Serpae Tetra Tank Mates: 7 Compatible Fish For A Happy Aquarium

In this article, I will share with you some great Serpae Tetra Tank Mates that you can add to your aquarium for a fun and colorful aquarium.

An immensely popular flame-colored fish, Serpae Tetras move in schools of bright red color through an aquarium. Their beautiful red color is a remarkable sight in the aquarium, which is one of the reasons why you will not be surprised to know they are a favorite of many aquarium hobbyists.

Serpae Tetras’ popularity is because of their overall beauty and how easy it is to take care of them. But, they are not the perfect species for a fish tank since they can become mildly aggressive among the slow-moving Aquarium Fish species.

If you want to keep them happy and feeling secure, add them to a community fish in a school of at least six. Give them plenty of places to hide and move around to explore the aquarium and they will adorn your aquarium for a while.

What fish are compatible with Serpae Tetras?

The best tank mates would be similar fast and active fish that don’t have long fins. Most other Tetras like the cardinal or neon tetra as well as some bottom feeders like the corydoras catfish. Barbs and Danios can also be compatible with your Serpae Tetera.

Equipment You Might Need For Your Serpae Tetra

  1. Aqua Clear – Fish Tank Filter
  2. NICREW Classic LED Aquarium Light
  3. Fluval M Aquarium Heater
  4. Python Pro-Clean Gravel Washer and Siphon Kit
  5. Marina Algae Magnet Cleaner
  6. API Freshwater Master Test Kit

Facts about the Serpae Tetra

Originating from the Amazon basin area, Serpae Tetras inhabit the river basins of the Amazon and Guapore Rivers in Brazil, Argentina, and upper Paraguay. Most of the fish from this species that you will find in aquariums are bred in captivity rather than caught from the wild. It is safe to say that the species is not even remotely endangered.

In the wild, the fish loves slow-moving waters like streams, ponds, and lakes. You can expect to find them hiding within the roots of the trees. The Serpae is a part of the group of tetras known as blood tetras. This refers to their brilliant red color.

Considering the size of other tetras that people love to have in their fish tanks, the Serpae is still around the same size as the more popular neon tetras and cardinal tetras, as well as have similar care needs. But there is a slight difference in their behavior.

While they are generally peaceful, these beautiful red fish can turn a bit aggressive towards other fish tank mates. Ideally, keeping them in a school of six or more will help in removing that problem.

Tips to Help You Keep The Serpae Tetra Happy and Healthy

The Serpae Tetra is a slow-moving fish from the same family as the neon and cardinal tetras. Roughly about the same size as its popular cousins, it is a great fish for your tank, but you need to keep a school of at least six to keep them from being aggressive.

You see, they have a bit of a bad reputation as being fin nippers. If you keep them happy in a reasonably numbered group, they will spend all of their time swimming after each other playfully.

Here are some important things you should know to keep the Serpae Tetra happy and healthy:

Serpae Tetra 01

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5 inches
Temperature Range: 72 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 5 to 7.8

It is pretty easy to adjust your tank to create the ideal living conditions for Serpae Tetra. If you know a bit about the care needs and environment requirements for other fish as well.

Here are some additional things you should know.

  1. Serpae Tetras are less aggressive and more playful. They become slightly aggressive when they become nervous in their tanks.
  2. They are omnivores and also love live food like insects, worms, and invertebrates.
  3. Serpae Tetras are easy to breed in groups of an equal number of males and females.
  4. You won’t find them fussing over food. They are omnivores that can eat anything, which includes high-quality flakes, pellets, live food or frozen food.

Best Serpae Tetra Tank Makes

A fish that you can expect to live for 5 to 7 years in an aquarium if the living conditions are set right; the Serpae Tetra’s addition to your fish tank can make it all the more wonderful to look at. Of course, as beautiful as this species of tetra is, you can’t just keep one right?

Adding some tank mates for your Serpae Tetra can make your aquarium look even more attractive. This is why we have put together this list to help you select the right tank mates for your Serpae Tetra and ensure a peaceful community aquarium.

1. Black Widow Tetra


Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5-2 inches
Temperature Range: 68 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 8 to 8.5

Also known as black skirt, don’t be fooled by the black widow tetra’s name. Contrary to its terrifying name, the fish is actually among the top tank mates for the Serpae Tetra because it is a very playful and peaceful fish that loves to hang around with its own kind.

The black widow tetra gets along well with other fish, as long as they do not have long fins. They are a bit notorious for nipping at the long fins and tails of other fish, but they are harmless, otherwise. They can be pretty good tank mates for your Serpae because they are both tetras and are generally friendly.

2. Giant Danio

Giant Danio

Faucon [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 4 inches
Temperature Range: 72 to 81 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 8

A petite, colorful and fast-moving fish, the giant danio is not a giant, as its name might suggest. They make an excellent mate for a lot of different fish tank species and the Serpae Tetra is no exception.

It is a fast swimmer that loves to stay out of trouble. When it comes to a fish with a semi-aggressive nature like the Serpae Tetra, this is an important quality to have. This fish loves a long fish tank so that it can dart about freely. Add this fish to your community tank to enhance its visual appeal.

3. Loaches

Pair of loaches in a fish tank

Bonhilda at the English language Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 4 to 6 inches
Temperature Range: 60 to 77 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 8.5

More active at night or under dark conditions, Kuhli loaches are bottom dwellers and scavengers that have no issues with what they eat.

They are the happiest in the company of a school of their kind and are generally very peaceful. As they like to mind their own business, you cannot expect to see them getting into a fight with other tank mates and they are easy to take care of. Their living conditions pretty much match that of the Serpae Tetra, thereby making them an obvious addition for your fish tank.

4. Horsehead Loach

Horsehead loach

Alter welt [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 12 inches
Temperature Range: 44 to 77 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 6.5

Just by looking at this fish, you will know why it is called “horsehead loach”. The head of the loach is shaped like that of a horse’s. A shy giant, the horsehead loach is also known as banana fish, the horse-face loach and the long-faced loach.

They love to burrow below the substrate with just their eyes above the surface. You should not be surprised if you do not see them for days at a time in the aquarium. It is a protective measure for themselves from potential predators – an instinct picked up in the wild.

If you want to see them, you could turn off or dim the lights and then drop a few sinking food pellets for loaches. That will see them come out quietly at night to get something to eat. Easy to take care of, they have made it to this list of the best tank mates for Serpae Tetras because they do not create any issues for other species.

5. Cardinal Tetras

Cardinal tetra in aquarium

Ltshears [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 2 inches
Temperature Range: 79 to 82 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 6 to 7

The thing about tetras is that they can live peacefully with other tetras. For example, the Serpae Tetra gets along with the cardinal tetra in terms of behavior. Both of them are right about the same size and the cardinal tetra moves quite fast. They have pretty much the same requirements when it comes to their diet.

While the ideal living conditions are different, they are well within the same region that the two of them can live in the same tank together. Just make sure you get a group of at least 6, so they have an easier time in the fish tank.

Check out this roundup list with 7 of the best tank mates for Cardinal Tetras

6. Neon Tetras

Nerite Snail with Neon

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 2 inches
Temperature Range: 69 to 79 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 5 to 7.5

A fish that looks a lot like the cardinal tetra and is, in fact, another member of the tetra family, neon is an ideal tank mate for the Serpae Tetra. They can be added to any community fish tank because of their peaceful nature. Also, neon and Serpae Tetras like the same conditions.

A fast mover, the neon tetra prefers to stick with their own kind, so if you’re adding these to the fish tank, make sure you’re going for a larger one. They don’t take up a lot of space, but they do like to move around.

7. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras catfish in fish tank

Karsten Schönherr [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Care Level: Beginner
Max Size of Fish: 1.5 inches
Temperature Range: 74 to 80 degree Fahrenheit
pH Range: 7 to 8

A fish that makes an important part of the community fish tank, the corydoras catfish is a bottom dweller. Many aquarium enthusiasts buy the albino version of this catfish because of how beautiful it is to look at in an aquarium. A peaceful catfish, it minds its own business and is at ease if there are more of them in the fish tank.

They make good tank mates for Serpae Tetras because they stay clear of the tetras at the bottom of the fish tank. They can help you keep the fish tank clean and are low-maintenance as well.

Tank Tips to Make Sure Your Serpae Tetras Stay Safe

There are more steps you should take in order to make sure that your Serpae Tetras stay safe in the fish tank. While they are the ones likely to cause problems, you do not want them to get aggressive and here are the things you can do to make the conditions safer with the Serpae Tetra:

They are more attuned to bother slow-moving fish or fish with long fins, so it is best to keep them away from these type of fish in case they start to react aggressively.

While you should keep them in a group of at least 6, it is a good idea to have a larger number of Serpae Tetras. That will keep them busy and they are less likely to stir up trouble with other fish.

You do not need to worry about keeping them with large fish. Just make sure that the fish you keep with them do not prey on the smaller fish. Other than that, they can get along with the larger fish.

If you can add plants in the fish tank with roots, this will be very helpful since they give them space to hide and feel safe in case they are feeling nervous.

Make sure that you try out multiple feeding rings when you’re feeding fish in a community aquarium that has these fish in it. Serpae Tetras are most likely to get aggressive during feeding time and giving them a separate area to feed will keep them from bothering the other fish.

Tank Mates, You Should Keep Away from the Serpae Tetra

Serpae Tetras are a semi-aggressive species and they do not make life easy for smaller fish. Try to avoid adding any fish to the tank that is smaller in size than the Serpae Tetra. With slow-moving fish, Serpae Tetras are also likely to have a nip at their fins because that mimics their behavior with their own kind. You should also keep fish like the angelfish away from them because of their trailing fins.

Fun Facts about Serpae Tetras

Here are some interesting facts about the Serpae Tetra that you might not have heard of:

  • The Serpae Tetra is an aquarium fish that is very hardy. This means it can adjust to the conditions of your fish tank relatively easily. Also, they barely get any diseases in well- maintained aquariums.
  • While most of their body is red, there is an interesting comma-like mark behind the gills that add to the beauty of the fish.
  • There is a splash of white color at the leading tip of their anal fin. The color on the fin fades as the fish ages.
  • You can never differentiate between male and female Serpae Tetras until after breeding. That is when the female becomes a little rounder than the male.

What fish can live with Serpae Tetra?

The Serpae can be semi-aggressive at times, but is typically peaceful by nature and can live with many other fish.

Here are a few great fish that can live with the Serpae Tetra:

  • Black Widow Tetra
  • Giant Danio
  • Loaches
  • Horsehead Loach
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Neon Tetras
  • Corydoras Catfish

Do Serpae Tetras eat other fish?

Serpae Tetras are not likely to eat the other fish in your aquarium. They are omnivores and in the wild eat mostly plant matter and small insects. In your aquarium, you can feed them with almost anything from flakes, pellets, and treats like bloodworms.

Final Thoughts

Getting a Serpae Tetra for your fish tank is definitely a great decision. Adding a few tank mates for your Serpae Tetra can also help liven up your community aquarium to give you an awesome looking mini-ecosystem of fish.

Serpae Tetra Tank Mates 7 Compatible Fish For A Happy Aquarium

Photo Credit Via: cb_agulto

Jack Dempsey
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