In this study, the embryonic and larval development stages of one of the most important ornamental fish serpae tetra (Hyphessobrycon eques) are described. The early life stage is documented from fertilization until the beginning of the juvenile period. The fertilized eggs (the average diameter = 938.55 +/- 35.20 mu m) were incubated at a water temperature of 26 +/- 0.5 degrees C. The cleavage finished in 1:10 hr (=h) and the early blastula stage occurred at 1:26 hr post fertilization (hpf). The gastrulation started at 3:05 hpf, and 50% epiboly was observed at 3:25 hpf. Segmentation stage was monitored at 7:26 hpf. Embryonic developmental stage was completed and hatching occurred 20-21 hpf. The total length (TL) of newly hatched larvae was 2.64 +/- 0.21 mm. The larval development of serpae tetra was divided into four different periods: Yolk-sac larva (1-4 DAH, TL = 2.77 +/- 0.09 mm - 3.85 +/- 0.11 mm), preflexion larva (5-12 DAH), flexion larva (13-15 DAH, TL = 5.78 +/- 0.46 mm on the 15th day) and post-flexion larva (16-30 DAH, TL = 10.7 +/- 0.27 mm on the 28th-30th days). The mouth and anus are closed at 1 DAH. The mouth and anus opened at 4 DAH. Exogenous feeding started on the 4th day. The first gulping of the swim bladder was on days 3. The larva begins to swim freely, and the yolk sac was completely consumed at 4 DAH. Histological structures of the eye and brain of new hatched larva were clearly identified at 1 day after hatching (DAH). According to histological findings, the digestive system (stomach, intestine) started to develop and the liver could be seen on the ventral side of the swim bladder at 5 DAH. No histological difference was observed between the anterior intestine and the posterior intestine at 15-16 DAH. The larval metamorphosis was completed, and the larvae transformed into juveniles at 28-30 DAH.