Aquatic insects in the wild. They'll take standard prepared and live foods in captivity.
75 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 28 degrees Celsius).
They have a marked preference for soft water (dH < 5).
10-15 gallons is the absolute minimum for a small group.
These are beautiful red/gold-coloured tetras with red along their ventral surface, dorsal surface behind its namesake fin, bases of tails and upper part of their "iris". Except for the iris, wherever red occurs, there is a black surface closer to the edge. This black also shows up on the front part of the dorsal surface as well as over the gill cover. The anal fin is black-based with a white tip rather than the aforementioned pattern for the other fins.
Their shape is roughly the same as that of the Black Widow (Gymnocorymbus ternetzi), though they are not as deep of body as the latter.
Females may be plumper than their male counterparts.
Dark substrate, soft acidic water and copious planting (especially of fine-leaved and floating plants) make a rearing tank a happy home for the pair. If well conditioned, they should start spawning soon after their introduction into the tank. After spawning ceases, the parents should be removed for the sake of the eggs and fry.
Within 24 hours, the fry emerge. They may be able to take infusoria of either the black water or standard type from the outset, though prepared fry foods for egg layers will work as well.
Moderately peaceful, but they can be conspecific fin-nippers at feeding time when they are overpopulated. They are also famous for being fin-nippers of fish with flowing fins, so these should not be kept with Serpaes.
Stagnant waters with many emerging plants. They are sometimes found in Amazonian blackwaters. Their tanks should be well planted as they enjoy spending time in the spaces between newly emergent plants. (Though it is true that, in a pinch, they don't mind being between the spaces of established ones.)