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Silvertip Tetra

Scientific Name: Hasemania nana
Family: Characidae, Hemigrammus Clade

About the Silvertip Tetra

Species Type: Freshwater Fish
Category: Characins

Care Level: Very Easy. Will tolerate a wide range of water parameters including pH, temperature and hardness. Can tolerate higher nitrate levels than other fish and is hardy enough to withstand the cycling process. Will readily eat prepared foods and has no special care requirements.

Origin: Rio Sao Francisco basin in eastern Brazil. Baensch & Riehl also include tributaries of the Rio Perus in western Brazil, and Hoedeman reports the Rio Iguassu in Brazil. Occurs in both whitewater and blackwater creeks and smaller streams away from the main rivers.

Compatibility/Temperament: Peaceful; suitable companion to livelier characins, danios, small catfish and loaches in acidic water setups, or livebearers in basic water tanks. Prefers a light current from the filter, so other fish in the tank should have a similar need.


A lively and peaceful shoaling fish that must be kept in groups of at least six but preferably more. Needs room to swim, and prefers a slight current comparable to its habitat streams, so longer tanks are preferable. A good fish for beginning aquarists, and quite long lived. Colouration is a bit variable depending upon the place of origin.

Males have a white tip to the anal fin, females a yellow tip; otherwise, males are slender and brighter coloured. Easy to spawn using standard characin methods, and parents will eat the eggs if not removed. Males can be territorial and sometimes nippy, but when kept in larger groups with swimming space are not troublesome.

This species was initially described as Tetragonopterus nanus (Lutken 1875), and was subsequently also considered in the genus Hemigrammus. Meinken (1938) described the same fish as Hasemania marginata. Zarske & Gery (1999) assigned the species to the genus Hasemania as H. nana and established Meinken's name as a synonym. This genus belongs to the Hemigrammus clade, but is easily recognized from the species in the genera Hemigrammus and Hyphessobrycon by the absence of an adipose fin.

The genus Hasemania was previously considered within the Sub-Family Tetragonopterinae, but this classification has for some time been deemed incertae sedis [Latin for "of uncertain placement"]. In a study published in 2010, it was determined that the Sub-Family Tetragonopterinae should only be used for species within the genus Tetragonopterus. [Robert Javonillo, Luiz R. Malabarba, Stanley H. Weitzman and John R. Burns, "Relationships among major lineages of characid fishes (Teleostei: Ostariophysi: Characiformes), based on molecular sequence data," Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, Vol. 54, No. 2 (February 2010)]. Also, J. Marcos Mirande proposed several revisions to the Family Characidae based upon phylogenetic diagnosis in "Weighted parsimony phylogeny of the family Characidae (Teleostei: Characiformes)," Cladistics, Vol. 25, No. 6 (July 2009). Some genera have been moved to a new Sub-Family, while others are now (temporarily) assinged to a specific clade within the Family pending further study.

Silvertip Tetra Diet

Accepts prepared foods including flake and frozen.


Attains 2 inches, usually a bit smaller.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

24 inches in length

Ideal water parameters for Silvertip Tetra

Soft to moderately hard (hardness to 20 dGH), acidic to basic (pH to 8.0) water, temperature 22-28C/72-82F.

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