Since the first scientific description of Hyphessobrycon epicharis in 1997, this species is on the dream list of many tetra enthusiasts. Unique feature of this Rosy tetra is the shape of the shoulder spot, which distinguishes it from all other species.
The specimens on which the first description was based came from the upper reaches of the Rio Baria in the Cerro de Neblina area in the extreme south of Venezuela (Territorio Federal Amazonas) on the border with Brazil; no ornamental fish are exported from there. In the meantime it turned out that the species is much more widespread in Venezuela and Brazil (upper Rio Negro, Casiquiare and upper Orinoco), but always away from the usual fishing routes. The first live photo was brought by Hans-Georg Evers in 2000 with a cuvette photo of the Rio Miuá taken at the site. Later Kai Arend was able to photograph a pair in the aquarium of a guide in Venezuela, which he had caught above the mouth of the Rio Ventuari into the Orinoco and brought home.
Now, for the first time ever, we were able to import this tetra jewel. They are magnificent, very elegant fish, even though they hardly show any red color, contrary to many pictures on the internet. This is obviously a matter of local populations. Where exactly our animals come from we do not know, they were exported from Brazil. The females differ clearly from the males by the coloration of the dorsal fin. By the way, they are the more active part during courtship. During the photo session for this post, there were three males and one female in the aquarium. The female dominated the males! During courtship our H. epicharis develop a smoky dark coloration due to expansion of the black pigment cells (melanophores), while otherwise they are cistalline-transparent with a red tinge.
The unfortunately very expensive animals will certainly be welcomed with open arms by tetra specialists. We assume that the breeding will succeed soon and they will become accessible to a wider public.
We have also made a small film about these fish, which you can watch here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBofRyOLk3g
For our customers: the fish have code 260043 on our stocklist. Please note that we supply exclusively to wholesalers.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer