Max Size: 6cm

Imperial Tetra (Hyphessobrycon nigricinctus)

Imperial Tetras are a very peaceful species that make excellent members of the community aquarium and will get along with most fish species. In addition, these Tetras are pretty hardy, so they make an excellent fish for the beginner aquarist.

Imperial Tetras are sociable schooling fish, so it is essential that you keep them in a group of at least six individuals alongside other schooling fish to provide security, and you’ll be rewarded with a more natural-looking display. Of course, occasionally, you may find your fish squabbling amongst themselves in a group. However, as long as your aquarium is spacious and there is plenty of hiding places or visual barriers for them to retreat into if necessary, no actual harm should follow.

You can house these Tetras with similarly sized fish with a peaceful temperament such as other small Tetras, Pencilfish, Hatchetfish, non-predatory, small to medium-sized Cichlids, Corydoras Catfish, and small Loricariids. However, these Tetras will not compete well with the more boisterous or much larger tankmates.

Imperial Tetras have a silvery body that displays a deep black lateral stripe with a silvery-greenish band above that, running from the gill cover to the end of the middle caudal-fin. In addition, these fish possess red-edged fins, a red adipose fin, and the upper part of their eye is also a deep red colour. Some Male individuals may even have a red caudal fin.


Imperial Tetra
Quick Facts
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon nigricinctus
Other NamesMorado Tetra
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH5 - 15
71 - 80℉
21.7 - 26.7℃


In the home aquarium, the Imperial Tetra 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.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account 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.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively simple to differentiate between the male and the female Imperial Tetra. The males will, in general, be more vibrantly coloured with deep red margins on their anal, caudal, dorsal and pelvic fins. In contrast, females are usually stockier and have slightly higher bodies. Also, the females do not display the red colour in the fin margins.

Other Tetras of interest

Adonis Tetra(Lepidarchus adonis)
African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Arowana Tetra(Gnathocharax steindachneri)
Black Chin Tetra(Piabucus melanostoma)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 12/10/2021 14:35:46 - Updated: 22/11/2021 17:45:16