Freshwater Fish

Buenos Aires Tetra (Hyphessobrycon anisitsi): Aquarium Care Guide

The Buenos Aires Tetra is a wonderful beginner-friendly freshwater fish. This species is quite active (which makes them fun to watch), easy to care for, and quite pretty too!

But just because these fish are relatively low maintenance, doesn’t mean you can get away with an inferior understanding of their care requirements. This is a trap many owners with “easy” fish fall into, and it always backfires.

This guide will teach you the basics of good Tetra Buenos Aires care. You’ll be fully prepared to own it by the time you finish reading it!

Species Summary

Feisty and energetic, the Buenos Aires Tetra (scientific name: Hyphessobrycon anisitsi) is a freshwater species that will add a lot of life to your aquarium.

Generally undemanding and easy to care for, these fish are perfect for new and experienced aquarists looking to add some color to their tank.

The Tetra Buenos Aires is originally from Argentina. It can be found in the Río de la Plata and its various rivers, lakes and streams that connect it. Originally discovered in 1907, this colorful freshwater fish has been a huge part of the aquarium trade for more than six decades.

While their popularity is undeniable, they are disliked by some aquarists due to some unique behavioral quirks (more on this later). However, you can easily fix those problems and enjoy all that Tetra Buenos Aires has to offer.

Life expectancy

On average, the useful life of a Buenos Aires Tetra is three to five years.

To help your fish reach the upper limits of that lifespan range, you need to provide optimal care on a consistent basis.

Like any other species of fish, these tetras can experience stress and illness due to unsuitable living conditions. When kept in a poorly maintained tank, these fish will have a much shorter life expectancy.


Tetras Buenos Aires have a similar shape to other types of tetras. However, their coloration is what sets them apart.

The body is predominantly silver. However, a thin blue stripe extends from behind the gill plate to the caudal fin. Under the right lighting conditions, this line will glow a spectrum of different colors.

At the base of the tail fin, you will notice a distinctive black diamond-shaped mark. It extends to the fork of the caudal fin and usually stretches out to meet that blue midline.

The caudal, pectoral and anal fins take on a reddish orange hue. Meanwhile, the dorsal fin is typically transparent. You may see a black or red streak on some specimens.

Author’s Note: In general, males are more vividly colored than females. However, the female Buenos Aires Tetra is usually slightly larger and has a broader overall shape.

Average size

These are one of the largest species of the Tetra family. When fully grown, the average size of the Buenos Aries Tetra is around 2.8 inches long.

If you want to maximize their size and growth, it’s important to buy them from a respected seller and keep them in tip-top condition throughout their youth. This has the added benefit of providing more color to your tank!

Tetra Buenos Aires Care

Buenos Aries Tetra care is a very easy process (no matter how experienced you are). They adapt well to life in captivity and are not bothered by minor fluctuations in their environment.

However, you still need to be vigilant about taking care of your basic needs. These fish can be a challenge if you don’t create the right environment for their lifestyle.

Here are some important care guidelines to follow:

tank size

The appropriate tank size for these fish will depend on how many you intend to keep in your aquarium.

Some aquarists have had success keeping a handful of Buenos Aires Tetras in small 10-gallon tanks. However, we recommend keeping them in an aquarium that can hold at least 30 gallons.

This is why:

These are active schooling fish that need ample room to swim and explore. Keeping them in a cramped tank will only exacerbate behavior problems and make it more difficult to maintain good water conditions.

Author’s Note: If you want to keep Buenos Aires Tetras as part of a multi-species community tank, you’ll need to get an even larger aquarium. Take into account the tank size needs of the other species in your tank and add to the starting point of 30 gallons to arrive at your ideal number.

water parameters

The best way to keep your Buenos Aires Tetras in good condition is to replicate the warm, mild water conditions of their natural habitat in Argentina.

Fortunately, this is fairly easy to do in most aquariums. This species can tolerate a fairly wide range of temperatures. As a result, they can thrive in both heated and unheated aquariums (which makes them a good cold water fish).

Stick to the following water parameters and your fish should do just fine:

  • Water temperature: Between 64°F and 82°F (aim for the middle of this range)
  • pH levels: 5.5 to 8.5 (neutral pH is best)
  • Water hardness: 12 to 35 dGH

Although Buenos Aires Tetras are hardy and tolerant when it comes to water parameters, it is important to regularly test the water. Get a reliable test kit and check your tank conditions once a week (once you’re established) to make sure you’re not caught off guard by any subtle changes.

What to put in your tank

This is where things can get a bit complicated for some aquarists. Buenos Aires Tetras are not very picky about the types of decorations you put in their environment.

However, they have a reputation for breaking plants!

The choice for many fish enthusiasts is to create a planted tank due to the water and aesthetic benefits they provide.

But that is not the best option for these fish. They will devour pretty much any plant they can get their hands on. Some specimens will not harm Java Fern, but there are no guarantees!

This means that if you want plants in the habitat, you will need to use artificial plants.

On the plus side, you can be as creative as you want with everything else. Choose gravel or sand as a substrate. Then implement driftwood, rocks, caves, or even plastic decorations.

The Buenos Aires Tetras won’t mind either way!

Beyond the decorations, it is important to use a powerful filtration system. Buenos Aires tetras are sensitive to ammonia, nitrates and phosphates. So you’ll need a filtration system that can keep those levels undetectable.

Author’s Note: It’s a good idea to get a secure lid. These fish are fully capable of jumping out of the water and onto the ground!

Possible common diseases

You don’t have to worry about any special illness with your Buenos Aires Tetras. However, you will need to be on the lookout for common health problems.

These fish are susceptible to Ich, skin flukes, parasitic infestations, and bacterial diseases.

In most cases, you can avoid all of these ailments by keeping your tank in good shape. Fish become more susceptible to disease when they experience stress from poor water conditions.

Because Buenos Aires Tetras are so sensitive to ammonia and nitrate problems, frequent water changes are a good idea. You should replace up to 50 percent of the water every two weeks to keep conditions in top shape.

This is one of those practices that is easy to skip. But remember, it is one of the most effective ways to keep your fish healthy!

Food and Diet

Tetras in Buenos Aires are more than eager to eat anything you give them!

These fish are natural omnivores. In the wild, their diet consists mainly of plants, insects, and crustaceans.

A varied diet is best in captivity if you want to keep them as healthy as possible. You can provide a standard dry flake or pellet food as the primary source of nutrients.

However, they should also be given protein-rich snacks and green leafy vegetables on a regular basis.

These fish love vegetables like lettuce and spinach. They also enjoy live, frozen or freeze-dried snacks. You can provide bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp.

Author’s Note: It is best to feed these fish three small meals a day. Provide only enough food for them to eat in about three minutes during each feeding.

behavior and temperament

This species does well in community tanks. However, they must stay in groups of at least six fish.

When kept alone, they are more likely to be aggressive towards smaller fish.

Buenos Aires Tetras can harass more vulnerable tankmates, so keep an eye on their behavior. They are also known to nibble on long-finned fish, such as bettas and angelfish.

In a group these fish are quite active and often spend their days running around the entire tank. You may also see them playing on the plants. As mentioned above, they will occasionally eat live plants. Stick with the artificial plants to avoid any problems.

Good Aries Tank Mates

Beyond other fish of the same species, the best Tetra Buenos Aires tank mates are going to be larger or similar sized fish. They should not be kept with smaller fish that may be intimidating. The same goes for slow-moving fish with long fins.

They do well with other large tetras. Many aquarists even use them as dither fish to help non-aggressive cichlids feel a bit more relaxed in the environment!

If you want to create a multi-species tank, here are some good tank mates for the Buenos Aires Tetra:

  • congo tetra
  • apistogram
  • Bolivian ram cichlid
  • Tetra Black Skirt
  • Danios (try the Celestial Pearl)
  • emperor tetra
  • Rainbow Fish
  • Picks (we love cherry picks)
  • dwarf gourami
  • german blue ram

Author’s Note: If you have enough space in your tank, you can also keep Buenos Aires tetras with various types of snails and freshwater shrimp. To play it safe, get ones that are a little big.


Buenos Aires tetras are one of the easiest fish species to breed. They are prolific egg scatterers that can lay up to 2,000 eggs at a time!

If you’re looking to breed these fish, it’s best to create a separate breeding tank with slightly acidic water. This will minimize threats from other fish in a community tank. Use a sponge filter to keep baby fish safe, and add plenty of sturdy plants for the eggs to attach to.

You can spawn the fish in pairs or groups. After adding the fish to the tank, condition them with high-quality live food. The females will swell with eggs.

Usually these fish spawn at dawn. When they do, they will lay their eggs on the plants.

Remove adult fish after they have spawned. Buenos Aires Tetras do not exhibit any parental instincts and will eat the babies when they hatch.

Make sure you act fast! The eggs only take about 24 hours to hatch. The babies will live out of their egg sac for about four days before they are free swimming. You can then provide infusoria, spirulina powder, or brine shrimp.

final thoughts

Buenos Aires Tetras are fantastic pets that anyone can have. It doesn’t matter if you are a total beginner or a seasoned aquarist, you will enjoy having this species in your home tank.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide and have decided to consider getting this fish. We honestly can’t recommend them highly enough!

If there is any topic that we do not cover in this guide, we are always happy to help you. Simply submit your question via our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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