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Silver Tip Tetra

Hasemania nana


Silver Tip Tetra

Silver Tip Tetra

Malene Thyssen

Silver Tip Tetra

Juan R. Lascorz

Silver Tip Tetra

Juan R. Lascorz
  • Scientific Name: Hasemania nana
  • Synonym: Hasemania marginata, Hasemania melanura, Hemigrammus nanus, Tetragonopterus nanus
  • Common Name: Silver Tip, Silvertip, Silver-Tipped Tetra, Copper Tetra
  • Family: Characidae
  • Origin: Eastern and western Brazil
  • Adult Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
  • Social: Peaceful schooling fish
  • Lifespan: 5 years
  • Tank Level: Mid level
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Breeding: Egg Scatterer
  • Care: Easy
  • pH: 6.8-7.5
  • Hardness: to 20 dGH
  • Temperature: 72-82 F (22-28 C)



Hasemania nana, most commonly known as the Silver Tipped Tetra, hails from Brazil. They are found in the blackwater creeks and whitewater streams in the Rio Francisco basin of eastern Brazil as well as the Rio Purus tributaries of western Brazil.

The Silver-Tipped Tetra, Hasemania nana, was originally described as Tetragonopterus nanus. It was later placed in the genus Hemigrammus. Still later it was described as Hasemania marginata, before finally being given the current classification of Hasemania nana. Some still list it in the sub-family Tetragonopterinae, however that is considered inaccurate and the genera for this species is currently under study. The lack of an adipose fin easily distinguishes Hasemania nana from other species in the Hyphessobrycon and Hemigrammus genera.

Commonly known as the Silver-Tipped Tetra, or simply Silvertip, this species is also sometimes referred to as the Copper Tetra. This is due to the coppery color of healthy spawning males.


Silver-Tip Tetras are small yellow-brown colored fish with elongated bodies. Adults may reach two inches in size, but most are smaller. Females are paler, often displaying a silver hue. Males are more deeply colored with a coopery sheen in the proper lighting. A black line runs from the midpoint of the body horizontally to the tail, this line being more prevalent in males. The fins are tipped in snowy white. In females the anal fin is pale yellow rather than white. Both sexes will pale in color when resting, poorly fed, or stressed.

An interesting physical trait of this species is the lack of an adipose fin, which lies between the dorsal and caudal (tail) fins. The adipose fin is present in most other Tetra species, and is an easy means of distinguishing Silver-Tip Tetras from other Tetra species.


Silver Tips are a peaceful fish that are ideal for the community aquarium. They may be kept with other Tetras of similar size or larger, as well as with any peaceful fish that thrive in similar water conditions. They are highly social and will quickly notice new additions to the aquarium. This behavior should not be confused with aggression, they are simply checking out their neighbors.

It is important to keep them in schools of a half dozen or more. When kept in small numbers they have a tendency to become nippy. Larger schools are recommended whenever possible.


In nature Silver Tip Tetras live in well oxygenated, soft acidic waters that have a strong current. Providing similar conditions in the aquarium will help ensure a long healthy life for your fish. Use of peat or blackwater extracts will help replicate the proper water conditions. Driftwood is also useful, as it leaches tannins into the water, and provides cover for the fish.

The lighting should be subdued and substrate dark in color. Plant the perimeter of the tank with and abundance of either live or artificial plants. Floating plants are a good way to reduce the lighting, and are particularly important if you plan to breed these fish. Leave the center area of the tank open for swimming.


Silver Tip Tetras readily take a variety of foods, including flake, freeze-dried and frozen foods. They enjoy live foods, particularly bloodworms. When conditioning for breeding, provide plenty of meaty foods.

Sexual Differences

As with many species, the male Silver Tip Tetra is more vibrantly colored than the female. Males are more slender and the tips of all the fins are bright white. Females are plumper than males, paler in color, and the tip of the anal fin is yellow rather than white.


Silver Tip Tetras are typical egg-scatterers who provide no parental care, and will consume their own eggs and young if left in the same tank. Breeding pairs should be well conditioned for several weeks prior to spawning. Feed them with a variety of foods, including plenty of meaty foods, such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp.

Set up a separate breeding tank with dark substrate, driftwood or bogwood, and plenty of fine-leafed plants. Some plants should be floating, to help diffuse external light. Ideally there should be very little light in the breeding tank. The water should be very soft, less than 5 dGH and acidic.

The female will scatter her adhesive eggs on the leaves. These eggs are very sensitive to light, so the tank must be kept darkened. Remove the adults once the eggs have been laid, as they will eat their own eggs. The eggs will hatch in one to two days.

For the first one to two days the fry subsist on their egg sack. Next they will feed on infusoria or commercially prepared fry food, such as Liquifry. Within a few weeks they can be fed brine shrimp and finely crushed dry foods.

Readers Respond: Have you kept a Silver Tip Tetra?

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