Rosy tetra

Rosy Fin Tetra, White-Finned Rosy Tetra, Rosey Tetra

Family: Characidae Rosy Tetra, Hyphessobrycon rosaceus, Rosy Fin Tetra, White-Finned Rosy Tetra, Rosey TetraHyphessobrycon rosaceusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy Brad Bales
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I have a rosy tetra but its being mean to the neon tetra and danio I have is there a way for him to be nice to the others? HELP!!!  krazykatgamer1

The beautiful Rosy Tetra is a cheerful, active little fish that's great for a community aquarium!

The Rosy Tetra Hyphessobrycon rosaceus is a fun addition to a peaceful community aquarium with other smaller fishes. It has the deep bodied shape of the larger tetras like the Bleeding Heart Tetra. It is also quite pretty with its deep salmon body color highlighted with red accents and bright white tips on the fins. Hence it is also known as the Rosy Fin Tetra, White-Finned Rosy Tetra, and Rosey Tetra.

A happy fish, the Rosy Tetra has earned its place in the community aquarium. It will get along well with other small peaceful tank mates and is relatively hardy. And being easy to care for, it will reward the hobbyist with hours of entertainment.

This little fish is a loose schooling fish and should be kept in a small group. A minimum sized school of 6 tetras is recommended. This group can consist of either its own kind or some of its close relatives such as the Ornate Tetra and the Bleeding Heart Tetra. The Ornate Tetra is so similar in fact, that the Rosy Tetra was at one time considered its subspecies.

The Rosy Tetras will not show their beautiful colors unless they are fully content. So be careful that they are not kept with fish that bully them and be sure to provide them with a pleasant environment. They will enjoy an aquarium planted heavily around the edges for shelter, but leaving plenty of room for swimming. Although they prefer softer and acidic water, many tank bred specimens have spent their lives otherwise and will adapt.

For more Information on keeping this fish see:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Freshwater Aquarium

Geographic Distribution
Hyphessobrycon rosaceus
Data provided by
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order: Characiformes
  • Family: Characidae
  • Genus: Hyphessobrycon
  • Species: rosaceus
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Rosy tetra - Quick Aquarium Care
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
  • Size of fish - inches: 1.6 inches (3.99 cm)
  • Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L)
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Temperature: 75.0 to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8° C)
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Habitat: Distribution / Background

The Rosy Tetra Hyphessobrycon rosaceus (previously Hyphessobrycon bentosi rosaceus) was described by Durbin in 1909. The species is not listed on the IUCN Red List. They are found in South America, particularly in the Rio Guopore region of Paraguay and in the lower Amazon River Basin of Guyana and Suriname. Guyana, Suriname and Brazil. The species is found in several river systems, including the Rio Essequibo, Rio Corantijn and Rio Suriname. Other common names they are known by include Rosy Fin Tetra, White-Finned Rosy Tetra, Rosy Finned Tetra, and Rosey Tetra.

These tetras show a preference for heavily forested, sluggish tributaries off the main Rivers. The waters they inhabit are normally stained brown and are very acidic.They live in schools in these river systems feeding mostly on small invertebrates. These fish are now mass produced commercially so most specimens available in the hobby are captive bred.

  • Scientific Name: Hyphessobrycon rosaceus
  • Social Grouping: Groups
  • IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed


The Rosy Tetra is a deeper bodied fish with a body shape typical of some of the larger tetras such as the Bleeding Heart Tetra. This fish will generally reach about 1 1/2 inches (4 cm) in the home aquarium and has a lifespan of about 3 - 5 years.

Its coloration and appearance is very similar to its close relative the Ornate Tetra, with the differences being quite subtle. Both of these fish have a pink to deep salmon body color though the Ornate Tetra will often appear more transparent. Both species also have darker red markings on their fins. The Ornate Tetra will have a faint grayish 'shoulder patch' which is absent on the Rosy Tetra.

The Ornate Tetra will have white markings on their dorsal and pelvic fin extensions, thus the term 'white 'tip'. The Rosy Tetra will have a black marking or 'flag' on its dorsal fin extension, and will sometimes (but not always) have white tips to the fins. But to all rules there are exceptions, and even an occasional Ornate will have the black 'flag' type marking on its dorsal fin as well.

  • Size of fish - inches: 1.6 inches (3.99 cm)
  • Lifespan: 5 years - They have a lifespan of about 3 - 5 years.

Fish Keeping Difficulty

The Rosy Tetra is moderately hardy and well suited for an intermediate fish keeper. These fish need pristine water and do not tolerate water condition changes well, though captive bred specimens tend to be a bit more tolerant.

  • Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Foods and Feeding

Since they are omnivorous the Rosy Tetra should be given a nicely varied diet. They have fairly high vitamin requirements, so quality flake foods should make up about 60-80% of their diet. They love to chase after live foods and may occasionally nibble on plants or algae. These tetras like several feedings a day, but offer only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding.

  • Diet Type: Omnivore
  • Flake Food: Yes
  • Tablet / Pellet: Yes
  • Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
  • Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
  • Meaty Food: Some of Diet
  • Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day

Aquarium Care

The Rosy Tetras not exceptionally difficult to care for provided the water is kept clean and stable. Aquariums are closed systems and regardless on size all need some maintenance. Over time decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and the water hardness increases due to evaporation. To combat these ever changing conditions water should be replaced on a regular basis, especially if the tank is densely stocked. At least 25 - 50% of the tank water should be replaced every other week.

  • Water Changes: Bi-weekly

Aquarium Setup

These fish are fairly hardy and a school of six will do best in about a 15 to 20 gallon aquarium. They need a high quality filter but make sure it does not create too much current as this fish prefers more sluggish waters. The lighting in the tank should be dim as they come from areas that have dense forest cover.

The aquarium should be heavily planted around the sides and back and have plenty of open water for swimming in the front. It is best to use a river sand for the substrate. Adding aquarium safe peat to the filter will simulate the black water conditions that simulate the black water that these fish inhabit in nature. Adding a couple handfuls of dry leaves will also give a good natural feel to the tank. Make sure to remove and replace the dried leaves every few weeks. Woodwork and floating plants will make them feel comfortable. Provide a few hiding places with scattered drift wood and twisted roots.

  • Minimum Tank Size: 15 gal (57 L) - A school of six will do best in about a 20 gallon aquarium.
  • Suitable for Nano Tank: Yes
  • Substrate Type: Any
  • Lighting Needs: Low - subdued lighting
  • Temperature: 75.0 to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8° C)
  • Breeding Temperature: 80.0° F
  • Range ph: 5.5-7.5 - Though they can be kept in slightly alkaline water, they tend to be more colorful when kept more towards the acidic side.
  • Hardness Range: 5 - 19 dGH
  • Brackish: No
  • Water Movement: Weak
  • Water Region: All - The Rosy Tetra will inhabit all areas of the aquarium, but usually will spend a good deal of their time in the upper or middle or regions.

Social Behaviors

In a well thought out aquarium the Rosy Tetra will be peaceful, active, and colorful. Be sure to keep them in a group of tetras housed together, six is generally accepted as the minimum number. This fish will happily school with its relatives like the Rosy Tetra, Black Widow Tetra, White Skirt Tetra, Bleeding Heart Tetra, etc.

Rowdy neighbors will bring out the worst in them, so keep them with peaceful and non-fin nipping tankmates. They will be startled by loud sounds or excessive movement outside the tank as well, so be sure to situate the tank in an appropriately place.

  • Venomous: No
  • Temperament: Peaceful - This fish should never be housed with boisterous tankmates. It must be housed in a school of its own kind or closely related fish.
  • Compatible with:
    • Same species - conspecifics: Yes - A minimum school of 6, but more are better.
    • Peaceful fish (): Safe
    • Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
    • Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
    • Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Safe
    • Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
    • Plants: Safe

Sex: Sexual differences

The males will have longer fins, are more slender and more brightly colored than the females.

Breeding / Reproduction

Breeding the Rosy Tetra is a tricky, but a healthy pair will usually breed readily when brought together in fairly soft water and a slightly elevated temperature, 80 ° F (26° C). The pair should be isolated, ideally in a separate tank. The pair will distribute eggs on fine leaved plans. The parents should be removed right away. The fry will be free swimming after approximately five days. The tank’s water should be changed frequently and care must be taken that no fry are lost in this process. The fry are fairly slow to reach maturity, and ought to be kept isolated until they are too large to be eaten. see Breeding Freshwater Fish: Characins, and Fish Food for Fry for more information.

  • Ease of Breeding: Moderate

Fish Diseases

The Rosy Tetra will resist disease as long as the tank is well maintained and stable. Overall they are hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. That being said there is no guarantee that you won't have to deal with health problems or disease. Anything you add to your tank can bring disease to your tank. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quarantine anything that you add to an established tank so not to upset the balance.

A good thing about the Rosy Tetra is that due to their resilience, an outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it at an early stage. When keeping more sensitive types of fish, it is common for all fishes to be infected even before the first warning signs can be noticed. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your Flame Tetra the proper environment and give them a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. Stressed fish are more likely to acquire disease.

As with most fish they are prone to skin flukes, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), ichthyobodo infection, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), bacterial infections (general), and bacterial disease. It is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.


The Rosy Tetra is readily available at fish stores and on the internet and is moderately priced. It is also known as the Rosy Finned Tetra or the Rosey Tetra.


Author: Clarice Brough CFS, Jeremy Roche
Lastest Animal Stories on Rosy tetra

krazykatgamer1 - 2015-11-29
I have a rosy tetra but its being mean to the neon tetra and danio I have is there a way for him to be nice to the others? HELP!!!

  • Andrew Givens - 2015-12-24
    The best way to tame the Rosy tetra is to give it some more of its own kind to shoal with. That way it won't feel isolated and vulnerable, and shouldn't feel the need to harass the other fish.
Tracy - 2007-04-17
I kept 4 Rosy tetras in a small ( 12 gallon tank). All the fish I had in there were happy, and they outgrew the tank. I always felt the rosy tetras were boring. Just a blah grayish red with a bit of white on the fin tips. Then I got my new 55 gallon aquarium. It is a planted tank. The day after I moved them, I was amazed at their beauty and color! Their markings totally came out and they are striking with red and black. The part of this article that says they will not show their true color unless they are happy is really true! Happy fish keeping, Tracy

  • Reggie - 2014-04-15
    Petsmart has these things for 50 cents each right now, so I bought 26 of them and put them in a 125 gallon tank ... I'm excited to see how they color up and any cool behaviors they might have. They don't seem to be a schooling fish, more of a shoaling fish.
Anonymous - 2013-04-25
Hi, just discovered 4 fry [Rosy Tetra] all hiding in my community tank, not sure how old. I have put them in a smaller tank within my community tank and they seemed to be doing really well. JimC

  • Reggie - 2014-04-15
    I heard they are very hard to spawn and raise babies ... Big box chain fish stores carry them, I'm not sure if they are farmed fish or all coming in wild. Congrats!
  • Reggie - 2014-04-15
    Congrats on the accidental spawning, that's always so exciting!