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The Buenos Aires Tetra isn’t kept as much in the hobby as it should be. This hardy, colorful fish is fairly undemanding and adapts well to a wide range of water parameters, making it an ideal fish for those who are new to the hobby.
I first kept a group of Buenos Aires Tetras about 10 years ago when a buddy broke down some of his tanks and donated a load of fish to me. I was amazed at what an active and colorful fish the Buenos Aires Tetra is. I think they are a must for any suitable community setup.
Buenos Aires Tetra Overview
The Buenos Aires Tetra, which has the scientific name Hyphessobrycon anisitsi, is a slightly larger member of the Tetra family which measures around 2.75 inches (7cm) when mature, originates from the Paraná river system in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.
Buenos Aires Tetras are peaceful, schooling fish that fit well into a community aquarium. Their silver to grey bodies are punctuated with a green stripe running from eye to tail. Their fins are bright orange and yellow.
Buenos Aires Tetras are tolerant of a wide range of water parameters including temperature, pH, and water hardness. They are very forgiving of many of the mistakes new aquarium keepers make.
|Common Name:||Buenos Aires Tetra|
|Scientific Name:||Hyphessobrycon anisitsi|
|Origin:||Paraná river system in Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina|
|Adult Size:||2.75 inches (7.0cm)|
|Life Expectancy:||4-5 years|
|Minimum Tank Size:||30 Gallons|
|Breeding Method:||Egg Scatterer|
|Temperature:||60°F – 82°F|
|pH:||5.5 – 8.5|
Buenos Aires Tetra Origins
Buenos Aires Tetras Natural Habitat
Buenos Aires Tetras are found in a wide range across eastern Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. They prefer living in the streams and smaller tributaries rather than the main rivers. Bueno Aires Tetras are also found living in pools, backwaters, floodplain lakes, and oxbow lakes.
Although tolerant of a wide range of water parameters, Bueno Aires Tetras do need clean, fresh water. They don’t do well in waters that are polluted or where salt levels are elevated.
All the regions the Buenos Aires Tetra naturally occurs in are areas that are abundant in rainfall and would be described as sub-tropical. These areas typically have mild winters.
Tank Setup For Buenos Aires Tetras
Buenos Aires Tetras are schooling fish that like a bit of space to swim in. A 3ft (90cm) aquarium is the minimum size that should be considered for keeping these active fish in, but the larger the better. Make sure you give them some free space, ideally in the middle of the aquarium as they like to school back and forth.
For more information on schooling fish, why not check out this article I wrote titled Best Schooling Fish.
These brightly colored tetras seem to look best in a planted tank, with their orange fins popping against a green background. Unfortunately, Buenos Aires Tetra will eat many of the plants commonly found in our aquariums.
If you choose to keep Buenos Aires Tetras in a planted tank, be sure to choose tough plants like Amazon Swords, Anubias, and Java Fern. Other tank decorations should include rocks and aquarium-safe wood. Buenos Aires Tetras have no real preference on substrate.
A Buenos Aires Tetra aquarium does not necessarily require an aquarium heater as the temperature can range anywhere from 60°F to 82°F (although they should only be kept at the higher end of the scale for short periods of time).
Filtration should be good, but flow should not be too strong. Buenos Aires Tetas have no special lighting requirements, however, they are good jumpers, so a tight-fitting lid is a must
Buenos Aires Tetra Tankmates
Buenos Aires Tetras are schooling fish. They need to be kept in groups of at least 8, but the more the better. They are generally peaceful fish, but you need to choose their tank mates appropriately.
Below I have listed a few of my favorite tank mates to keep with Buenos Aires Tetras.
- Pearl Gourami
- Odessa Barb
- Peppered Corydoras
- Bristlenose Pleco
- Zebra Danio
- Black Skirt Tetra
Pearl Gourami are another peaceful species of fish that will complement the Buenos Aires Tetras beautifully. Pearl Gourami spend most of their day at the surface, while the Buenos Aires Tetras spend their time in the mid-water. This combination works so well. If you would like to know some of the secrets of the Pearl Gourami, have a look at this article.
Odessa Barbs are underrated in the hobby. They are another active, but peaceful species that like to occupy the mid-water section of the aquarium. Odessa Barbs have very similar requirements to the Buenos Aires Tetra, including the fact they can tolerate cooler water temperatures. If you are considering an unheated aquarium for your Buenos Aires Tetras, Odessa Barbs may be the perfect companion
Peppered Corydoras are a hardy breed of corydoras. They choose to spend most of their time swimming along the substrate. One major advantage this brings to your Buenos Aires Tetra tank is the Peppered Corydoras will eat any food which passes the other tank mates by. You still need to feed the corys as well, but an active clean-up crew is a major piece of the puzzle when it comes to a healthy aquarium.
The Bristlenose pleco is a good candidate for almost every fish tank in the hobby today. Bristlenose Plecos are primarily algae eaters, helping keep your aquarium free of pesky algae, but they will also happily consume the same foods as you feed to the other inhabitants. Bristlenose can also tolerate cooler temperatures. I have kept one with a tank of fancy goldfish for many years.
The ultra hardy Zebra Danio will work well with your Buenos Aires Tetras. Zebra Danios are happy in almost any reasonable aquarium set up and they are not too fussy on temperature, pH or hardness. Set your aquarium up for the Tetras and the Zebra Danios will be more than happy.
Black Skirt Tetras
Black Skirt Tetras, which also come in several other colors, are a peaceful, larger tetra that will work well with Buenos Aires Tetras. Black Skirt Tetras are unfussy on water parameters, including temperature. They essentially have the same requirements as the Buenos Aires Tetras. The two species will complement one another.
Although Buenos Aires Tetras are peaceful for the most part, there are some fish that should be avoided.
- Small tetras like Neon Tetras or Ember Tetras
- Fish with flowing fins like Bettas or Angelfish
- Aggressive fish including Oscars or Tiger Barbs
What To Feed Buenos Aires Tetras?
Buenos Aires Tetras are omnivores. This means they want a diet based on both meat and plant matter.
In the wild, Buenos Aires Tetras would eat worms, waterborne creatures like daphnia and mosquito larvae, small crustaceans, and decaying plant matter. In the aquarium, their diet should be based around a good quality flake or pellet food with the addition of live or frozen foods like bloodworm, brine shrimp, or daphnia.
It is better to feed your Buenos Aires Tetras 3 or 4 small meals a day than it is to feed them 1 large meal. Ideally, they should be fed a flake or pellet food a couple of times a day, then the third feeding something different like frozen bloodworm. Variety is the key to happy, healthy fish.
Remember, only feed your Buenos Aires Tetras as much as they will eat within a couple of minutes. Any uneaten food will sink to the substrate or behind decorations where it will rot and may foul your water.
Buenos Aires Tetras want to feed mid-water. They prefer not to eat either from the surface or off the substrate. Choose food that sinks slowly and add the food a pinch at a time. That way, you will have food in the water column for as long as possible, giving your tetras a chance to eat it.
How To Sex Buenos Aires Tetra?
Once mature, Buenos Aires Tetra are relatively easy to sex. Males tend to have brighter fin colors than females do. Females are plumper than males, especially in the lead-up to spawning.
How To Breed Bueno Aires Tetra?
Buenos Aires Tetras are fairly easy to spawn. If given ideal conditions, they will even spawn in the community tank, although the survival rate of the fry would be very low. So, if you want to actively breed your Buenos Aires Tetras, consider setting up a dedicated spawning tank.
Prior to spawning, condition your Buenos Aires Tetras for a couple of weeks by feeding them good quality live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia. After a couple of weeks of high-quality feeding, the males should be showing bright fin colors and the females should be plump with eggs.
When ready to spawn, select an equal number of males and females, choose your best-looking males and biggest females, and move them to the spawning tank.
The spawning tank itself should be set to about 75°F with a pH around 6.5 to 7.2. Provide gentle filtration via a small sponge filter or low flow internal filter. Place a large clump of Java Moss or a spawning mop in the tank for the eggs to stick to.
Buenos Aires Tetra will usually spawn at dawn. If you want to be present during spawning, so you can remove the adults once they finish, cover the aquarium overnight with a large towel. When you are ready, remove the towel to simulate dawn and hopefully stimulate the fish to begin spawning.
As with many other tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras are egg scatterers. The females will drop somewhere between 1500-2000 small, sticky eggs which the males will fertilize. The eggs will fall through the water column and stick to the Java Moss or spawning mop.
Once spawning is complete, the adults show no parental care of the eggs or fry. In fact, they are likely to complete spawning, then rapidly eat as many of the eggs as they can find. For this reason, immediately following spawning, all adult fish should be removed from the spawning tank.
The eggs will usually hatch within 24 hours and the fry will become free swimming after 3 or 4 days. At this point, the fry should be fed infusoria or a commercially available liquid fry food. Once large enough, feed the fry freshly hatched brine shrimp or microworms.
General Information About Buenos Aires Tetras
Although essentially a hardy fish, an aquarium with Buenos Aires Tetra should be maintained like any other aquarium. Regular partial water changes and routine filter maintenance will keep your water in good condition, which in turn helps keep your fish happy and healthy.
Buenos Aires Tetras do have a tendency to fin nip, but this mild aggression tends to disappear when kept in large enough groups. 6 is a minimum number for Buenos Aires Tetras, however the larger the group the better they will look and the less aggression will be shown.
Frequently Asked Buenos Aires Tetra Questions:
Are Buenos Aires Tetra Fin Nippers?
Buenos Aires Tetra do have a tendency to fin nip, but this mild aggression stops when kept in large enough groups. A minimum of 6 Buenos Aires Tetra should be kept, but 10 or more would be even better.
How Large do Buenos Aires Tetra Get?
Buenos Aires Tetras grow to around 2.75 inches (7.0cm).
Do Buenos Aires Tetra Eat Plants?
Buenos Aires Tetra will eat plants. In fact, they can destroy a well-manicured tank in no time. If you want to keep Buenos Aires Tetra in a planted tank, choose tough-leaved species like Anubias, Java Fern, and Amazon Swords.
How long do Buenos Aires Tetra Live?
Buenos Aires Tetra will live for a maximum of 4-5 years, providing they are kept in ideal conditions and offered a balanced, varied diet.
Buenos Aires Tetra have fallen in popularity in recent years as the popularity of planted aquariums has risen. It is true that Buenos Aires Tetra will eat plants, but providing you choose the right species of plants, this shouldn’t be a problem. This large tetra is extremely easy to care for, very easy to breed and makes a great show fish when kept in a large school.