Hyphessobrycon columbianus

Common Names: Colombian tetra, Columbian tetra, blue red Colombian tetra, red blue Colombian tetra, red tail mirror blue tetra

Type Locality: Darien, a small stream 6 km downstream from Acandi, Colombia

Range: Rio Acandi, Atlantic coast of Columbia

Taxonomic Troubles: This is the original name, though it was originally misidentified in the hobby as H. ecuadorensis. Note that the specific name follows Latin spelling convention, not Spanish.

Size: 7 cm TL (under 3 inches).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical, moderately soft and acid, but very adaptable.

Difficulty: A hardy fish. Must be kept in schools.

Tank Setup: Suitable for many community setups. Some aquarists have had trouble with aggression toward smaller fish, but others find them completely peaceful. They certainly are not shy, and will even take food out of a larger fish’s mouth. They make a spectacular di

Feeding: Primarily a carnivore. A hearty and greedy feeder, this fish will accept all regular aquarium fare.

Breeding: Fairly easy to breed. It can be difficult to sex the fish, but females are plumper. Healthy fish are always spawning, and with some plant cover a few fry often survive even in a community setting. A dedicated tank with a spawning grid to keep the parents from the eggs will yield normal sized broods. The fry need small foods for a while before they can handle baby brine shrimp.

Fish Description

These fish really are blue and red. The silvery body is overwashed with deep blue on the back and accented by bright red fins. The dorsal fin is impressively large. This is a high-bodied fish, not slender.


Only available for about 10 years now, these beautiful tetras were an instant hit and are now firmly established in the hobby. When kept in schools in good quality water, their colors are brilliant, and their active schooling adds to their appeal. This is one of the larger tetras that can handle its own with bolder fishes like barbs and small cichlids. Hobbyists are often pleasantly surprised to find their school increasing in number, as the fry are as confident and assertive as the adults. They can also serve as dither or target fish because of their size, speed, and boldness. If you are looking for a colorful, active species, especially for a community of mid-sized fish, you cannot go wrong with these gorgeous tetras.