Glassily transparent, the lemon tetra (hyphessobrycon pulchripinnis) could appear to be just a sunbeam flashing through your community tank if not for background elements like plants and driftwood. Another member of the large characin clan, the lemon tetra has a fairly elongated body like its smaller relative the neon tetra and like neons and other characins, the lemon tetra does best if kept in small schools of six to eight fish.
One of the most distinguishing features of the lemon tetra is their large eyes. The upper part of the lemon tetra’s eye is brilliant red, which is a sharp contrast to the yellow pastels it displays in its body colors. Actually, though, the lemon tetra is quite colorful on close inspection. Body coloring is a delicate pale yellow, flanks are silver, and the leading edge of the anal fin is shiny-bright-yellow and sharply divided from the other rays, which are black. In the male, the rest of the anal fin is broad and fringed in black, a characteristic that is missing in the plumper female. As many male characins do, the male lemon tetras also have tiny hooks on their anal fins. Both males and females have the tetras’ characteristic adipose fin, which is also pale yellow in color.
Although omnivorous and able to exist on a diet of flaked food, the pale yellow color of the lemon tetra displays best if the fish’s standard diet is well supplemented with live treats. The lemon tetra is an egg-scatterer. However, breeding can be tricky since females often have a problem expelling their eggs and after spawning, the lemon tetra like many others of its species, is quick to cannibalize its eggs if not removed from the breeding tank. However, eggs will hatch in about 24 hours after spawning. Fry should be fed a live diet and if they survive, they’ll be about two inches long as adults.
Linda is an author of AquariumGuides.com Hundreds of especially written articles about your aquarium fish and aquarium hobby.