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Beginner's Guide to Amapa Tetras: Setting Up and Maintaining Your Aquarium


Amapa Tetras, scientifically known as Hyphessobrycon amapaensis, are captivating freshwater fish originating from the slow-moving rivers and streams of Brazil's Amapa region. Their vibrant colors, unique color forms, and peaceful demeanor make them a popular choice among aquarium enthusiasts in New Zealand. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about Amapa Tetras, from their natural habitat and care requirements to tips on creating an optimal aquarium environment in New Zealand that mimics their native conditions.

Natural Habitat and Origins of Amapa Tetras

Amapa Tetras hail from the warm, nutrient-rich waters of the Amapa region in northern Brazil, where they thrive in densely vegetated, slow-moving streams and rivers. These habitats are characterized by soft, slightly acidic water with a pH range of 5.5 to 7.0 and temperatures typically between 22-28°C (72-82°F). The fish in these environments benefit from the shelter provided by submerged vegetation and driftwood, creating a peaceful and secure habitat for their schooling behavior.

Ideal Aquarium Setup for Amapa Tetras

Creating a conducive environment for Amapa Tetras in your New Zealand aquarium is crucial for their health and well-being. Here's a detailed look at what you'll need:

Tank Size and Water Parameters

Amapa Tetras are schooling fish that thrive in groups of 6-8 individuals, requiring a minimum tank size of 60 liters (15 gallons) to provide ample swimming space. Maintaining stable water conditions is essential:

  • Temperature: Keep the water temperature between 22-28°C (72-82°F), replicating their native tropical climate.
  • Water Quality: Aim for soft to moderately hard water (1-12 dGH) with a pH level ranging from 5.5 to 7.0. Regular monitoring and adjustments with appropriate conditioners will ensure optimal conditions.

Amapa Tetra Freshwater Tropical Fish

Substrate and Aquascape

To mimic their natural habitat, opt for a dark, sandy substrate that resembles the riverbeds of Brazil. Adding driftwood, smooth rocks, and live plants such as Java Fern and Amazon Sword not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also provides hiding spots and surfaces for algae growth—a natural part of their diet. Ensure all decorations are fish-safe and free from sharp edges to prevent injuries.

Filtration and Aeration

A gentle filtration system, along with adequate water movement and oxygenation, is ideal for Amapa Tetras. Consider using an air pump to maintain oxygen levels, especially in heavily planted tanks where oxygen demand can fluctuate.

Feeding Amapa Tetras

Amapa Tetras are omnivorous, enjoying a varied diet that replicates their natural feeding habits:

  • Primary Diet: Offer high-quality flake food and micro pellets as their staple diet.
  • Supplementary Foods: Include frozen or live foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms to provide essential nutrients and promote vibrant coloration.

A varied diet not only keeps them healthy but also enhances their natural colors and vitality.

Breeding Amapa Tetras

Breeding Amapa Tetras in captivity can be a rewarding endeavor. Here are key considerations for successful breeding:

  1. Breeding Tank Setup: Use a separate tank with soft, slightly acidic water and ample hiding places.
  2. Conditioning: Feed the breeding pair high-quality live foods to enhance reproductive readiness.
  3. Spawning Behavior: Amapa Tetras are egg scatterers; provide a spawning mop or fine-leaved plants where they can deposit their adhesive eggs.
  4. Fry Care: Once eggs are laid, remove the adult fish to prevent them from consuming the eggs or fry. Feed the fry with infusoria or liquid fry food until they are large enough to accept crushed flakes or baby brine shrimp.

Tank Mates for Amapa Tetras

Amapa Tetras are peaceful fish that coexist well with other small, non-aggressive species in community aquariums. Suitable tank mates include:

  • Neon Tetras (Paracheirodon innesi): Another popular and peaceful tetra species that complements the vibrant colors of Amapa Tetras.
  • Corydoras Catfish (Corydoras spp.): Bottom-dwelling fish that help keep the substrate clean and add diversity to the aquarium.
  • Rasboras (Boraras spp.): Small, schooling fish that thrive in similar water conditions and add movement to the lower levels of the tank.
  • Small Gouramis (Trichogaster spp.): Peaceful labyrinth fish that occupy the upper levels of the tank, providing contrast in behavior and color.

Avoid keeping Amapa Tetras with aggressive or large species that may intimidate or outcompete them for food.

Common Health Issues and Prevention

While generally hardy, Amapa Tetras are susceptible to common aquarium diseases like Ich and fin rot. To maintain their health:

  • Quarantine New Fish: Introduce new fish to a quarantine tank before adding them to your main aquarium.
  • Monitor Water Quality: Regularly test water parameters and perform routine maintenance to prevent stress-related illnesses.

Interesting Facts about Amapa Tetras

  • Color and Shape: Amapa Tetras display striking color variations ranging from shimmering gold and fiery reds to subtle blues and greens. Their slender, torpedo-shaped bodies are accentuated by a distinctive black lateral line running from gill to tail, adding to their allure in a well-lit aquarium.
  • Social Behavior: Amapa Tetras are social fish that thrive in schools, exhibiting fascinating schooling behaviors that add liveliness to any aquarium.


Amapa Tetras are not just fish; they are living jewels from the heart of Brazil's Amapa region, bringing color and tranquility to New Zealand aquariums. By providing a well-structured habitat that mirrors their natural environment and attending to their specific care needs, you'll ensure these delightful fish thrive and flourish in your care.

Keywords: Amapa Tetras, Hyphessobrycon amapaensis, New Zealand aquarium, freshwater fish care, tropical fish, aquarium setup, breeding Amapa Tetras, fish health, tank mates for Amapa Tetras.

Join the Conversation

Are you ready to add a splash of Brazilian beauty to your New Zealand aquarium with Amapa Tetras? Share your experiences and questions in the comments below! For more expert tips and updates on aquatic life, subscribe to our newsletter and connect with us on social media.

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