Maximum size : 2 cm

Hummingbird Tetra - Trochilocharax ornatus : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Welcome to the captivating world of the Hummingbird Tetra (Trochilocharax ornatus), a rare gem sought after by aquarists with a passion for planted or nano tanks. With their petite size and striking colours, these tiny wonders have earned a special place in the hearts of fish enthusiasts.

While the Hummingbird Tetra may present some challenges due to its size and specific needs, their beauty and intriguing behaviour make them an irresistible addition to the aquarium. These peaceful creatures thrive when surrounded by companions of similar temperaments. Though they may not be the ideal candidates for a bustling community tank, they pair harmoniously with non-aggressive species such as Characids or smaller catfish. Moreover, they serve as excellent dither fish for Apistogrammas or other Dwarf Cichlids, creating a dynamic and visually captivating aquatic environment.

To ensure the happiness of your Hummingbird Tetras, it is recommended to keep them in a sociable group of 8 to 10 individuals. This mimics their natural social behaviour, fostering contentment and allowing their enchanting personalities to shine. A well-established aquarium sets the stage for their flourishing. Picture a sandy substrate adorned with carefully arranged driftwood branches and roots, creating a naturalistic ambience. Adding dried leaves enhances the authenticity of their habitat and offers extra hiding spots for these delicate creatures. Soft, dim lighting further complements their presence, while hardy aquatic plants like Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, or Cryptocoryne provide both aesthetic appeal and essential cover. Floating vegetation adds the finishing touch, creating an environment that perfectly suits their needs.

Remember, the Hummingbird Tetra thrives in stable water conditions. Avoid introducing them to an immature aquarium, as these sensitive fish are not fans of fluctuating organic waste. Instead, provide them with the pristine environment they deserve, ensuring their well-being and showcasing their mesmerizing beauty. With their scaleless, shimmering blue transparent bodies and asymmetrical caudal fins adorned with vibrant shades of orangy red above and sky blue below, these Tetras truly captivate the eye. Not to be missed is the bright spot above their pectoral fins, adding a touch of elegance to their already charming allure.

Hummingbird Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Hummingbird Tetras is a relatively straightforward task. Adult males exhibit distinct characteristics that set them apart from their female counterparts. Males are larger in size and display more vibrant and intense colours, further enhanced by the development of extended bright red fins. Notably, the presence of a pouch scale on their caudal peduncle is a defining feature exclusive to the males. On the other hand, females possess a more rounded body shape, particularly when carrying eggs, showcasing their role in reproduction and nurturing the next generation of these captivating fish. By carefully observing these discernible traits, one can confidently differentiate between the male and female Hummingbird Tetras within their aquatic habitat.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameTrochilocharax ornatus
Year Described2010
Other NamesCrystal Rainbow Tetra, Orange-tailed Glass Tetra
Max Size2 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 4.0 - 7.0
GH 5 - 15
TDS 18 - 143
Ideal Temperature
68 - 82
20 - 27

Natural Habitat

The origin of the Hummingbird Tetra in the aquarium trade remains a topic of debate and conflicting information. Some sources suggest that they are collected from the blackwater tributary of the río Ampiyacu near Pebas, while others argue that their native range includes the Rio Nanay near Iquitos. Regardless of their precise origin, these captivating tetras are known to inhabit the serene and shallow waters of minor forest streams and tributaries rather than the main channels of larger rivers.

In their natural habitats, Hummingbird Tetras thrive in clear, tannin-stained, and acidic blackwater environments with minimal conductivity and hardness. These unique habitats are characterized by sandy and muddy substrates adorned with abundant leaf litter. Submerged fallen branches and intricate tree roots provide shelter and create a complex landscape within the aquatic realm. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the Loreto region, where these tetras are believed to originate, experiences periodic flooding, resulting in submerged zones within the rainforest floor that may also serve as additional habitats for these remarkable fish.

Understanding the specific environmental conditions in which Hummingbird Tetras naturally occur contributes to their successful care and conservation in the aquarium setting. By replicating the key elements of their natural habitat, aquarists can create a captivating and thriving aquatic environment that allows these beautiful tetras to express their natural behaviours and exhibit their inherent grace and charm.


Breeding Hummingbird Tetras in the home aquarium is a fascinating endeavour that has shown some success, despite limited available information. Under optimal conditions within a well-structured and mature aquarium, observing the appearance of small fry without direct human intervention is not uncommon. These captivating fish engage in internal fertilization, with both males and females displaying prominent genital papillae. However, specific details regarding their reproductive behaviour and breeding strategies remain somewhat elusive.

Embark on a journey of discovery as you delve into the realm of breeding Hummingbird Tetras. Through careful observation and diligent care, you may uncover the secrets of their reproductive success. Though information may be scarce, the rewarding experience of witnessing new life emerge within your aquarium is a testament to the intricacies and wonders of nature.

Diet & feeding

Hummingbird Tetras are primarily insectivorous in their natural habitat, feeding on small invertebrates and zooplankton. In the controlled environment of an aquarium, these fish readily accept a variety of suitable-sized dried foods. However, to ensure their nutritional needs are met, it is recommended to incorporate a regular feeding regimen of small live and frozen foods into their diet. Offerings such as brine shrimp, daphnia, Moina, and grindal worms provide essential nutrients and mimic the natural feeding behaviours of these fascinating tetras. Aquarists can support the health and well-being of their Hummingbird Tetras by providing a diverse range of food options, allowing them to thrive and showcase their captivating characteristics in the aquarium setting.

Other Tetras of interest