Max Size: 2cm

Hummingbird Tetra (Trochilocharax ornatus)

The Hummingbird Tetra is uncommon in the hobby but highly sought after by hobbyists with planted or nano tanks because of their small adult size and unique colour.

Hummingbird Tetras are a tiny but attractive and exciting fish; however, they can be somewhat troublesome due to their small size and quite specialised requirements and the fact that the males will compete with each other for their territories. These Tetras are peaceful with other species but do not make an ideal fish for the community aquarium.

Ideally, you should maintain these fish alone or at most with similar-sized, non-aggressive fish such as Characids or smaller catfish. These fish also make an ideal dither fish for Apistogrammas or other Dwarf Cichlids.

It would be best to keep hummingbird Tetras in a group of 8 to 10 individuals as they are sociable fish in nature. This will help your fish feel more content, which will result in a far better, natural-looking display and bring out their interesting behaviours.

The ideal setup for Hummingbird Tetras would be a well-established aquarium comprising a sandy substrate and some driftwood branches and roots. The addition of dried leaves would further emphasise the natural feel and offer additional cover for the fish. Hummingbird Tetras seem to do better under fairly dim lighting. It would also be useful to add hardy aquatic plants such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum or Cryptocoryne and some floating vegetation. These Tetras are sensitive to fluctuating organic waste; therefore, you should never introduce them to a biologically-immature aquarium.

The Hummingbird Tetra has a scaleless, shimmering blue transparent body as well as an asymmetrical caudal fin with an orangy-red colouring above and sky blue colouring below. In addition, these fish possess a bright spot above their pectoral fins.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameTrochilocharax ornatus
Other NamesCrystal Rainbow Tetra, Orange-tailed Glass Tetra
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan1 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.0 - 7.0
GH5 - 15
TDS18 - 143
68 - 82℉
20 - 27.8℃


Hummingbird Tetra

Natural Habitat

There is contradictory information regarding the origin of the Hummingbird Tetra in the trade. Some people believe they are collected from a blackwater tributary of the río Ampiyacu near Pebas, while others claim that they are native to the Rio Nanay near Iquitos.

Hummingbird Tetras inhabit shallow, slow-moving water in minor forest streams and tributaries rather than the larger river channels. These habitats contain clear, tannin-stained, acidic blackwater with negligible conductivity and hardness.

The substrates comprise sand, mud and leaf litter and have many submerged fallen branches and tree roots. In addition, most of the floor of the rainforest in the Loreto region is flooded for a portion of the year; therefore, these fish may also occur in these immersed zones.


Hummingbird Tetras feed on tiny invertebrates and other zooplankton in nature. In the aquarium, these fish will accept most dried foods of a suitable size; however, you should also offer them daily meals of small live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, Moina and grindal worm.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively straightforward to differentiate between male and female Hummingbird Tetras. Adult males are larger, more intensely coloured and develop extended bright red fins. The males also possess a pouch scale on their caudal peduncle. In contrast, females will have much more rounder bodies than males, especially when gravid.


Hummingbird Tetras have been successfully bred in the home aquarium, although there isn't much information available.

In a well structured, mature aquarium, small numbers of fry may start to appear without human intervention.

These fish practice internal fertilisation, with both females and males having prominent genital papillae, but again few details seem to be available.

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: 02/12/2021 13:10:09 - Updated: 02/12/2021 17:14:27