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Maximum size : 3.5 cm

Flag Tetra - Hyphessobrycon heterorhabdus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Flag Tetras are very peaceful schooling fish suitable for community aquariums with other peaceful species. It would be best to keep these Tetras in groups of at least eight individuals as they are a shoaling species in nature. When kept in mixed-sex groups with plenty of females, the males will display their best colours and behaviours. Flag Tetras should not be kept with large or aggressive fish that may intimidate them; therefore, ideal tankmates for these Tetras would include other small and peaceful species such as small Tetras, Pencilfish and Dwarf Cichlids like Apistogramma or Mikrogeophagus. In addition, smaller Catfish like Corydoras also make excellent tankmates. A shady aquarium with driftwood is ideal for Belgian Flag Tetras. In addition to acidifying the water, driftwood releases tannins that give the water the brown colour of its natural habitat. Adding peat filtration can also help in this respect. Plant densely, both floating and rooted, in order to create a secure environment for the fish. In addition, the lighting should not be too bright, and darker substrate and background choices will help show off these fish's colours. The Flag Tetra has a silvery body but reflects a translucent green. The body is marked with a yellow horizontal stripe, bordered above by red and below by a bluish-black line; this line extends from just behind the gill covers to the caudal fin base. The fins are generally transparent.

Flag Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It is not that easy to differentiate between the male and female Flag Tetra; however, the females are generally deeper-bodied and slightly larger than males. In contrast, males are slimmer and smaller and have a hook on their anal fin.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon heterorhabdus
Year Described1894
Other NamesBelgian Flag Tetra, Three Banded Flag Tetra
OriginsBrazil Colombia
Max Size3.5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
TDS18 - 215
73 - 82
23. - 28

Natural habitat

Flag Tetras are widespread throughout the lower and middle Amazon River Basins from Brazil to southern Colombia. Still, they may be restricted to tributaries and coastal drainages in the eastern states of Pará and Maranhão, with the Rio Tapajós representing its upstream limit. Flag Tetras inhabit small streams and appear to be typical residents of terra firme headwater tributaries east of the Rio Tocantins. These habitats are shaded by forest cover or riparian vegetation and contain clear water with substrates of sand or mud and submerged tree roots, fallen branches, and leaf litter. Aquatic vegetation is usually absent.

How to breed the Flag Tetra

Unfortunately, there are no breeding reports on Flag Tetras nor much information on the breeding habits; however, they are likely to spawn similarly to other Hyphessobrycon species. It would be more beneficial to condition a breeding pair before spawning with live foods such as mosquito larvae or brine shrimp. Choose the male that is the most colourful and the biggest healthiest female. The fish will require a separate breeding tank to produce the highest amount of fry. The tank must contain soft acidic water with a dark substrate and dim lighting, and the temperature should be increased by a few degrees to the regular tank. Make sure you have plenty of fine-leaved plants, such as java moss or a spawning mop as a medium, and floating plants to help keep the light subdued. Spawning commonly occurs in the morning. The female will scatter eggs onto the plants and substrate. Once spawning has occurred, it is advisable to remove the parents; otherwise, they will eat the eggs and fry if given a chance. The eggs will usually hatch around 24 to 36 hours later, and the fry will become free swimming three to four days after that. The fry is relatively easy to raise, and you should feed them on Infusoria-type foods until the fry is big enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp.

Diet & feeding

In the home aquarium, Flag Tetras will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements. Additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as mini bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide other benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish. This fish is an omnivore in the wild, consuming some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods consider this and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

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