Maximum size : 4 cm

Kitty Tetra - Hyphessobrycon loweae : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Kitty Tetra (Hyphessobrycon loweae) is a prized addition to the world of aquarium hobbyists. In recent years, its stunning colouration and delicate form have made it a highly sought-after species. Being one of the smaller Tetras, it is well-suited for varying-sized tanks. Kitty Tetras are one of the rarer Tetras in the aquarium hobby.

While generally peaceful, the Kitty Tetra can exhibit slight aggression towards slower-moving tank mates. Therefore, keeping them in groups of at least six individuals with other mild-mannered fish is advisable. This shoaling species displays the best colours and behaviour when kept in mixed-sex groups with plenty of females to attract the males. 

Similar to many Tetra species, Kitty Tetras thrive in environments characterized by soft, acidic water. However, with gradual acclimatization, they can adapt to water conditions of greater hardness. These Tetras appreciate an aquarium with plenty of vegetation, providing a shady retreat when feeling threatened.

The Kitty Tetra sports a stunning yellowish-gold body, accentuated with a striking black eyespot on the caudal peduncle, followed by two smaller white spots on either side. They also have a distinctive red area above each eye, and their fins are relatively transparent, adding to their elegance.

Kitty Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Once Kitty Tetras attain sexual maturity, distinguishing between males and females is a relatively simple task. At this stage, both sexes adopt a yellowish-gold hue; however, males display more intense orangey-red pigmentation on their flanks and fins. Moreover, males typically exhibit a larger body size than their female counterparts, along with a widened, hooked anal fin and a widely extended dorsal fin. Additionally, the pelvic and anal fins of male Kitty Tetras are more colourful and more extended in comparison to those of their female counterparts.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon loweae
Year Described1994
Other NamesLowe 's Tetra
OriginsBrazil , Peru
Max Size4 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 5.5 - 7.5
GH 4 - 12
Ideal Temperature
75 - 82
23 - 27

Natural Habitat

The Kitty Tetra hails from some of Brazil and Peru 's most beautiful and exotic locations, including the Xingu drainage, Mato Grosso, and the Upper Rio Tapajós River. Found in the Amazon River Basin and the Araguaia River, these magnificent fish inhabit shallow and crystal-clear streams and rivers, bountiful in tannins from leaf litter. The substrate of their natural habitat comprises fine sand and small rocks, while aquatic vegetation is scarce. These fish will surely add a touch of South American charm and wonder to any aquarium.

 Tapajós - Brazil
Brazil Flag
 Xingu River - Brazil
Brazil Flag
 Araguaia River - Brazil
Brazil Flag


Unfortunately, the breeding of Kitty Tetras has not been extensively documented, leaving a dearth of information on the subject. However, it is hypothesized that their breeding behaviour is akin to other species of Hyphessobrycon. Prior to spawning, conditioning the breeding pair with live foods, such as mosquito larvae or brine shrimp, is highly recommended. In addition, selecting the healthiest and largest female and the most colourful male is important to maximize breeding success.

To achieve the highest yield of fry, a separate breeding tank is required, complete with soft acidic water, a dark substrate, and subdued lighting. The water temperature should be increased a few degrees higher than the regular tank temperature. The presence of fine-leaved plants, such as java moss or a spawning mop, as well as floating plants to control light, is beneficial. Spawning generally occurs in the morning when the female deposits several hundred adhesive eggs onto the plants and substrate.

To prevent the parents from consuming the eggs and fry, it is advised to remove them post-spawning. The eggs usually hatch within 24 to 36 hours, and the fry becomes free-swimming after three to four days. The fry is relatively easy to raise and should be fed Infusoria-type foods until they are large enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp.

Diet & feeding

Although not particularly demanding when it comes to diet, the Kitty Tetra will greatly benefit from a diverse selection of high-quality dried foods, including pellets, flakes, and granules, in addition to live or frozen offerings such as daphnia, mosquito larvae, Cyclops, and brine shrimp. A varied and well-rounded diet is key to ensuring the maintenance of their vibrant health and striking colouration.

Other Tetras of interest