Rosy Tetra Care Guide: Tank Mates, Feeding, and More

Rosy Tetra Hyphessobrycon rosaceus
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Last Updated: September 4, 2023 by Flora Gibbins

Have you ever looked at a shimmering aquarium filled with playful, colorful fish and felt instantly captivated? Among the myriad of captivating aquatic species, one in particular stands out for its delightful rosy hues and peaceful demeanor: the Rosy Tetra.

These little gems are not only a feast for the eyes but also wonderful companions for your aquarium community. In this blog post, we’re going to immerse ourselves in the captivating world of Rosy Tetras and uncover all the secrets to keeping them happy and healthy.

So, if you’ve been considering adding these charming fish to your tank, grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and join us as we explore everything you need to know about these delightful aquatic gems!

Rosy Tetra Facts and Overview

  • Common names: Rosy Tetra, Reddish Tetra
  • Scientific name: Hyphessobrycon rosaceus
  • Adult size: 1.5-2 inches (3.8-5 cm)
  • Lifespan: 5-7 years
  • Colors and Markings: Silver-pink body with red fins and black dorsal markings
  • Origin: South America

Origin and Distribution

Rosy Tetras come from the warm and tropical regions of South America, mainly hanging out in the Amazon River basin that covers Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana. In these areas, they love to swim around in slow-moving rivers, smaller streams, and forest areas that get flooded from time to time. Their favorite spots are places with lots of plants, soft water with a bit of acidity, and plenty of leaves scattered on the riverbed.

When it rains a lot and the water levels go up, these fish usually swim into flooded forest areas, where they find plenty of food and places to hide from predators. Once the floodwaters go down, they head back to their main homes in rivers and smaller streams.

The popularity of Rosy Tetras as an aquarium fish began in the mid-20th century when they were first introduced to the international pet trade. Their hardiness, adaptability, and striking appearance have made them a favorite among fish enthusiasts around the world. As a result, they are now bred in captivity for the aquarium trade, ensuring a consistent and sustainable supply without negatively impacting their wild populations.

Deforestation, pollution, and climate change pose significant threats to the natural habitats of Rosy Tetras, and efforts to conserve these delicate ecosystems and other Amazonian fish species are critical for their continued survival. By supporting sustainable fish breeding practices and conservation initiatives, fishkeepers can contribute to the preservation of the Rosy Tetra’s natural environment for future generations.


Rosy Tetras are small, delightful fish known for their vibrant reddish-pink coloration, living up to their “rosy” name. With a silver-pink hue covering their translucent, somewhat elongated bodies, they add a touch of sparkle as they swim through the water. Adding a lovely touch of contrast, their vibrant red fins stand out against their lighter-colored bodies.

These fish have a somewhat rounded body shape and display the classic tetra fin configuration, which includes a forked tail, a tall dorsal fin, and a unique, tiny additional fin called the adipose fin. This small, fleshy fin, found in most Tetra species, is located between the dorsal and tail fins, adding to their distinctive appearance. These charming fish also sport a distinctive black marking on their dorsal fin, which adds to their visual appeal.

Rosy Tetras have a distinguishing black line that runs down from the top of their eyeballs through their pupils. Their large, round eyes make them look adorable and friendly, and their petite size makes them an ideal choice for community aquariums.

Rosy Tetra Male
via Wikimedia Commons

Behavior and Temperament

Rosy Tetras are known for their peaceful and friendly temperament, making them a popular choice for community aquariums. They are social fish that love to be part of a group or shoal, often swimming together and playfully interacting with each other. As they explore the tank, you’ll frequently see them displaying their natural shoaling behavior.

Their gentle nature makes them a good fit for a mixed-species tank, as long as they are accompanied by other non-aggressive fish. Rosy Tetras are active swimmers, and they are generally happiest when given plenty of space to explore and frolic with their tank mates. They are not only beautiful to look at but also bring a lively and harmonious dynamic to your aquarium.

rosy tetra school

Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates for your Rosy Tetras is essential to create a harmonious and stress-free environment for all the fish in your aquarium. Here are some suggestions for compatible and incompatible tank mates:

Compatible Fish Species

  • Small Tetras (e.g., Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras): These species share a similar temperament and environmental requirements, making them great companions for Rosy Tetras.
  • Rasboras: Peaceful and schooling fish like rasboras are a perfect match for the sociable Rosy Tetra.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling, peaceful fish complement Rosy Tetras well, as they occupy different levels of the tank.
  • Dwarf Gouramis: These calm, colorful fish get along well with Rosy Tetras, adding more variety to your community tank.
  • Platies: These livebearers are known for their peaceful nature and can coexist with Rosy Tetras without issues.
  • Guppies: Guppies are small, non-aggressive fish that are also suitable tank mates for Rosy Tetras.

Non-Fish Tank Mates

  • Shrimps (e.g., Amano Shrimp, Cherry Shrimp): These invertebrates make for interesting and colorful additions to your tank and can live alongside Rosy Tetras without any problems.
  • Snails (e.g., Nerite Snails, Mystery Snails): Snails help with algae control and can safely share a tank with Rosy Tetras.

Tank Mates to Avoid

  • Large, aggressive fish (e.g., Cichlids, Oscars): These fish can view smaller fish like Rosy Tetras as prey or can bully them, causing stress and potential harm.
  • Fish with a tendency to nip fins (e.g., Tiger Barbs, Serpae Tetras): Fin-nipping fish can cause injury to the delicate fins of Rosy Tetras, making them incompatible tank mates.

Rosy Tetra Care

Rosy Tetras are relatively hardy fish, making them a great species for both beginners and experienced aquarists to love and keep. They just need the basics: clean water, a balanced diet, and proper tank mates to thrive.

Tank Setup

Creating a comfortable and suitable environment for your Rosy Tetras is vital for their well-being and happiness. Here are some guidelines for setting up their tank:

Tank Size

A 20-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for housing a shoal of 6-8 Rosy Tetras. These fish are active swimmers, and providing enough space for them to move freely is crucial.

What to Put In Their Tank

  • Live plants (e.g., Java Moss, Anubias, Amazon Sword): Including live plants in the tank not only adds aesthetic appeal but also provides hiding spots and helps maintain water quality.
  • Driftwood and rocks: Incorporating these natural elements creates territories and hiding places for your fish, making them feel secure and relaxed.
  • Floating plants: Adding floating plants helps dim the lighting, mimicking the Rosy Tetras’ natural habitat and reducing stress.


An efficient filter is essential for maintaining water quality in your tank. Choose a filter that provides gentle water flow to replicate the slow-moving environment Rosy Tetras are accustomed to in the wild.


Opt for a dark, fine-grained substrate like sand or fine gravel. This type of substrate not only contrasts with the fish’s colors but also creates a more natural and comfortable environment for them to explore.

Water Parameters

Hitting the right water parameters is crucial for the health and well-being of your Rosy Tetras. Here are the ideal parameters to ensure your fish thrive in your aquarium:

  • Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Hardness: 5-15 dGH

To maintain the right water parameters, it’s important to perform regular water changes and monitor the water quality using test kits to ensure that you have a healthy environment for your Rosy Tetras and helps prevent potential health issues related to poor water conditions.

Diet and Feeding

Rosy Tetras are the kind of fish that eat a little bit of everything, so they need a mix of foods in their diet. To make sure they stay healthy and happy, give them a balanced and diverse menu that covers all their nutritional bases.

Here’s a guide on what and how to feed your Rosy Tetras:

  • High-quality flakes or pellets: Choose a high-quality commercial fish food formulated for small, omnivorous fish. These flakes or pellets should make up the staple of their diet, providing essential nutrients for their overall health.
  • Live or frozen foods: Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. These protein-rich foods encourage natural foraging behavior and promote vibrant coloration.
  • Vegetable matter: Occasionally offer blanched vegetables like spinach or zucchini, as well as algae wafers, to provide additional nutrients and variety.

Feed your Rosy Tetras small amounts 2-3 times per day. Offer only as much food as they can consume within a few minutes to prevent overfeeding and maintain water quality.

rosy tetras

Common Diseases

Rosy Tetras, while generally hardy, can be susceptible to common fish diseases like Ich, fin rot, and fungal infections. To prevent these issues, maintain proper water conditions and a clean tank environment. Monitor your fish regularly for signs of illness, such as changes in behavior, loss of appetite, or unusual markings.

If you notice any signs of disease, promptly diagnose and treat the problem, following expert advice or consulting a veterinarian specializing in aquatic animals. A proactive approach to tank maintenance and fish health is key to keeping your Rosy Tetras happy and disease-free.

Breeding Rosy Tetras

Breeding Rosy Tetras can be a rewarding experience, and the first thing to do would be to determine the sex of your fish. Males are generally slimmer with more vibrant coloration, while females tend to be plumper, especially when carrying eggs.

Once you have your male and female Rosy Tetras, it’s important to condition them for breeding. conditioning the fish ensures that the breeding pair or group is in the best possible physical condition, increasing the likelihood of successful spawning and healthy offspring. This process usually takes about 1-2 weeks, during which the fish should be fed several small meals per day with a mix of high-quality commercial food and live or frozen foods.

You can then do the following steps to breed your fish.

  1. Set up a separate breeding tank with a sponge filter, heater, and spawning mop or fine-leaved plants.
  2. Maintain dim lighting to replicate their natural breeding conditions, making the fish more comfortable.
  3. Maintain a temperature of 77-82°F (25-28°C) and a pH of 6.0-6.5.
  4. Introduce a well-conditioned pair or a group, and they will typically spawn in the early morning.
  5. Remove the adults after spawning to prevent them from eating the eggs.

Related Species

Rosy Tetras belong to a diverse family of fish that includes many popular species for home aquariums. If you enjoy keeping Rosy Tetras, you might also want to consider these related tetra species, which share similar characteristics and care requirements:

  • Black Phantom Tetra (Hyphessobrycon megalopterus): These peaceful, schooling fish have an attractive black coloration with a unique phantom-like appearance, making them a striking addition to any aquarium.
  • Serpae Tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques): With their vibrant red coloration and black markings, Serpae Tetras are an eye-catching option for a community tank. However, they can be somewhat nippy, so choose tank mates carefully.
  • Rummy-Nose Tetra (Hemigrammus rhodostomus): Known for their distinctive red nose and checkerboard tail pattern, Rummy-Nose Tetras are peaceful, schooling fish that thrive in well-planted aquariums.
  • Pretty Tetra (Hemigrammus pulcher): This species has a translucent silvery body with a horizontal black band near the tail, and striking upper irises that look like red eyelids. Pretty Tetras are also chill and easy to care for fish.

FAQs on Rosy Tetras

Are Rosy Tetras fin nippers?

No, Rosy Tetras are peaceful and generally do not engage in fin-nipping behavior. They are well-suited for community tanks with other peaceful, similarly-sized fish.

How many Rosy Tetras should I keep together?

Rosy Tetras are schooling fish and should be kept in groups of at least 6-8 individuals. Larger groups will help them feel more secure and encourage natural behaviors.

Can Rosy Tetras change color?

Yes, Rosy Tetras can change color due to various factors such as stress, water quality, or illness. Providing optimal living conditions and addressing any issues promptly can help maintain their vibrant coloration.

Are Rosy Tetras Right for Your Aquarium?

As we’ve explored throughout this blog post, Rosy Tetras are charming, colorful, and peaceful fish that make a delightful addition to any community aquarium. Remember that observing and understanding your fish’s behaviors and needs is key to ensuring their well-being.

As you continue to care for your Rosy Tetras, take the time to learn from them and appreciate the unique qualities they bring to your aquarium. They are sure to reward you with their lively presence and captivating charm.

Cover image via Wikimedia Commons

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