Kitty Tetra (Hyphessobrycon loweae) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Kitty Tetra is a very colourful and elegant fish that has become increasingly popular in the aquarium hobby in recent years. These Tetras are one of the smaller Tetras. The Kitty Tetra is shy and likes a shady, well-planted tank. However, they can be slightly nippy towards slow-moving tank mates.
Kitty Tetras have a peaceful temperament and mixes well with other mild fish. It would be best if you kept these Tetras in groups of at least six individuals as they are a shoaling species in nature. The males will display their best colours and behaviour when kept in mixed-sex groups alongside plenty of females.
The Kitty Tetras have a yellowish-gold body and display a black eyespot on the caudal peduncle followed by two smaller white spots either side. They also have a little red area at the top of each eye, and their fins are relatively transparent.
|Scientific Name||Hyphessobrycon loweae|
|Other Names||Lowe's Tetra|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||2 - 5 years|
|Temperature||75 - 82 ℉ (23.9 - 27.8 ℃)|
|PH||5.5 - 7.5|
|GH||4 - 12|
Natural Habitat of the Kitty Tetra
The Kitty Tetra is endemic to the headwaters of the Xingu drainage, Mato Grosso and the Upper Rio Tapajos Basin in Brazil as well as the Amazon river basin and the Araguaia River, in Peru in South America. They inhabit shallow, clear soft acidic streams and rivers rich in tannins from leaf litter and their substrate is made up of sand, and small rocks and aquatic vegetation is sparse.
Other Tetras of interest
While not fussy eaters, the Kitty Tetra will thrive on a varied diet of high-quality dried foods such as flakes, pellets and granules as well as frozen or live foods such as daphnia, cyclops mosquito larvae and brine shrimp. Variety is the solution to maintaining optimal health and colouration.
Sexing the Kitty Tetra
It is relatively straight forward to determine male from female Kitty Tetras once they reach sexual maturity. Both sexes turn yellowish-gold when adults, but the males will have much more orangey-red on their flanks and fins. Males will also be slightly larger than the females, have a widely extended dorsal fin as well as a widened, hooked anal fin. Their pelvic and anal fins are also longer and more colourful than those of the female.
Breeding the Kitty Tetra
Unfortunately, there is not much information or records on how to breed Kitty Tetras; however, they are likely to spawn similar 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 will need to contain soft acidic water with a dark substrate and dim lighting, and the temperature should be increased by a few degrees then 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 normally occurs in the morning. The female will scatter several hundred adhesive 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.