Serpae tetras prefer water temperatures ranging from 72–79 °F (22–26 °C). They will generally do better and show off their best colors in soft, neutral to slightly acidic water. As with any other schooling fish, they thrive in large groups and should be kept in schools of at least six fish. The tank should be well-planted, providing shelter and hiding spots.
Common to these fish is a 'sputtering' or 'twitching' style of swimming, in which their movements seem more spastic as opposed to other fish. Instead of swimming smoothly or for long distances at a time, Serpae Tetras move in relatively short spurts, unless stressed. This is their normal behavior and by itself need not alarm aquarists.
If any aggression is seen in the fish, it is usually among conspecifics, especially if they are kept in large groups where they can establish a pecking.