Hyphessobrycon Sweglesi – Red Phantom Tetra

Hyphessobrycon Sweglesi, used to be called ‘Megalamphodus Sweglesi’, is a stunning aquarium fish that originates from Orinoco River drainage basin in South America. This fish, which is commonly called as the ‘red phantom tetra’, has a beautiful deep-red colouration, with a black spot behind its gills on both sides of its body.

Being a full-bodied tetra species, Hyphessobrycon Sweglesi is best kept in jungle-style aquascapes in large schools. Red phantom tetras are similar in appearance to Serpae tetras or scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon Eques, but red phantom tetras exhibit a rounder black spot behind their gills.

Megalamphodus_Sweglesi_3

Origin

This fish originated from South America, particularly Orinoco River basin.

Habitat

Blackwater, tannin-stained biotope in sluggish river tributaries, which is highly acidic.

Maximum Size

Red phantom tetras reach a maximum size of 4 cm. The minimum tank size for these fishes is 60 cm tank.

Water Conditions

Water condition should be slightly acidic with a pH of 5.5 – 7.0 for optimal living conditions. The gH or hardness should be kept between 1 – 12. Best temperature for this species is 22 – 28 degrees Celsius. This fish tend not to show optimal colouration and behaviour in alkaline waters.

Compatibility

This species is a good community fish, i.e. they can live well with other peaceful species. Red phantom tetras are better choices of fish other than the Serpae tetra, which is usually more active. It is best to keep 6 or more of their own kind to avoid any feeding and behaviour abnormalities.

Hyphessobrycon Eques – Serpae Tetra

Hyphessobrycon Eques, or Serpae Tetra, is a full-bodied tetra that originated from the Amazon River and upper Paraguay. This fish is similar to the Red Phantom Tetra, but they do not possess the deep red dorsal fin. Their temperament is also more aggressive than the Red Phantom Tetra. In aquascapes, these tetras are commonly used in jungle style aquascapes due to their attractive colours.

Serpae tetra

Origin

This fish originated from the Amazon River and upper Paraguay.

Habitat

Amazon Basin, with many South American aquatic plants such as Myriophyllum and Echinodorus.

Maximum Size

Serpae Tetras reach a maximum size of 5 cm. The minimum tank size for these fishes is 60 cm tank as they are tight schooling fishes.

Water Conditions

Water condition should be slightly acidic with a pH of 5.0 – 7.8 for optimal living conditions. The gH or hardness should be kept between 0 – 15. Best temperature for this species is 24 – 27 degrees Celsius. To breed, the water needs to be 28 degrees Celsius.

Compatibility

This species is a good community fish, i.e. they can live well with other peaceful species. Since Serpae Tetras form tight schools with their own kind, keep 6 or more of the same species to observe their normal behaviour. Serpae Tetra may be aggressive towards other mild tempered fishes.

Rasbora/Trigonostigma Heteromorpha – Harlequin Rasbora

Rasbora Heteromorpha, or commonly known as Harlequin Rasbora, is a cyprinid species from Southeast Asia. Harlequin Rasboras are now scientifically called Trigonostigma Heteromorpha. They are great schooling fishes for an aquascape as they form relatively tight schools.

This species exhibit an orange/red colouration with a black patch covering the back parts of their bodies. Harlequin Rasboras can be kept in a community aquarium due to their peaceful nature.

Origin

This fish originated from Southeast Asia, particularly Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra, and southern Thailand.

Habitat

Streams with low mineral contents and high concentrations of dissolved humic acids. The waters of these streams come from peat swamp forests.

Maximum Size

Harlequin Rasboras reach a maximum size of 5 cm. The minimum tank size for these fishes is 60 cm tank as they are tight schooling fishes.

Water Conditions

Water condition should be slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0 – 7.8 for optimal living conditions. The gH or hardness should be kept between 0 – 15. Best temperature for this species is 21 – 28 degrees Celsius. To breed, the water needs to be 28 degress Celcius.

Compatibility

This species is a good community fish, i.e. they can live well with other peaceful species. Since harlequin rasboras form tight schools with their own kind, keep 6 or more of the same species to observe their normal behaviour. Do not keep this species with larger sized fishes as they will become easy prey.

Paracheirodon Innesi – Neon Tetra

Neon tetra is a beautiful fish that comes from central South America. They are bi-coloured fishes and appreciates slightly acidic water conditions due to their natural habitat being blackwater rivers. They form a tight school with their own kind. Neon tetras are commonly kept in an iwagumi aquascape due to their slender body and beautiful colouration.

Origin

This fish originated from South America.

Habitat

Blackwater and clearwater streams in southeastern Columbia, eastern Peru and western Brazil. This species is not found in the whitewater rivers of Andean origins.

Maximum Size

Neon tetra reach a maximum size of 3 cm, which make them popular for smaller aquariums. The minimum tank size for these fishes is 60 cm tank.

Water Conditions

Water condition should be slightly acidic with a pH of 6.0 – 7.8 for optimal living conditions. The gH or hardness should be kept between 1 – 4. Best temperature for this species is 21 – 27 degrees Celsius.

Compatibility

This species is better kept with smaller shoaling fishes from the same origin, which are small South American tetras. Neon tetras also do well with other community fishes, provided that they are of the same size and behaviour. Do not keep this species with larger sized fishes as the neon tetras will become prey. Keep more than 6 of their own kind for schooling purposes.

Top 5 Fishes For Iwagumi Aquascapes

In an iwagumi aquascape, there are a few things that needs to be kept in mind. Other than the hardscape and the choice of plants, the choice of fishes should also be taken into consideration.

Generally, the choices of fishes for an iwagumi aquascape are tight schooling and slender typed fishes. This is because we need to create a sense of vastness in an aquascape. The right choice of plants and fishes will accomplish this task.

Below is a list of the top 5 fishes that are commonly kept in an iwagumi aquascape, ranked by its popularity. If you decide to keep any of these fishes, always buy in groups larger than 6 as they tend to exhibit their schooling behaviour if kept in larger numbers.

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Neocaridina Heteropoda – Red Cherry Shrimps

Neocaridina  heteropoda, or red cherry shrimp (RCS for short), originated from Taiwan. This species is classified as a freshwater shrimp.

In the wild, this species exhibit a green-brown colouration. After many years of selective breeding, cherry shrimps now come in many different colours, including red (the most common colour morph), yellow, and light green.

Out of all different freshwater shrimp species, the red cherry shrimp is by far the easiest species to keep and breed in an aquarium as it is the hardiest. According to my experience, red cherry shrimps could even live and breed in a 30 x 20 x 25 cm aquarium without any water filtration and daily feeding regime. Since red cherry shrimps are scavengers in the wild, algae growing on the aquarium glass is sufficient for them to live. Water changes should still be carried out to remove excess wastes building up in the water.

Although red cherry shrimps can live in a relatively poor environment, it is best to keep them in a clean and healthy environment to induce frequent breeding and to allow them to exhibit their beautiful colourations. I noticed that when I placed these cherry shrimps in tanks with cleaner waters, their colours tend to be deeper red than the ones I placed in my small aquarium, which has relatively poor water conditions. It is very important not to add any forms of copper in high amounts to aquariums with red cherry shrimps as copper, in any form, will kill these shrimps.

Red cherry shrimps can be helpful, although not extensively, in cleaning up diatom algae that build up on the aquarium glass and plant or other organic matters in the aquarium.

Below is a detailed summary of how to keep red cherry shrimps.

  • Origin: Taiwan – by selective breeding
  • Size: 4 cm (1.6 inches)
  • Life expectancy: 1 – 2 years
  • pH: 6.5 – 8
  • Temperature: 18 – 30 °C, preferably 22 °C
  • Water: clean
  • Feeding: algae wafers, fish foods (flake), boiled soft vegetables (occasionally)
  • Sexing: Females have curves on the underside of their stomachs and larger in size than males.
  • Breeding: All year long.
  • Tank mates:  Harlequin Rasbora, Ember Tetra, Neon tetra, other small non-aggressive fishes.

Hyphessobrycon Amandae – Ember Tetra

Hyphessobrycon Amandae, or commonly known as Ember Tetra, is a small characin from South America. The details for this fish is presented below.

Origin

This fish originated from the Araguaia River basin of Brazil.

Habitat

The Original habitat of Ember tetra are quiet tributaries off the main river channels, backwaters and oxbow lakes. These fishes often gathers under cover of overhanging or marginal vegetation.

Maximum Size

Ember tetras reach a maximum size of only 2 cm, making it popular for smaller aquariums. The minimum tank size for these fishes is 40 Liters.

Water Conditions

Water condition should be slightly acidic with a pH of 5.5 – 7.0 for best colouration. The gH or hardness should be kept between 1 – 10. Best temperature for this species is 24 – 28 degrees Celcius.

Compatibility

This species is better kept with smaller shoaling fishes from the same origin, which are small South American tetras. Do not keep this species with larger sized fishes as the ember tetras will become snacks. Keep more than 6 of their own kind for shoaling purposes. Solitary ember tetras rarely have good appetites, which cause them to starve and die.