Silvertip tetra Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: October 30, 2022

Silvertip tetras are a schooling fish that are native to South America. They’re a peaceful fish that make a great addition to any community tank.

They’re also one of the few tetras that can tolerate slightly brackish water conditions.

Silvertip tetras are a relatively easy fish to care for and make a great choice for beginner aquarists. In this care guide, we’ll go over everything you need to know about keeping silvertip tetras in your aquarium.

Species overview

Silvertip tetras (Hasemania nana) are a small species of freshwater fish that are found in South America. They are most commonly found in the Orinoco River basin in Venezuela, Colombia, and Peru.

This fish prefers slow-moving waters that are heavily planted with a lot of vegetation. They are a peaceful species that does well with other peaceful fish.

The main draw of the silvertip tetra is its bright silver color with black tips on its fins. This makes it a popular choice for freshwater aquariums.


Silvertip tetra

The Silvertip tetra is a freshwater fish that’s instantly recognizable due to their unique coloration. The majority of their body is a bright silver. This color gradually gets darker as it moves from their belly up to their back.

The fins on this species are what really makes them stand out in a crowd. All of the fins (dorsal, caudal, anal, and pectoral) are tipped in black. This black “silvertip” is what gives them their name.

The dorsal and caudal fins are long and elegant. The anal fin is a bit shorter but still extends back a fair way. The pectoral fins are fairly small in comparison to the others.

Silvertip tetras have a long and thin body shape that tapers off at the end. This gives them a sleek and hydrodynamic appearance that allows them to swim quite quickly.


In the wild, silvertip tetras have a lifespan of around 5 years. However, in captivity, they can live up to 10 years with proper care.

The main factor that contributes to their longevity in captivity is the level of care they receive. If they are well-fed and live in clean water with little stress, they can easily live twice as long as they would in the wild.


The Silvertip Tetra can grow up to 3 inches (8 cm) long.


Tank Size

The silvertip tetra is a small fish that only grows to be about 1.5 inches in length. Because of this, they can be kept in a relatively small tank. The minimum recommended tank size for a silvertip tetra is 10 gallons.

However, we recommend going with a 20 gallon tank if you can. This will give you a little bit more flexibility when it comes to adding tank mates and it will also provide your fish with more swimming space.

Water Parameters

The silvertip tetra (Hasemania nana) is a freshwater fish that’s native to the Rio Negro in South America. In the wild, they inhabit slow-moving waters with plenty of cover in the form of plants and driftwood.

This is a peaceful fish that’s well suited for the community aquarium. They’re not fussy when it comes to water conditions, but there are a few things you should keep in mind to ensure their long-term health.

  • Water temperature: 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.8 to 7.2
  • Water hardness: 2 to 12 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4-8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

As we briefly touched on before, these fish come from South America. This means they’re used to living in blackwater habitats.

Blackwater is created when leaves and other organic matter decompose in water. This process tints the water a dark brown color and makes it very acidic.

You can recreate this in your home aquarium by using a few different methods. The most common way is to soak driftwood in water for a few weeks (changing the water every few days).

You can also add leaves to your aquarium (oak or beech work well). Just make sure you remove them before they start to decompose.

If you want to take things a step further, you can even use blackwater extract. This is a concentrated form of blackwater that you can find online or at your local fish store.

The substrate in their tank should be dark as well. This will help recreate the look of their natural habitat.

When it comes to plants, you have a few different options. Real plants can be used, but they might not do well in an acidic environment.

If you want to go the artificial route, then we recommend getting plants that are made from dark-colored materials. This will help them blend in with the substrate and give the inside of their tank a more natural look.

Common Diseases

Silvertip tetras are a pretty hardy fish, so they don’t get sick too often. That being said, there are still a few diseases that you need to look out for.

The most common one is ich. This is a disease caused by a parasite that can affect any freshwater fish. It’s most commonly seen as white spots on the body of the fish.

If you see this, it’s important to take action immediately. Ich can spread quickly and kill your fish if it’s left untreated.

The other disease that you need to be aware of is hole-in-the-head disease. This is another disease that can affect any freshwater fish, but it’s especially common in silvertip tetras.

This disease is caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in the tank. It will present itself as one or two pits/holes in the head of your fish.

While it’s almost always curable, it will usually leave some scarring on your poor fish!

Behavior & Temperament

The Silvertip tetra is a schooling fish, which means it does best when kept in groups of 5 or more. They are very peaceful fish and get along well with other community fish.

The Silvertip tetra is an active swimmer and does best in a tank with plenty of hiding places and plants. They are not fin nippers and are not known to bother other fish.

The Silvertip tetra is a mid-level swimmer and is often seen near the middle or top of the tank. They are not a bottom-dwelling fish.

Tank Mates

The Silvertip Tetra is a schooling fish, so it does best when kept in groups of 6 or more. In terms of compatibility, there are a few things to consider.

First, these fish come from South America. As a result, they prefer warm water. You’ll need to provide a heater to keep the water temperature in the 74-82 degree Fahrenheit range.

Secondly, Silvertip Tetras are peaceful fish. They’re not aggressive and get along with most species.

Finally, these fish are mid-dwellers. They occupy the middle of the water column and don’t venture to the top or bottom very often.

With these factors in mind, here are some compatible Silvertip Tetra tank mates:

  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Rummy Nose Tetras
  • Black Skirt Tetras


The silvertip tetra is a beautiful freshwater fish that is popular in the aquarium trade. They are easy to care for and make a great addition to any community tank.

While they are not the easiest fish to breed in captivity, it is possible with a little patience and knowledge.

The first step is to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 20 gallons and should have a sponge filter. The water should be well-oxygenated and have a temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

You will also need to add some plants to the breeding tank. Silvertip tetras lay their eggs on plant leaves, so having plenty of live plants is essential. Java moss is a good option.

The next step is to sex the fish. Males are smaller than females and have longer fins. Once you have determined the sexes of your fish, you will need to add two females for every male.

It is also a good idea to add more plants to the tank at this time. Silvertip tetras are known to eat their eggs, so the more plants you have, the better.

When the fish are ready to spawn, the females will lay their eggs on the plants. The males will then fertilize them.

Once the eggs have been fertilized, the parents should be removed from the tank. The eggs will hatch in 24 to 48 hours.

The fry will be very small and will need to be fed infusoria or baby brine shrimp. They should be fed several times a day. As they grow, you can start to introduce them to flakes or pellets.


The Silvertip Tetra is a great fish for both beginners and experienced fishkeepers alike. They’re easy to care for and can add a splash of color to any tank.

If you’re looking for a peaceful and low-maintenance fish, the Silvertip Tetra is a great choice.

We hope this guide has been helpful and that you’ll consider adding a few of these fish to your tank. As always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions!