Red Phantom Tetras: A Beginner’s Guide

red phantom tetra

Are you a beginner in the world of fishkeeping and looking for a new addition to your aquarium? Look no further than the charming Red Phantom Tetras. These freshwater fish are known for their vibrant red coloration and active personalities.

In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about Red Phantom Tetras- from their appearance and behavior, to their tank setup requirements, feeding habits, and even breeding tips. We’ll also touch upon common diseases that affect these fish and how to prevent them. By the end of this guide, you will have all the information you need to provide a happy and healthy home for your Red Phantom Tetras.

What are Red Phantom Tetras?

What are Red Phantom Tetras?

Red Phantom Tetras are a sought-after freshwater fish species in the aquarium community due to their striking reddish-black coloration. They are peaceful and compatible with non-aggressive fish, but require a well-maintained tank with specific water conditions like pH and temperature.

Appearance and Features

These South American freshwater fish species, also known as Hyphessobrycon sweglesi or phantom tetra, display stunning red and black coloring reminiscent of a phantom costume. The peaceful and easy-to-care-for omnivores are ideal for beginner fish keepers looking to add color to their community tank. It’s important to maintain a well-decorated aquarium that includes driftwood and vegetation for hiding places.

Behaviour and Temperament

This popular freshwater aquarium tetra species hailing from South America is known for its striking red and black coloration accentuated by a brilliant neon blue stripe. Peaceful and mild-mannered, these omnivores thrive on both flakes and live foods. Keeping them in groups of at least six in a well-maintained aquarium complete with ample vegetation promotes good health and encourages natural behavior.

Lifespan of Red Phantom Tetras

Red Phantom Tetras can live up to five years in captivity. These tetra species require specific water conditions like a pH level of 6-7 and a temperature around 75°F. Red Phantom Tetras are omnivores that should be given various food options such as flakes or granules; bloodworms or brine shrimp; Daphnia or worms; small live foods like mosquito larvae or crustaceans. Shoals of these active fish can create a stunning spectacle in an aquarium with driftwood and vegetation.


These tetra species that belong to the hyphessobrycon genus hail from South America’s tributaries. Their stunning coloration of red and black with a black band running through their eyes makes them popular among aquarists. Peaceful and sociable, the Red Phantoms make excellent companions in community tanks. To maintain optimal health, they require specific water conditions and a varied diet consisting of flakes, daphnia, brine shrimp, worms, larvae or crustaceans.

Tank Setup for Red Phantom Tetras

Tank Setup for Red Phantom Tetras

Water Requirements for Red Phantom Tetras

Maintaining proper pH levels and temperature is important for Red Phantom Tetras’ health; they prefer slightly acidic water with a pH range of 6.0-7.5 and an ideal temperature between 72-82°F. Ensure good water quality by keeping the tank clean and using a water conditioner or aquarium salt. Avoid sudden changes in parameters to prevent stress and disease in your fish.

Lighting Requirements for Red Phantom Tetras

For Red Phantom Tetras to thrive in an aquarium environment, it is crucial to provide appropriate lighting. These fish prefer dim lighting, making LED lights an excellent option as they provide natural-looking light without producing too much heat. Installing a timer ensures consistent light cycles for the fish and prevents any disturbance in their behavior. Seeking expert advice on lighting requirements is always beneficial for these fish.

Decorations and Substrate for Red Phantom Tetras

When creating a safe environment for your Red Phantom Tetras, it’s important to give them lots of hiding places and decorations to help them feel secure. Opt for natural-looking pieces like live plants, rocks and driftwood which all provide great hiding spots. A fine-grained substrate will keep their delicate fins from being damaged while dark-colored gravel enhances their vivid hues. Be sure your decor is non-toxic with no sharp edges.

Feeding Red Phantom Tetras

Red Phantom Tetras thrive on a varied diet that includes plant-based and animal-based foods. Offer flakes, granules, frozen or live foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms several times a day to avoid overfeeding. Consider their natural habitat where they consume mosquito larvae and small invertebrates. Always maintain good water quality with regular water changes for optimal health.

Red Phantom Tetra Care Tips

To ensure your Red Phantom Tetras thrive in captivity, it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places and aquatic plants for them to feel secure. These omnivores require a varied diet of both plant and animal-based foods such as daphnia or brine shrimp flakes. Maintain optimal tank conditions by performing regular water changes and proper filtration with a pH level between 6.5-7.5.

Compatible Tank Mates for Red Phantom Tetras

When considering compatible tank mates for Red Phantom Tetras in a community tank, it is best to choose peaceful species like Corydoras, Neon Tetras, and Guppies. Avoid aggressive or territorial fish that may bully or harm them or any species that may nip at their fins. A tank with proper filtration, a planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spaces and adequate lighting will keep these omnivorous tetra species happy.

Breeding Red Phantom Tetras

Breeding Red Phantom Tetras can be achieved by creating an optimal environment with varied diet and proper lighting for egg-laying. Water quality and flow are critical factors in nurturing eggs into larvae. Once the eggs hatch into fry with yolk sacs attached to them, feed them small live foods like daphnia or brine shrimp before switching to granules or flakes. Remove adult fish after spawning to prevent predation on young ones.

Tank Conditions

For Red Phantom Tetras, it’s essential to provide an aquarium that accommodates their need for swimming space and hiding spots. An ideal tank size of 20 gallons or larger with a temperature range between 75-82°F and pH level between 6.0-7.5 is recommended. Consistent monitoring of nitrate and ammonia levels ensures excellent water quality in the freshwater fish’s natural habitat. Incorporating live plants into the setup not only provides hiding spots but also serves as a natural filtration system aiding in maintaining the optimum environment required by shoals.


To ensure your red phantom tetras thrive in captivity, it’s crucial to provide clean and oxygenated water with consistent pH levels and temperature. Use a testing kit to maintain suitable water quality and add live plants to improve their health. Feeding them a varied diet of worms and crustaceans will make for happy adult fish. Remember to do regular water changes for optimal conditions.

Plants and Decorations

To provide a comfortable habitat for Red Phantom Tetras in captivity, incorporating plenty of aquatic vegetation and decorations like driftwood and rocks is crucial. These tetras prefer a planted aquarium setup with ample hiding spots to reduce stress levels. Live aquatic plants such as java ferns, anubias, and moss are ideal choices. It’s essential to select safe decorations that won’t harm the fish or affect water chemistry. In this way,a well-decorated tank encourages natural behavior in red phantoms.

Tank Mates of Red Phantom Tetra

Tankmates for Red Phantom Tetras should consist of peaceful shoaling species such as Harlequin Rasboras or Neon Tetras to encourage natural behaviour. Ensure a large aquarium is available with plentiful hiding spots, suited to non-aggressive shoaling species. Proper water quality and filtration are vital for all fish’s welfare, as well as general aquatic maintenance practices. (Words: 48)

Water Conditions

To provide a healthy environment for Red Phantom Tetras in captivity, it’s important to maintain a pH level of between 6.0 to 7.5 with soft slightly acidic water. Regular water changes and monitoring of the temperature along with levels like ammonia and nitrite are essential to maintain stable conditions in the aquarium. Using filtration systems can help improve the quality of water. Driftwood, live plants or even natural substrates can be used as decorations to create an ideal habitat for Red Phantoms.Tetras prefer shoals and thrive when kept with smaller non-aggressive fish species such as corydoras or black phantom tetra while avoiding larger aggressive fish that may bully them. Crustaceans like daphnia or brine shrimp can also be included in their varied diet


Breeding Red Phantom Tetras in captivity requires a separate breeding tank with soft acidic water and hiding places. A breeding pair should be introduced to lay up to 500 eggs on broad-leaved plants. Prevent egg cannibalization by removing parents post-laying.

Secondary keyterms used: captive-bred, hyphessobrycon sweglesi, fish-breeding, soft-water condition, captive-breed, broodstock management, juvenile-stage management.

Light Conditions

Low to moderate light conditions are ideal for Red Phantom Tetras, as excessive light can cause algae growth and stress. Aquarium plants add shade and create a natural habitat for these South American fish species like phantom tetra, hyphessobrycon sweglesi, which grow to a maximum size of 5 cm. Proper lighting with LED lights or fluorescent bulbs enhances coloration.

Plants And Decorations

For an ideal habitat for Red Phantom Tetras in your aquarium, opt for compatible live plants that improve water quality and provide hiding spots. Decorative elements like rocks, driftwood, or caves create a more natural-looking environment. Choose suitable plants that thrive in specific tank conditions and decorate with hiding places for these peaceful omnivores.

Sexual Dimorphism

Maintain a balanced mix of Red Phantom Tetras to prevent territorial behavior in male red phantom tetra. Hiding spots and plants provide secure breeding tanks for this fish species. Decorations should be sized appropriately to accommodate their natural habitat. Remember to prioritize water quality for optimum health and don’t forget that Red Phantom Tetra is an omnivore.

Common Diseases of Red Phantom Tetras

Common Diseases of Red Phantom Tetras

Red phantom tetras are known to be omnivores that will thrive on a varied diet. Small live foods such as Daphnia and brine shrimp are excellent options for keeping them healthy and happy. Bloodworms and worm larvae provide essential nutrients and promote good growth. It is crucial to ensure tankmates do not outcompete them for food; a shoal of red phantoms will enhance their natural dominance in the community tank.

Ich Prevention and Treatment in Red Phantom Tetras

To keep your Red Phantom Tetras healthy and prevent Ich infection, ensure good water quality by avoiding overcrowding. If your fish do get infected with Ich, act fast by raising the water temperature and using medication. To catch any health issues early on, monitor their behavior and appearance regularly.

Velvet Prevention and Treatment in Red Phantom Tetras

Velvet disease in Red Phantom Tetras is caused by a parasite that attacks their skin and gills. It’s important to maintain a clean tank with good water quality and avoid overcrowding to prevent this disease. In case of an outbreak, treatment options include medications like copper sulfate or malachite green. Carefully follow the instructions while using treatments as they can harm the fish if not used correctly. Keep your Red Phantom Tetra healthy!

Flukes Prevention and Treatment in Red Phantom Tetras

To keep your red phantom tetras healthy and disease-free, prevention is key. Maintaining good water quality through regular changes and quarantine for new fish can help prevent flukes. Watch out for symptoms such as lethargy or loss of appetite and consider using medications like copper sulfate or formalin if necessary. Remember to monitor water quality during treatment for the best results.

red phantom tetra Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common misconceptions about caring for red phantom tetras?

There are several misconceptions about caring for red phantom tetras, including that they can survive in small, unfiltered tanks and on a diet of just flakes or pellets. Additionally, while some believe they are aggressive towards other fish, they are actually peaceful community fish. Proper research and care is necessary for their health and well-being.

What is the ideal tank setup for red phantom tetras?

To create a comfortable environment for red phantom tetras, provide a tank with hiding spots and at least 20 gallons of water. Maintain a pH level of 6.5-7.5 and keep the water temperature between 72-78°F. As social fish, they thrive in groups of at least six.

What should I feed my red phantom tetras?

Red phantom tetras have a varied diet, eating both plant and meat-based foods. Offer a mix of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried or live foods along with vegetables like blanched spinach or zucchini. Feed small amounts multiple times a day to avoid overfeeding.

Are there any specific health concerns that I should be aware of when caring for red phantom tetras?

While red phantom tetras are usually hardy, they can be sensitive to water quality and temperature changes. Fin rot, ich, and swim bladder issues are common health concerns that can be prevented with a stable environment and proper nutrition. If your fish show any signs of illness, seek advice from an aquatic animal veterinarian.

Can Red Root Floaters be Used as a Decorative Plant in a Red Phantom Tetra Aquarium?

Red root floaters can enhance aquarium with stunning red root floaters. The vibrant red hue of these plants can add a captivating pop of color to a red phantom tetra aquarium. As they float along the water’s surface, their delicate leaves create a beautiful and natural look. These plants not only serve as a decorative element but also provide shade and cover for fish, promoting a harmonious environment.


Red Phantom Tetras are a great addition to any beginner’s tank. They are colorful, easy to care for, and have an interesting behavior that is sure to fascinate you. To ensure that your Red Phantom Tetras remain healthy and happy, you must provide them with a suitable habitat. Keep in mind their water requirements, lighting needs, and compatible tank mates. Additionally, it is essential to understand how to spot signs of common diseases such as Ich and Velvet and know how to prevent and treat them. Follow our beginner’s guide on Red Phantom Tetra care to create a beautiful environment for your fishy friends.

Millie Douglas

Millie Douglas

Hi, I'm Millie a passionate fish enthusiast and blogger. I loves learning about all kinds of aquatic creatures, from tropical fish to stingrays.

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