barbs and some Neons but guess who killed them all off one by one? The Serpaes. They're real Jekyll and Hydes. Peaceful one minute and then attacking an earthworm like a school of piranhas the next. Little trouble makers? Yep. Beautiful? Absolutely. Do I love them? You bet. So far they're getting along just fine with the Rummy Nose Tetras I just bought. Keep your fingers crossed for the rummys!