The Copeina guttata or Red-spotted tetra is a unique characin. This tiny, captivating fish is found in swamps and shallow riverbanks throughout most of the Amazon Basin.

The Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra is particularly suitable for novice hobbyists. Breeding the Copeina guttata and raising its fry is straightforward, making it an excellent species for the beginner aquarist who is keen to breed fish.

Read this article to learn about this pretty, copper-colored little fish that is hardy, easy to look after. The Copeina Gutta is an excellent addition to a nano community tank of small fish.


Common name Red-Spotted Copeina tetra
Scientific name Copeina Guttata
Family Characidae
Habitat Orinoco basins in South America
Care  Hardy; easy to care for
Temperament Placid, shoaling fish
Lifespan Up to three years
Adult size 3 inches
Diet Omnivorous – eat aquatic insect larvae in nature
Compatibility Peaceful; best kept with similarly sized fish
Avoid keeping with Large and aggressive species
Breeding Easy
pH: 6.5 – 7.2
Temperature: 76 – 82 F
Ammonia: 0 ppm
Nitrite: 0 ppm


The Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra is a splendid little fish with a very slender body. They resemble larger freshwater pike or saltwater barracuda. In the aquarium, this fish, which grows up to three inches, has a lifespan of three years.

The Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra’s body is copper with a bluish tinge. Their fins have a yellow tint, and the anal, caudal and ventral fins have an orange to red border.

Red spots form five regular horizontal stripes of evenly-spaced dots all along their body. Each red spot has a black “shadow” behind it that makes the spot appear three-dimensional. The edge of the fins can also have a pink-colored tinge.

It is relatively easy to tell the male and female adult Copeina guttata apart because the males have longer fins and richer copper color, especially at spawning times. The female is fuller-bodied at spawning times.

The male fish has a large anal fin that they use during courtship and spawning. Their coloration is also more intense than the females.

Generally, fish in captivity are smaller than those in the wild. However, the Copeina guttata may grow to about four inches in an aquarium, while those from natural habitats rarely exceed three inches.


Copeina guttata display better coloration if you keep them in a well-planted tank with a dark substrate and live plants. Lay a soft, sandy substrate and arrange roots and branches to create plenty of shady spots.

This species seems to flourish under relatively dim lighting. We recommend using plants such as Anubias, Cryptocoryne, Microsorum, or Taxiphyllum since they grow under these conditions. A few patches of floating plants are also a good idea.

Like many fish that come from naturally pristine environments, The Copeina guttata does not tolerate the accumulation of organic pollutants. They require clean water, so you should make it a routine to change the water every week. You must also be careful not to introduce the Copeina guttata into a biologically immature tank.

– Diet

The Copeina guttata prefers to stay in the top and middle areas of the aquarium. However, they are active and lively fish when breeding and will happily swim across the entire aquarium.

The Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra prefers to feed in the middle area of their environment. Being such tiny fish, they need little pieces of food appropriate to their size. In their natural habitat, the Copeina guttata feeds on worms, insects, and small crustaceans at or near the water’s surface.

Copeina guttata is not a picky eater. In the aquarium, you will find them easy to feed.

We recommend you feed Copeina guttata regularly with a balanced diet. Small frozen and live foods like Daphnia, Artemia, and bloodworm, along with good quality dried flakes and granules, are suitable for their wellbeing and help to maintain their colors.

Their diet should include additional plant or algal content. You could also feed them baby brine shrimp a couple of times a week.

The Copeina guttata is so tiny, their eggs and fry will be minuscule. You may require a magnifying glass to see them.

Tank Setup

The Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra are shoaling fish. You should buy at least twelve fish or more as they swim together in schools and they thrive under such circumstances. The Copeina guttata is an excellent community fish and will do well along with shoals of other small Tetras in your community aquarium.

Red-Spotted Copeina Tetras are comfortable in acidic, relatively soft water with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0 and up to 8 dGH. These fish are hardy and tolerate a wide range of temperatures from 60 to 90 F. They thrive at the average aquarium temperature of 75 to 82 F.

It would be a good idea to filter the aquarium using aquatic peat. Peat will enable you to maintain the softness and acidity of the water. In addition, you can use Indian Almond leaves. The floating leaves will provide a shady area for the Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra. The decomposing vegetation will add the tannins that mimic the water conditions found in this species’ natural habitat.

Copeina guttata likes to live in densely planted tanks. When you have plenty of vegetation to break up lines of sight, it helps protect these small fish from predators. However, it would be wise not to keep them with predatory species, as they are a very tiny breed and easy prey for large fish.

The minimum tank size suitable to keep Red-Spotted Copeina Tetras should be a minimum of 24 inches in length. Since they are a schooling breed, a larger tank will enable a small shoal to swim around freely. The tank should be well-planted, but make sure to leave clear areas for the fish to move around. This breed enjoys water with a gentle flow.

Copeina guttata are hardy and undemanding, but they are likely to jump out of the tank if they get a chance, so it is best to keep your tank tightly covered.

– Tank Mates

The Red-Spotted Copeina Tetra is an excellent community fish and gets on with most small species. Since this breed enjoys soft, acidic water conditions, they will be comfortable with other tetras and most small community fish.

Be careful not to keep this little gem with fin-nippers.

These fish are active and outgoing fish that will do well with dwarf cichlids or larger characins. They make good companions for short-finned, peaceful fish of a similar size, but not species that would be bothered by an active fish.

Copeina guttata is a very peaceful species, except during the spawning period. You can also keep them in a large aquarium with all Amazonian Characidae and some small, calm Cichlids.

Some other compatible tank mates are:

  • Small Corydoras
  • Small Loricariids
  • Most other tetras
  • Danios
  • Barbs
  • Dwarf cichlids
  • Guppies and other livebearers
  • smaller Gouramis
  • Catfish
  • Loaches


Copeina gutta is difficult to sex until they are mature. The female has a slightly fuller body when they are carrying eggs, and the male develops a richer coloring with a deep copper color at this time. The fins of the male also grow longer.

Prepare an aquarium measuring 12 x 12 x 24 inches to use as a breeding tank. We do not recommend using a smaller tank.

Copeina guttata’s reproductive process is fascinating. The male digs a slight depression in the sand for the eggs. At spawning time, the male prods the female and drives them towards the pit they have prepared. The male then comes alongside and swims below the female fish. Using their anal fin, the male then pushes open a pocket below the genital opening of the female, who releases eggs into the pocket.

The male Copeina Gutta fertilizes the eggs and lets them drop into the pit. The female lays eggs for two to four hours. The male then takes over the responsibility for the eggs. They drive the female away and guard the eggs.

The female generally lays a considerable number of eggs during one spawning. The eggs should hatch in 24 to 40 hours at 75 F.

The male fish fan the eggs with their fins and guard the fry until they are free-swimming. The fries are free-swimmers three days later and readily accept breeding rotifers, fine pond plankton, and, as substitute food, infusoria.

The female should be removed instantly after spawning, and the male as soon as the young fish are totally free swimming.


If you are a novice hobbyist looking for a hardy and undemanding fish, the Copeina guttata may be the right fish for you. Let’s look at all the factors that will help you decide.

  • They are easy to breed.
  • Their reproductive process is fascinating.
  • The male fish fan the eggs with their fins and guard the fry.
  • They are tiny fish, meaning you can keep a larger group in your tank.

We hope you will consider buying this pretty little red-spotted fish and try your hand at breeding it.

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