Candy Cane Tetra: Care, Size, Food, Tank Mates & Aggression


Common Name(s)Candy Cane Tetra, Ornate Tetra, False Rosy Tetra, Hy511 Tetra
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon Bentosi
OriginSouth America, Peru
Temperature72-82°F (22-28°C)
Size2 inches
Minimum Tank Size20 gallon
Food & DietOmnivorous Micro-Predator (micro pellets, high quality flake food, bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, etc.)
Lifespan3-5 years
Water pH6.6-7.2
Tank MatesOther peaceful fish of similar size such as Tetras, Rasboras, Barbs, and Corydoras.
BreedingEgg scatterer
DiseaseMay be susceptible to ich, skin flukes, and dropsy.
Candy Cane Tetra
Candy Cane Tetra (Hyphessobrycon bentosi)

Candy Cane Tetra Facts

  • Candy Cane Tetras are a fairly new fish to the fishkeeping scene. They were given the name Hy511 before they were even given a scientific name and official classification.
  • They are often called the False Rosy Tetra because they look so similar. The only key difference is the distinct grey patch that Candy Cane Tetras sport on their shoulder.
  • Candy Cane Tetras are not aggressive fish, and this makes them ideal to place in a community tank.

Candy Cane Tetra Care

Candy Cane Tetras (Hyphessobrycon bentosi) have an almost salmon colored hue to their bodies. This coloration can range from the light salmon to a more pinkish hue. They are similarly colored to the Rosy Tetra, but the Candy Cane Tetra has a more transparent body. The fins of the Candy Cane Tetra have a bright red on them, and they will always have white tipped dorsal fins. Candy Cane Tetra can also be identified by a faintly colored, greyish shoulder patch. It is easier to tell the males from the females when they reach maturity. The males tend to have longer dorsal fins, and the females tend to be more plump.

Food & Diet

Candy Cane Tetras are omnivorous fish, and in the wild they survive mostly on insects that are small enough to fit into their mouths, and plankton. They are an opportunistic feeder, and this is most likely due to their small size. In captivity, Candy Cane Tetra will readily accept frozen or freeze dried foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. They will also eat micro pellets, and high quality flake foods. They will do best when being fed a varied diet, and if fed correctly they will grow to display brighter colors and livelier temperament. It is important when you are feeding your fish to make sure you are feeding them the correct amount so that they do not fight amongst themselves. They should be fed twice a day, and enough food that they consume entirely in a three minute time span. If there is food left over, it will settle in the tank, and make it unclean.

Tank Setup

Candy Cane Tetras are a hardy fish that is described as an easy fish for beginners to keep. They are shoaling fish that have to be kept together in a grouping of at least 6, because of this they require a minimum of a 20 gallon tank. Candy Cane Tetras have to be kept in a temperature range of 72°F to 82°F, and they will require a heater to keep them at a constant, comfortable temperature. They prefer their water to be slightly more acidic, and should be kept at 6.6 to 7.2 pH. It is a good idea to monitor their water parameters regularly, as they can be sensitive to water changes. It is important to do a 25 to 50 percent water change every week.

Setting up your aquarium for Candy Cane Tetras is just as important as the water parameters. For substrate you should choose fine gravel, or river sand. A heavily planted tank is ideal, floating plants, adding driftwood, and river rocks will give them plenty of places to explore and hide. In their natural environment, they thrive in black water. You can toss in a few handfuls of catappa leaves into their water, or add some aquarium safe peat to the filtration system to help provide those conditions.

LiveAquaria® Diver’s Den® Deep Dive: Candy Cane Tetra (Hyphessobrycon sp. HY511)

Size & Lifespan

Candy Cane Tetras can grow up to 2 inches in length at full maturity. Candy Cane Tetras have a typical lifespan for most tetras, and can live anywhere from 3 to 5 years or longer when properly cared for.

Candy Cane Tetra Tank Mates

Candy Cane Tetras are a peaceful fish, and they make excellent fish in a community tank setup. Some great tank mates for your Candy Cane tetra are other Tetras, Rasboras, Barbsb, and Corydoras. As long as you are choosing fish that have the same temperament, and providing them with enough space, then you shouldn’t have many problems.

Are Candy Cane Tetras Aggressive?

Candy Cane Tetras are not an aggressive species of fish, and it is important to place them in a community tank that has other peaceful species of fish. If they are kept under stressful conditions, then they can turn aggressive with the other fish, but this is done out of stress. Once proper conditions are met, they should calm back down. Make sure all fish in the community tank are fed properly as well. This will ensure that they do not pick on each other, or try to establish dominance over each other.

Are Candy Cane Tetras Fin Nippers?

Owners of Candy Cane Tetras have reported them being fin nippers to other fish. It is always important to observe how your fish interact with each other to make sure that there are no problems. If your Candy Cane Tetras are nipping the fins of other fish, then you might have an overcrowding situation. Candy Cane Tetras inhabit the middle level of the tank, and it might be wise to choose other fish that inhabit different levels of the tank so that they aren’t tempted to nip.

Candy Cane Tetra and Betta Fish – Are They Compatible?

Betta Fish can be aggressive, and Candy Cane Tetras can be fin nippers, so it is probably not a good idea to keep these two species together. However, If you have experience, and are confident that you can provide the appropriate setup for both of these species of fish then you could try to make it work. It is important to monitor your tank and fish when you are introducing different species together.

Candy Cane Tetra and Rosy Tetra – Are They Compatible?

Candy Cane Tetras and Rosy Tetras are often mistaken for one another. They are really only distinguished by the grey patch that they have on their shoulder area. They should interact together without problems as long as they are in the proper setup.

Candy Cane Tetra and Angelfish – Are They Compatible?

Candy Cane Tetra and Angelfish are able to be housed safely together in a community tank setup. Some owners have reported issues with fin nipping, but make sure there is a large enough tank that has an appropriate setup so that they are not tempted to bully one another.

Candy Cane Tetra Temperament

Candy Cane Tetras are a peaceful fish, and this makes them ideal tank mates in a community tank set up. They will cohabitat well with other peaceful fish that are roughly the same size. Keep in mind though, they could exhibit aggressive behaviors if they are in an improper setup and they are stressed. Candy Cane Tetras inhabit the middle level of the tank, and taking care to choose other species of fish that inhabit other levels of the tank is a good idea.

How Many Candy Cane Tetra Should Be Kept Together?

Candy Cane Tetras should be kept in a group of at least 6 fish. They are very social fish that like to shoal. This means that they like to swim in groups, and will have structured behavior in their group.

While more adding more of their kind will make them feel more comfortable, be sure to provide enough space for the additional fish. As a general rule of thumb, there should be at least 1 gallon of water for every 1 inch of fish being added.

How to Distinguish Male and Female Candy Cane Tetra

It is much easier to tell the difference between male and female Candy Cane Tetras when they have reached full maturity. They have something that is called sexual dimorphism. This means that there is a distinct difference between the males and females of this species. The males tend to have longer, more ornate looking dorsal fins. The females will have shorter dorsal fins, and female Candy Cane Tetras will also become more rounded when they are full of eggs.

Candy Cane Tetra Breeding

If you are planning on breeding your Candy Cane Tetra, you will want to set up a dedicated breeding tank that mimics their natural environment as closely as possible. This will make them more comfortable and encourage them to spawn. Candy Cane Tetra, like most other species of Tetra, are egg scatterers. This means that when the female is ready to spawn she will place her eggs around the tank, most likely at the bottom, but they will be spread all over. Once they are fertilized by the male, you will want to remove the breeding pair as they do not provide any parental care to the fry.

It takes roughly 24 hours for the fry to hatch, and about 5 days for them to become free swimming. After they are free swimming, they will be able to accept small dried, flake foods. Just make sure the pieces are small enough that they can fit them into their mouths.

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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