Maximum size : 3 cm

Loreto Tetra - Hyphessobrycon loretoensis : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Loreto Tetras (Hyphessobrycon loretoensis) are a strikingly beautiful and active Tetra species, making them an excellent addition to any well-planned community aquarium. However, unlike other Tetras, these fish are a bit more delicate and can be sensitive to fluctuations in water quality. Thus, they are not recommended for novice aquarists. Nevertheless, given their rarity, these Tetras are highly prized in the aquarium hobby and are a joy to keep for those who are up for the challenge.

Loreto Tetras thrive in groups of at least eight individuals alongside other schooling fish that provide a sense of security. When kept in a spacious aquarium with plenty of hiding places and visual barriers, these Tetras create a spectacular natural-looking display. Although they might clash with one another, their peaceful nature means no actual harm will follow. To maintain a peaceful and harmonious community, tankmates should be of similar size and temperament. Other suitable companions include Hatchetfish, Pencilfish, small to medium-sized Cichlids, Corydoras Catfish, and small Loricariids.

To provide an optimal environment for Loreto Tetras, it is advisable to maintain a well-established aquarium. This habitat should feature a dark substrate and background, which not only offers a visually pleasing contrast but also creates a sense of security for the fish. Incorporating driftwood and an abundance of plant life, both rooted and floating, serves to mimic their natural surroundings and further enhances their comfort. In terms of water management, efficient filtration is essential to maintain water quality while ensuring that water movement remains gentle to accommodate the preferences of these tetras.

Loreto Tetras have a sleek, slender, silvery body with a stunning and continuous solid dark lateral stripe that shimmers with a gold line above it. Their caudal fins are a reddish-orange colour with white tips, and their dorsal and anal fins are translucent with whitish tips, while the rest of their fins are transparent. With their striking colours and active personalities, these Tetras are a must-have for any dedicated aquarium hobbyist.

Loreto Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Determining the sex of Loreto Tetras can present a challenge to even experienced aquarists. However, it is possible to differentiate between males and females with careful observation. Mature females tend to be slightly larger and exhibit a fuller belly compared to their male counterparts, who generally display a more streamlined physique.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameHyphessobrycon loretoensis
Year Described1938
Other NamesNone
OriginsColombia , Ecuador , Peru
Max Size3 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 8+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 5.0 - 7.0
GH 3 - 15
TDS 18 - 143
Ideal Temperature
71 - 82
21 - 27

Natural Habitat

Loreto Tetras are a fascinating and unique species of fish that hail from the upper Amazon River Basin. These fish can be found in various locations, ranging from Brazil to Peru and even Ecuador. Their natural habitats are minor tributaries and forest streams that are covered in an abundance of leaf litter, dense vegetation, and roots. During periods of high water, they are believed to inhabit flooded forests. The water in their natural environment is soft, acidic, and stained brown due to the tannins in the decomposing leaves and wood. As such, if you're interested in keeping Loreto Tetras, it's essential to replicate their natural habitat conditions in your aquarium to ensure their optimal health and well-being.

 Ucayali River - Peru
Peru Flag


Breeding Loreto Tetras can be a fulfilling experience for aquarists, although a separate breeding tank must be established to yield a substantial fry yield. The breeding tank must be dimly lit and furnished with fine-leaved plants such as Java Moss, spawning mops, plastic grass-like matting, or a layer of glass marbles, which will provide suitable surfaces for the fish to deposit their eggs.

To prevent the parents from reaching the eggs, a mesh should cover the tank bottom with large enough holes for the eggs to drop through. Water conditions in the breeding tank should mimic the natural habitat, with slightly acidic to neutral pH levels and a slightly elevated temperature than the community aquarium. An air-powered sponge filter or air stone can provide oxygenation and water movement. 

Conditioning a group of six individuals of each sex with plenty of live and frozen foods is an excellent approach to spawn Loreto Tetras. Alternatively, conditioning the male and female groups in separate tanks with a high-quality diet of live and frozen foods can be influential before pairing them up in the breeding tank. Once the female is visibly full of eggs and the male displays vibrant colours, selecting the healthiest female and the best-coloured male and placing them in the breeding tank should result in spawning the following morning.

The adults will consume the eggs if given a chance, so removing them as soon as possible is necessary. The eggs hatch in 24 to 36 hours, and the fry becomes free-swimming three to four days later. Infusoria-type foods are ideal for feeding the fry during the first few days, followed by baby brine shrimp and microworms. As eggs and fry are light-sensitive in their initial stages, keeping the lights dim or off is best.

Diet & feeding

In their natural habitat, Loreto Tetras are known to be opportunistic feeders, consuming crustaceans, small invertebrates, and insects. Therefore, to maintain their health and well-being in an aquarium setting, offering them a varied diet that includes high-quality dried foods and live and frozen options is recommended. Feeding Loreto Tetras a diverse diet that consists of small live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms will provide them with the necessary nutrients to thrive. Additionally, incorporating vegetable matter into their diet, such as blanched spinach or zucchini, can offer additional benefits to their health. Regular feeding in smaller portions will reduce the risk of overfeeding and ensure that your fish receive proper nutrition without compromising the water quality in the aquarium.

Other Tetras of interest