The Colombian tetra or blue-red Colombian tetra, Hyphessobrycon columbianus, is a freshwater fish of the characin family. The Colombian tetra is native to the Rio Acandi drainage system in northwestern Colombia, South America. The Colombian tetra's habitat tends to be slow-flowing creeks and tributaries.
Only recently introduced to the aquarium trade, it is one of the more expensive tetras. They will generally get on with most other aquarium fish and will shoal with other types of tetra. However, they have been observed to harass smaller fish on occasions.
Growing to about 6.5 cm (2.5 in) total length, the Colombian tetra is silver-grey in colour. It has a turquoise blue tinge of increasing intensity from the lateral line upwards, which becomes a prominent stripe across the anterior dorsal ridge. The fins are predominantly scarlet red but the colour will fade as the fish rests. The anal fin is usually edged with black, and both dorsal and caudal fins have whitish tips. It resembles Hyphessobrycon ecuadorensis from western Ecuador, and prior to the desciption of H. columbianus in 2002, the latter had generally been confused with the former.
In the aquarium
The Colombian tetra is generally a hardy, adaptable fish and has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years. It eats all common aquarium foods such as flake food, frozen and freeze-dried foods and small live foods. They prefer neutral or slightly acidic water at around 24-26oC. Although they have been known to harass other fish, the likelihood of this happening is greatly reduced if they are kept in groups of six or more. The Colombian tetra can be bred in a similar way to other species in the genus.