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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Tetras > Lemon Tetra
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This page will give a completely detailed profile of the selected fish, from A to Z. The profiled fish will be chosen randomly by Badman, and will come from the complete genre of tropical fish. New profiles are added on a regular basis. If you would like to submit a profile for the site please contact me. Don't forget to let us know you experiences with this fish by filling out the

South America


lemon tetra

Hyphessobrycon Pulchripinnis


    Overlooked by many the Lemon tetra is a peaceful handsome schooling fish that should be considered for any community setup.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 2" (5cm)
    Tank: 24 inches
    Strata: Middle - top
    pH: 6.0 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 3-25
    Temperature: 72°F to 82°F (22-28°C)
    Order: Crpriniformes
    Suborder: Characoidei
    Family: Characidae
    Genera: Hyphessorbrycon

Common name

    Lemon Tetra

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Widespread throughout South America, But not found in great numbers.

General Body Form
    Typical for the Genus. Medium tall and very compressed. Grows too about two inches.

    The top of the eye is very Red. The end and edge of the Dorsal fin is Black. The back rays on the Anal fin are Black. The front ones are bright Yellow. The body is transparent with a slight Yellowish tinge. A Iridescent stripe extends laterally from the gill cover to the start of the Caudal fin.

    An Easily kept fish, the Lemon Tetra can be housed in almost any community aquarium. For best show the tank should be small to medium in size and contain from ten to fifty-five gallons of water. The water should be clear, soft to medium in hardness and with a pH on the acidic side. The temperature should be maintained between 72° and 79°. As with all fish a portion of the water should be changed monthly. Feeding is no problem as they will accept all flake food as well as any live food you can provide. The tank should have open areas for swimming as well as areas with dense vegetation for hiding. The Lemon tetras subtle colors can be enhanced through the use of a dark substrate


Lemon tetra fry
Lemon tetra fry, photo courtesy of Steve.

    The lemon Tetra is not one of the easiest Tetras to spawn. It seems that the females have trouble expelling the eggs and so several females should be combined with one male to increase the chance of success. Eggs are laid in fine leafed plants in the scattering method. The eggs hatch in about twenty-four hours and the mortality rate is fairly high. Once the young survive the first couple of days they prove to be very hardy. The parents give no care and will eat the eggs and young and so should be removed as quickly as possible after spawning.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Andrew Givens
Date: 10/22/2009
In a little shoal in a mixed community, lemons are beautiful, hardy and can be long-lived. I mixed mine with Rosy tetras and the fact that the two species regularly co-shoaled seemed to enhance their beauty still further. Two water changes per month of 30% at a time and a pH of 7 made them glow yellow all over. Fabulous, everyone with a community setup should try these!
From: Sam
Date: 10/2/2008
These are a hardy species and can be very colorful if you take good care of them. They are easy to spawn, a low pH and a water change usually does the trick, but they will eat their eggs so it is best to give them a separate breeding tank and return them to the main aquarium after spawning.
From: Charlie
Date: 1/2/2006
I have 6 lemon tetras in a 75litre tank. They live with 5 cory cats, Tank the Hoplo catfish and ten tiger barbs. They are always charging around with the tiger barbs. If there's a problem with the tank water, they turn a greyish colour and barely move at all, with their fins held tightly against their body, and will not eat. A water change usually fixes this. When they are fed, they gorge themselves for a minute, then will not eat any more, so best to keep some bottom feeders or scavengers with them to eat any uneaten food. One day one of the lemons got so excited during feeding that it launched itself right out of the tank and smashed into the lid! That didn't put it off its food one bit, they must be tough little buggers!

From: Colby
Date: 9/20/2004
I have kept lemon tetras for about 4 years. They seem to breed best at a temperature of 78 degrees fh. They love live brine shrimp and freeze dried bloodworms .I started off with 15 in a 33 gallon tank 4 years ago and they just started to multiply so I bought a 320 gallon and added another 15 and now I have around 150
From: Bruce
Date: 11/14/2001
I have a school of 6 in my twenty. Very entertaining becoming little piranha at feeding time. Great little fish.

From: Sean
Date: 04/04/2001
Lemons are great little fish. I have a group of 6 in a 20 gallon tank with other assorted tetras. They rule the place with their little displays and dances. I love these little fish and would recommend them to everyone.

From: Simon
Date: 05/21/2002
I have a group of three lemons in my 20 gallon along with four red-eyed tetras and assorted corydoras. The lemons are just awesome to watch, being much swifter and more maneuverable than the red-eyes. Their displays and dances are quite comical. They feed well and don't bother the other fish unduly. Highly recommended!

From: Ryan
Date: 09/25/2002
Great community fish have 5 in my 44. Very Active - like to school up with my Rosy Barbs - very interesting to watch





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