Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia – Lapis Tetra

Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia – Lapis Tetra is a small carp salmon from Brazil, they are only about 3 to 4 cm long and are rarely sold.

Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia – Lapis Tetra

Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia was first described in 2006 by Zarske and Géry. They belong to the large family Characidae or Characins. This family comprises no less than 145 genera and 1135 species. The genus Hyphessobrycon is being further investigated but currently comprises around 150 species.

The family name Hyphessobrycon consists of two parts: brycon is old Greek and can be translated into biter, hyphesson means a little smaller. Combined it means something like small biter.


They seek out the areas in the rivers where many trees grow and in slowly flowing tributaries. The water in these biotopes is often well supplied with tannin and other substances that are released from decomposing organic material, making the water quite acidic.


Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia distinguishes itself from its peers by a clear cyan mid-lateral line on the body that runs from the eye to the middle caudal fin rays. This fish also lacks the familiar elongated spot behind the gills and the dark pigmentation in the eye, which most of its species have.

They possess 16-19 branched anal fin rays and 2-4 large teeth. They have a relatively high body and a small eye.

It is not a big fish, the Lapis Tetra male can reach a length of about 3.3 cm and the female does not grow larger than 2.8 cm. The male is generally more colorful and brighter than the female.

The aquarium

This species is rare in the aquarium world. Not so much because it is difficult to keep this fish in an aquarium, but probably it is not supplied much. If you are lucky enough to find this fish and you want to keep it in an aquarium, it is desirable to have an aquarium with a minimum size of 60 x 30 cm.

To get the fish nicely colored, it is important that there are enough hiding places in the aquarium so that they feel safe. The photos clearly show that these fish did not feel optimal, which is not surprising at such a busy fair. Their beautiful violet color was faded and the line almost black. A densely planted aquarium can contribute a lot to this. But also supplementing roots and dry leaves ensures the right living conditions. Dark and sandy substrate improves the colors of the fish even more.

The water must be very soft with a pH between 4.0 – 5.5 and the GH <3. The temperature may fluctuate between 24 – 28 ° C.


Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia - Lapis Lazuli Tetra met gerafelde vinnen
Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia – Lapis Lazuli Tetra met gerafelde vinnen

It is a calm fish, although the males can display very territorial behavior among themselves, which can lead to considerable fighting. This can be seen above in the photo by the major damage to the fins. But it is peacefull towards other species and can be kept well with fish of the same size. It is important to keep this fish in a large school, where 10 specimens are considered as a minimum. Only then do they show their natural behavior and their colors come out beautifully.


Unfortunately, the natural diet of this Hyphessobrycon species is unknown, but in the aquarium they can be fed with both dry food and occasional live food or even frozen food. Because of their small mouth, the flakes must be crushed and the frozen products finely chopped.

Breeding Hyphessobrycon cyanotaenia

To breed, it is known that early in the morning the male will seduce the female to lay her eggs, which he will then fertilize. Most eggs will sink to the bottom where they hatch within 3 days. The larvae swim freely in the aquarium within 48 hours. The parents do not show parental care, so there is a good chance that the youngsters will be consumed by fellow residents and even by the parents. It is therefore better to set a pair apart and remove them from the aquarium right after spawning. If everything is optimal, these beautiful fish can live to be 3 to 5 years old.



Margie van der Heijden – Ons Natuurgenot Gouda

Copyright images

Margie van der Heijden – Ons Natuurgenot Gouda

Additional information


Sub Family



Common names

Lapis Tetra


Breeding behaviour

Social Behaviour


Min. aquarium length in cm





Length minimum in cm


Length maximum in cm


Temperature minimum

Temperature maximum

pH minimum

pH maximum

GH minimum


GH maximum



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