Hyphessobrycon Sweglesi (Red Phantom Tetra)

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

Last updated on August 20th, 2022 at 07:18 pm

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi, also known as the Red Phantom Tetra, is one of the more popular species in the freshwater fish hobby. They are often kept by beginners due to their small size and hardiness, but they are also popular with more experienced aquarists who desire a peaceful schooling fish with some color and personality to it.

The Hyphessobrycon sweglesi is native to the Rio Uaupés River basin in Brazil, where it inhabits the black waters of the upper reaches of the river and its tributaries that are rich in organic matter.

A beautiful, peaceful fish with striking red coloration, the Hyphessobrycon sweglesi may be small, but it has all the personality of a much larger fish. A bold and inquisitive species, this tetra will explore every inch of its tank and its owner’s hand if given the chance! But don’t worry—this fish can also be quite shy, particularly in new surroundings or when first introduced to tank mates. So while you’ll definitely notice it, it won’t necessarily always take center stage in your tank!

A fish with an electric personality and bright colors, the Red Phantom Tetra makes an excellent choice for beginner aquarists and hobbyists alike. Though it can be somewhat territorial towards other Red Phantom Tetras, it will generally get along well with most community fish. In order to maintain the best health and coloring in your Red Phantom Tetra, you’ll need to take good care of it. Follow these tips on caring for your new pet in order to keep it happy and healthy!

Origin and descriptions

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

The Hyphessobrycon sweglesi originates from the Rio Apaporis in Brazil. They are commonly found in swamps, ponds, and streams throughout South America and have even been found swimming amongst leaf litter on the bottom of these bodies of water. Their habitats have an acidic pH with soft water that’s around 24–26°C (75–79°F). They can grow to be about 2 inches (5 cm) long and can live up to 5 years if properly cared for.

The Hyphessobrycon sweglesi is an undescribed species of fish that was named after its discoverer, Brazilian hobbyist Sweglio Braga. The Red Phantom Tetra is a uniquely colored tetra that has proven popular among aquarium enthusiasts worldwide for its unique red base color.

These distinctive markings make it easy to spot them in an aquarium, even when looking at a large population of these beautiful fish. When considering adding one or more Red Phantom Tetras to your own home aquarium, there are certain characteristics that you should take into account.

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These include their size, care level required, and swimming requirements as well as whether they can thrive in community tanks or only work well if kept alone or with their own kind. Let’s go over all of these things so you can get a better idea of what you will need to do before adding one or more Red Phantom Tetras to your home tank setup!

Species profile

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi, or Red Phantom Tetra is a peaceful schooling fish native to Argentina. It can be kept in most community tanks but is known for being aggressive with others of its own species. A school of these tetras will add a splash of bright red color to any tank!

Be sure to keep them in well-planted tanks, however, as they love plants and will spend their time darting around looking for new places to hide. In captivity, hyphessobrycon sweglesi grows to about 1.5 inches and prefers temperatures between 77–82°F (25–28°C). They are also easy to feed; commercial flake food and frozen foods such as bloodworms are an excellent choice for young tetras, whereas adults prefer live foods like brine shrimp nauplii or daphnia.


This fish originates from South America and is usually found in small rivers and streams. They prefer water that has a pH of around 6.5 to 7.5 and a temperature of around 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit (22-26 degrees Celsius). Additionally, they require plenty of plants, driftwood, or caves in which to hide; if none are available, silk or plastic plants work just as well!

Red phantom tetra size

They can grow to an average size of 3.8 – 5 cm (1.5 – 2 inches)

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi tank size

The minimum recommended tank size is 20 gallons (76 L)

Tank set up

The Red Phantom Tetra thrives in a well-planted aquarium with soft substrate, driftwood and plants. A biotope setup is especially recommended to keep these tetras happy. They should be kept in groups of at least five or more, as they are quite social fish and should not be kept alone.

A planted tank is ideal as it provides hiding places for new tetras when adding them to an existing tank. They enjoy swimming in schools, so make sure to buy more than one and keep multiple males per tank if you don’t want breeding behavior from your females. Maintain moderate water temperatures between 75-80°F, slightly acidic water (pH 6.5) with a hardness level of 2 dGH or less; pH below 7 will stunt their growth.

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To achieve acidic water, use peat filtration. Do not overfeed your red phantom tetras! Feeding a high quality diet is crucial for keeping your fish healthy. Frozen bloodworms, Daphnia and brine shrimp will keep them looking sharp!

Red phantom tetra tank mates

While they have been known to be moderately aggressive towards other species of tetras and small fish, they are very peaceful fish and can be kept with other tetras, especially tangerine dream or orange-finned tetras. They also do well in community tanks with similar-sized non-aggressive fish like corydoras or dwarf gouramis.

Some common tank mates are danios, corydoras, and small catfish. They can also be kept with other tetras such as tangerine dream or orange-finned tetras. Since they aren’t overly aggressive, they don’t need a very large aquarium – an ideal size would be at least 20 gallons of water to give them some room to swim around and for their tank mates to have adequate space too.

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi breeding

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi is an interesting species for most hobbyists, as it has become rare in recent years. They are considered to be one of, if not, the most difficult tetras to breed in captivity. They will spawn only at night and prefer a pH between 5.0 and 6.5 with a temperature range between 77-81°F. Keep these fish well fed during breeding!

The parents must have a plentiful supply of live foods in order to provide enough energy during egg production. Use live foods like blackworms, bloodworms, or daphnia. However, do not use feeder fish because they can transmit disease which may kill your precious red phantom tetras!

It is quite easy to breed. Hyphessobrycon sweglesi can be hard to come by, but it is possible to find a few specimens at local fish stores. If you are able to obtain just one male and two females, then you should have no trouble at all getting them to spawn. They will require some hiding places like rocks and wood to provide cover for when they lay their eggs, as well as some dense plants or marbles so that they can build bubble nests.

Since Hyphessobrycon sweglesi prefer cooler water temperatures, an ideal spawning temperature would be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius). Provide your fish with enough food that they do not need to be out of hiding in order to feed themselves. Once they have produced approximately 30-50 eggs, remove both parents to a breeding tank where they will soon die off from exhaustion.

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After about three days, once all of their fries are free swimming, add very clean water from your main tank into theirs until it reaches about 75% full. Leave the young behind for another week before transferring them back into their parent’s larger tank along with newly bought baby brine shrimp. Finally, begin feeding your new juveniles live foods such as daphnia as soon as possible!

Are red phantom tetra aggressive or peaceful?

The Red Phantom tetra is a peaceful fish and can be kept with most other fish. However, its coloration does make it stand out and could result in bullying from more aggressive species. As such, it is recommended that you keep at least five of these fish together in order to ensure that there are enough of them to outnumber any potential predators.

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi care

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

The Red Phantom Tetra is fairly easy to care for, though a few things should be kept in mind. These tetras are mid-level swimmers and will do best with some current provided by a filter or pump. It is also important to keep water quality high by performing frequent water changes, preferably on a weekly basis. The Red Phantom prefers soft, acidic water and can easily become ill in harder water that isn’t well maintained.

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi diet

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi are omnivores and can be fed commercial flake or pellet foods, along with live or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and daphnia. Be sure to maintain optimal water conditions for them. They prefer clear water with soft acidic water that is kept at around 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

They should be kept in groups of five or more. They may nibble on aquatic plants if available. You could also supplement their diet with cucumber slices as well as feeder guppies once in a while as treats, but it isn’t necessary.

Water parameters

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi

The ideal water pH should be 6.0–7.5, dH range of 5, a temperature of 24–27°C (75–81°F). The fish likes a cooler environment than many tetras but not to be kept in an unheated room; it also likes subdued lighting as well. For best results, use rainwater or make up water with reverse osmosis/deionized water. Keep container clean and free of algae build-up, which will give rise to health problems.

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Feed every two days with frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp. Freeze dried foods also work if you don’t have live food available or want to preserve live food for longer storage time.

Red phantom tetra lifespan

Their average lifespan is 3 – 5 years, even longer with good care.

Parasites and diseases

Hyphessobrycon sweglesi should be kept in a well-maintained aquarium. The most common disease that afflicts these fish is Ich, or white spot disease. This disease occurs when smaller parasites are present on your fish’s body surface and attack any injured areas on their host. It is recommended to treat with proper veterinary meds as soon as you notice Ich.

Your local pet store can assist you in determining what type of treatment will work best for your circumstances. As far as parasitic infestations go, Cryptocaryon irritans, or marine ich parasite, is often found on Red Phantom Tetras.


Hyphessobrycon sweglesi is a relatively small fish, and it should not be kept with much larger species. It has been known to school with other Hyphessobrycon sweglesi, but as a more delicate fish, you may need to provide it shelter from more aggressive tank mates. It can be housed in an aquarium with peaceful South American tetras or White Cloud Mountain minnows.

However, Hyphessobrycon sweglesi should not be housed with bottom-dwelling fish like Corydoras paleatus. Some other predators are piranhas, large characins, medium cichlids like Apistogramma borelli, Silver Dollars (Metynnis sp.), Spiny eels (Mastacembelus), large gouramis (Trichogaster leeri), Angelfish (Pterophyllum scalare), Rainbowfishs, Terapon jarbua, and others.

Do Hyphessobrycon sweglesi make good pets?

With their beautiful coloration and relative ease of care, you may be wondering if Red Phantoms make good pets. On one hand, these fish are great for beginner aquarists, but they also have specific needs that some newbies might not be prepared to meet. So whether you’re thinking about adopting a few or even just one of these fish into your home, it’s a good idea to have all your questions answered before you say I do.