Red Phatom Tetra
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The red phantom tetra or Megalamphodus
sweglesi is of the family Characidae
more commonly known as characids. They are endemic to South
America. There is also a commercially available black phantom tetra
native to South America.
are docile creatures well suited for community
tanks. They only grow to about 1.5 inches as adults so you’ll
house them with other smaller variety fish. These top to mid-tank
dwellers are right at home in a well planted aquarium.
If you are
considering purchasing one or any other species of
tetra, you should be aware that all tetras are shoaling fish. Shoaling
fish are extremely social creatures. They are genetically programmed to
function in a group comprised of other members of their own species.
They do not adapt well to a life of isolation. It is advisable to
purchase a minimum of four. Six to eight is considered ideal. Between
their red body color and nearly transparent bodies a group of them
looks absolutely amazing in any aquarium.
also realize that even though they are a peaceful fish,
they do have a tendency to be fin
nippers. You will want to avoid keeping
that have long, flowing fins such
angelfish, bettas, and fancy
guppies. Strangely enough, this
“nervous” habit becomes less
prominent in larger groupings. This may be because these fish are more
when surrounded by members of their own species.
water is slightly acidic. Phantom Tetras are
accustomed to a pH level of 6.8 with a water temperature range between
72-77 °F. Under optimum environmental conditions you can expect
tetras to live up to 5 years.
are omnivores. They can live off a diet comprised
totally of common variety tropical fish flakes. A protein supplement
diet, however, will help them maintain their vibrant colors. They are
not picky eaters. Brine shrimp, tubifex, bloodworms, freeze dried or
frozen protein supplements will work fine.
leaner bodies than females. But the best way to
distinguish between sexes is their dorsal fins. The male dorsal fin is
longer and more sharply pointed than the females. Male fins are
solid red. Female fins typically have a dark spot with a white tip.
Red Phantom Tetras
phantoms, like most
tetras, are accomplished breeders in
captivity. They have been given to breeding in community tanks with no
encouragement from their keepers. In the wild it is not uncommon for a
tetra population to double in a little over a year.
A breeding tank should be prepared with soft, slightly acidic
water. You will also want subdued lighting and plenty of foliage.
Subdued lighting is a key element. Not only will it help induce your
tetras to breed, but it will insure healthy eggs. Tetra eggs are
vulnerable to fungal growth. Fungus flourishes in well lit water.
All tetras are egg layers and will eat their own eggs. Their eggs
sink naturally. A layer of marbles on the substrate will provide
adequate shelter for the eggs. Adults should be removed from the
breeding tank after spawning.
Fry will hatch in about 24 hours. They will not need to be fed
until they are free swimming. Young fry can be fed newly hatched shrimp
brine, or liquid fry food formulated for egg laying fish.
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