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Title Candy Cane Tetra, HY511 (Hyphessobrycon bentosi)

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the candy cane tetra.

The candy cane tetra is a small fish found in the Amazon River at Obidos, Pará, Brazil, which corresponds to the municipality of Óbidos in the lower Amazon basin, located on the river’s main channel between the mouths of the Rio Trombetas and Tapajós.  It primarily inhabits sluggish tributaries, side arms and forest lakes, and often associated with submerged woody structures such as roots, fallen branches, overhanging riparian vegetation or aquatic plants.  The water normally has a negligible dissolved mineral content, is poorly buffered and stained brown due to the gradual release of tannins and organic acids from decaying plant material.


The candy cane tetra grows to an adult size of 1.5 to 2 inches long.  Adult females are deeper bodied and larger than males.  Adult males are more intensely colored than females, especially the dorsal ad anal fins.  Males may also have a more elongated dorsal fin than females.

The candy cane tetra should be maintained in an aquarium of 20 gallons or larger.  It thrives in planted aquariums with gentle water flow, floating plants, and leaf litter.  They should be kept on a soft, sandy substrate (CS6631) with driftwood (ZM2000), leaf litter (CS706), and other decorations in a well planted aquarium. 

The candy cane tetra is an adaptable fish that prefers a temperature of 68°F to 83°F, a pH of 5.0 to 7.5, and a hardness of 1 to 12°H.  Clean water with low nitrate levels are a must.

The candy cane tetra is typically a very peaceful fish and suitable community aquarium.  Good tank mates include other tetras, hatchet fish, rasboras, small non predatory catfish, and peaceful dwarf cichlids.

Candy cane tetras are likely to be omnivores feeding on small invertebrates, crustaceans, filamentous algae, and fallen fruit in nature.  They should be fed a varied diet that includes small meaty foods such as live black worms, frozen cyclops (SF1001), frozen baby brine shrimp (SF1003), high quality flakes (AL165), and freeze dried CALA-fin (AL1802).  For maximum color, growth, and health these fish will look their best when given probiotics (AL169) in addition to a balanced diet.


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