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.


Lipstick Tetra
Lipstick Tetra
Lipstick Tetra
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℃

Natural Habitat



In the home aquarium, the Lipstick 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 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.

Other Tetras of interest

Adonis Tetra(Lepidarchus adonis)
African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Arowana Tetra(Gnathocharax steindachneri)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 20/08/2021 15:22:50 - Updated: 02/12/2021 17:25:37