Silvertip Tetra 101: Total Care Guide [Size, Tank Mates…

The Silvertip Tetra (Hasemania nana) is a small but strikingly beautiful shoaling fish that can brighten up any community aquarium. They are also active and friendly; they’re capable of entertaining you for hours on end. To top everything off, they’re tough and Tetra care is almost nonexistent, which makes them perfect for beginners.

You may have not heard yet of this silver-tipped wonder, but once you finish this guide, you’ll be dashing to the nearest pet store!

The table below gives a quick overview of the Silvertip Tetra profile.

Lifespan5-8 years
Color(s)Copper (males) / Silver-gold (females)
TemperamentGenerally peaceful but slightly hostile
SizeAverage 3 cm (1.2 inches)
Minimum Tank Size24″ x 15″ x 12″ (60 cm x 37.5 cm x 30 cm)
Tank SetupDensely planted
CompatibilityPeaceful community (occasional fin nipping)

Below is our Silvertip Tetra care guide. Continue reading to find out more about its tank setup, diet, lifespan, and more.

Silvertip Tetra Overview

Looking for an ideal fish that’s good for beginners? Look no further, for the answer comes in the form of the Silvertip Tetra. A member of the Characidae family, this tropical fish is not only gorgeous but also peaceful (with the occasional attitude). These fish are adaptable, energetic, and overall easy to care for.

Silvertips love playing in schools and are very entertaining—you won’t be able to take your eyes off them. They get along well with various ornamental fish (apart from the occasional fin nipping), love to eat, and have minimal tank and water requirements. Truly, these beautiful fish are the perfect addition to your aquarium for beginners and experts alike.

Expert note: Male Silvertip Tetras fight over their fair females. Make sure to keep at least two females for each male Tetra in your tank—or prepare for doom!

Silvertip Tetra Appearance

Silvertip Tetras have the same cigar-shaped body common among other species from its family. Unlike other Tetra species, however, Silvertips lack a small second dorsal fin. Naturally, they are called Silvertip because of the shiny silver color on the tip of its fins; they also have a black streak along its back.

Its shoals are sure to catch anyone’s eyes as they pass along the marine museum, especially at the sight of their charming silver-dotted fins. It’s not just the fin tips; their shiny, slightly transparent body coloring is no drab show. Silvertip males are easily differentiated from the females as they have a deep and robust copper-orange color; the females have a lighter color of silver and gold. In the case of the Silvertips, one can even say that the females are quite truly the fairer sex.

Average Size

Silvertip Tetras have an average size of approximately 3 centimeters (cm), or 1.2 inches (in), which places them in the smaller end of the size spectrum. In some cases, Silvertips can grow up to 5 cm or around 2 in in length in the proper conditions.


Like other organisms on this planet, our genetic code predicts a lot on how long we have left before it’s time to say goodbye. It’s no different for the standard Silvertip Tetra, with an average life span of around 5 to 8 years. Don’t be discouraged, however, because proper love and caring (refer to the care guide above!) can still keep our little friends healthier and happier for a long time.

Silvertip Tetra Care Advice

 Now that you’re set on getting a Silvertip shoal to complete your community aquarium, here are some guidelines for you.

Tank Size and Water Parameters

Silvertip Tetras are small fishes, but they need space to swim freely with their shoal. A tank size of at least 60 cm x 37.5 cm x 30 cm with a volume of around 100 liters (L) is ideal. While using a smaller tank is okay for keeping a small school size, it’s better to go for a bigger tank, not just for a more beautiful display, but also for your Silvertips’ joy and comfort.

Now what about the water inside your tank? Silvertip Tetras are tropical, freshwater fish native to Brazil, so water conditions that mimic their tropical habitat would be best for them. Fortunately, ideal water conditions for the Silvertips are easily achieved, as their water requirements are standard in many aquariums. These requirements are listed below:

  • pH range: 6.0-8.0 (aim for a neutral pH)
  • Temperature: 22°C – 28°C (just like home!)
  • Water hardness: 4-8 KH

Tank Setup

While you ensure the water conditions are as optimal and close to their natural environment as possible, the same effort should be put into your tank setup. Because our Silvertip friends are freshwater fish, you can start by placing a fine sand substrate like a riverbed. This substrate is also more cost-effective and hygienic than other kinds of aquarium substrate like gravel. This is because sand is packed more tightly together. As a result, dirt, food particles, and other debris can’t slip within its spaces.

These Tetras also prefer a dim environment, under the shade of plants. These plants don’t really need to be aquatic plants as this is usually not a part of their native habitat. However, Silvertips love a densely planted aquarium, with driftwood branches scattered along with roots and dried leaves. Some examples of great aquarium leaves are oak and beech leaves, both of which decompose slowly, do not discolor water, and provide a beautiful aesthetic to your tank.

Ultimately, the Silvertip Tetra is a highly adaptable and hardy fish capable of tolerating unusual surroundings. Of course, there’s no harm in making sure they are comfortable in their new homes.

Common Diseases of the Silvertip Tetra

Disease: the bane of every happy pet owner.

Part of being a responsible and caring aquarist involves the proper maintenance of your tank. Doing weekly checks and cleanups on your substrate and water parameters is vital, for instance. The same goes to ensuring that conditions are consistently optimal helps keep your fish stress- and disease-free.

Unfortunately, there are times when our beloved pets still catch one or more health problems and the tough Silvertip Tetra is no different. There are no specific diseases exclusive or special to them, however they are vulnerable to most common illnesses and conditions that affect other tropical and freshwater fish. Fish ick, fin rot, various bacterial and fungal infections, as well as parasites may trouble the Silvertip Tetra.

But fear not—hope is not lost. Most of these health problems can be fixed easily by over-the-counter medication. You must constantly observe and watch over your Silvertips. Make sure to separate the diseased from the healthy ones in your tank as soon as possible.

Food, Diet, and Nutrition

Nobody enjoys going on a diet—and the Silvertip Tetras are no exception. These tiny fish hide a monstrous appetite and are known omnivores. It is hassle-free feeding a Silvertip Tetra, as they are omnivores. From plants and insects to dead organic material and fecal matter, they eat it all. In the wild, they eat whatever comes their way if it fits in their mouths. In your aquarium, however, it’s best to feed them either live and frozen critters such as bloodworm, and daphnia or high-quality dry morsels, to give them that extra sheen of good health.

Temperament and Behavior

Silvertips are beginner-friendly fish for a reason. Silvertip Tetras have a generally peaceful and friendly disposition, only seldom aggravated. To be specific, Silvertip Tetras are shoaling fish; fish that need to stay in schools for mainly social reasons. When thinking about getting Silvertips for your community, you should consider that a school with at least six Silvertips is needed. The more members, the happier they will be!

They yearn for companionship, which is why the absence of friends make them feel unsafe and aggressive. Compared to other Tetra species, the Silvertip is slightly more hostile—sometimes fighting, or nipping the fins of other fishes. Probably the most victimized by this behavior are long-finned fishes, though even those with shorter fins can also be affected.

It’s not all bad, however, as part of the Silvertip’s charm lies in its liveliness and entertaining quality. In fact, if you put a finger towards your tank, you’ll find the school of Silvertip Tetra following your fingertip’s direction as if guided by The Force.

Silvertip Tetra Tank Mates

Once you’ve got the right tank size and setup ready to go, the next step is to consider the tank mates of your Silvertip Tetras. Keep in mind they are small fish and can be easily preyed upon, so keeping larger aggressive fish in the same tank is a bad idea. You don’t want your Tetras to end up as meals!

Avoid long-finned fishes. As previously mentioned, Silvertips can also turn naughty and start nipping the long tail fins of these fishes. For the sake of peace, it’s best to avoid keeping them in the same tank.

Smaller fishes may be bullied. While Silvertip Tetras are peaceful and only slightly aggressive, they can bully smaller fishes in the tank. It is something to consider when you want a harmonious community aquarium. Apart from these warnings, Silvertips are mostly unproblematic and get along with a variety of fish.

Tank Mates Compatible with Silvertip Tetra include:

  • Dwarf Rainbow fish
  • Platy fish
  • Hatchet fish
  • Betta fish
  • Black Skirt Tetra
  • Buenos Aires Tetra
  • Blind Cave Tetra
  • Rasboras
  • Zebra Danios
  • Cory Catfish
  • Apistogramma Cichlids
  • Ramirez Dwarf Cichlid
  • Molly fish
  • Smaller Loricariids
  • Celestial Danios

Silvertip Tetra Breeding Behavior

Finally—it’s time for the Talk. The Silvertip Tetra’s love language and resulting breeding behaviors. The good news is these fish are easily bred in captivity. The bad news is you must prepare a separate tank to make it easy.

The breeding tank should be at least 18 in x 12 in x 12 in, have clusters of java moss, and spawning mops (for the eggs) and a mesh at the base of the tank (for separating parents from the eggs). The water parameters in your breeding tank are almost like the parameters in your usual tank, but some acidity in the water may help spawning and move things along.

For a few weeks, place about six specimens of each sex in your tank and feed them bloodworms or anything high in protein. You can dim the lights as well to set the mood.

Silvertip Tetras are egg-scatterers. Soon enough, your Silvertip females will be pregnant with eggs and the males will be more brightly colored. Fish pairs usually mate early in the morning, with the female spreading her eggs around the tank and the male fertilizing them.

Regrettably, Silvertip Tetras are bad parents and egg-predators. To keep the eggs safe, they must be separated from their fertilized eggs and back to their normal tank. The eggs normally hatch within 24 to 36 hours and then be free swimming within 3 to 4 days. You may feed your new babies infusoria, rotifers, and microworms for maximum development.


The Silvertip Tetras are nothing if not underrated. They’re beautiful, social, entertaining, and won’t ask too much from you. Perfect for all aquarists, these tropical fishes are everything that’s good all wrapped up in a tiny, silver-tipped package.

Note: Please consider the environment before printing this Silvertip Tetra care sheet.

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