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Family: Characidae, Hemigrammus Clade

Common Name: Loreto Tetra

Origin and Habitat: Peruvian Amazon, State of Loreto in Northeast Peru. Slow-moving streams and floodplain lakes.

Compatibility/Temperament: Very peaceful and quiet fish, suitable in a community tank including any of the small characins, rasbora, smaller & quieter gourami, dwarf cichlids, small catfish and loaches.

Loreto Tetra Diet

Accepts most prepared foods including flakes and frozen daphnia and bloodworms.


Attains 1 to 1.5 inches.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

24 inches in length.

Water parameters for Loreto Tetra

Soft (hardness to 12 dGH) acidic (pH below 7.0) water, temperature 22-26C/72-79F.


A delightful small tetra for the community tank of similar fish. Must be kept in a group of at least six but more if space permits. Shows its best colouration in a well-planted tank with subdued lighting; swims in the middle level of the aquarium. Although it may tolerate slightly basic water short-term, it will not last.

Females are stockier than males; there are no external sexual differences. Spawning is possible, and follows the normal characin method.

Not frequently seen in the hobby; all fish are most probably wild-caught, and are sensitive to fluctuating water conditions so they must be acclimated well, and attention given to providing the preferred water parameters. Once settled in, they are a delightful shoal of small tetra.

In accordance with Article 32.5 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, the species name is technically Hyphessobrycon loretonensis as originally assigned by Ladiges in 1938, though this is an obviously incorrect spelling of loretoensis.

The genus Hyphessobrycon--the name from the Greek hyphesson [believed to mean "slightly smaller"] and brycon [=to bite]--was erected by C.H. Durbin in 1908 and presently contains more than 100 described species. The classification is deemed incertae sedis [Latin, "of uncertain placement"]. It was formerly considered within the subfamily Tetragonopterinae, but Javonillo (2010) suggest that this subfamily should be restricted to species within the genus Tetragonopterus since they do not share physiological characteristics with species in other genera such as Hyphessobrycon.

Authors that have recently studied the systematics of the genus Hyphessobrycon have unanimously pointed out that the group is not well defined and its monophyly is yet uncertain. [A monophyletic genus is one wherein the species share a common ancestor, thus linking them together physiologically.] Mirande (2009) for example has proposed several revisions to the family Characidae based upon phylogenetic diagnosis. Some genera have been moved to a new subfamily, while others are now (temporarily) assigned to a specific clade within the family pending further study. The recognition of groups of species [clades] within Hyphessobrycon is based primarily on similarities of color patterns; an hypothesis of its intra-relationships is currently unavailable, except for the rosy tetra clade proposed as monophyletic by Weitzman & Palmer (1997).

Hyphessobrycon has until recently been differentiated from Hemigrammus solely on the basis of the fish in Hemigrammus possessing a scaled caudal fin; this however is now known to be unreliable, since it occurs in intermediate conditions (de Lucina, 2003).


de Lucena, Carlos Alberto Santos (2003), "A new characid fish, Hyphessobrycon scutulatus, from the Rio Teles Pires drainage, upper Rio Tapajos system (Ostariophysi: Characiformes: Characidae)," Neotropical Ichthyology 1 (2), pp. 93-96.

Javonillo, Robert, Luiz R. Malabarba, Stanley H. Weitzman and John R. Burns (2010), "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).

Mirande, J. Marcos (2009), "Weighted parsimony phylogeny of the family Characidae (Teleostei: Characiformes)," Cladistics, Vol. 25, No. 6 (July 2009).

Weitzman, Stanley H. & Lisa Palmer (1997), "A new species of Hyphessobrycon (Teleostei: Characidae) from the Neblina region of Venezuela and Brazil, with comments on the putative 'rosy tetra clade'," Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters volume 7 (no. 3), pp. 209-242.

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Byron


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