Max Size: 6cm

Lipstick Tetra (Moenkhausia cosmops)

Lipstick Tetras are a very peaceful species with a lively temperament. In addition, these Tetras are relatively hardy and have no particular requirements when it comes to water conditions, making them suitable for the beginner aquarist.

Lipstick Tetras are a schooling species in nature; therefore, it is recommended that you keep them in a group of at least six individuals, preferably more. The bigger the school, the more natural their behaviour.

Ideal tankmates for Lipstick Tetras can include other Tetras, pencilfish, smaller peaceful Cichlids, Smaller Barbs, Corydoras Catfish and most Loaches. You can also combine these Tetras with smaller Rasboras, Minnows, Gouramis and Pelvicachromis. However, it would be best not to house these Tetras with larger, more aggressive species that will outcompete them for food or see them as a snack.

The best aquarium setup for these fish would be a biotope type arrangement with a sandy substrate and a few wooden branches and twisted roots. Adding a few dried leaves will also be beneficial as they will give the water that brown colour from tannins being released that you will find in their natural habitat, giving the aquarium a more natural feel.

You will not typically see many aquatic plants in this species natural habitat, so they are not essential; however, you can have your aquarium planted if you prefer.

Lipstick Tetras have transparent bodies with shimmery greyish-green scales, they also have eyes where the lower half is bright blue, and the upper half is bright green with a vivid golden tinge. Their upper lip is red, and most of the opercle is transparent, allowing a view of the pinkish-red colour of the gill filaments. These fish also possess a dark, broad blotch on their caudal peduncle and their caudal-fin base, and their fins have a slight yellow hue.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameMoenkhausia cosmops
Other NamesLipstick Moenkhausia, Red Lipped Tetra
OriginsBrazil, Paraguay
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH2 - 15
TDS30 - 150
75 - 79℉
23.9 - 26.1℃

Photos of the Lipstick Tetra

Lipstick Tetra
Lipstick Tetra
Lipstick Tetra

Natural Habitat

Lipstick Tetras are endemic to the upper Rio Sepotuba, which is a tributary of the Paraguay River. They can also be found in the Juruena River and the Tapajós in Brazil, South America.

These Tetras inhabit moderately fast-flowing backwater streams and tributaries with sandy bottoms. These fish typically occur in sheltered areas amongst decaying, submerged trees and vegetation.


What to feed the Lipstick Tetra

Lipstick Tetras are omnivorous and will readily accept most types of aquarium foods. They will take high quality dried foods such as flakes, granules and pellets; however, for the best colour and condition of your fish, it would be beneficial to provide them with plenty of live and frozen foods. These can include blackworm, bloodworm, daphnia and brine shrimp.

How to sex the Lipstick Tetra

It is relatively challenging to distinguish male from female Lipstick Tetras. However, typically the males are slightly smaller and are more vibrantly coloured than females, and their bodies are straight rather than rounded. In contrast, the females are duller, slightly larger, and their stomachs are plumper and rounder.

How to breed the Lipstick Tetra

Lipstick Tetras are egg-scattering free spawners that present no parental care. As a result, adult fish in good condition may spawn in a community aquarium, and small fry numbers may start to appear without any human intervention. However, if you would like to produce a higher yield of fry,

it would be better if you prepared a separate breeding tank.

The breeding tank will need a low level of light and established water and plenty of plants; spawning mops will work just as well. However, it would be better if you also conditioned the breeding pairs with plenty of live or frozen food such as bloodworm or mosquito larvae; this will help to encourage reproduction.

When females are ready to spawn, you will notice them swimming more actively around the tank and the males bumping into them. The females will then swim amongst the plants, scattering their eggs as the males swim behind them, fertilising the eggs.

Typically when the females lay their eggs, they will attach them to plants. However, some eggs may drop to the bottom of the tank. Females can lay several hundred eggs during a single spawning.

Once the females have stopped scattering their eggs and the males have fertilised them, it is advisable to remove the adults from the breeding tank because they will have nothing more to do with the eggs, and they may consume them if given a chance.

It would be better to keep the lights off, and the tank dark as Tetra eggs and fry are especially susceptible to the light.

Generally, the eggs will hatch in 24 to 48 hours depending on the condition of the water and the temperature; then, three to four days after that, the fry will become free-swimming. After the first week or so, you may gradually start to increase the lighting.

The newly hatched fry will first feed on their yolk sac but, once they have consumed their yolk sack and become free-swimming, you can provide them with infusoria or rotifers moving on to baby brine shrimp and crushed flakes as they grow.

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: 20/08/2021 15:22:50 - Updated: 02/12/2021 17:25:37