Silver Tip Tetra Guide (January 2022): All You Need To Know

By: Martin McAdam
Updated: November 27, 2021

The Silver Tip Tetra is a cold-water fish that belongs to the Characidae family. It is found in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

It lives in South American rivers along the east coast of the Paraguay River into Sao Paulo State, Brazil. The Silver Tip Tetra has an average length of 3 inches (8 cm) and is considered an omnivore.

The Silver Tip Tetra is often confused with the Black Neon Tetra but can be distinguished by the iridescent silver-white tips that give it the common name. The male will have more of this white coloration than the female.

The dorsal fin of both genders is black and has three spines, while the other fins are red in color. The Silver Tip Tetra is a peaceful schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least six. It is best to keep it in groups of eight or more.

Males will become territorial when spawning, but this can usually be prevented by maintaining large schools and providing ample hiding places.

Silver Tip Tetra: Overview

  • Latin Name: Hasemania nana 
  • Common Names: Silver Tip Tetra, Dwarf Hatchetfish
  • Origin: South America
  • Tank Size (individual): 5 gallons (18 L) or larger.
  • Aggressiveness (1-10): 2
  • Average Lifespan: 3 - 5 years of age.
  • Size: Up to 3 inches (8 cm) in length. Tends to grow
  • Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi Herbert Tetra, Silver Tip Tetra.
  • Origin: Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.
  • Temperament/Behavior: Generally a peaceful fish, but can be somewhat territorial with other Silver Tip Tetras.
  • Water parameters - pH: 6.0 - 7.5
  • Temperature: 72°F - 79°F 

How do Silver Tip Tetra Look?

The Silver Tip Tetra is a small fish with an elongated, torpedo-shaped body. It has the silver and black banding characteristic of the genus Hyphessobrycon. It also has red caudal and dorsal fins.

Silver Tip Tetra

The body of the Silver Tip Tetra is smaller in length than other fish, making it a good choice for fish tanks that are only 4-5 gallons in size. The three dorsal spines are characteristic of this species. The caudal and dorsal fins are red in color.

Also Read: Vampire Pleco (L-240): Detailed Care Guide

Difference Between Male Silver Tip Tetra and Female Silver Tip Tetra

Males will have a larger, more vibrant red on the body of the fish, and females tend to be duller in appearance. Also, the male will start developing white tips on its scales as it ages, while the female's scales retain their silver color throughout life.

male female Silver Tip Tetra difference

There is a distinct difference between the male and females of this species. The more vibrant red on the body is characteristic of the male, while the female's scales retain their silver color throughout life.

Life Span & Growth of Silver Tip Tetra

The average life span for this species is 2-5 years, with an aquarium lifespan of 3-5 years. This fish attains an average total length of 3 inches.

This fish breeds at around 1 inch in length, and the male reaches sexual maturity at a size of about 1 inch as well. The female reaches maturity slightly later, around 1.5 inches in length.

Silver Tip Tetra Breeding

The Silver Tip Tetra is an egg scatterer and should be kept in a separate tank to avoid eating its own eggs.

Silver Tip Tetra breeding

The breeding tank should have a temperature of 78-80ºF (25.5-26ºC) and will be suitable for spawning when there is dense vegetation and fine-leafed plants such as java moss. Some breeders prefer the use of marbles for substrate or creating a hollow in the vegetation instead of leaving the bottom bare.

The Silver Tip Tetra has been bred in captivity, but not commonly. Spawning is said to occur at the bottom of the tank, where depression is formed for egg-laying.

Temperament of Silver Tip Tetra

Virtually all tetras tend to swim in the top level of the aquarium with their signature "flight pattern," which often seems chaotic.

They are active but not aggressive fish. This is especially true with most tetra varieties, including Silver Tip Tetra. Like most tetras, they need to be kept in small groups with at least And Temperament.

The Silver Tip Tetra is very similar in appearance to its cousin, the Black Neon Tetra. It should not be kept with larger or more aggressive fish that may nip at their fins or swallow them. Other small peaceful tetras are also good tank mates for the Silver Tip Tetra.

The Silver Tip Tetra is normally undemanding and easy to care for but may be susceptible to illness or disease if not provided with the proper water conditions.

They are primarily nocturnal, so there will be less activity during the day. If they are kept in groups of 8 or more specimens, this behavior will still be evident.

Silver Tip Tetra Complete Care Guide

Below are the specified requirements for the care of Silver Tip Tetra.

Diet

The Silver Tip Tetra is a species of tetra belonging to the Characidae family of fishes. It has an average length of 3 inches (8 cm) and is considered omnivorous in diet, though it prefers small crustaceans, insects, annelid worms, and some plant matter.

They are found in rivers along the east coast of the Paraguay River into São Paulo State, Brazil, South America. Regularly, live food such as brine shrimp and tubifex worms. Flake foods are suitable for omnivores. An occasional treat of bloodworms will not be refused either.

Tank Size for The Silver Tip Tetra

 Silver Tip Tetra Tank size

The ideal tank size for the Silver Tip Tetra is 20 gallons, but a larger tank will provide more swimming room. Driftwood and live plants should be added for natural habitat, and gravel or sand can be used as a substrate.

Water Temperature

The water temperature of the Silver Tip Tetra should range from 72-82ºF (22-27ºC), with a pH of 6.0-7.5 and a specific gravity range of 1.002 - 1.005.

Feeding for Silver Tip Tetra

The Silver Tip Tetra is an omnivore and will eat both meaty foods and green vegetables in the wild. It should be fed commercial flake food with occasional live feeder fish or brine shrimp.

The Silver Tip Tetra should be fed at least three times a day and can be fed flake food or live foods such as brine shrimp or blood worms.

If kept in smaller groups of less than six specimens, it may not eat all the food and should therefore be fed less often.

The Silver Tip Tetra is an egg scatterer and should therefore be kept in a separate tank to avoid eating its own eggs.

The breeding tank should have a temperature of 78-80ºF (25.5-26ºC) and will be suitable for spawning when there is dense vegetation and fine-leafed plants such as java moss. Captive-bred specimens are becoming more available and are a good choice for beginners.

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Suitable Tank Mates

Tankmates for the Silver Tip Tetra should be limited to other small peaceful fish, as they are no more aggressive than they are.

Larger or more aggressive fish may nip at their fins or swallow them. Other good choices are Tetras such as the Glowlight and Black Neon Tetra, freshwater gobies.

 Silver Tip Tetra Tank mates

The Silver Tip Tetra is a peaceful fish and should be kept in groups of at least six. It is an omnivore and will eat both meaty foods and green vegetables in the wild. It can also be fed commercial flake food with occasional live feeder fish or brine shrimp.

Diseases & Cure

The Silver Tip Tetra is susceptible to fungal conditions if water is stale and of poor quality but can be treated with common salt as well as other anti-fungal medication. The first symptom of the disease is often seen as a cottony growth on or around the mouth.

Be sure to properly clean or quarantine anything that you add to the tank, including live rock and plants.

Overall, the Silver Tip Tetra is a hardy fish that has been bred in captivity. Though they are difficult to sex, sexual dimorphism can be exhibited by mature males with their dark vertical bars and red anal fins.

Females will be much less spotted than males, and juveniles will be miniature versions of adults.

Tetra tends to be very sensitive to salt, so never add aquarium salt or any other type of medication to a tank containing Silver Tip Tetras if there is no prior experience with them. At this time, they are not available in a captive-bred form.

Medicines used improperly can be fatal to this fish. Use caution when adding any type of medication or salt to a tank containing Silver Tip Tetras.

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Conclusion

The Silver Tip Tetra is considered to be a "beginner's fish" because of its ease of care and availability, but it may swim erratically when kept in groups.

Keep them in tanks containing plenty of live plants for their well-being. They are primarily nocturnal, so they will often be seen swimming at the top level of the tank during the day.

The Silver Tip Tetra is not available in the captive-bred form, so purchase specimens only from trusted aquarium stores.

If you are an advanced aquarist and intend to try breeding Silver Tip Tetras, be sure to use a separate tank for breeding. They are egg scatterers that will eat their eggs if kept with them in the same tank.

Disclaimer

AquaMarinePower.com does not intend to provide veterinary advice. We go to great lengths to help users better understand their aquatic friends. However, the content on this blog is not a substitute for veterinary guidance. For more information, please read our disclaimer.

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