Hyphessobrycon eques – Juwel Tetra

Hyphessobrycon eques or Juwel Tetra is a small characin with an attractive red colour, black and red fins and a black blotch on its side. They are schooling fish so keep them in a school of 6 or more.

Hyphessobrycon eques – Juwel Tetra

Hyphessobrycon eques is part of the Characid family (Characidae) and is readily available in almost all local fish stores, albeit not under this name. It is often offered under its synonyms Hyphessobrycon serpae, Hyphessobrycon callistus and of course by its common name Juwel Tetra. Hyphessobrycon eques can reach a maximum total length of around 4,5 centimeters.

Distribution and habitat

The distribution area of the Hyphessobrycon eques is very large and extends from the Rio Parana in the southern part of Paraguay to the Orinoco drainage in Venezuela and covers almost the entire Amazon river. The habitat consists of the major rivers to small streams and flood plains. As a result, there are also many different living conditions in which this species occurs from clear water with many plants to black water with lots of wood and leaves.

Behavior and compatibility

Hyphessobrycon eques is a species that is best kept in groups of a minimum of 6 to a maximum of 12. They usually swim between 5  to 20 centimeters above the bottom and are often frolicking and fighting among themselves. As a result, there will always be one or more fishes with tore fins and other species are not always safe, but usually it won’t get any worse then that. When they are being fed, they can act like a school of small piranhas, dashing at the food.

Because this species has a very large distribution area it can be kept together with subtropical as well as tropical species although this species will be very active in a tropical tank. Slow eaters and species that appreciate more calm companions are not suitable to combine with Hyphessobrycon eques.


Because of the mutual frolicking / fighting for dominance and their active eating behavior, I recommend a minimum aquarium length 100 centimeters. Decorate the aquarium with lots of plants and wood, breaking the sight lines. Water parameters are not that important as this is a very hardy species capable of coping with a wide range of water conditions.


In the wild this species is omnivorous and eats anything from small insects and fry to algae and fruit that has fallen into the water. In the aquarium it will readily eat anything you feed it. Just provide a variety of foods like flakes, frozen or living foods to keep them healthy.

Sexing and breeding the Juwel Tetra

Sexing the Hyphessobrycon eques is not very difficult. Adult females are somewhat larger and somewhat rounder / thicker. Breeding will not be very successful in a community aquarium as they will eat their own eggs and fry. Fry only have a slim chance to survive if you provide lots of cover.

If you want to breed Hyphessobrycon eques and want to raise any significant number of fry you will have to use a separate breeding tank. Put a layer of marbles or artificial grass on the bottom or use lots of fine plants. When the parents lay the eggs, they will fall between the marbles, eggs or fine plants so the parents won’t be able to eat them right away. The breeding tank should have some dimmed lighting and the water must be soft and slightly acidic.

Add a pair or group, well fed adult fish. Remove them after spawning (possibly even the next morning). You will have to remove them after 3 days at most as the eggs are very small and can easily be missed. As soon as you see small fry swimming you can start feeding them with freshly hatched brine shrimp and powder fry food. The fastest way to grow them a bit faster is provide plenty of brine shrimp for the first few weeks.



jos Rollman

Copyright images

Peter Maguire

Additional information





Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour





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