Lemon Tetra Care and Breeding Guide

The Lemon Tetra also scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon Pulchripinnis is a freshwater aquarium fish that is highly popular among aquarium enthusiasts. The fish is among was first taken from the wild and introduced in the aquarium trade back in 1937. It is one of the oldest modern aquarium fish that is still popular with aquarium enthusiasts. Is is native to the South American nation of Brazil where they were first collected for the aquarium trade from the wild.

The fish are known for their characteristic transparent color and rather small bodies. They like to inhabit clean waters that are clear will minimal current and therefore they easily adapt to home aquariums when collected from the wild and introduced to their new habitats. These are among the most east to care for aquarium fish that you will find in the industry today. The fish doesn’t need lots of attention as long as you ensure that you make the basic requirements for keeping fish in the aquarium up to date.

Appearance of Lemon Tetra

Lemon Tetra

The fish are usually relatively small in size and will measure a maximum of two inches at least five centimeters long! If you take a casual look at the fish you will notice that it exhibits a transparent coloration. However, when the fish is well cared for and properly fed when in captivity, it has a tendency to show lemon-like coloring on the overall body. There is an albino color morph of the fish that has been developed, although the lemon color variety still remains the most popular.

Sexual differences

The males are usually more colorful than the females with their dorsal fins looking ore pointed than the females. A keen look at the black edge of the anal fin of the male you’ll notice that the fin is more distinct than that of the female.


It is a freshwater fish that is native to the South American nation of Brazil where it was first collected for aquarium trade in the early years of aquarium fish business. This makes it the oldest freshwater aquarium fish that is still being kept by various hobbyists all around the world.

The fish prefers to live in quiet waters that are clear and clean with moderate current in the wild. In the wild the fish is known to inhabit in shallow waters near the banks of streams or rivers near the shores. The fish likes heavily vegetated areas on narrow portions of the stream where they cannot be hit by direct sunlight. This is why when introducing the fish in an aquarium setting, it is best to mimic what they live in the wild as much as possible.

Tank Setup for Lemon tetra

Lemon Tetra is certainly one of the easiest freshwater fishes to keep in a home aquarium and care for. It doesn’t need much attention from the aquarist so long as all the basic care details for aquarium fish are observed. Because the fish shoal in large number when in the wild, it is best to keep them in groups while in the tank. Ensure that the aquarium water you are going to keep the fish in is soft. The fish is a community fish who will live with other small species of fish although it is best to keep only the fish species in the same tank.

Tank requirement

To help keep you in the loop about how best to keep and care for this freshwater aquarium fish, here are some tank requirements for you to follow:

  • These fish are a shoaling species and therefore you will need to keep at least a dozen of them in a tank which should be about 29 gallons.
  • The tank needs to be heavily planted just like the areas they like to inhabit while in the wild. Even as you keep the tank heavily planted, ensure that you leave some open spaces for the fish to use for swimming. Please note that when the fish are kept in tanks that are open, they tend to lose their coloring.
  • As you choose the best filter to you use in a tank for this fish, please use a hang-on-back filter that will essentially help to add some little-bit of current in the tank. Related Review: Best HOB (Hang On Back) Filter
  • The aquarium LED lighting should be moderate as strong lighting tends to make the fish appear as if they are all washed out.
  • The temperature in the water should be between 72° – 78°F (14 to 25°C).
  • The pH range of the tank water should be around 5.5 to 8.0.
  • As for the water hardness of the tank water should be 3 – 20dGH and should not be above this range because the fish has a tendency to lose its color in waters with higher dGH.
  • Avoid keeping the fish in brackish water.
  • The motion of the water in the aquarium should be moderate.


Basically the lemon tetra is an omnivorous fish that feeds on other tiny animals in the wild. Some of the popular food that it eats in the wild includes; crustaceans, invertebrates, and other plant matter. This fish is so easy to feed because in captivity it will readily feed on anything it is offered. That said, you can easily feed them live or frozen fish food, high quality prepared fish food and live worms as well.


Breeding adult Lemon Tetra is easy but attempting to breed its juvenile can be quite an uphill task for you. Fortunately, identifying adult of the fish is quite easy as the adult males and females are easy to distinguish just by a look at their anal fins. That of the male is usually wider and even becomes bigger when time for breeding is ready. You can condition the fish to get ready for breeding by feeding them live foods. This usually helps to hasten their breeding and then you can separate the conditioned fish (both the male and female) in different tank. This will help to avoid the possibility of the other fish from feeding in the eggs laid by the female.

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