Candy Cane Tetra: Care, Food, Size, Aggression & Tank Mates

The candy cane Tetra is an aquatic fish that is tropical and freshwater. This kind of tetra fish is typically commercially tank-bred.

Being peaceful fish they can be adapted to a community tank with non-aggressive fish. Candy cane tetras are a great choice for intermediate and beginner tropical fish keepers.

Candy cane Tetras are a well-known fish due to their beautiful pink-salmon body that makes it look stunning in an aquarium with an aquascape or planted tank.

Candy Cane Tetra Facts & Overview

Care LevelEasy-Moderate
ColourThe transparent body of salmon and dark red fins. pelvic and dorsal fins white-tipped
Size2-3 inches
Scientific NameHyphessobrycon bentosi
Minimum Tank Size15 gallons
Tank SetupFreshwater and plants, caves, woodwork and river sand substrate dimly illuminated
CompatibilityPeaceful, shoaling species

The tributaries and lakes that are home to candy cane tetras are heavily cultivated. Candy cane tetras appreciate the shade that the forest canopy offers.

A member of the Characidae family, the candy cane tetras are closely related to the rosy Tetras. Both have a pinkish salmon hue. Due to this, the candy cane tetra is often called the false rose Tetra.

The other names of the candy cane Tetra comprise bentos tetra, ornate, white tip tetra, white fin bentosi, bentosi tetra, white fin ornate tetra and HY511.


Tetras of candy cane were found within the Amazon basin in South America in 1908.

The candy cane Tetra (Hyphessobrycon bentosi) is indigenous to the slow-moving tributaries as well as flooding lakes that form part of the Amazon river in Brazil and Peru. The water in these streams, lakes, and smaller rivers are clear and full of tannins and natural acids, which give them a dark brown or black hue.

In their natural habitats, schools of 50 and more candy cane tetras are together. Candy cane tetras consume tiny invertebrates as well as plankton.

The candy cane population of Tetra is steady and extensive. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) places these fish as being on the list of Least Concern. There are no threats to candy cane tetras.

Adult Size & Lifespan

In their natural environment, the candy cane tetras reach three inches in length. In captivity, they can reach 2 inches when they are mature.

The lifespan of the candy cane tetra ranges between three and five years.


Since candy cane tetras are an extremely popular tropical fish, they are available in a majority of pet fish shops. In most cases, these fish aren’t in supply.

At present, these online stores are stocking Candy Cane Tetra

A candy cane tetra costs between $5.99-$8.99 While a school of six costs $23.00-$54.00.

Appearance & Behaviour

Candy cane Tetra is a deep body similar to the bleeding heart tetra. They are transparent pink, rosy or salmon-coloured. The body of the fish is silvery-pink due to its almost transparent shape.

The fins of a candy cane Tetra have a dark, red colour. The pelvic and dorsal fin extensions are covered in white. The eyes of the candy-cane tetra are adorned with a black line that runs across their eyes, and they have an orange arc that covers the top portion of the pupils.

The candy cane tetras sport a lighter grey shoulder patch. This patch is grey and differentiates this tetra species from the rosy Tetra counterpart.

The rosy tetra has the body of a pink rosy colour however its body is much more transparent. They also have dark red marks on their fins, however, they do not have white tips. The rosy tetra sports the black flag that is on the dorsal fin’s extension.

Candy cane tetras exhibit sexual dimorphism. That is, they are distinguished by male and female characteristics.

Tetras with males named candy cane have larger dorsal and pelvic fins than their female counterparts. Candy cane male tetras also appear larger and brighter pink, especially as the time for spawning is near. Females tend to be duller in colour and chubbier particularly when they are gravid (pregnant as well as carrying eggs).

Tetras of male candy canes are a bit larger than females, as well as their pelvic and dorsal fins are larger.

Typical Behaviour

In the wild Candy Cane Tetras can be often found in large groups which is why keeping a group of fish can help reduce the behaviour issues. They are calm and would prefer a peaceful environment.

Candy cane tetras experience stress when bigger, more aggressive fish species are in their tanks. They may be prone to fin or nip. This tetra is much more likely if an aquarium gets overcrowded. They are easily scared by abrupt movements or loud noises.

Candy cane tetra fish pose no threat to shrimps, snails, or crabs. They can be a part of a tank that is shared with the creatures. Slow swimmers and eating fish don’t make ideal tank companions as they are aggressive when it comes to food.

In the aquarium Candy cane, Tetras reside in the upper and mid-levels. They prefer to be hidden in caves or within the plants. They can be found swimming and eating in the lower and mid areas of the aquarium. They sleep at night, or when the lighting in the aquarium is dark. They eat frequently during the day.

Candy Cane Tetra Care

The care for the candy-cane Tetra is not difficult. The fish is moderately tough. While candy cane tetras can be suggested for those who are intermediate in their fish-loving, anyone with little knowledge can take care of a tetra from the candy cane.

It is important to ensure that the candy-cane tetras reside in well-maintained water. They don’t like fluctuations in the water of your aquarium.

The ideal habitat for Candy Cane Tetras is slow-moving clean, dark water that is dotted with roots, plants, and branches. The aquarium you choose should mirror this. A dim light, clean water and aquascaping using floating plants and driftwood will make your candy Tetra fish feel right at home.

Candy cane Tetras are Omnivores. They eat flake foods pellets, tablets or tablets. live food like shrimp, worms and worms. They also eat small algae, fish and even live plants.

Although candy cane tetras can be resistant to disease, the bacteria that live within the tank could cause diseases like skin flukes, dropsy parasites bacterial infections and ich.


Candy cane tetras are resistant to illness. The disease is likely to affect only one or two fish if you address it in the early stages.

Avoid the spread of diseases to your candy cane tetras by making sure that your fish are living in a habitat that is similar to the natural environment they inhabit. A balanced diet can contribute to the well-being that your fish enjoys. Fish that are happy are healthy While stress-stricken fish will be more likely to be infected.

The disease can be easily transferred to your aquarium if you place it in a plant or decorations, fish or a substrate that holds bacteria. It is recommended to clean everything prior to placing it in a well-established tank to ensure that everything is in order.

Like other tetras, candy cane tetras are susceptible to certain diseases and stress symptoms. This includes:

Skin flukes

There will be nodules of red or black under the skin of your fish. Fish will get up and down the tank, and they will attempt to rub their bodies on the walls of the aquarium. To treat a skin fluke outbreak, you must remove the affected fish and put it into the bath for 10 mg per litre of potassium permanganate for 10-30 mins.

Parasitic infections

Parasitic infections can include protozoa or worms like the ichthyobodo. In the case of ichthyobodo skin and the gills on your candy cane Tetras will change colour and blue-grey mucus will be produced. Infected fish exhibit symptoms such as the loss of appetite as well as euphoria. To get treatment, visit an expert in fish health.

General infections caused by bacteria

Columnaris is a type of bacteria that can cause tetras to become ill. There will be ulcers on the scales, as well as cloudy white areas near the gills. The candy cane tetra in your mouth will breathe quickly. Treatment may include antibiotics such as Terramycin or Copper Sulphate.

If you find that one or a couple of fish have been affected, set up an aquarium that is a hospital to isolate the fish that are sick. This will prevent the infection from spreading to the entire fish population.

The next step is to medicate or treat the fish according to the illness or disease. Alternate the tank’s water, and vacuum it. Once your fish is treated with medication, keep it in quarantine for a further week to make sure that the illness has been fully taken care of.

Habitat and Tank Requirements

Within the Amazon basin’s lakes of the floodplain as well as its tributaries, candy Tetras reside in the shade the trees provide. The sandy lake bed is dotted with branches, leaves, trees, driftwood along aquatic plant species. The clean, slow-moving water is dark or black because of the organic acids and tannins the plant matter in dense quantities releases when it decomposes.

In order to ensure your aquarium resembles the natural habitat Do not allow the angle filter or powerheads in the waters in which the candy cane tetras of your aquarium swim.

Use catappa leaves, or aquarium-safe peats to make the water dark. This has the bonus to make your pink candy canes gorgeous.

Water that is clean is crucial with 30-50% being the recommended amount. the aquarium’s water needs to be replaced every week. Since it is an enclosed system the hardness of the water rises when it evaporates. Organic matter that is decomposing Nitrate, phosphate, and phosphate accumulate in time. Regular water changes help keep these levels under control.

The use of fine river sand or gravel substrates is recommended. It is recommended to aquascape your tank by adding river rock driftwood, dry leaves floating plants, as well as other aquatic plants. This replicates the dense vegetation you see in the Amazonian sources of water.

Tank Conditions

Candy cane Tetras require specific conditions for tanks that must be observed to ensure they are happy, safe and healthy.

The minimum size of the tank is at least a 15-gallon aquarium. Six candy cane tetras would thrive in tanks between 15 and 20 gallons. The more tetras you can add to your aquarium, the more spacious the tank needs to be. This will help avoid the behaviour issues that arise when you have too many tetras.

Your aquarium needs to be filled with clean water with a 3-12 dGH water hardness. The ideal temperature for your candy school cane tetras is between 73 and 82.

If the tetras you have purchased were tank-bred for commercial use, they should have a pH in the water that will be within the 6.6-7.8 range. If your tetras were bred by chance, their pH must be 6.6.-7.2. There should not be any brackish water present.

It is possible to add an additional filter or two for your fish tank. They must be placed in a manner that they don’t impede the flow of water.

Tank Mates

The tetras of Candy Cane only get anxious if their aquarium is crowded or they are in a tank with loud, aggressive and bigger fish. They don’t like extreme movement, which is why they should not be housed in tanks with rapid-swimmers that create a lot of water motion. Large fish may devour candy canes and eat them when an occasion arises.

A school with at least six candy cane tetras is the best option, as they live in huge groups within nature. Candy cane tetras create their own social order. Even though there are unruly family members These tetras don’t have any aggression.

The candy cane tetra produces the best results when it is paired with calm fish of the same dimension (medium) and are located in the lower to mid areas of an aquarium.

The most suitable tank companions for candy cane tetras are fish that are closely related to them:

  • Rosy Tetra
  • Tetras of black widow
  • Heart bleed Tetra
  • White skirt Tetra
  • Lemon Tetra
  • Red Phantom Tetra
  • Serpae Tetra
  • And many other peaceful Tetras

Other fish that be in a tank together with a candy cane tetras is:

Non-fish aquarium species that could be kept in candy cane tetras include shrimp, various snails, and crabs.

Diet and Feeding

In the wild, in the Amazon basin the omnivorous candy cane tetra feasts on algae, plankton, as well as tiny invertebrates. If you have an aquarium candy cane tetras be found eating algae as well as plankton. They thrive on a diverse diet that is able to meet their high nutritional requirements.

Quality fish flake food that is of the highest quality is recommended to comprise 60-80 percent of your fish’s diet. Candy canes tetras love to chase live food sources which is why you can feed them bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimps.

Tubifex Worms are another healthy snack for candy canes. Fish can be supplemented in their diet by using pellets or tablets.

Candy canes should be fed twice daily during daylight hours. Be mindful not to overfeed your candy cane Tetras. To make sure they don’t eat too much you can feed them enough food that they will consume in approximately three minutes per feeding session.


The breeding of the candy cane Tetra isn’t easy, but rewarding. The tropical fish reproduces by scattering eggs.

If you’re looking to breed your candy cane tetras, create a 10-gallon tank with the right breeding temperature of 75-78.8.

The tank must be well lit and have fine-leaved aquatic plant life too. Make sure that a slow-flowing current is created by a tiny, air-powered sponge filter. This mimics the candy cane tetra’s natural habitat. The filter will help oxygenate and purify the water.

In order to ensure that the breeding process is successful, put the females and the brightest males into separate tanks. provide them with fresh food. At night, choose one of the breeding pairs. If the female candy cane Tetra’s belly appears round it means she is pregnant.

The process of spawning occurs at dawn. Female fish release their eggs and they will be scattered over the plants. Remove all adult candy cane Tetras, to keep them from eating eggs and fries once they hatch within 24 hours. After approximately five days the fries will be swimming freely.

Make sure to change the water regularly. Feed the fries infusoria type foods during the first few days. When they’re slightly larger give them brine shrimp or micro worms. You can transfer the fries to the main tank once they’re big enough to be eaten.

Should You Get a Candy Cane Tetra for Your Aquarium?

Candy cane tetras can be an attractive addition to your freshwater aquarium. To keep your candy cane tetras happy and healthy, make sure that the tank’s environment corresponds to the natural habitat of the fish within the Amazon basin.

As tough fish, candy cane Tetras are simple to handle. Be sure to keep them in a calm medium-sized fish.

If properly cared for and in the right conditions, candy cane Tetras could be a fascinating and vibrant accessory to your aquarium.


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.

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