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Robyn's Glowlight Tetra Page

Last Updated: 2/19/14

On the left is an albino glowlight, and on the right is a regular glowlight (well hidden!) in my 20 gallon tank on 9/20/01.

Quick Information
Setup and Water Preferences
My Glowlight Tetras and Photos

I am relatively new to keeping glowlight tetras (9/16/01) so please feel free to e-mail me with information about them or web site links. For information on my glowlight tetras' tank, visit my aquarium page.

Quick Information

Common names: Glowlight tetra, glolight tetra
Scientific/Latin names: Hemigrammus erythrozonus or sometimes H. gracilis
Maximum length: 1.5 inches
Colors: Mostly clear with an orange/pink stripe from the eye to the base of the tail; albino variety is more orange
Temperature preference: 74 to 82 degrees F
pH preference: 5.8 to 7.5
Hardness preference: Soft
Salinity preference: Low to medium
Compatibility: Good community fish
Life span: Unknown
Ease of keeping: Easy
Ease of breeding: Moderate


The beautiful glowlight tetra, Hemigrammus erythrozonus, comes from Guyana. Glowlight tetras grow to about 1.5 inches. The fish is a clear/brown/yellow fish with a large stripe running down the body from the front of the eye, over the top of the eye, down the body, and ending at the beginning of the caudal fin (tail). The stripe is a color that is hard to describe. It is sort of part tangerine, red, orange, and pink! There are a few variants including the albino glowlight tetra which has an orange body and a duller stripe. Its eyes are also orange appearing. Glowlight tetras are peaceful, schooling fish and very similar to neon tetras.

Setup and Water Preferences

Glowlight tetras do best in small, well-planted, community tanks. They should be a group of at least four with eight or more being ideal. The water should be soft (6 to 15 dGH) with a pH that is slightly acidic (pH about 6 to 7.5) and a temperature from about 74 to 82 degrees F with about 77 being ideal. Lighting should be subdued which can be accomplished with live floating and submerged plants. Peat may be added to the tank or filter to soften it. Listed as medium-level swimmers, my glowlight tetras tend to stay about an inch off the bottom except when fed when they come up to the top. Glowlights will eat most fish food flakes, freeze-dried foods, frozen foods, and live foods. They love live brine shrimp (like many fish).


Like most tetras, females are larger and more fat bodied than the more slender male. It may be hard to tell male from female until the fish are fully mature and females fill with eggs.


Glowlight tetras breed similarly as most egg-scattering small fish. Raising the temperature to about 82 degrees F, adding peat to the system to soften it (unless it is already soft), and feeding live foods can help initiate spawning. Eggs are laid among plants. See the links section for a one aquarist's experiences breeding glowlight tetras.

My Glowlight Tetras and Photos

After repeatedly having trouble with neon tetras (but not other fish), I decided to try some glowlight tetras for my 20 gallon community tank. On 9/16/01, I added two regular glowlight tetras and two albino glowlight tetras. They were adult sized. Although schooling fish, the fish tended to disperse and not stay together. All act scared. One of the albino glowlight tetras died of unknown causes on 11/25/01 after laying on the bottom for a day. The other three were then more bold and came to feed. Glowlights are pretty shy.

On 2/1/02, I bought one more albino glowlight and two regular glowlight tetras. They were in quarantine until 2/16/02 and then joined the above three glowlight tetras in the 20 gallon tank. On 7/14/02, one of the regular glowlights died after a few days of being unable to swim. An albino one died on 7/15/02 with its eyes almost popping out so far they may have burst. Another regular glowlight got sick fast, bloated up, and died on 7/25/02. The last albino glowlight lost weight and died on 8/8/02. I do not know why these four got so ill, so fast but the other animals seemed okay. Perhaps the tuberculosis to which all my fish have been exposed caught up with them. Normally, with my white clouds and danios, there are tumors, loss or gain of weight, or other major symptoms instead of sudden death. So, I had two regular glowlight tetras left as of 8/8/02. One died on 4/5/03. He was emaciated before dying. I am afraid it may be tuberculosis. The remaining glowlight was also in poor shape but did quite well for herself. She enjoyed playing with the glowlight danios (sold to me as fire bar danios) I added in summer of 2003 and got better but she finally died on 10/23/03.

Photos of other people's glowlight tetras:

Emily sent these two clear photos of her glowlight tetras to me on 2/26/07.


Let me know of any good links on glowlight tetras!

Hemigrammus erythroznus - one aquarist's account of breeding glowlight tetras. This is an archived version updated 3/5/07 as the original web site is gone.

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