Max Size: 5cm

Broken Line Tetra (Hemigrammus ulreyi)

The Broken Line Tetra is relatively rare in the hobby; however, they make a lovely addition to most aquariums.

Broken Line Tetras are a peaceful and active schooling species and make an excellent addition to a general community tank. However, these fish can be a little shy, so keeping them only with similar sized and peaceful fish would be better as they will not compete well with very boisterous or larger tankmates.

Ideally, it would be best to keep these Tetras with other South American species such as Hyphessobrycon or Hemigrammus as well as Pencil Fish, Apistogramma Dwarf Cichlids, smaller Loricariids and Corydoras. However, In a more general community, you can combine these fish with Barbs, smaller Rasboras, Anabantoids and West African Dwarf Cichlids. Due to their shape, they are also safe to keep with larger Cichlids such as Angelfish or Discus.

Due to their schooling nature, it would be best if you kept Broken Line Tetras in a group of at least six individuals as they will fare much better when in the company of their own kind. In addition, like most Tetras, they look far more striking when maintained like this.

You can keep these fish in either a densely planted aquarium or a biotope aquarium. You can use river sand as a substrate for a biotope set up and decorate the tank with some driftwood roots or branches. A few dried leaves in their tank is also recommended as this will stain the water with tannins so you can mimic their natural habitat. Alternatively, you can use peat filtered RO water. This species prefers subdued lighting.

Broken Line Tetras have a silvery, semi-transparent body with a prominent black and yellow band running along their flanks from their eye to the base of the caudal fin. However, there is a break in these bands as it approaches the pelvic fins, hence the name. The dorsal fin is also marked with yellow and black, and the anal fin has a white edge.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameHemigrammus ulreyi
Other NamesUlrey's Tetra
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 4 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 12
74 - 80℉
23.3 - 26.7℃


Broken Line Tetra

Natural Habitat

The Broken-line Tetra is known only from the Rio Paraguay Basin in Brazil in South America. They inhabit calm and slow-moving rivers and tributaries with some riparian vegetation.


Broken-line Tetras are easy to feed as they will readily accept just about anything offered. However, for the best colours and condition of your fish, you should offer them frequent meals of small live and frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp and bloodworms, alongside good quality dried food such as flakes and granules.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is fairly easy to differentiate between male and female Broken Line Tetras. Mature females usually are slightly larger than males and have more plumper bellies.


Broken Line Tetras can be quite challenging to breed. However, in a well-planted aquarium, you may notice small numbers of fry appear every now and then. However, if you wish to raise a higher yield of fry, you should set up a separate, softwater breeding aquarium.

Well-conditioned individuals can be manipulated into breeding by slightly cooler temperatures, gradually and carefully increasing the temperature and number of partial water changes.

You should add some fine-leaved plants or some Java moss to the breeding tank to give the fish somewhere to scatter their eggs, and you will need to provide very gentle filtration by using an air-driven sponge filter. You will not need to use any particular lighting, as the eggs and fry are relatively light sensitive.

It is recommended that you remove the parents straight after spawning stops; otherwise, they will predate on the eggs if given a chance. Some breeders like to use a fine mesh in the tank so that the scattered eggs can fall to safety, away from the adult fish.

Ideally, it would be best to keep the tank in darkness once the eggs have been scattered, as this will protect the eggs and fry from being damaged by bright light.

Depending on the temperature, the eggs will usually hatch within 24 to 36 hours, and the young will initially feed on their yolk sacs. Then, around 3 to 4 days later, the fry will become free-swimming, and you will be able to provide them with microscopic foods such as infusoria and Paramecium. As they develop, you can then offer them microworms, baby brine shrimp and crushed flakes.

Other Tetras of interest

African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
Black Neon Tetra(Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
Black Phantom Tetra(Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 08/09/2021 14:59:40 - Updated: 22/11/2021 16:59:56