Silvertip Tetra (Hasemania Nana): Ultimate Care Guide


The Silvertip Tetra (Hasemania Nana) is a small fish that originates from South America. They are named after their unique fins that have silver coloration at the tip. They are also known as the Copper Tetras in the aquarium hobby.

Through their yellow bodies, a black stripe extends from their belly to the end of the anal fins. Male Silvertip Tetra have an intense golden copper colour. In contrast, female Silvertip Tetra have a more subtle coloration with yellow and silver shades. They also have a fuller body compared to the males. The Silvertip Tetra has an average body size of 1.2 inches (3cm) but can grow to a maximum length of 2 inches (5cm). They originate from the ray-finned class and Characidae family. Unlike other tetra species, such as the Neon Tetra, Silvertip Tetras do not have an adipose fin.

Wild populations of Silvertip Tetras are found in the Sao Francisco basin in Brazil, South America. They have an average lifespan of 5 to 8 years if they are cared for properly. This is significantly longer compared to other fish species that are the same size meaning your Silvertip Tetra will be a friendly companion for quite a long time.

If you are looking for a captivating fish that is easy to care for, Silvertip Tetra might be just what you are searching for. They are shoaling fish that is well-suited for a community aquarium.

While they are hardy fish that can adjust to a wide range of water parameters, they do have a few basic requirements. This guide will help you understand how to properly care for Silvertip Tetras.

Silvertip Tetra Care

As a general rule, it is a recommended that Silvertip Tetra’s have a tank that allocates 3 gallons (12 litres) of water for each adult tetra. Therefore, a 30-gallon (115 litre) tank would be ideal for a group for 10 to live comfortably. If your Silvertip Tetra’s will be in a community aquarium, it is a good idea to look at a larger tank than this to ensure each species has a comfortable amount of space the live. Although these little fish are quite active swimmers, they prefer aquariums with slower moving water.

Silvertip Tetras are typically found in the tropical climates of South America. Because of this, they thrive in captivity due to their ability to adjust to standard water parameters. The optimal water temperature for a Silvertip Tetra is between 71 – 83°F (22 – 28°C). Their natural habitats are typically rivers and small streams which have a freshwater environment. The recommended pH level for Silvertip Tetra is 6.0 – 8.0. They also prefer an environment with a low hardness level, which is recommended to be between 5 – 19 dH.

When setting up a tank for a new fish, you should always attempt to have the aquarium resemble their natural habitat. As the Silvertip Tetra is a small fish, you can use a fine substrate such as soil, sand, or fine gravel. Unlike in their natural habitats, these fish love tanks with aquatic plants to play and hide in. To give provide these hiding spots as well as ensure there is enough room for them to swim around, aquatic plants should be planted in a U shape around the outsides and back of the tank. Silvertip Tetra’s prefer dim lighting and floating aquatic plants could also be added to diffuse bright light. But don’t worry, even in dim lighting, the Silvertip Tetra’s colours will be beautifully vibrant to anyone who walks by.

Silvertip Tetra
Silvertip Tetra (Hasemania Nana)

Silvertip Tetra Food & Diet

One of the reasons these fish are recommended for beginner aquarists is their versatile diet. As they are omnivores, Silvertip Tetra’s thrive on a diet of live or frozen meat-based foods and plants. The base food for your tetra’s diet should be a highly nutritious flake or pellet. For a protein-based meal, Silvertip Tetra love to eat bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp.

Ensure that your Silvertip Tetra are fed a high-quality diet to prevent diseases such as Neon Tetra disease, fungal infections, and parasites. A good indicator that will show if your fish is not receiving enough high-quality, nutritious food is if their colours begin to look less vibrant. Because these little fish as quite active, you will need to feed them 2 to 3 meals a day to keep them healthy.

Silvertip Tetra Tank Mates

The Silvertip Tetra is a shoaling fish, meaning that they form large groups that swim together. As they are most comfortable in groups, it is common that a Silvertip Tetra can become aggressive if it is kept alone. Being kept alone can lead to them bullying and fin nipping slow moving or long finned tank mates. Typically, Silvertip Tetra should be kept in a group of 10-12 fish but can be live in groups as small as 6.  Ensure that the group has an equal number of males and females. If there are too many males in a group of Silvertip Tetra’s, it can lead to them chasing each other as they cannot be equally paired and need to establish a hierarchy.

When kept in groups, the Silvertip Tetra has a quiet and peaceful temperament that is ideal for community aquariums. The ideal tank mate for Silvertip Tetra’s are non-aggressive species such as Rasboras, Danios, Corydoras and other Tetra species. However, it is important that if you are keeping your Silvertip Tetra with other types of tetras, each species will need to have a group of their own species as they do not join schools of other species.

Silvertip Tetra’s should not be tank mates with slow-moving or long-finned tank mates such as bettas and guppies due to their fin nipping behaviours. Even though fin nipping and bullying can be reduced by keeping them in groups, it does not guarantee that they won’t try to take a bite out of long fins that look like food. Silvertip Tetra’s should also not be kept with smaller species, such as shrimp, as it is likely your tetra will try to eat them as they do in their natural habitat.  Similarly, they should not be kept with larger species such as Angelfish, who will see your Silvertip Tetra as a nice snack.

Breeding Silvertip Tetra

Silvertip Tetra are an quite easy to breed in captivity. You will require a separate tank that is approximately 15-20 gallons (55 – 75 litres) in size. The breeding tank will need different water parameters to what the mature Silvertip Tetra live in. This tank will need a slightly warmer water temperature between 82 – 86°F (27 – 30°C). The water will also need to be slightly more acidic with a pH level of 6 – 6.2 and a hardness level of 2 – 4 dH. Female Silvertip tetra will lay their eggs around the tank, usually preferring to deposit them among plants. Alternatively, you can cover the bottom of the tank with mesh for the eggs to fall through so that the adults cannot reach them. Silvertip Tetra eggs and fry are sensitive to light so your tank should be as dimly lit as possible to make them comfortable.

They are a species that breeds in pairs of male and female. To prevent them from becoming aggressive towards each other, add a group of 3 pairs to the breeding tank to encourage the spawning process. Silvertip Tetra do not have parental instincts and will attempt to eat the eggs that have been laid. Therefore, once the eggs can be seen in the breeding tank, it is essential for their survival that the adults are removed from this tank.

These eggs will hatch within 24 – 36 hours and will feed on the egg sac in the following days. After 3-  4 days, the Silvertip Tetra fry will become free swimming. At this point in their growth, they can be fed nutrient dense foods to encourage growth such as brine shrimp, micro worms or infusoria. Once they are large enough to eat the same diet as the adult Silvertip Tetras, they can be introduced to the community tank. Typically, a Silvertip Tetra will reach sexual maturity after 5 – 8 months where they can then breed their own fry.  

Conclusion

Although many aquarists desire for a wild bred fish, Silvertip Tetra’s found in stores are likely to have been bred in captivity due to their popularity and high demand. If you are looking to purchase your Silvertip Tetra in a pet store, you can expect to pay between $2.00 – $3.99 USD.

It is clear to see why the Silvertip Tetra is such a popular fish and a recommended species for beginners with little knowledge. This is due to their ability to live in a wide range of water parameters as well as consume a versatile diet. Although they can tend to be fin nipper’s and slightly aggressive, keeping your Silvertip Tetra in a large group will not only reduce this behaviour but also create a beautiful spectacle for people to watch. Perfect for community aquariums, the Silvertip Tetra might be the next eye-catching addition for your freshwater tank.

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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