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Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri) School

Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri)

The Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri) is found in sluggish tributaries off the main river channels of the Rio Aripuanã and upper Rio Madeira basins, in Brazil and are known to tropical fish keeping enthusiasts as the Blue Emperor Tetra, Inpaichthys Tetra, Regal Emperor Tetra, or Royal Emperor Tetra.

They are a peaceful shoaling species that inhabit acidic, tannin stained waters in forested areas of their range and are often confused with the Emperor Tetra (Nematobrycon palmeri).   They are easily distinguished by the fact that Inpaichtys kerri possess an adipose fin, which Nematobrycon palmeri does not.

Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri) Female

Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri) Female

The Purple Emperor Tetra is colored a brilliant purple blue with a black to purplish line running from the mouth of fish to the base of the caudal fin. The translucent ventral, anal and caudal fins are tinged yellow and their dorsal fins are colored various shades of red. Both sexes possess an adipose fin and males are generally more brightly colored and less plump than females.

Females are much less colorful and have a stockier shaped body than males. They also have a predominantly red adipose fin, whereas the adipose fin in males is blue.

Purple Emperor Tetras are a peaceful species that can be housed in a single species biotope setup in small pods of 6 or more individuals, or with other small to medium sized species in a community tank environment. Other Tetras, Rasboras, Hatchetfish, Gourami, peaceful Barbs, small Cory cats and Ram Cichlids make good tank mates. Avoid any boisterous species like Barbs or Danios that would out compete them for food and territories.

They do best when housed in a densely planted aquarium with a dark sandy or fine gravel substrate, some bogwood or driftwood roots, a few floating plants to diffuse the lighting, and plenty of swimming areas with low to moderate water currents. Because their natural environment is in tannin colored slow moving jungle streams, a few handfuls of crushed Indian Almond Leaves is beneficial to the biotope. The darker substrate, dense vegetation and driftwood roots will bring out the brilliant blue and purple colors of the Purple Emperor Tetra and provide them with a sense of security.

Purple Emperor Tetras have been spawned in an aquarium environment but a separate breeding tank is needed if you plan to successfully raise a number of fry to adulthood.

The breeding tank should be dimly lit and contain a number fine leaved plants or several clumps of Java Moss for the fish to deposit their eggs on. Many successful breeders use a couple of spawning mops in a small tank or cover the bare bottom of the tank with a coarse mesh that is just large enough for the eggs to fall through, yet small enough so the parents cannot eat the eggs.

The water in the breeding tank should have a pH between 5.5 and 6.5, a water temperature between 75-82°F, and a hardness of gH 1-5. Fit the tank with a small seeded air powered sponge filter and either add crushed Indian Almond Leaves to the tank several weeks before introducing the fish to the tank or filter the water through peat.

When the water parameters are met, introduce a well conditioned group of 6 to 12 specimens of each sex to the tank. The fish can be conditioned by feeding them as much live mosquito larvae, mircoworms, Daphnia, or other small foods that they can eat.

Breeders also spawn Purple Emperor Tetras in pairs by conditioning them in segregated groups and placing them together only when the females are noticeably full of eggs and the males are displaying their best breeding colors. The best pair should be placed in the breeding tank in the evening. Spawning will usually take place the next morning.

Regardless of which method is used, the parents will eat the eggs when given the chance and should be removed as soon as eggs are detected. The eggs hatch in 24 to 48 hours and the fry are free swimming 3 to 4 days afterwards. Feed the fry infusoria until they can accept newly hatched baby brine shrimp or microworms.

Purple Emperor Tetras are omnivores and will readily accept live, frozen or freeze dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, Daphnia, mosquito larvae, and tubifex along with a staple diet of quality flake food. They should be fed as much as they can consume in a five minute period, two or three times a day in lieu of only one large feeding.

Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri)

Purple Emperor Tetra (Inpaichthys kerri) Male








Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Water Conditions: 76-82° F, dH 1=12, pH 5.5-7.0
Max. Size: 1½”
Color Form: Black, Purple
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Community
Origin: Brazil, South America
Family: Characidae
Lifespan: 6 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Experienced

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