March 23

Silver Dollar Fish: A Guide to Understanding their Behavior and Habitat


The Silver Dollar Fish, also called Metynnis Hypsauchen, are a well-liked and popular freshwater fish species among aquarists and hobbyists due to their unique appearance and calm attitude.

In this guide, we will dig deep into understanding their behavior, diet, habitat, and many other characteristics.

Overview of Silver Dollar Fish


Silver Dollar Fish

Scientific name Metynnis argenteus
Silver Dollar Fish Size Silver dollar fish max size can reach up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length
Silver Dollar Fish Lifespan 8-10 years
Silver Dollar Fish Food Omnivorous – algae, plants, small invertebrates, and flake/pellet foods
Silver Dollar Fish Temperament Generally peaceful, but can be territorial during breeding
Silver Dollar Fish Tank size At least 55 gallons for a school of 5 or more
Silver Dollar Fish price Usually between $25 to $50
Water parameters Temperature: 75-82°F, pH: 6.0-7.5, hardness: 5-12 dGH
Common diseases Ich, bacterial infections, and parasitic infections


Silver Dollar Fish Species Summary

Silver Dollar Fish Care

Silver dollar fish are a species of peaceful schooling fish that are famous among enthusiasts who keep fish.  They are herbivores, although they will eat meat if given to them as a treat.

There are at least 16 different species of this fish that belong to two different genera.

Still, the Metynnis argentus and the Metynnis hypsauchen are the ones that are most common and readily available. They are indigenous to South America and may be found in Guyana, the Amazon River, and other nearby rivers, including detritus, such as peat, gravel, boulders, and driftwood. 

Silver Dollar Fish Appearance & Natural Habitat

school of silver dollar fish

The Silver Dollar Fish is a large fish with a round shape and is silver in color with a black spot on each side of its body. They have a dorsal fin that spans almost the whole length of their bodies and a flattened body shape.

The Family 

The Silver Dollar Fish is a member of the family Characidae, which also contains many other well-known species of fish kept in aquariums, such as tetras and piranhas.

In the Wild 

Silver Dollar Fish are native to South America, specifically the Amazon River basin and other river systems in Brazil, Peru, and Bolivia. They are found in rivers and streams with sandy or muddy bottoms in the wild. It is common to find them together in huge groups, and they are known to reach the surface of the water in order to capture insects and other prey.

How Long Do Silver Dollar Fish Live?

silver dollar fish schooling

With the right conditions, a Silver Dollar Fish kept as a pet can survive for eight to ten years or more. On the other hand, their life expectancy may be reduced if the conditions in which they live are not optimal or if they are subjected to anxiety, illness, or low water quality.

Types Of Silver Dollar Fish

There are a number of distinct subspecies of silver dollar fish, each of which possesses a distinct look as well as a distinct set of features.

The following are some of the most prevalent silver dollar fish types:

Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish

Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish

    These fish are easily identifiable by the bright red coloring that can be found on the ends of their dorsal and anal fins. The rest of their body is silver, except for the black spots that are on the sides. They have a striking appearance, which contributes to their popularity as aquarium fish.

    Spotted Silver Dollar Fish

    Spotted Silver Dollar Fish

    In addition to the dark spot on each side of their body, these fish have a speckled pattern all over their bodies, much like their name says. The dots, which can be either black or dark brown, are scattered at random throughout their body and can be either color.

    Tiger Silver Dollar Fish

    Tiger Silver Dollar Fish

    These fish resemble tigers in appearance due to the striped pattern that covers their bodies. The striations can be either black or dark brown, and they are often more noticeable on younger fish.

    It is important to remember that the appearance of Silver Dollar Fish and the identification of this species might differ slightly depending on the location or origin of the individual fish.

    When introducing new fish to your aquarium, you should always make sure you have a good understanding of their requirements as well as their personality traits by doing some research.

    Silver Dollar Habitat and Care

    The Silver Dollar Fish is endemic to South America (as mentioned above), where it lives in rivers and streams that move slowly and have a lot of vegetation in their environments.

    They do best in a tank that is at least 55 gallons in size and has an abundance of plants as well as driftwood when kept in captivity. They are most comfortable in the water, with a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 7.5 and a temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Silver Dollar Diet and Feeding

    The Silver Dollar Fish is an omnivore that thrives on a diversified diet, including pellets, flakes, and live items like brine shrimp and bloodworms. Since they have such little stomachs, you must feed them several times daily with only a few pieces each time.

    Behavior and Temperament 

    Silver Dollar Fish is well-known for their calm personality and a strong preference for living in groups of at least six individuals. They are strong swimmers that require a lot of space to move about freely in the water. They have also been known to leap out of the water, so ensure that the cover of their aquarium is kept firmly in place at all times.


    Adult silver dollar fish can vary in size, but on average, they reach a length of around 6 inches when they are fully grown.

    Gender Differences

    Both male and female silver dollar fish are different in appearance. Adult fish may be identified by their gender by seeing the anal fins; males have bilobed anal fins, while females have anal fins that are more colorful but do not have this trait.

    Nevertheless, because the distinctions between the sexes are not yet evident in juvenile fish, it might be challenging to determine the gender of very young fish. While searching for young silver dollar fish, it is essential to bear in mind that the fish’s gender might not be instantly evident and that it might take some time before the distinctions between the sexes become apparent.


    Silver dollar fish may be kept alongside other silver dollar fish, as well as Bala Sharks, Giant Gouramis, Black Skirt Tetras, Redtail Sharks, Angel Fish, Blue Ram Cichlids, Clown Loaches, and Black Ghost Knife. They feel most comfortable in groups of their own kind and recognize the inherent safety in congregating with others.

    In addition to that, Corydoras and Plecos are thought to be suitable tankmates for silver dollar fish. Corydoras are peaceful bottom feeders that may reach a length of 4 inches and are unaffected by the presence of silver dollar fish. Bristlenose Plecos can also live with silver dollar fish because they are herbivorous bottom feeders that won’t eat smaller fish.

    Breeding the Silver Dollar

    Although it might be difficult, breeding Silver Dollar Fish is something that can be achieved. They produce eggs; thus, in order for the females to do so, they need a breeding tank that is separate from the main aquarium and has a lot of plants.

    Both the temperature of the water, which should be approximately 80 degrees Fahrenheit and the pH level should be in the range of 6.5 to 7.5. The parents should be removed from the tank as soon as the eggs have been laid since the adult fish have a tendency to consume their own eggs.

    Common Possible Diseases

    Like all other fish species, the Silver Dollar Fish is vulnerable to many diseases. The following are examples of some of the more frequent ailments that can affect silver dollar fish:

    • Fin rot: Fin rot is a bacterial infection that causes the fins to become ragged and discolored.  Inadequate water quality or injury to the fins are potential causes of this condition. The treatment consists of enhancing the quality of the water and, if necessary, administering antibiotics.
    • Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, or simply “Ich,”: Ich is a common parasite illness that causes white spots on a fish’s body. It is also sometimes known as white spot disease. These spots are often relatively tiny. It is possible to cure it with medication, but it is essential to catch it in its early stages to prevent it from rapidly spreading to the other fish in the tank.
    • Bacterial infections: If the aquarium’s water quality is inadequate or the fish’s immune system is impaired, any of these factors can cause illnesses caused by bacteria. The patient may experience symptoms of fatigue, lack of appetite, and skin darkening. The treatment generally consists of antibiotics and making the water quality better.
    • Other parasitic infections: Silver Dollar Fish are susceptible to illnesses caused by parasites such as flukes, lice, and anchor worms, which can result in symptoms such as itching, redness, and inflammation. Medication particular to the type of parasite must be treated often used.

    Tip: In order to prevent the introduction of diseases into an existing aquarium population, it is essential to place newly acquired fish in a quarantine facility first.

    How to Set up a Silver Dollar Fish Tank?

    It takes some preparation and careful consideration of the specifics to set up an aquarium suitable for Silver Dollar Fish. When it comes to the construction of a tank for Silver Dollar Fish, the following are some general rules to follow:

    Best Aquarium Size for Silver Dollar

    Due to the fact that silver dollar fish are energetic swimmers and may reach a length of up to 6 inches, they require a large aquarium with lots of space for them to move about in. For a school of 5-6 Silver Dollar Fish, it is advised that the aquarium have a minimum capacity of 55 gallons.

    Filter for Silver Dollar

    In order to keep the water quality in a Silver Dollar Fish tank at a healthy level, a reliable filtration system is required. To maintain the water’s cleanliness and clarity, it is advised to use either a canister filter or a hang-on-back filter with a high flow rate.

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    Heater for Silver Dollar Fish 

    Silver Dollar Fish Silver Dollar Fish are tropical fish that need the water temperature to be maintained between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A submersible heater with a thermostat built into it might help keep the water at the ideal temperature.

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    Silver Dollar Fish enjoy an environment with a gentle flow of water; thus, a powerhead with a changeable flow rate may assist in creating an environment with a gentle flow of water and provide oxygenation.

    Plants and Natural Decorations for Silver Dollar Fish 

    Silver Dollar Fish like having a variety of places to hide in their tank as well as natural decorations. Living plants, driftwood, and rock formations may all serve as potential hiding places while also contributing to creating a natural setting. Avoid using jagged, rough, or pointed decorations since these might cause the fish harm.

    Lighting for Silver Dollar Fish 

    Although Silver Dollar Fish do not require a great deal of lighting, a reasonable quantity of light can encourage healthy plant development and offer a natural day-night cycle for the aquarium’s inhabitants. A timer may be used to control the daily routine of the illumination.

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    Getting Your Water Parameters Right for Silver Dollar Fish

    Before introducing fish to the aquarium, it is necessary to properly cycle it to guarantee that the water is stable and free of dangerous substances.

    Building up the population of helpful bacteria in the filter is a slow process that may take many weeks to complete.

    Regular water changes are recommended to preserve water quality, and it’s possible to use a water testing kit to keep track of the different parameters of the water.


    Where Is The Silver Dollar Fish Found?

    The silver dollar fish is a species of freshwater fish only found in South America’s rivers and streams, specifically in the Amazon River and Guyana. It is widespread in South America and may be found in rivers with a great deal of debris. The species was first discovered in the Tapajós River Basin in Brazil. However, it may now be found in northern South America’s shallower streams and river systems.

    How Large Do Silver Dollar Fish Get?

    The average length of a Silver Dollar fish at maturation is around 6 inches. On the other hand, depending on the tank size, there have been reports of them reaching a length of up to 8 to 10 inches.

    Are The Silver Dollar Fish Aggressive?

    The silver dollar fish are not known to be hostile or aggressive towards other fish species. Yet, they are more likely to display territorial behavior during breeding season or if they feel threatened. It is critical to ensure that their peers constantly surround them to prevent them from getting anxious or hostile. It may also help to lessen aggressive behavior if you provide them with plenty of places to hide and plants to look after. In general, silver dollar fish should not be an issue in community tanks, provided they are correctly maintained and kept under the appropriate circumstances.

    How Quickly Do Silver Dollar Fish Mature into their Adult Sizes?

    The growth rate of Silver Dollar fish can vary based on various factors, including nutrition and the water condition in which they live. Although some claim they develop rapidly, some people claim they grow slowly.

    Is Sand Substrate Needed for Silver Dollar Fish?

    A sand substrate is not necessary for silver dollar fish. On the other hand, to create an atmosphere that is analogous to their native habitat, it is recommended that you use gravel of dark color as the substrate. In order to keep the water quality high, the substrate has to be cleaned regularly.

    Good and Bad Tank Mates for Silver Dollar Fish?

    The Silver Dollar Fish is a calm species that gets along well with other fish and thrives in a communal aquarium. Nevertheless, not all types of fish can coexist peacefully in the same aquarium as silver dollar fish. Here are some good and bad silver dollar fish tank mates:

    Good Tank Mates

    • Peaceful and non-aggressive fish include Tetras, Rasboras, Corydoras Catfish, and Gouramis.
    • Plecos
    • Angelfish
    • Rainbowfish

    Bad Tank Mates

    • Aggressive fish such as Cichlids, Barbs, or larger predatory fish.
    • Nippy fish
    • Invertebrates

    Can You Breed Silver Dollar Fish in Aquariums?

    Yes, silver dollar fish can be bred in aquariums. In order to breed silver dollar fish, you will need a matching pair, an aquarium that is specifically designed for breeding, and optimal water conditions. After that,  the mating process usually happens. The female will lay eggs on a flat surface, and the male will be responsible for fertilizing them. When the eggs have been laid, they should be taken from the breeding tank and placed in a separate tank with water conditions suitable for hatching. The eggs will hatch in a few days, and once they do, the fry needs to be fed many times a day with only a tiny amount of food each time. In order to guarantee that the silver dollar fish breeding process is successful, it is essential to keep the water clean and preserve the circumstances ideal for breeding.

    Closing Thoughts

    The Silver Dollar Fish is a beautiful and famous type of freshwater fish that would be an excellent addition to your aquarium, given its ability to thrive in various conditions.

    Silver dollar fish care is negligible, but they require a large tank with plenty of plants and hiding places. They can also have successful progeny when kept in captivity, provided the appropriate circumstances are met.

    Before adding any fish to your aquarium, it’s crucial to learn about their needs and ensure you can meet them.

    Silver Dollar Fish can be an excellent addition to any aquarium and a source of pleasure for fish keepers of all skill levels with the right environment and diet.


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