Red eye tetra

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Red eye tetra
Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Characiformes
Family: Characidae
Genus: Moenkhausia
Species: M. sanctaefilomenae
Binomial name
Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae
(Steindachner, 1907)

The red eye tetra (Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae), also known as the yellow-banded moenkhausia, yellow back moenkhausia and yellowhead tetra, is a species of tetra from the São Francisco, upper Paraná, Paraguay and Uruguay river basins in eastern and central South America.[1][2] This freshwater fish is commonly kept in aquariums and bred in large numbers at commercial facilities in Eastern Europe and Asia.[3]

It can grow up to 7 cm (2.8 in) in length,[3] and live for approximately 5 years.[2] The red-eye tetra has a bright silver body accented by a white-edged black basal half of the tail and a thin red circle around its eye. It is part of a group that consists of three similar species, the two others being M. forestii (upper Paraguay and upper Paraná basins) and M. oligolepis (Amazon and Paraguay basins, and the Guianas).[4]

In the aquarium[edit]

The red eye tetra's hardiness and ease of care makes it an excellent beginner fish. It is readily available, peaceful, and is suitable for most community aquariums,[3] although it is quite active and may disturb slower, more timid species. A word of caution - although generally peaceful, some individuals have been known to be fin nippers on rare occasions, even when kept in groups.

The red eye tetra is a schooling fish and should be kept in groups of 6 or more.[1] If kept alone it may nip the fins of other fish.[5] A fish tank with volume of about 110 Litres (29 US G.) is recommended.

These species do best at temperatures of 72–79 °F in a planted tank with plenty of shoaling space.[6] Red eyes tolerate a range of water conditions but prefer slightly soft, acid water.[7]


In the wild the red eye tetra feeds on worms, insects, crustaceans and plant matter.[1] In the aquarium red eye tetra generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance they should be given a high-quality flake food every day. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat.


Females are larger and have a more rounded abdomen than the males.[3] When attempting to breed them, a separate breeding tank should be set up with slightly acidic, very soft water (4 dGH or below).[3] The Red-eye tetra is free spawning but will also lay eggs among the roots of floating plants.[3] Once spawning has occurred, the mating pair should be removed, as they will consume the eggs[3] and hatching fry. One day after they are laid, the eggs will hatch. The fry can initially be fed infusoria, rotifers, or commercially prepared fry foods, then freshly hatched brine shrimp, and eventually finely crushed flake foods.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2008). "Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae" in FishBase. April 2008 version.
  2. ^ a b "Red Eye Tetra". Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Riehl & Baensch (1987). "Aquarium Atlas Volume 1", Mergus, p.302
  4. ^ Benine, R.C.; T.C. Mariguela; and C. Oliveira (2009). "New species of Moenkhausia Eigenmann, 1903 (Characiformes: Characidae) with comments on the Moenkhausia oligolepis species complex". Neotropical Ichthyology. 7 (2). doi:10.1590/S1679-62252009000200005. 
  5. ^ "Red-Eye Tetra - Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae". Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  6. ^ "Red Eye tetra". Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  7. ^ "Red Eye Tetra Information". Tim's Tropicals. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 

External links[edit]