Pictus Catfish Breeding, Feeding, Diseases Guide

Are you a vivarium hobbyist and looking for some hugely popular fish for your collection? You might be an amateur hobbyist or even a pro, but looking towards filling your community fish tank with some good mates like Pictus Catfish to attract your neighbor’s attention. Well, if that is the case, you have bumped into the right space as today we are going to discuss about Pictus Catfish in detail in this article.

About Pictus Catfish

Scientifically known as Pimelodus Pictus, Pictus Catfish is popularly known as Pictus cat and Angel cat and originates from the warm waters of Latin America. Having a white body highlighted with huge barbells and black spots, they are quite an active and large fish in the aquarium. They require an easy care level and have a peaceful temperament. They grow up to 5 inches and can live up to 8 years.

They belong to the family Pimelodidae and thrive in aquariums with a minimum of 55 gallons of water. Preferably, the fish tank needs to be set up in freshwater with driftwood and caves. The water of the aquarium should have a PH of 5.8-6.8 and a temperature of 22-25 degree Celsius. Since they are omnivorous in nature, they feed on pellets, flakes and frozen foods.

They can survive solo but prefer a shoal for better livelihood. The pectoral fins are quite sharp, so you must take care while transporting them. Instead of using a regular fishnet, use a plastic container to avoid any significant damage.

Catfish Diversity in General

There are almost 2900 varieties of catfish. Only 40 of them are from the United States. The most prominent species that can be exported is the Channel Catfish. They belong to the species-rich vertebrate and are of the order Siluriformes. Well, they vary in terms of size. While some remain smaller, the others may reach up to15 feet in dimension. The smaller varieties are known as Banjo (Aspredinidae) and grow up to an inch when fully matured.

Where from did Pictus Catfish originate?

Franz Steindachner, the Austrian zoologist, named this fish in 1876, as it found in the warm river beds of Latin America. You will find it all over in the Amazon and the Orinoco rivers which flow through Peru and Columbia.

There is another type of catfish that dwells in Africa called upside down catfish, a different species known as Synodontis.  The fish generally inhabits in lentic waters, where the flow remains slow, and the bottom is covered in mud or sand. Generally, it is considered a schooling fish, and you can see them swimming in larger shoals.

Pictus Catfish is benthopelagic in nature and requires clean freshwater to thrive. They dwell in the bottom strata and start getting active while it’s dark. The fish finds smaller fishes, snails, and prawns as its prey and use their barbells for catching their prey.

How does a Pictus Catfish look like?

They have a silver body color with a lot of black spots on it. They possess transparent fins along with white barbells. The fish has a slender body and while in captivity they grow up to 5 inches in length. They are distinguished as they have whiskers which are often known as barbells. Sometimes these barbells even reach up to the caudal fins. While in the wild, the Pictus Catfish uses their barbells to navigate through muddy waters. They possess sharp spines and fins which are known to cause damage to other fishes.

Pictus Catfish has a forked tail and a large mouth which is a bit downturned and usually found to have an elongated body with a dorsal triangle. They use the barbells for finding food inside the muddy water.

The male and female fishes can be easily distinguished, as the females grow to be slightly rounder and larger once they reach maturity.

What is the life-span of a Pictus Catfish?

Generally, a catfish can live till 8 years if taken good care of. Else, others have a life span of 4-8 years.

How does the Pictus Catfish behave?

These fishes are known as active swimmers. Like other catfish, they are nocturnal in habit and bottom feeders.  While kept in captive condition, they prefer soft water to thrive. They depend upon vegetables and other plants as well as other smaller fishes. These fishes are known to feed upon tetras. They are non-aggressive by nature and never harm fishes which are too large for them to be eaten.

Pictus Catfishes require larger tanks as they are quite agile and swim fast. They are non-territorial by nature, and their sting can be mildly venomous though they are generally harmless towards humans.

What does the Pictus Catfish feed upon?

As told earlier that the Pictus Catfish is omnivorous in nature, they will feed anything starting from plant platter or might be smaller fishes. In fact, they scavenge anything that comes on their way. If you look at the waters of South America, then you will probably find them feeding upon snails, small fish, algae and insects (mostly dragonfly larvae).

Now, as you know that the Pictus Catfish prefers the bottom strata for catching their prey. They lay in hidden areas especially at the bottom of the tank. You must give them sinking pellets for their feed. The variety of fishes that could be given to them is:

  • Brine shrimp and beef heart (as fresh food)
  • Bloodworms and black worms (as frozen food)
  • Vegetable pellet

You will see them foraging at the bottom of the aquarium looking for food. Catfishes have a large appetite. In case they are not full, they become omnivorous in nature and start chasing smaller fishes in the aquarium. Serving them with high-quality sinking pellets is the main motto of feeding the Pictus Catfish.

Note that they produce large amounts of excretion; hence cleaning up the aquarium at least twice a week becomes mandatory.

What are the various facts regarding feeding catfish that one needs to know?

Catfish has long barbells that they use while sourcing food in the deep. Well, they exhibit diversity in the feeding behavior. Some are true herbivores while others feed on flesh and become gigantic in dimension.

Different diet types for the Pictus Catfish

The catfish depends on their barbells to find food and also smells things. They are omnivorous in nature and see to consume smaller fish, other aquatic animals, invertebrates and fish eggs. Catfish belonging to the species Loricariidae feed on strange objects like algae and wood. Some giant catfish are seen consuming rodents, frogs and even aquatic birds. European Wels falls in this category that eats typical species.

The Process of Tracking Prey

There are various theories regarding the process of catching prey of Pictus Catfish. A study done on catfish in 2001 by Kirsten Pohlman says that it’s not only the sense of taste, smell and feel that help them to detect the prey but also the inability to avoid predator strategy in some preys allows the catfish to eat them. When such fish remain calm while their predator approaches, catfish take the advantage and eat their prey.

Type of Diet of Pictus Catfish changes with Age

The young channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) feed on aquatic insects like water beetles, fly larvae and dragonfly larvae. When they become adults, they consume seeds, small fish, crawfish, algae, and snails. Well, the channel fish sometimes may exceed 18 inches in length. Smaller fishes serve as the main component of their diet. Blue catfish which follows ontogenic dietary food habit are generally 10-15 inches in length, and they prefer fish diet over invertebrate based diet.

How do I set up the tank for Pictus Catfish?

Since we all know that Pictus Catfish is an active fish, the tank requires a larger space, a larger swimming area with at least 45 gallons (205 liters) of water. The species is non-territorial in nature and can exist peacefully in a handful area where the water is limited.

The tank containing Pictus Catfish should be dimly lit or might be having heavy aquatic plants at the bottom. Anyways, the fish stays away from other species by hiding beside the plants for the rest of the day. While they are kept in the relatively dimly lit aquarium, they will be active. You can make smaller caves inside the fish tank so that they can turn around and swim.

You may also try keeping the fish in a riverine biotope aquarium with plants, driftwoods, and river rocks which will stimulate a river in the tank. Try using clay pots inside the aquarium to make sufficient space for the Pictus Catfish. Adding java moss, hornwort and moss balls or any low light plants will also help make the fish tank look full and vibrant.

Choose a filter in the tank which is best to provide a strong flow of current of water. It’s always better to choose a hang on the back filter since it allows for excellent filtration and a decent flow to your tank. You may even opt to hang a sponge filter which can allow maximum filtration inside the tank.

Make sure that the filter you use solves the purpose of cleaning the fish tank. Always choose a good filter that serves the purpose of keeping the fish tank sparkling clean thus making it perfect for the Pictus Catfish to dwell.

How do I make the Pictus Catfish breed?

Determining the sex of Pictus Catfish is also not a daunting task. The females become a bit roundish when it’s time to mate.

When the Pictus Catfish is kept in captivity, it happens to be the right time for breeding. You may stock ca number of Pictus Catfish in an aquarium and then allow them to breed and keep doing that repeatedly to increase the chances of successful breeding.

For someone who is unable to recognize which is the male and which one is female, after trial and error, it’s possible to lock a single male and some female in the aquarium or vice versa. There tend to be high chances of breeding in this case.

How to care for a Pictus Catfish in the fish tank?

The Pictus Catfish is an active fish, and it requires a lot of space to swim in a tank. The minimum surface area needed for swimming is 200 liters (44 gallons). The fish is not a territory dependent kind, so you can easily keep them along with other fishes in a tank. You can also easily mix Pictus Catfish with at least 5 of its kind.

For the tank to be suitable for Pictus Catfish breeding, the hardness of the water has to remain around 6-15 degrees, the PH to vary from 6-7.5, and the temperature of the water should be 22-26 degree Celsius.

To keep the fish in the aquarium comfortably, you must make a lot of shelters and nookeries. To do that, you may create a biotype that resembles a river. Keep it with stones, snags, and sand. You may even try bringing some undemanding type of plants to decorate the tank like java moss and Anubias Nana.

Make sure that the lighting inside the aquarium should be of a dim-type and not very bright. The fish might try to hide during the day, and if the light is bright, it will have a tendency to hide always. Use a medium type water filter, so that it creates a medium type water flow which is ideal for the fish.

Since Pictus Catfish is very sensitive to nitrates and ammonia, so it becomes absolutely essential to clean the tank almost regularly.

While transporting the fish, you should be extra careful as they can sue the spines to sting. Although the sting is not venomous, the pain may exist for several hours. So it’s always better to use a plastic container for transporting the fishes.

What are the common diseases of Pictus Catfish?

Since catfish is usually devoid of any scales, it’s susceptible to any surface disease such as white spot and itch. If you don’t maintain the water conditions appropriately, that may give rise to other diseases as well.

Generally, it’s seen that when the Pictus Catfish is affected by any disease, it tends to go downhill. This can often lead to the death of the fish. Thus, handling catfish can be challenging to the first time hobbyists.

Now, in case the catfish gets affected with an itch, the following symptoms occur:

  • Catfish suffers from loss of appetite.
  • It executes labored breathing.
  • The fish will rub or scratch against fixed objects in the tank.
  • The fish will tend to swim near the surface.
  • Catfish will try to rest at the bottom.
  • It will show signs like flashing.
  • The fish will abstain from a shoal.

The various ways to avoid disease conditions in the tank are:

  • Keep healthy fish only.
  • Maintain proper aquarium conditions and keep it clean regularly.
  • Make sure the fish has enough space to swim.
  • Buy fishes from a known and reliable source, preferably a wholesaler or retailer. Avoid buying fishes from an online source.
  • You may keep the fish in a quarantine tank to see if it exhibits any sort of disease. If you find it healthy, then you might put in the community tank.

Who can be the most compatible tankmates for Pictus Catfish?

Pictus Catfish is known to be the most less-aggressive and non-territorial fish. But you should keep some points in mind while planning the tankmates of Pictus Catfish.

  • As these fishes are omnivorous by habit, they will easily swallow smaller fishes when they feel hungry. So it’s advisable not to keep any small fish in the same fish tank.
  • Pictus Catfish is an active fish. So, you must not keep any slow moving fish in the tank. Fishes like cichlids which are slow-moving can be harmed by the barbells of Pictus Catfish. Remember, slow-moving fishes could be either harmed or irritated by Pictus.
  • There is a popular belief that catfish is a bottom dweller, but this concept is not true. If your tank is filled with other community fishes like guppies and neons, then you may avoid catfish.
  • Make sure that while you maintain a community tank, Pictus Catfish should be the fish of smallest dimension. After all, they’re predatory in nature.
  • Pictus Catfish always gets along well with tankmates who are very active. So you may prefer fishes like giant danios, opaline gourami, and other catfish like Doradidae, Loricariid, and striped Raphael catfish.
  • The fish can adjust well with the same specimen but make sure that they remain with shoals of at least 6.

What are the challenges of keeping Pictus Catfish in your vivarium collection?

Pictus Catfish is a hardy fish and preferred by hobbyists as a good choice for a community tank. With that said, there are certain challenges involved though. They are:

  • Pictus is predator type, so be extra careful while choosing the tankmates. They should be fast-moving and bigger in size than catfish else they will be swallowed by it at any point.
  • The Pictus Catfish excretes a lot, and so you must clean your tank regularly.
  • They have a good appetite, so you should choose the fish food accordingly.
  • Since they’re fish without scales, they are prone to be affected with various kinds of diseases.
  • You need to be very careful while transporting the fish as they have sharp barbells that can injure you. Best is to transport through plastic containers.
  • You need to keep a bigger sized tank for keeping Pictus Catfish as they need bigger space to swim and play around.

Fluval 406 Review: Specifications, Features and Advantages

Are you looking for an external canister filter for your aquarium? Perhaps, you must be looking forward to an easy and convenient filter that works best for your aquarium. Well, if that is the case, you’re in the right place as today we bring you this detail Fluval 406 review to make your life easier care for your fishes more.

You must have searched a lot for a fluval canister filter with unique design points. They work better and much more efficient than other filters. The fluval filter won’t give you any hassle related to cleaning them. Besides, you can also find no significant issue related to its maintenance all the time.

This Fluval 406 review, including the pros and cons, can help you make an informed decision of choosing them over other filters.

About Fluval 406

The Fluval 406 is a powerful multistage external filter for those aquariums up to 4001. It offers an advanced type of pumping technology and a versatile combination that enables biological, mechanical and chemical filtering. The filter is known to generate more volume, and that is possible for rounded canisters having the same outer dimension. When there is increased volume, there is a larger filtration area with greater mass of filter material.  This filter has the advantage of directing water into complex paths for increased contact with the filtration media. The result is that you get a filter with maximum efficiency.

Generally, these filters are used for dependable performance and easy usage. It has features like click on rim connector for hosing and one-step lift lock on clamps that are used in canister make set up. Also, routine maintenance is quick and very convenient.

The proprietary aqua stop valve allows you to disconnect and then again reconnect.  The system’s vacuum seal is not at all compromised, yet the hosing gets done properly. You can stop the canister filter and again restart without any priming for easier and convenient maintenance.

Distinctive features of the Fluval 406

•    It has a multi-stage filtration meant for healthy fresh as well as freshwater aquariums.

•    The filter is suitable for aquariums which has a capacity of up to 100 gallons.

•    It has a sound dampening impeller holding more water than rounded canisters.

•    Equipped with an intake strainer which is clog-proof, it also comes with a dual layer foam screen

•    The user must arrange a drip loop to prevent water from dripping into a receptacle or plug.

•    Built with a patented aqua stop valve and multiple filtration baskets, Fluval 406 comes with an assembled rim connector.

•    It comes with an attractive 3-year warranty and a media capacity of 8.5 liters.

Advantages of having a Fluval 406 filter for your aquarium           

It is a popular filter used by hobbyists all around for their aquariums. Let’s check out its advantages:

•    It exhibits an improved motor with the hydraulic performance that reduces the frequency and increases the flow rate with head pressure.

•    You can get improved water filtration with all possible performance for healthier and cleaner water.

•    Since it has an additional feature of bio-foam media, it can facilitate better biological filtration.

•    It has a sound dampening design of impeller which is 8-15% quieter compared to the rest.

•    The impeller cover design is quite improved so that it’s lesser prone to breakage.

•    The priming system is re-engineered efficiently to give an easier start.

•    You get a more secured closure as it has stronger lift lock clamps.

•    The presence of hose lock nut gives improved security.

Technical specifications of the Fluval 406 filter

The filter is essentially used for freshwater and marine aquariums of up to 4001 and comes with the pump output of 1450l/h, and filter circulation of 930 l/h. While it has a filter volume of 8.5l and biological volume of 4.2 l, the mechanical area is 76,300 mm2. Besides, Fluval 406 comes with a pump head of 2.25 m, and power consumption is 230v/50 Hz, and 20 w. So, it is complete and a ready to use with filter media and installation accessories.

Things you should know about a Fluval 406 filter

Well, those who have used this product have shared their opinion regarding this filter. Let’s see why Fluvial 406 is considered the most sought after product.

•    Cleaning the filter can be truly easy: You can open the lock with just a single touch.  The filter gets built with Hagen’s patented aqua stop valve design, so it lets you clean the canister without having any issue of disconnection or output hoses. You can easily adjust your flow rate.  If you can follow the instructions, the re-engineered priming system works like wonder. Operation of this filter is truly worry-free.

•     You can buy the fluval external filter, which is a solid filter and it’s nearly maintenance-free.  The unique design and the water flow means that the water should cycle through a number of filtration media each hour, thereby keeping your water tank as clear as possible. You may not have to clean it often as the aqua stop valve makes the cleaning incredibly convenient.  Well, this can be a bit more expensive than the fluval canister filter, but you can always check for the best deal.

•    The Fluval 406 filter shows improvement on the success of this model and added value-added features like better performance and easier setup. The filter can handle aquariums which have up to 100 gallons of water, without breaking the slightest sweat. The amazing flow rate makes sure that the water is going to be clear.

•     The Fluval 406 has a fluval external filter that does not appear with a spray bar. That means if your aquarium has more plants or fish you will be required to buy an add-on spray. The filter functions almost silently. If you pay attention, then only you will feel its running. While the others have a maximum life of 6-12 months and become noisy afterward, the Fluval 406 filter includes a 3-year warranty; so you can be confident towards owning it.

However, like every product, there are some pros and cons of the Fluval 406 filter.


•    It has maximum versatility and premium performance.

•    It has an advanced motor technology.

•    It exhibits silent motor operations.

•    The filter is self-motivating.

•    The machine has a smart water change port.

•    It exhibits better hosing ability.

•    It has a very active outlet with an excellent flow.

•    It’s an easy to maintain filter.

•    The filter has enough space for biological media.

•    It exhibits excellent cleaning capacity.


•    The impeller of Fluval 406 has a tendency of growing problems after 6 months. So keep a check on that.

•    While conducting the Fluval 406 review considering customer feedback, some customers opined that the filter leaks after using for several months.

What must you consider before you buy a Fluval 406 filter?

You should keep certain things in mind before purchasing a fluval canister filter.  These types of filters are usually powerful as they are well suited for those aquariums which are heavily stocked and support water flow of high level.  Remember, the more populated your tank is, the better filter you need to select. Fluval external fish tank filter works well in cases where there is a big tank. For the best information related to the product, you may refer to Amazon.com

  • The look and strong built quality: The ‘06’ style of canister filters have a sturdy and tall appearance. The filter looks like okay and stays upright whatever situation it might be. Some filter might be cheap and have a wobbly type construction. The weight is 15 lbs, and it is light enough so that you can move the sink and clean the filter conveniently.
  • The media baskets being roomy hold a range of options for mechanical, biological and chemical filtration. Well, it could be a mix and match for customary to the clean water. The hoses included found to be made up of durable plastic having a ½ inch diameter inside. You may use non-ribbed hoses if you prefer. There is no need to customize the hoses. Just make sure that the components of your Fluval 406 filter are perfect.
  • Priming or set up:  Well, you may follow the ‘YouTube’ channel and learn the process of setting up the canister filter. All you require to do is assemble the unit and get the motor in place, thereby getting the hose prepped in place. Although the hoses are usually sturdy in Fluval 406, it’s not a difficult job doing the initial set up.

However, before priming, you may need to fill your filter with dechlorinated water and thereby double check the locking mechanism. It helps in easing up the process. You may also give a few pushes to the priming pump before its good for going.

•    The operation:  The filter is generally very quiet except sometimes during the priming sequence, it tends to make noises. However, if you find the filter sealed properly, then the noise is not a big issue. And, in case you find any problem with the seal of your Fluval 406, then petroleum jelly usually does the short-term trick.

Some debris gets trapped by using the mechanical filtration. Carbon filters are standard and help to clean odors and also discoloration of the tank, avoiding the rise of phosphate level in the water. The fluval external fish tank filter comes with a Biomax media, small ceramic cylinders thereby allowing colonization through good bacteria.

•    Cleaning up:  The process of cleaning up can take a longer time. After the filter is unplugged and the tube is disconnected, you may need to clean all the components and media separately.  Besides, you must take special care of the impeller as if it ceases to function; your filter can become stale.

•    In case you have carefully read the manual that comes with your package, you can follow the instructions easily. Else, if you are completely new to the process, then is always better that you either follow YouTube or try getting all the details over here:

How is the Fluval 406 filter different from others?

Well, Fluval 406 may have some differences from a regular canister filter available in the market. Generally, normal canister filters can be recommended for those aquariums which can hold 40 gallons of water or more. They could remain fully concealed and never detract from the aquarium appearance. Since canisters are good at removing some particular matter, they are particularly useful in adapting to a variety of conditions.

Some salient features of the Fluval 406 filter that makes it different are:

•    Improved hydraulic performance of the motor that reduces the maintenance frequency. The flow rates and head pressure is quite improved.

•    It has enhanced water filtration performance for cleaner and healthier water.

•    It ensures better biological filtration along with the bio-foam media.

•    The sound dampening design of impeller ensures that the sound remains at least 8-15% quieter.

•    The redesigned impeller cover is lesser prone towards breakage.

•    The re-engineered priming system is efficient for a smooth and easy start.

•    The filter has stronger lift lock clamps and ensures a secure closure.

•    Fluval 406 provides improved security because of the hose lock nuts.


Although Fluval 406 might have a few issues, if we consider it overall, the product is quite good and recommendable.  Well, this model of Fluval filter indeed can work well for your aquarium. Its overall design keeps the filter sturdy, which means that you may consider it to run for a longer time.

So those who have already made up your mind to purchase an aquarium, then selecting the fluval exterior fish tank filter is a smart choice as it can help you in all aspects especially if you consider easy maintenance of the aquarium.  Well, it’s time to choose the best and get one for your home soon.

Rainbow Shark: Habitat, Behaviour and Feeding and Breeding

The Rainbow Shark popularly referred to as the Red-Finned Shark or Ruby Start is stunningly beautiful fish with fins that are in dark grey to black with reddish colour tones. Scientifically known as Epalzeorhynchos frenatus, these fishes are semi-aggressive and territorial in nature. Rainbow Shark will be a good choice for an aquarium if you do not introduce any other sharks in the tank. Sometimes they become contentious towards their own species, so it would be better to have only one fish of this breed in a tank. Also, as Rainbow Shark is dominant in nature, it will be better to have other species of fishes which are similar in size.

The Rainbow Shark popularly referred to as the Red-Finned Shark or Ruby Start is stunningly beautiful fish with fins that are in dark grey to black with reddish colour tones. Scientifically known as Epalzeorhynchos frenatus, these fishes are semi-aggressive and territorial in nature. Rainbow Shark will be a good choice for an aquarium if you do not introduce any other sharks in the tank. Sometimes they become contentious towards their own species, so it would be better to have only one fish of this breed in a tank. Also, as Rainbow Shark is dominant in nature, it will be better to have other species of fishes which are similar in size.

They are tropical freshwater fishes which are native to Thailand. For beginners, this fish breed is a little difficult one to maintain, so it would be better if you have first get some experience in fish keeping and then introduce Rainbow Shark in your aquarium.

If you have decided to add Rainbow Shark to your aquarium then you will need a large tank as this breed likes to set up territories around in the tank.

The Rainbow Shark has a lifespan of 5-8 years and they can grow to a maximum length of 6 inches or 15 cm. In order to keep this breed happy and active, add a lot of rocks, vegetation and driftwood in your aquarium which will help them mark specific territories and avoid fights with other fishes.

Physical features

If you have seen ocean sharks, then you will find the Rainbow Shark strikingly similar in appearance to them. This breed of fish is small in size with an elongated back, flat stomach and upright dorsal fin. The snout in the Rainbow Stark is pointed and the fins are in red or orange colour. The fish has two huge eyes on a small head and the mouth has two pairs of barbells and ceratoid.

You have to wait until the fishes grow completely to identify their gender. The males have brighter coloured and thinner bodies with black lines along their tailfins. Female fishes have thick body with fat pronounced abdomen and faded colouration.

Another commonly found varieties of this breed are the Albinotic type of fishes with red eyes and fins. The Albino Rainbow Shark for particular has a whiter body and orange or red finds. This fish type is almost similar to Rainbow Shark.


These natural habitats for these fishes are the balmy Rivers of Indochina with sandy substrates, where they float in the bottom surface of the water mostly. The water where they are found has a pH of 6-8 and hardness up to 12 degree.

These fishes are fast swimmers and like to move a lot in the tank, so make sure to have a bigger tank with a lot of horizontal space to that they do not get territorial.


This fish breed is slightly aggressive and shows dominance which happens when they get fully matured. They are rarely peaceful with their own kind and with other species, they get combative. They try to bite other fishes which can cause fin rot. That is why it is extremely important to give them good space in the aquarium to swim freely. Also, give these fishes a lot of hiding space by providing dense vegetation, artificial-caves and tunnels in the tank.

The Rainbow Sharks in their natural habitat have the tendency to roam around at the bottom. Similarly in tanks as wells, they swim at the bottom and feed on the algae which makes them ideal tank surface cleaners. However, with this habit, they also tend to get in fights with other fish species which dwell in the bottom of the aquarium. A large rainbow Shark will chase the smaller fishes out of its territory until the other fishes die. To get rid of this issue, you can introduce other fishes that have the habit of dwelling in the upper side of the tank; maintaining a good fish to water ratio will also ensure good health for all the fishes.

Another important fact about these fishes is that they have the practise to jump which normally happens when they are placed in the aquarium in the beginning. So, to avoid them jumping out of the tank, make sure that the lid is properly placed.


If you are looking for an alluring and exquisite breed of fish to add life to your tank, then this breed of fish will be the perfect choice, however, for inexperienced aquarists who are just beginning to have fishes, the Rainbow Shark isn’t the ideal breed because this fish likes to dominate and gets aggressive in the presence of other breeds. .

These fishes are very particular about their space and protect their territory from all the fishes in the tank. For Rainbow Shark lovers, it is advised not to populate the tank with too many fishes; otherwise the smaller ones will definitely suffer.

Also, avoid fishes which dwell in the bottom of the tank. They are compatible with Raspboras, Danio, Clown Loach and Plecos which are mostly upper and middle tank dwellers. While choosing the tank mates, make sure to have such fishes which are big enough to defend themselves.

You should also avoid any similar looking fishes as Rainbow Shark doesn’t like living with its own kind and will try to chase away the smaller fish.

Even if you prefer keeping only Rainbow Sharks in your tank, then provide them a lot of space so that they have different territories. Because of their hostile behaviour, it gets a little difficult to choose tank mates for them with whom these fishes can be somewhat compatible.


When it comes to food, Rainbow Sharks are not very finicky; in their wild habitat they tend to eat a lot of decaying plants and algae. These fishes also eat insect larvae, phytoplankton, tubifex worms and crustaceans. Primarily, these fishes are omnivores, so it is easy to feed them both plants and live food.

However, for good colouration and longer lifespan, you should feed plants to your fishes mostly. You should make sure that the food reaches the surface of the aquarium as these fishes are bottom-dwellers. To maintaining the vibrant red or orange colour in your fishes, give them live food more frequently starting from when the fishes are juveniles.

This breed needs a diverse range of foods to remain healthy. You can feed your fishes vegetables like spinach, peas and lettuce; flake food, pellets, brine shrimp, blood worms and live food. Just make sure to give them variety of food options instead of sticking to just one thing because lack of food variation can cause retarded growth in the fishes.

Do not over feed your fishes; you can feed the fishes twice a day for duration of 5 minutes. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye on the tank so that you can remove the organic waste from time to time.


Unfortunately, the Rainbow Sharks haven’t been bred in the tank conditions successfully until now. In their natural habitat, females lay eggs and to fertilise those eggs, the male fishes spray on them. Post spraying it takes 5-7 days for the eggs to hatch and almost 2-3 weeks for the Frey to mature.

Unfortunately, the Rainbow Sharks haven’t been bred in the tank conditions successfully until now. In their natural habitat, females lay eggs and to fertilise those eggs, the male fishes spray on them. Post spraying it takes 5-7 days for the eggs to hatch and almost 2-3 weeks for the Frey to mature.

As we discussed in this post, the Rainbow Shark can hardly tolerate its own kind in an aquarium that is why keeping another fish for breeding gets difficult. Additionally, even if you have a huge tank to accommodate a couple fish, then for a successful spawning, the fish will need stimulation with gonadotropic hormones. Even though these fishes are egg layers but because of their extreme territorial nature, they do not allow any other fishes in their area.

Also, this breed is a river fish and it is not possible to create such conditions in an aquarium. Given the complicated requirements, breeding them at home is highly unrealistic. Most of the fishes are bred in fish farms or by gonadotropic injections.

Tank requirements

If you have decided to get a Rainbow Stark for your aquarium, then there are a number of specific needs that you have to take in consideration.

  • The most basic requirement is to have clean water in the tank, therefore clean the water weakly and make sure to get rid of leftover food waste.
  • In the wild, the Rainbow Sharks have sandy substrates in the rivers where they are found, so it would be great to mimic such environment in the tank by providing them sand and fine gravel.
  • The water pH should be neutral between 6-8, any sudden increase in pH can make them more aggressive
  • A water temperature of around 25 degree C is perfect for this breed. It is important that the temperature of your tank remains fixed most of the times as constantly changing temperature can cause stress to your fish.
  • The hardness of water should be maintained at 5-11 dH.
  • As these fishes are very active, you need a tank with minimum length of 50 inches and 40 gallons of water.
  • Include a lot of plants, driftwood, caves, tunnels, flower pots, ceramic tubes and snags in the tank as Rainbow Stark likes to dwell in the bottom only. You can use fake plants too with softer edges. This will also make the fish comfortable and keep them distracted which will lead to lesser fights with other species.
  • In the rivers, these fishes are used to water that flows with high speed. You can keep the water movement in the tank between moderate to fast.
  • You can use LED aquarium lights at a medium level which will be good for the live plants too.

Even though for a new aquarist, this fish breed sounds like a lot of work, but with little experience, Rainbow Shark can be a great addition for any tank. These fishes have temperament issues which makes then non-ideal for small tanks. However, if you are ready to provide them with a bigger tank and lots of space, then the fishes will be quite happy and active.

Albino Prestlenose Pleco Feeding, Breeding and Care Guide


There are too many fishes in the sea! While people use this phrase in an absolutely romantic sense, we cannot stop thinking about the real action which happens inside the water bodies. Indeed, there are different varieties of fishes in the sea! They come in different colors, shapes, and sizes. Speaking of variety, you may be aware of the popular fish names but we are here to add one more intriguing variety to the list. Say hello to the Albino Prestlenose Pleco fish who is also known as Ancistrus dolichopterus, Albino Bushynose, and Bushynose Pleco. They belong to the Loricariidae family and are known for their peaceful temperament.

Found in the tributaries of South America, this fish does not have a myriad of colors on its body but are a visual treat for the sore eyes. As for the physical characteristics, the fish is brown in color with light spots.

They don whiskers for easy food hunting! These whiskers are the highlight of this peaceful-looking fish. They are not typically large in size and will grow at a size of 5 inches.

Did you know that this fish possesses a superpower? They have the power to camouflage in the natural surroundings. This keeps them safe from the evil predators.  Additionally, they are very adaptable in nature and can easily swim in your water tank as well.

Majority of the people prefer keeping this fish in their aquarium because they have the ability to keep the algae down. They are the secret tank cleaners, who do not grow too big and keep their surroundings clean.

It is amazing how aquatic life is mysterious and beautiful at the same time! Each fish species have thrilling characteristics and it is intriguing to learn more about them. If you are planning to get home an Albino Prestlenose Pleco fish, it would be a wise idea to understand their lifestyle.

Let us take a look at the elaborate details before making a decision!


This fish breed is herbivores and any high-quality food would be ideal as their diet. It may seem uncanny to you but the Albinos love to graze on algae. If you are thinking of bringing this fish home, you need to know that they spend most of their time searching for food and eating. Give them a good variety of food and ensure that it is a bottom sinking pellet because they usually eat food from the bottom of the tank.

Their diet should consist of 15% protein and 85% plant. If you do not wish to spend on fish food, you can even give them fresh blanched vegetables. These fishes are not fussy eaters and will be happy with cabbage, carrots, peas, zucchini, and cucumber. Make sure that you remove the uneaten food because it could lead to water fouling. The uneaten food should not remain in the tank after 24 hours.

If you are giving them meaty food, keep it about 10-15% of their diet as that would be enough to keep them healthy. When these fishes are breeding, the food requirement changes. Breeding fishes should be given live bloodworms and black worms. Feed them on a regular basis but keep control on how much and how often you feed them!

 Overfeeding is a strict NO! When you own a pet, it becomes difficult to understand their needs because they do not have a similar language to express what they feel. However, it is best to feed them twice in a day! Overfeeding is the main reason behind fish loss! The over-ingestion of food is toxic for the small fishes. You need to understand that they are not human beings or dogs! They have a small belly and can eat as much! Giving them food once or twice in a day is going to be sufficient.

This fish needs fiber in their diet to remain healthy. Place driftwood in the tank as these fishes will love it. You can also provide frozen and live foods to them. This includes live black worms and blood worms. As we mentioned before, you need to make sure that the food reaches the bottom of the tank because they will never notice it anywhere else.

In case they start eating the plants inside the tank, it is a sign that you are not feeding them enough. Take a close look at the color on their body! If they are healthy and are being well-fed, their color will be vibrant and good.


Consider them shy or conservative, the Albino Prestlenose Pleco needs a cave to get into action. If you are getting these fishes for breeding then place some caves inside the tank. It is fairly easy because they will do the rest once you have given them privacy.

Additionally, you must keep more female fishes than the male as the latter tend to be territorial. They will quickly choose a cave to start the breeding process. The male fishes tend to fight with each other for the caves and can easily indulge in a caviar meal. What does this mean? If there are too many male fishes and one gets control over a cave, then it is possible that the others will eat up the male for eggs. Savage, right? That’s how it works with them and that is precisely why you should have more of the female fishes in the tank.

How does a breeder know whether it is a male or a female fish? The male Bristlenose have larger bristles whereas the female ones have bristles around the mouth. Additionally, the female ones are smaller than the male version.

When the male bristlenose is ready to breed, he will start to hollow out a cave and clean out the surface. Do take note of their fatherly instinct because they make space for the upcoming eggs. It is a common belief that fishes do not entice each other. This is untrue! The male fish knows the art of seduction and does it efficiently. The male Bristlenose tries to lure the female fish to enter his cave for further scrutiny. That’s when they both are ready for breeding! The female fish deposits the bright-colored eggs in the clean space and that’s when the cold-hearted and protective male fish shows his true colors.

Once the eggs are safely deposited, the male will bid adieu to the female from the cave and protect them. That’s right! The male bristlenose does not display affection towards the female after she has deposited the eggs. As for the number of eggs a female produces, it ranges between 20-200.

He pushes the female out of the cave and protects the eggs. Like we said before, they are highly territorial and plan the breeding strategically. While he is protecting the eggs, other female fishes may get attracted to the same cave. It is possible that the eggs will be fertilized by several female fishes.

It is intriguing to know that the female has no role in caring for the eggs. While dogs, cats, and even human beings care for their offsprings, the male Bristlenose protects his eggs until they are free to swim. He takes care of the eggs for about 10 days until the kids are ready to leave! He will clean up the nest, remove the bad eggs and even aerate them. Also, the male does not leave the nest and if he does, it will be a short trip to hunt for food.

It takes about 4-10 days for the fish eggs to hatch. The male fish will protect the fry till they are ready to swim out on their own. Once hatched, these small fishes will grow very fast and will be the same size as their parents in just 6 months. They start feeding on algae once they are freely swimming! You can even give them mashed vegetables such as zucchini and peas.


The Albino Prestlenose Pleco has a life-span of 5 years. They do not live as long as any other pet like a dog or a cat, but they make your aquarium look stunning! If you wish to keep this fish interested, give them lots of hiding spaces inside the aquarium.

Consider placing some caves inside because they love the hiding game! They require space to move around, eating and searching for food. It is a no-brainer that a fish does not have much to do inside a tank. Additionally, the peace-lovers have a great fondness for long naps. It would be wise to keep a big tank because they love to relax at the bottom.

The pH level of the water should be between 6.5-7.5 and the temperature should be 60-80 F. In a nutshell, it is easy to take care of this fish. You just need to ensure that the tank has about 29 gallons of water. A strong filtration system is much-needed. This is because these fishes are big on pooping! Since they constantly leave poop behind, a strong filtration system becomes necessary.

In a nutshell, it is fairly easy to keep them. If you are a beginner, consider getting this breed in your tank. However, you must choose an adult fish rather than a baby fish because the younger ones cannot keep up with the pH level of the water. Change the water bi-weekly and keep a close check on the nitrate level, organic matter, and phosphate. It is important to change 25% of the water in the tank every other week.

The Bristlenose pleco should not be overfed. It is possible that the fish may die because of overeating. Giving them food once or twice in a day is enough.

Consider keeping these points in your mind:

  • The aquarium hardiness should be medium.
  • The pH level should be 6.5-7.5
  • Place lots of hiding spaces and driftwood
  • Strong filtration system
  • 25 gallons of water
  • Enough space to move around (especially the bottom)
  • Consider getting adult Albino Bristlenose Plecos


Our usual thought process is that fishes stay happy inside the water. How do we know that these fishes are happy or not? It is possible that the fish is not getting enough food. If they have a good coloration on the body, the fishes are healthy.

Keep the tank clean and give them enough food. This will keep the fish healthy and happy! Additionally, there should be enough hiding places inside the tank. You can place driftwood and caves inside the tank.

If the tank is healthy and clean, you will not see any sign of diseases. However, it does not mean that the fishes will not feel ill for the whole of 5 years. You must read about the common tank diseases! Since this fish is very peaceful in nature, the symptoms may get unnoticed.

With a high nitrate level in the tank, it is possible that they might get infected barbels. The nitrate level should be below 20 ppm. If the nitrate level is high, it would be difficult for the fish to eat or navigate. If you wish to avoid this from happening, keep them in a healthy tank environment. Giving them a healthy, balanced diet and keeping them in good conditions is advisable for a healthy and happy fish!

Also, any type of fish should not be overfed. Overfeeding can lead to death and that’s precisely why you need to set a time for feeding them. Give your fishes enough fiber, pellets and fresh veggies. This will ensure that your fish is content and healthy!

Just ensure that anything that you put inside the tank does not have bacteria. Clean every object that you put inside their habitat because bacteria can cause diseases easily. This goes for any other fishes that you plan to put inside the tank. Giving them a healthy environment and proper food is absolutely necessary!


Every fish is known for their social behavior. For example, the piranha may be known as the man-eating breed but most of them are actually very docile and harmless. Similarly, the Albino Bristlenose Plecos are peaceful in nature. We shall talk about their social behavior but one needs to understand what this fish likes doing!

The Bristlenose likes to spend time at the bottom of the tank. You will usually find them napping or searching for some food. When it is time for breeding, they become highly territorial and protective. They are protective about the fish eggs and will guard them till they are freely swimming in the tank.

Give them enough space and food, these bristle nose fishes are known for being peace-makers and do not cause a lot of trouble. As a peace-loving fish, they get along with most of the community tank fishes but do not mess with them during the breeding season! The male bristlenose tend to fight with other male entities for the cave. If one male shows authority, it is possible that the other male fishes will eat up the caviar! Do not keep too many male fishes inside the tank because that could create a lot of ruckuses inside.

As for the other fish breeds, the Bristlenose will make peace with any type of fish! If they find any aggressive tank mate, they have defense armors. Don’t forget that these fishes have bristles and can easily save themselves from the aggressive tank mates.

Aquarium Mates

As human beings, we are social creatures and need constant socializing. Whether it is in school, college, office or even in the neighborhood, we always like company. The same goes for the fishes! While the male Bristlenose plecos are highly territorial and nasty to each other, there are some other fish breeds who can get along with this breed.

Although it is not necessary for this fish to have tank mates because they spend most of their time napping on the bottom of the tank. You can even see them sucking up the glass and looking at you. Since these fishes are peaceful in nature, they will get along with most of the fishes. Do not keep aggressive fishes inside the tank as these fishes have bony armors. As we said, do not house two male Bristlenose plecos together as they are very territorial and can eat up the foe eggs!

# Trivia

  • Did you know that calling the fish by its full name is considered to be bad luck? People usually refer to it as ‘Plecos’ and not ‘Plecostomus’ because it is a common belief that taking the full name is inauspicious. If you take the full name, you will soon see a dead fish inside the tank. This is a popular belief and you may or may not follow it. However, it is nice to call this fish ‘Pleco’ instead of working too hard to pronounce the full name.
  • The Albino Bristlenose Pleco are excellent tank cleaners. They will feed on the algae and keep the surroundings super clean!
  • The Albino Bristlenose Plecos are easy to breed and that’s precisely why they are often bred.
  • They are nocturnal creatures but once you put driftwood and hiding places, they will have a great slumber!

Celestial Pearl Danio Habitat, Behaviour and Breeding Information

Scientifically known as Celestichthys margaritatus, the Celestial Pearl Danio or Galaxy Rasbora is an absolutely beautiful pintsized fish which was first revealed by Thai aquarist Kamphol Udomritthiruj in 2006.  Since then, it became very popular and has been given various names.

Habitat and Distribution

This remarkable breed of fish is found in small, shallow and thickly planted ponds in the South East Asia. The species was first discovered ina small plant laden spring fed pond in Hopong village, Burma. In their natural habitat, you can find Celestial Pearl Danio only in small ponds in the mountainous areas in the villages around Hopong, about 1040m above the sea level in the north of Myanmar. The areas are mostly grassland with abundant sun light filled and rich quality aquatic plants.

The temperature of water where the species is found is 95 degree F in summers and almost freezing during the winters. The place in Hopong from where the fish was discovered was prohibited for the westerners for several years and later many other species where discovered from the same area. Since then, these fishes gave been found in waters linked with the Salween River all over Southern Shan and across the Northern Thailand border.

In 2007, because of overfishing, the species was on the verge of extinction. As the breeding is easy, aquarists got the species bred in tank conditions and fishing in the wild was no more required.

Physical features

You will fall in love with the heavenly charm of these fishes which have exquisite colours all over their body, adorned with pearl like spots on the sides and gorgeous red fins. A group of Celestial Pearl Danio can bring life to any backdrop. What makes these fishes stand out is the coloration of their fins which have two parallel lines of red or orange depending on their sex.


The males of this species are thin and more vibrant in colour. They have an overall deep midnight blue colour; the pearlescent spots are arranged in a series which are clearly visible on the flanks. They also have bright red stripes on the fins and red belly. You can see a unique flash of red stripe on the back of the males which runs all the way from the head to the dorsal fin.


When gravid, the females get rounder and bigger in shape. They are a little light in colour as compared to their male counterparts with golden blue sheen. In females the pearlescent spots aren’t that bright and fins are in a blanched shade of orange. Few females develop an orange colour in the belly. It is said that females develop a dark spot in front of the anal fin on the beginning of spawning.

The fishes in general have a strange body shape with their body length about three times more than their height. The gill plates are almost transparent and you can see the blood vessels through them. It is because of this notable difference in the colours of both males and females that male fishes are given preference while people are buying them for their tanks. However, having all male fishes in the tank can result in a fight between them, so it is advised to have equal proportion of both males and females in the aquarium.


Celestial Pearl Danio has a lifespan of 3-5 years in stable aquariums.

Standard Length

This species of fish is maximum 1 inch from head to tail in size.

Behaviour and Compatibility

This species of fishes live in groups, so you can keep 6-7 fishes which will keep them active. Very demure and peaceful in nature, these fishes work in harmony with communities that have similarity in their behaviour pattern such as Mollies, Killifish, Tetras and Guppies. Having fishes from the same species or origin would also be a great idea as they have almost the same behaviour pattern.

These fishes are said to show great compatibility with Neon Tetras which stay on the upper area of water. Celestial Pearl Danios co-reside with many other species which make them ideal for peaceful community aquarium.

In case if you decide on having various schooling specie, then your tank would need more water per fish. It is better to have these fishes in company with equal sized species to reduce their shyness. With bigger more aggressive species; Celestial Pearl Danio will get intimidated and outcompeted for food.

Males spend most of the time courting the females and sparring with rival males. The fight between males is nothing to worry about, it is mostly ritualised and the weaker males don’t get harmed if they simply swim away.

However, dominant males can harm weaker one with their teeth if it cannot get away from the fight. If a lot of males are there then it would be advisable to keep them in a bigger tank with lot of plants to avoid fights. By having plants in the tank, the male fishes will have a good hiding place when they are competing for females.

Also, it is noted that these fishes have the tendency to eat juvenile shrimp, so it would be better to have an adult shrimp in the tank.


Galaxy Rasbora fishes are omnivores and prey on smaller critters. In the wild, they eat small spineless species, zooplankton, worms, and small invertebrates. These fishes have small mouth and pharyngeal teeth. In the aquarium, these fishes can eat dry food which is small in size to fit their mouth such as some premium quality flakes. As these like to stay in the bottom of the tank, and rarely swim up to the surface, it would be better to give them food which can sink instead of floating.

You can also, give them small frozen food like daphnia, moina, brine shrimp, small tubifex, small white worms and dried krill which can also help with the coloration of the fins and encourage spawning.

Make sure to give them different types of food instead of repeating the same, which will make them more vibrant. Also, observe the fishes to see if some of them are not getting competed for food. This will help in maintain the longevity of their lives; you can feed the more dominant fishes on one side and shy ones on the other.


Aquarists Pete Liptrot and Paul Dixon of the Bolton Museum Aquarium, U.K were the first to successfully breed these fishes. These fishes spawn every day whether it is in their natural habitat or in the aquarium.

The sex of the fishes is so easy to distinguish that breeding is not difficult at all. Celestial Pearl Danio becomes reproduction at the age of three months. You can simply look for fish which is bigger in size and has a round belly. These female fishes will also have a notable darker colour. If the female fishes are in a nice condition, then they will spawn more often in a nicely-planted aquarium.

In one tank, it is best to introduce a single pair or two males and several females. Although, the higher number of males will increase the risk of egg predation and more competition among each other. For a spawning session, males hover over a clump of plants with their body with a head down angle at the bottom and females swim over to them and initiate the spawning. The pairs do not form any bond and can spawn with multiple mates. For breeding, it is best to use just a single pair in a tank and remove them when spawning is over as they can eat the available eggs.

Nicely conditioned fishes can up to 30 eggs at a time in a single spawning event and they lay eggs where the water movement is low to medium. As discussed previously, feeding them live food will stimulate early spawning.  If you want the females to lay more eggs than you can nourish the aquarium with necessary pH and temperature. There should be fine wool mops or some other fine-leaved plant in the tank.

As the males are ravenous egg eaters and will seek scattered eggs; if you see the eggs, transfer them into a breeding tank. You can use a spawning grate such as a plastic needle-point canvas to separate the eggs from the aggressive males. These eggs will take 72 hours to incubate and later they get into the larval stage where they start swimming.

The newly hatched fry are dark in colour and lie at the bottom of the tank. Initially, they do not move much and start swimming only after a couple of days. After some time, they lose their dark colour and get a faded silver tone.

In the breeding tank, feed the fishes micro foods in the beginning like paramecia and after about a week, you can start giving live food such as newly hatched brine shrimp, once the fry are large enough to accept them. The growth of this species is pretty rapid; they take on adult coloration and size in about 10 weeks and reach the adult size at the 14th week. You can start breeding the next generation at 11-12 weeks of age.


It is very important to keep an eye on the males courting females from the beginning as they spend most of the time doing that and fight with other males for potential mates.

You can observe any torn fins or bite marks on the sides of the fishes. This not only harms the fishes but also leads to fin rot. The fin rot can also be caused by poor quality water in the aquarium and there are many ways to prevent it from happening. Make sure to keep the condition of the tank optimal for the fishes by maintaining proper pH and temperature of the water.

You can cure or avoid fin rot by changing water more frequently and using anti-bacterial medications.

Aquarium requirements

In their natural environment, these fishes reside in small ponds which are alkaline and have temperature of above 24 degree C. However, as the water is shallow, the temperature keeps changing and the fishes have got adapted to it.

For an aquarium, the Celestial Pearl Danio is an incredibly timid fish which can become adaptable to a new environment pretty easily. To create a good living arrangement for them, include a lot of plants with a dark substrate in the tank. Lack of plantation will make the fishes edgy and uncomfortable which will lead to them hiding all the time. With large number of plants, these fishes will exhibit their natural behaviour. With a large tank with up to 10 gallons of water, males have plenty of space to move around and avoid fighting. For breeding purpose, do not keep this species with other fishes or shrimps. However, for display, you can introduce other compatible species to these fishes.


Here are some basic requirements for the aquarium in order to keep these fishes:

  • Water should medium hard and a pH around 7 or little high.
  • Regular filtration is required for the water to make sure that it is clean.
  • Tank temperature should be 22-24 degree C, with extremely high temperature, the fishes may die.
  • Provide bright lighting as the fishes originate from sunlit ponds. You can use LED light as long as it doesn’t get too much.
  • You can also use some floating plants as if the aquarium is fully covered with plants, you wouldn’t be able to see the fishes properly.
  • Do not keep large aggressive fishes with this species; you can instead introduce adult shrimps in the tank. The fish is friendly with similar sized species of other fishes.
  • While breeding, you can only have male and female of the same species in the tank.
  • These fish prefer slow or medium moving water.
  • You should also have a lot of rocks, almond leaf litter and driftwood to provide them a natural looking environment.
  • Keep the tank relatively shallow which will mimic the nature of their native habitat.

This is a calm fish breed which is not demanding and can settle in small tanks. Still, it requires stable condition and some maintenance. They dynamic colours and grouping nature brings life to any aquarium. As it is the less complicated breed of fishes, it is good for beginners to build the knowledge.

Bloodfin Tetra: Care, Feed, Breeding, Diseases

Are you fond of keeping colorful fishes for your vivarium collection?

Are you fond of keeping colorful fishes for your vivarium collection?

Have you heard about Bloodfin Tetra?

Are you planning to keep Bloodfin Tetra in your aquarium?

If your answer to all of the above questions is “Yes,” then read on.

In this article, we are going to discuss the magnificent Bloodfin Tetra fish which you can keep in your aquarium. These fishes are no doubt a wonderful treat for eyes, but they need a bit of care as well.

Bloodfin Tetra is an excellent hardy type vivarium fish that are quite admired by the vivarium hobbyists worldwide. They are also known as glass bloodfin, bloodfin, red finned tetra, red finned characin and Argentine bloodfin. Although both the body and fins have a silver color, the fin variants namely caudal, dorsal, adipose and anal types are generally red in color. For mature male species, you will see gill glands and hooks over the anal fins. This fish is scientifically called Aphyocharax anisitsi.

Bloodfin Tetra in a nutshell

Where did they originate from?

Bloodfin Tetras are generally found in the Amazon Basin (Northern & Western region), Colombia (Southeastern region), Brazil (Western region), Argentina (Rio Panara Basin region), and Peru (Eastern region). Although they have their presence in streams (mostly acidic), narrow tributaries, and rivers, they prefer being in those with sufficient overhanging vegetation and shades.

How do you care for a Bloodfin Tetra fish?

Bloodfin Tetra is omnivorous in nature, and you need to ensure that the water environment where they exist should have moderate movement. They need normal to moderate level of lighting in the fish tank. For the beginners in aquarium hobbyists, this small and vibrant fish tops the list as it demands lesser care and is easily manageable. You may easily keep them at your home, school, hobby center or community centers.

For giving the tetras a healthy breeding environment, make sure that the P.H. factor of the water is 6-8 and it has a hardness of about 2-3 dGH. Along with that, try maintaining the temperature of around 64 to 82 degree Fahrenheit.

You may even keep them inside aquariums which has no heater. But do not forget to install a heater inside the fish tank as the tetras are always affected by temperature fluctuations. To do so, you may opt for plants like java moss that will give them a congenial environment similar to that of Latin American river basins.

A matured fish if taken proper care can grow up to 5.51 cm long and can live up to ten years or more. As these fishes are peaceful in behavior, the care level it requires is quite comfortable for a first timer aquarium hobbyist. You may easily nurture the fish in all types of tanks. But for accommodating school size of 5 to 7 tetras and better maintenance, make sure that the tank size should be of minimum 20 gallons.

Also, you should always prefer the one which has a larger space with enough swimming area. Bloodfin Tetra has a habit of swimming in the middle and upper sections of the tank. So, you can easily plant some trees in the lower strata to ensure privacy and better breeding.

In fact, the fishes in South America are used to living in warm rivers that meander through forests and have leaves falling into the substrate. The dense forest often canopies the sunlight, thereby giving the fishes the much needed vivid darkness. It’s better to create a habitat in your tank very similar to the original one if you want to ensure good breeding and living conditions.

How will you feed the fish?

Bloodfin Tetra likes to be fed on worms and insects that live in the wild. Well, you may feed them traditional flake food, but for the best outcome on growth, let them feed on tubifex worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, frozen food and occasionally dried food. Remember, you need to ascertain that they get the required amount of nutrition. Since they are omnivorous in nature, it is best if you can feed them with alternative carnivore food along with plant or vegetable.

Since the fish is very active, you must concentrate on the amount of food it requires. But, still, make sure that whatever food you give, they should consume it within 2-3minutes. Some hobbyists often feed them 2-3 times a day. As a caregiver, you must understand one thing clearly and that is the stomach of a fish is as tiny as a pinhead. So give them an appropriate amount of food and see that they consume whatever given.

Sometimes, fishes tend to die due to overfeeding. Since fishes do not understand the proper amount to gulp, over-feeding might be a cause of their death.

What will you do to make the fish breed successfully?

If these fishes do not breed, your cost will definitely increase as some fishes die due to the slightest negligence. The Bloodfin Tetras are egg layers, and they love privacy during breeding. As a passionate hobbyist, you need to ensure that the lighting remains very low and the water is more on the acidic type.

You must concentrate a lot on their feeding habits during breeding. Give them foods which are of high quality and nutrient-rich. Something like brine is very much recommended. You must also keep a lot of plants to ensure proper oxygenation and healthy breeding habit of the fishes in the tank. The fishes will lay 300-500 eggs, and those will be laid over the plants present in the fish tank.

When you see eggs in the fish tank, make sure that you remove the parent fishes from the tank. Keep the fries separately; else the parent fish might end up gulping their own fries.

What diseases can affect the Bloodfin Tetra fishes?

Bloodfin Tetras are quite hardy fish. If you can take good care and provide a balanced food, they will hardly fall ill. Make sure that your tetras are not out in any stressful conditions; else that will definitely reduce the immunity of the fish.

Well, they might be affected by normal diseases that can be borne through parasites. They can be affected by protozoa, skin flukes and bacterial infections. But if the disease gets detected early, it’s possible to get rid of it. In case you introduce new fishes in the tank, please ensure that you go through the quarantine procedures first.

Most fishes are affected by a fish disease called neon tetra.

If your fish gets affected, then you will observe the following changes.

•    Your fish will become restless.

•    Fish will slowly lose its characteristic coloration.

•    As the cyst spreads, the body starts developing a lump.

•    The fish will face difficulty while swimming.

•    The spine of the fish will become curved in a slow course.

•    You will observe secondary infections like fin rotting and bloating.

If your fish is affected, there is no treatment as such except that the fish has to be removed from the community tank so that other fishes do not get affected.

How to prevent neon tetra disease of fish?

The only prevention to dying fishes is that you don’t buy fishes in sick condition. For that, you may avoid buying fishes online. In fact, when you want to introduce new fishes, always make sure they are disease-free. So, before introducing new fishes in the tank, make sure that they are properly quarantined for long so as to check they are disease free or not. It also helps the fish to adjust to the tank temperature.

To be on the safe side, you must maintain high water quality of the tank and buy balanced food only. Buying low-cost fish food will end up in having contaminants. So it’s advisable to avoid them.

What sort of habitat do you need to ensure for a Bloodfin Tetra?

Bloodfin Tetras are not the type of fish that will enjoy unfiltered light. In fact, these small elegant swimmers like to circle in areas where there are a good collection of plants and the lights pass through several strata. If you want the fishes to stay and breed well, then place some aquatic weeds for a better habitat.

Bloodfin Tetras are not the type of fish that will enjoy unfiltered light. In fact, these small elegant swimmers like to circle in areas where there are a good collection of plants and the lights pass through several strata. If you want the fishes to stay and breed well, then place some aquatic weeds for a better habitat.

Floating Plants: You may plant some water lettuce to ensure a perfect mat for the fishes. They will ensure that enough light passes through the bottom strata of the fish tank. Besides, you should observe that the plants are not degrading the health of the fishes; in that case, remove the weeds and ensure good health for the fish. If the floating plants are getting rotten due to being at the bottom for a longer period of time, then you must remove them.

Bottom Plants:  Being a hobbyist, you must look for broad leaved aqua plants as these are suitable for Bloodfin Tetra, especially when they want to lay eggs. If you can combine portions of broadleaf Anubias with narrow leaf Anacharis that will satiate both sides of their taste. In fact, you need to ascertain that your fish tank has plentiful greens so that the fishes have a congenial environment for movement as well as breeding.

Plants that serve as Hideouts:  Bloodfin Tetra fishes are shy and tend to get scared quickly. They are fond of hiding against leaves in the fish tank. If you include decorations in your fish tank, you’re sure to make a better place for the fishes. You can make decorations in your tank in the form of caves, coves, and even castles. With that done, you can be assured that you have made a safe shelter for your shy Bloodfin Tetra fish. In fact, they like running to safe shelters when other fish chases them.  Well, can we assume that even fishes love to play hide and seek!

Swimming Space for the Fishes: Bloodfin Tetras require enough space to hide as well as to swim. So check if you have placed the taller plants at the back adding some small weeds at the bottom. Remember, these are only a part of your decoration to ensure the fish swims freely. In fact, Bloodfin Tetras are uncomfortable in cases where they are claustrophobic between plants. They would be stressed and won’t swim with total peace.

Substrate: If you can make a dark substrate, that will help darken the tank and serve as the Bloodfin Tetra’s natural habitat. It will help to bring bright colors to your tetras. But do not forget to clean the tank in a day or two every time as the debris is more prominent in the dark background.

Bloodfin Tetras are generally very friendly with other tank mates and are a great addition to community fishes. They get easy going with community mates when kept in larger tanks. You will see them nibbling the tails of other tank mates who are slow movers. 

However, try to make sure that you keep them inside tanks that are at least 20 inches in breadth and have over 15 gallons of water. They do well inside a tank which has rosette type plants. You can place Vallisneria and Sagittaria plants but make sure they remain inside the perimeter so that there is enough space for the fish to swim around. Bloodfin Tetras are energetic in nature, and they require more space as well as food.

How do Bloodfin Tetras behave while they are in a fish tank?

Generally, the Bloodfin Tetras are a social fish, and they seem to be more comfortable moving in groups. Hence, they feel secure when put in a school of similar fishes. They are active, but as their size is small, it might be advantageous for you to put them in tanks along with other fishes.  It’s a familiar sight to see them nib each other while swimming in groups.

You might observe that while you release a shoal of fish inside the tank, one of them tends to be more ’bossy’ than the other ones. Similarly, while feeding, the dominant one normally chases the weaker fishes.

Sometimes, this behavior of shoal of fishes also becomes the cause of death of some fishes of the school. To avoid that, we recommend removing the active boss for some time and letting the others rest. Later, when the others are settled, you may place the boss back to the fish tank. Repeat this practice if you see the health of the majority is affected. It’s more or less like removing a naughty child from the class for some time!

Who can be the best aquarium mates for Bloodfin Tetras?

Since Bloodfin Tetras are smaller fishes which can grow maximum 2 inches, they are vulnerable to the risk of being swallowed by their bigger counterparts. You will generally observe that tetras are shy and peace-loving in nature and they are most comfortable in a school of 6. In fact, if you notice one in the group acting bit boisterous, try removing that as your tetras might get stressed.

If you wish to keep a school size more than 6, you might observe that the fishes often nib at those that are slow moving. So, it’s always advisable to keep fishes of similar types and resort to smaller school size.

In fact, tetras are a type of fish that is more comfortable living in a school size with mates of their own kind. However, larger fishes can often stress them or even eat them as food.

And, in case you want to keep tank-mates, then keep either shrimp or crabs which always remain in the lower strata of the tank. As they are peace-loving aquatic animals and never confront others, your Bloodfin Tetras will continue to stay active and stress-free always.

Why Bloodfin Tetra is an excellent choice for a first-time aquarium hobbyist?

Now, that you have all the details, let me also tell you why is it is great for a newbie in fish-keeping choosing Bloodfin Tetra for their loved aquarium.

i) These fishes are easy to keep as they are hardy types requiring little care for their up-keeping.

ii) They are friendly social aquatic creatures, so you may easily keep them with other fishes, but take care that they should not be too big. Big fishes can gulp the smaller ones. Also, always prefer selecting a school of equal-minded tetras otherwise they might nibble the slower ones.

iii) The decoration of fish tank is comparatively easier as you may opt for rosette type plants and try coloring the substrate for the fish to swim freely.

iv) You don’t need to buy any special food for these fishes and feeding them once in 2-3 days is just enough. In fact, combining plants and other fishes eats can be the best combination.

v) There’s no need to bother about lighting in the fish tank as the tetras love shades being the original inhabitant of Latin American river basins.

vi) Since tetras swim in the middle and upper strata of the fish tank, you may easily keep other fishes which like swimming in the lower strata.

vii) If you can mend well, then tetras can live till 10 years also in the same fish tank with other fishes. So your cost of maintenance goes down as well. Besides, there are no hassles to buy new fishes every year.

viii) It’s easy to identify the male fishes as they are generally more colorful than their female counterparts. If you can create a congenial environment and successfully make them breed, they will no doubt grow in numbers in the same tank thereby lessening your buying cost.

ix) Bloodfin tetras are conveniently available. You may find them in stores, both physical and online. With that said, it can’t get better if you get to buy healthy ones from online stores. You will have a great choice of healthy fishes that can live socially with other creatures as well.

I’m sure that anyone reading this article will find all necessary information regarding raising and caring Bloodfin Tetra fishes. Now, all you need is to get one for your aquarium today.

Amano shrimp Feeding,Breeding and Behaviour information


If you are interested in having an aquarium, taking care of fish and shrimps, as well as exploring nature and sea life, or if you already own an aquarium, you must have heard of the Amano shrimp. Today, this tiny shrimp is one of the most interesting inhabitants of aquariums around the world. This is the second top-rated type of water organisms when it comes to popularity, immediately after the Red Cherry Shrimp.

Amano Shrimp belongs to the Decapod order, family of Atyidae, class of Crustaceans. Its scientific name is Caridinamultidentata. It has other scientific name, based on its place of origin – Caridina japonica.

Amano Shrimp belongs to the Decapod order, family of Atyidae, class of Crustaceans. Its scientific name is Caridinamultidentata. It has other scientific name, based on its place of origin – Caridina japonica.

However, did you know that this specie has more than 6 common, colloquial names? Its most famous name, Amano Shrimp, was inspired by the well-known aquarist Takashi Amano, who often uses them to decorate his aquariums. He takes care of these shrimps as purposeful residents who maintain the invaluable algae in the aquariums.

Only some of the other colloquial names of this shrimp include Yamato Numa-ebi, Yamato shrimp, Algae shrimp, and Japanese marsh shrimp.

As you probably already know, Amano shrimp originates from Japan. In addition, it is naturally found in Korea and Taiwan. River with a pH value between 5.8 and 8.0, with temperature range from 12ºC to 28ºC, is the key ecosystem of this shrimp. Its natural habitat includes marshes and swamps. Salinity type is limited to freshwater when it comes to grown-up Amano shrimps, but the maggots must be transferred to salt water. 

You probably wonder if you will be able to spot an Amano shrimp if you look at an aquarium full of different kinds of water organisms. Don’t worry! Even a glance at this type of shrimp reveals some very interesting, peculiar physical features.

It is the color of its body that helps us immediately recognize this type of shrimp. Namely, it is transparently covered with brown spots located along its slim body. Those spots, when observed as a whole, look like a broken line.

Their color varies from clear, glassy with a 0,3 mm, reddish and brownish dots and a line on their back in the same color.

How can you differentiate the sexes? The female Amano shrimps are bigger and fuller. They have larger stomachs and abdominal pockets. If you’re lucky, you can see them in aquariums as they carry the eggs in those pockets. Potential size this type of shrimp can reach is up to 5.5 cm for females and up to 3.8 cm for males.

Their lifetime is limited to about three to four years.


Amano shrimp is an omnivore. This means that they eat both plants and different kinds of fish. Amano Shrimp is, like most of the other kinds of shrimps, an aquarium cleaner, i.e. its diet is mostly based on collecting residues of food and waste in the aquarium.

Most people who have this type of shrimps claim that they are actually the very best algae eaters and aquarium cleaners. They are famous for eating almost all kinds of algae, which is one of the reasons for their popularity.

However, they do avoid the so-called “spot” algae and “black beard” algae. They sometimes do eat them though, but they need more time to consume these types of algae in comparison to the other types.

Common segments of their nutrition provided by humans in artificial conditions include algae, all common types of fish food, frozen foods, flakes, special shrimp pills, plants, fish, etc. Except for the specialized Amano Shrimp food, you can feed it with well-boiled spinach pieces, fishing worms, spirulina tablets, etc.

When it comes to additional nutrition, you should narrow it down to only once a day. Always dose the amount of food according to the needs of the shrimp within the time frame of 2-3 hours. Excessive feeding is not good because it directly affects the amount of waste that is deposited in the water. As a result, you will have lower water quality. 

Another reason why you should avoid over-feeding the Amano shrimp is the fact that this type of shrimp is likely to die if overfed. 

Here’s a special note for you: The Amano shrimp seems to never stop eating, so you will be able to see these valuable little cleaners all over the aquarium, as long as they feel safe and comfortable in their environment. If they stop eating – cleaning the aquarium, this is a sign that there is something wrong with your little shrimps.


Amano shrimp is complicated when it comes to breeding. The females produce the eggs regularly and they carry them for about 4-6 weeks. You can recognize them as small white dots floating and swimming on the water surface.

What most people do not know is that most Amano shrimps are actually caught in nature and as such distributed to aquariums and aquarists around the world. This does not mean, of course, that it is impossible to successfully breed this kind of shrimps in aquariums, but it is difficult and rare.

Unfortunately, most people dealing with Amano shrimps as a hobby do not know that they cannot successfully breed in freshwater environments. Some insufficiently informed people ask themselves: “Why can’t a fertile female Amano shrimp breed?”

To grow the maggots, you will need clean water rich in oxygen with a salinity of about 30 g/l or 4 oz/gal. You can use sea salt usually used for reef aquariums. It is useful to have an extra tank that has access to the non-direct sunlight (the maggots can eat algae), with established nitrogen cycle (for several weeks) and with a water temperature of 24 degrees Celsius. The oxygen will be created through the process of algae photosynthesis. You can experiment with an air pump, but you have to make sure that there is not too much movement that will push the maggots towards the aquarium glass.

A gravid female Amano shrimp carries many eggs. This is predetermined by nature in order to compensate for the loss of a large number of maggots during their development. Amano Shrimp comes to the world as an egg that emerges in the form of small larvae or the nauplius. They are very gentle and require special attention. You should separate the gravid Amano shrimp female into another aquarium to ensure safe conditions for the development of the maggots.

Larvae is best fed with phytoplankton. It is useful to feed them every day with a few drops of liquid food for young shrimps/maggots. 4 weeks later, they will continue to “hang” underneath the surface of the water with their heads down, but it will be easier to recognize them. After 6 weeks, they will be at the bottom of the aquarium and then, you will see how the “real” Amano shrimps are formed. Their size will be about 0.5 to 0.8 cm.

This is when you can start giving them small parts of algae pellets. During these few weeks of their development, it is necessary to change the water content for about 20% (of the total water content in the aquarium), a few times. Try using a strainer to prevent the maggots from being sucked into the gravel cleaner.

12 weeks later, you will have to partially change the water every 5 days and after 16 weeks, you can put the small Caridina japonica into the regular freshwater aquarium. Their acclimatization process to the aquarium water is the same as that of the newly bought fish.


There are several common questions you must answer before you decide to take care of Amano shrimps. One of the questions is “which type of fish can I keep in the same aquarium, without endangering my Amano shrimps?” We will discuss this particular issue later.

The point is, this and some other questions are very important and you must ask and answer these questions before going into the story called “Gentle Amano shrimps”. Otherwise, you will be disappointed at the very beginning. For example, putting your shrimps in the same aquarium with certain types of fish can lead to a treat for the fish and the Judgment Day for the shrimps.

When you decide to get some Amano shrimps, you must know that they can be rather expensive. Regardless of the fact that we provide them with adequate conditions regarding water parameters and the environment itself, don’t forget that they are also a natural source of food in nature for most kinds of fish. Natural conditions and variations in the quantity (number) of Amano shrimps in a given moment dictate the price.

Now, let’s talk about the basics of Amano shrimp care. First of all, there is something we often forget or neglect when it comes to preparing the aquarium for the shrimp. In this particular case, we are talking about the natural ability of these beautiful shrimps to hide. In a natural environment, Amano shrimps spend most of their time hiding from aggressive kinds of fish. The color of their body mostly helps them in hiding from the predators, by imitating the color of the aquatic habitat, whether it is the bottom of a lake or a stream or color of a plant that prevails in that area. Therefore, you should not forget this story. When you are designing your aquarium, make sure you arrange it with special attention to algae and other plants suitable for Amano shrimps and their hiding activities. Dark colors are the best choice. There should also be some improvised caves. Amano shrimps enjoy these kinds of places.

In specialized Amano shrimp breeding centers, a lot of attention is paid to this ability of the shrimps to hide from their natural predators, as this is what makes them feel safe in an aquarium.

Unfortunately, years of crossbreeding and cultivation of the Amano shrimp with other species led to a diminishing of this amazing natural feature. Today, most Amano shrimps have colors ranging from bright red, blue or completely white and such shrimps cannot be found in their natural habitats. These colors and variations are the product of selective breeding. By removing this natural defense system, we have unfortunately reduced the chance of survival of Amano shrimps in a common aquarium with potential predators. Sadly, some of these interesting and attractive types of Amano shrimps we know today literally seem to be carrying a neon sign saying “eat me”!

However, we don’t intend to make you give up on taking care of the lovely Amano shrimps. Our goal is to help you understand that you really shouldn’t place them in the same aquarium with aggressive or large types of fish. We want to help you become more dedicated to successful and high-quality Amano shrimp care.

Consequently, there are very few species of fish that can be successfully kept in the same aquarium with Amano shrimps. These are the types of fish that consume exclusively algae, as all other species of fish are potential predators and represent a threat to Amano shrimps. This does not mean that it is impossible to keep a fish and shrimp together, but it obliges us to create such an environment that will be safe and pleasant both for the fish and for the Amano shrimp. 

We will talk about the allowed aquarium mates in one of the following paragraphs. Now, let’s talk more about the aquarium size and water capacity requirements.

As with fish, you need an aquarium that should have a 10L capacity or more. Less than that is too small for a pleasant life of Amano shrimp. Also, you need a small filter that does not have to be too strong and a lamp that can also be a bit weaker because moss and algae are the best plant species.

You don’t have to have a heater, as Amano shrimps prefer slightly cooler water, i.e. not over 26°C. Therefore, if the aquarium is in a heated room, the temperature is mostly around 22°C, which is an ideal temperature and you don’t need a heater.

Furthermore, you must be sure that there are no traces of heavy metals, namely copper in your aquarium, nor the system hoses. Copper is highly poisonous for Amano shrimps.

Note: Make sure that you do not use any shrimp/fish medicine that contains copper. As we have already said, it is poisonous for Amano shrimps. In addition, remember that if the temperature of the water reaches 28 degrees Centigrade, the protein clotting process in Amano shrimps will take place and they will, unfortunately, die. Most noteworthy, they are very sensitive during the shell changing process, as the new shell is not hard yet. Another key safety note says that you must make sure to safeguard the aquarium vents and openings, as your Amano shrimps might get sucked in by the filtration system. It would be better to use pre-filters to prevent them from reaching the main filter.


First of all, let’s talk about the basics and most common causes of death of Amano shrimps. We must first point out that Amano shrimps are resilient if kept in the required conditions. They are not very prone to becoming sick. However, they do require special treatment. This is why a high mortality rate is not unusual for Amano shrimps shortly after being introduced into the aquarium. Almost all Amano shrimps are caught in the wild, i.e. their natural habitat, which is, as such, sometimes very different from the aquarium environment. It is difficult for them to adapt to new conditions.

Also, the lack of food can cause a fatal outcome. This is the basic mistake made by aquarists when purchasing these shrimps. They think that it is enough for them to clean the aquarium. Don’t make this mistake and remember that they are not fed exclusively by algae and you do need to provide an additional source of food for your shrimps.

Furthermore, diseases and death outcome are often caused by stress during the transportation, unprofessional handling of the shrimp, and inadequate acclimatization.  

Carradine japonica is also very sensitive to ammonia, aquariums in which nitrogen cycle is not established, as well as heavy metals, especially copper. You must also pay attention to the CO2 levels. If there is too much CO2, the pH of the water decreases. Keep in mind that your Amano shrimps will become sick if the water pH falls below 6.0. You should keep the water pH level between 6 and 7.5. Anything over 7.5 also negatively affects the shrimps. Their lifetime will be significantly shorter in such an environment.

Now, let’s talk specifically about certain diseases common for Amano shrimps. As we have already said, they are not prone to diseases, except two or three conditions. Those include the attacks of the Planarian flatworms, fungi, and poisoning. The first two are rarely seen if you stick to the required aquarium care and maintenance rules.

Poisoning, on the other hand, is the greatest threat to your Amano shrimps. This refers to a wide range of substances, including copper, insecticides, different pollutants that enter the aquarium via plants (if not well-rinsed), etc.

Symptoms include a sudden change of color, immobilization, and twitching. If your Amano shrimp becomes white or pink instead of transparent, if it lays still at the bottom of the aquarium, or if you notice any twitching, you must know that it had been poisoned and the final outcome is death. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to save it at that point. 


This type of shrimps is not aggressive at all. They are very peaceful and calm. Since they have enough hiding opportunities, both in their natural habitat and in well-designed and organized aquariums, Amano shrimps are definitely not shy. During the day, they are rather active.

Amano shrimp mostly resides at the bottom of the aquarium or on the leaves of the plants while cleaning the aquarium. Cleaning is its key daily activity. In addition, you can sometimes see it swimming freely through the aquarium.

Aquarium mates

Their best aquarium mates are non-aggressive small fish kinds. For example, small tetras that cannot harm them are good aquarium mates. Other than that, you should keep the Amano shrimps away from other aquarium inhabitants.

Keeping them separately will ensure that they will not be eaten by larger fish. Kinds you must avoid include barbs and cichlids.

Neon Tetra Care, Breeding and Habitat guide

Neon Tetra: Source Wikipedia

If you’re an aquarium hobbyist who’s looking for some stunning fishes for your collection, then it’s time for you to know about Neon Tetra, a hardy fish with a dazzling appearance. Well, there can be a plethora of choice of fishes you would like to display, but you must go for the ones which involve convenient handling amidst your busy schedule. If you’re the type of person who looks towards the 360 degrees of life, then this article on Neon Tetra is a must read.

Interesting facts about Neon Tetra

Neon tetra is a popular aquarium fish which originates from Latin America. The scientific name of this fish is Paracheirodon innesi and it belongs to the family Characidae. They are popularly named as Neon fish or Neon tetra.  An adult Neon Tetra hardly grows up to 4 centimeters in length.  They are peaceful by nature and love to thrive in a shoal of minimum 15 fishes. Neon Tetra can live up to 5 years and loves to dwell in the bottom or middle strata of the fish tank.

You should raise them in a tank that has a minimum of 10 gallons of water with a PH value of 7. While the temperature of the water should remain in between 68-79 degree Fahrenheit, the hardness must be 10 dGH. They are omnivorous in nature and tend to scatter eggs all over the place where they breed. The care they demand is of medium level, and that makes it quite an easy affair for any beginner hobbyist to handle.

Origin of Neon Tetra

Research says that Neon Tetras primarily have their origin in Latin American waters. They thrive in the backwater and clear water streams of tributaries and distributaries of South American rivers. They were discovered way back in 1934 in the Amazon jungles by the French traveler August Rabault. However, they can also be found in the Amazon basins of South American countries like Peru, Columbia, and Brazil. You will mostly see them swim in the middle layers of the water and feed on small crustaceans and worms. 

Sources say that these fishes are also seen to inhabit in Paraguay River basins, Rio Taquari, and areas surrounding Brazil. They thrive on water bodies that have their flow primarily across the dense forest. Thus, they’re mostly exposed to very faint sunlight.

Neon Tetras are a popular variety and a captive breeding species that are traded in Europe and also the Far East. However, they are actively traded in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand. The number of fishes that are being imported to the United States might even cross 1.5 million. An interesting fact about Neon Tetra is that only 5 percent of the fishes bred for aquariums come from South America.

You can find various types of these active bred fish. They could be long finned, goldenly strained or might be of semi-albino variety. There are even species of neon which has a diamond-like appearance and possesses metallic scales over the top of the body.

How does the Neon Tetra look like?

Every individual gets attracted by the dazzling appearance of the Neon fish. The blue tinges that originate from the head and ends in the adipose fins are the one that attracts fish lovers. Also, there is a presence of redfin that runs from the middle of the body straight to the caudal fin. They have a capacity to turn off the blue/red iridescent hue in order to keep away from the predators. In fact, they are totally transparent apart from the hues.

 Usually, the colors tend to fade when they’re found to be sick. They have a spindle-shaped body with rounded nose and eyes which actually extend up to the majority of their head. A healthy Neon Tetra grows typically up to 2.5 inches long, but its average length is 1.5 inches, though females have a comparatively shorter length than the males.

  • Colors and markings of Neon Tetra

Neon fishes generally have a slender torpedo-shaped body. The blue markings that run from the head to the tail make them very prominent in the backwaters. Below the blue stripes, there is a bright red stripe that runs till the tail. Because of these red and blue hues, the Neon Tetra tends to become one of the most attractive fishes once you keep them in the aquarium. Well, they have a similar breed, cardinal tetra, a variety that is often mistaken for the striking similarity they possess.

Neon Tetra vs. Cardinal Tetra

Beginners in aquarium hobbyists beware of the differences between these two fishes. An easy way to distinguish them is that for neon tetra, the red stripe runs from the middle of the body till the tail whereas, for cardinal tetra, the same runs from the snout to the tail, that is the entire length of the fish.

What type of habitat does a Neon Tetra thrive on?

It’s a known fact that Neon Tetra originates from the Amazon basin and they are used to the low PH factor of water, low temperature, and dim sunlight. Well, it might not be possible to maintain a 100% similar environment, but you must ensure that a habitat identical to this is created.

For adding an extra natural feel, you may add some Indian almond leaves and some driftwood in the fish tank.  In case you’re looking for that dark outlook but want to avoid the tinted glass look, you may even consider adding plants like java fern that will give that wonderful look to your fish tank.

It’s not necessary to place a large tank for keeping these tetras. In fact, Neon Tetras are a social type of fish, and you must not keep them alone, or they will feel unsecured.  The best option is to keep them along with a shoal of 15 fishes. Note that if they’re kept in smaller shoals like 6, they may die out of stress. Moreover, they’re a colorful collection and look attractive when reared in groups.

How do I set up a tank for Neon Tetra?

It’s important to understand the fish and its habitat before trying to set up a tank for it. Please keep in mind that the earliest tetras used to thrive in the Amazon jungles with faint sunlight and leaves falling over the water bodies.

•    Selecting a fish tank is the greatest art: You may select a tank that can hold up to 15 gallons of water. Location of the tank is very important. A very cozy and dark corner of the room can be the best-suited location for placing the tank.  You should see that there are minimum possible fluctuations in the water temperature and that chances of green algae growth are the minimum. Also, please ensure that the cabinet where you have decided to place the aquarium should be strong enough to bear the strength.

•    Setting up a system of filtration for the fish tank: You should set up an effective filtration system for your aquarium. There are various types of filtration categorized as mechanical, chemical and biological. Following the mechanical filtration is the easiest, and that involves removing particles from the water and keeping them clean. Biological filtration is difficult to set up and maintain, as it involves the breakdown of harmful waste products into ‘friendly bacteria.’ Elements like a sponge, sintered glass, and ceramic tubes contain bacteria which you must flush out.

•    Chemical process of filtration: Specially designed chemical absorptive substance is used to remove toxic substances from the water. You may use activated carbon to remove toxins, dyes, and medications from the water. Majority of the people who are fond of Neon Tetras generally use these three types of filtration.

•    Usage of under gravel filtration: You may replace the filtration system with gravels that settle to the lower substrate of the water tank. They function as mechanical as well as biological filtration media. The gravels allow the tetras larger surface area for swimming. You must occasionally clean the gravels and remove the excess debris.

•    Usage of sponge filter: You may use this method especially when the neon tetra is beginning to spawn. This is an air powered filter which allows the water to rise by drawing air bubbles to the tank.

•    Conditioning the water for the tetras to rest:  After you have set up the tank, it’s very essential for the water to get conditioned. Tap water involves heavy chemicals like chlorine, copper, lead, and zinc. The tap water conditioner simply breaks down the chloramine bond and detoxifies the heavy metals. You may add blackwater expert to recreate conditions which are similar to that of Amazon basin. That way, the water will be loaded with natural humic and tannic acids that try to emulate water in natural tropical waters, similar to that created by peat, decaying vegetation and of course soils.

•    Controlling the temperature of the fish tank: If you can install air stones inside the tank, there will be a continuous supply of oxygen to the fish. You should maintain a water temperature that varies from 23 to 27 degree Celsius.  Selecting the correct light source is also essential as it increases the temperature of the water. You may install UV light fluorescent tube instead of a simple fluorescent tube as it tends to enhance your pleasure of bringing out the vibrant colors of Neon Tetra.

•    Decorating your aquarium: The last step involved is, of course, decorating the aquarium. You must make sure that you have enough of green vegetation inside the fish tank. You may place green plants, branches, and roots inside the tank as Neon Tetras like them a lot.  Besides, green vegetation will also give a natural look to the Neon Tetras.

How do the Neon Tetras behave?

Well, as said earlier, the Neon Tetras are social fishes. They like to thrive in areas where they can exist in groups of their own kinds. In fact, they are peaceful in nature, and it’s advisable that you keep them in community tanks preferably where they have only their kind or might be some other peace-loving fishes. With that said, never keep fishes that are much bigger in size as they can harm your loved Neon Tetras.

Neon tetras are shoaling species, and they usually like to shoal where the group size ranges between 8 to15. Never keep a Neon Tetra alone in the tank with other community mates as smaller groups of Neon often found to be getting stressed, and they try hiding inside the aquariums.

The good thing is you can spot the stressed Neon Tetra as they gradually faint color. Whenever you see a fish drawing to the bottom of the tank, you may conclude that the fish is either stressed or suffering from some diseases. You may consider removing the fish from the shoal. In fact, if they’re stressed for longer times, they may even lose their immunity.

You may observe that the Neon Tetras behave more sporadically when they’re kept in appropriate shoal sizes. Neon Tetras very active species and generally dwell in the middle and lower sections of the tank.

How long does the Neon Tetras live?

The Neon Tetras generally live till 5 years on an average. But if you can care for them, they can even live up to ten years in healthy conditions. But that depends a lot on how you maintain good and livable conditions for them.

What does the Neon Tetra feed upon?

We know that Neon Tetras are omnivorous in nature. So, you may feed them on high-quality flakes, brine shrimp, frozen, dried bloodworms, or maybe some micro pellet food. They will require a wide range of food to remain healthy. Thus, you should concentrate on flakes or pellets which are of high quality. You may also consider giving them regular feeds of daphnia or brine shrimps.

While feeding them, you must notice if they’re throwing a smaller amount of foods into the fish tank. If yes, reduce the amount of food the next time. You must see that they eat the entire amount of food given and nothing goes waste. You may feed them at night after your day’s work but note that feeding them 2-3 times a day is allowed.

While in the wild, Neon Tetras are considered foragers and they prefer opportunistic eating. When they’re fed multiple times, they actually love their natural feeding behavior. Luckily they’re not fussy eaters, and you may find them eating algae, insects, and larvae from minute invertebrates.

Consider giving them food based on vegetables, and for that, you can take ideas on veggie feed. Note that it’s trivial how many times you feed them in a day, but what is more important is that they eat all the food given to them within three minutes.  Remember, voluminous food may bring fatal results.

What should not be fed to the Neon Tetras?

Since Neon Tetras are smaller species, you must avoid giving them bigger chunks of vegetables or worms. In fact, bigger chunks can choke their gullet and guts as their tummy is around the size of a pinhead.

How can Neon tetras be bred?

According to Neon Tetra experts, they’re one of the most recognizable and popular aquarium fishes in the world. Neon Tetras are very comfortable with cardinal ones. To create a suitable breeding environment, take a 24 inches long tank and fill it with rainwater. Stuff it with leaf litter and java moss along with Indian fern. Let the tank remain at a PH of 5.5, temperature 24 degree Celsius and DH of lesser than 1 and then leave the fishes dance at dim light. You will be amazed when you see the red and blue stripes flash against the dim yellow light. Within a couple of weeks, you will find the fishes spawn.

Generally, Neon Tetras breed when they’re about 12 weeks old. However, for better results, you may remove the adults from the tank and let them breed separately. Within a couple of weeks, you will see baby Neon Tetras coming out and gradually they will begin to show their characteristic color.

How to go traditional while breeding Neon tetras?

You may try the traditional method of breeding Neon Tetras within 12 by 8 by 8 tanks. They come with a natural layer of java moss and fresh rainwater. Well, you may even consider darkening the tank a bit so that the Neon couples get a bit cozier. Maybe after 5-7 days, the fishes will be seen to spawn. Fries will be seen coming in some time. To make that happen, do maintain the temperature at 26 degree Celsius, PH lesser than 5 and DH lower than 1. If the tannin stains, the water becomes darker. You may remove the fry just after 14 days. But make sure that you remove the fries from the tank else they will be gulped by the adult ones.

How do the Neon fries grow older?

When the fries appear, they’re basically colorless. Some eggs do experience delayed hatching while some hatch earlier. Some baby Neon Tetras grow faster while the other remains hidden inside leaves.

Well, the best solution is to remove and separate the grown-up Neon Tetras from those that are still un-hatched. You may observe that inside the same tank, fries grow up to a height when they’re capable of breeding while others don’t.

How do I care for Neon Tetras?

If you’re a first timer hobbyist, then you must maintain certain aquarium conditions for the Neon Tetras.

•    Try maintaining ideal tank conditions: As said earlier, it’s essential that you buy a large aquarium that can hold at least 10 gallons of water. Well, this is ideal for at least 24 fishes to swim and thrive easily.

•    Cycle your tank by removing fishes: You must undertake certain tests before you release your tetras.  Go for a testing kit and remove any harmful bacteria that can kill your beautiful Neon Tetra. Make a note on an everyday basis to test when the NH 3 is broken down to NO 2. After that, compensate with NH3 as soon as NO2 breaks down. This way, you should continue the cycling of water.

•    Try to cover the filter intake: When you set your filter, try covering it with a mesh or foam, or it might take away your fish. While the procedure will protect the fish, it will also safeguard from potential bacterial growth.

•    Try adding organic matters: While the Neon Tetras remain in the wild, the water used to contain organic matters. So, you may add plants and drifts so that it takes the form of natural habitat.

•    Always monitor the PH factor: Generally, tetras thrive at water conditions where the PH factor is 5.5 to 6.8 that are slightly acidic in nature. Try testing the PH factor of water with a strip. In case you want to make it ideal for breeding, then let the PH factor be between 5.0 and 6.0.

•    Insert peat bags for lowering the PH of the water: In case you want to reduce the PH of the water, introduce peat bags that will help to soften the water making the environment suitable for Neon’s survival.

•    Try to dim the lighting: Since Neon Tetras better thrive in the dark, try to dim the light of the aquarium. To do that, consider growing plants inside the aquarium so that it can maintain a relatively better environment for the Neon Tetras.

•    Controlling the temperature: Normally, try to keep the temperature of the tank at 21-27 degree Celsius. You may buy an adjustable aquarium thermometer to record the temperature of the fish tank. For breeding, the ideal temperature to be maintained should be around 24 degree Celsius.

•    Cleaning the tank regularly is necessary to make the surface free from algae.

•    Make sure that Neon Tetras are placed in a group of similar natured fish, else they can get stressed.

What diseases Neon Tetras can get affected with?

Neon Tetras can be affected with a disease that occurs from an organism called Pleistophora hyphessobryconis. It generally occurs once the fish consumes the dead parts of deceased particles and the spores enter their body. As the disease progresses, the cyst begins to develop inside the stomach, and the health of the fish starts deteriorating letting them turn into pale whitish color.

There is possibly no remedy of this disease other than removing the infected fish from the tank. You can easily identify the infected fish as it starts getting restless and breaks from the group, and prefers isolation.

Who can be the most convenient aquarium mates for Neon Tetra?

The secret of keeping Neon Tetra in a community tank is that they should not be kept with aggressive fishes.  The Neon Tetras get stressed and lose immunity. Ideal tank mates can be ground species who don’t disturb each other. Neon Tetra can stay peacefully with white cloud mountain minnow, harlequin rasbora, betta, guppies, glofish, and sometimes prawns. You may also consider African dwarf frog and other algae eating fishes. For best result, inmates of the tank should not disturb Neon Tetra and prefer to swim other sections of the tank.

With that, we wrap up this exciting, detailed discussion about the Neon Tetra fish. We hope any first-time enthusiast in fish keeping will find this read useful and would definitely try keeping the wonderful, dazzling Neon Tetra in their aquarium.