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Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)

Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)

The Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni) is found in the clear waters of the Paraguay river basin in South America, and  is known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Redflank Bloodfin or Rathbun’s Bloodfin tetra.   In addition to being found in the Paraguay river basin, it is also endemic to the Paraná and Uruguay river drainages in Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Uruguay.   In their natural habitat they prefer slower moving rivers, streams and tributaries that are shaded by overhanging or floating vegetation.

Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)

Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)

The Green Fire Tetra is a slender, almost spindle shaped species with a translucent, metallic light green body color, and a metallic yellow streak followed by a splash of red on the pelvic and caudal fins.

They have a black patch on the dorsal fin and a red, to orange underbelly.   Males have white tips on their anal, pelvic, and dorsal fins which the females of the species lack.   And, females generally have a more rounded abdomen than males.

The Green Fire Tetra is a popular peaceful shoaling species that is perfect for planted aquariums and peaceful community tanks.   They should be kept in groups of at least 15 or more in a densely planted tank of at least 15 gallon capacity, with a sandy or fine gravel substrate, some driftwood or roots for them to hide among, some river rock and plenty of free swimming space.

They need a constant temperature, a slightly acidic pH and although lighting is not a critical factor, they do best in low light conditions.   Some floating plants and tall background plants are perfect for bringing out their beautiful brilliant green colors.

Green Fire Tetras are somewhat difficult to breed but will often spawn in a dimly lit, densely planted aquarium, especially when thin leaved and floating plants are present, and a large number of individuals are housed together.

They are egg layers that spawn during daylight hours (usually at daybreak) and produce a relatively small number of eggs that generally hatch within three days of the spawning.   The fry are tiny and free swimming 5 to 6 days after hatching at which time they can be fed infusoria or newly hatched baby brine shrimp until they are able to eat adult foods.

To increase the amount of fry that reach maturity, use a breeding tank that makes it easier to remove the adults after spawning and prevent them from eating their offspring.

Green Fire Tetras are easy to feed and will eat fresh, frozen, or freeze dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, tubifex, micro pellets, Daphnia in addition to a quality flake food.

When available, Green Fire Tetras are usually moderately priced and between 3/4″ to 1-1/4″ in length.

Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)

Green Fire Tetra (Aphyocharax rathbuni)







Minimum Tank Size: 15 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 72-80° F, KH 4-8, pH 6.6-7.0
Size: 2”
Color Form: Green, Orange, Yellow
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Great in community tanks
Origin: Paraguay river basin
Family: Characidae
Lifespan: 3-6 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

Posted in Featured Articles, Freshwater Fish, Tetras, Tropical Fish SpeciesComments (1)

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