I wanted to name our little friend xray because you can see right thru his eye and out the other side. Cool little buddy. bloop bloop bloop... :) hunnys daughter named him col. sanders.? these fish are cool!! We're down to 2 (had 4) that are doing very well. New tank and just learning...it's not quite as simple as we thought it would be. Buy tank, add water, add fish. Learning that there's a little more to it than that. Sorry lenny (fish 1) and wigga (fish 2). And RIP Red. (poor little betta..learning curve..oops. and where can we buy a panda telescope? Anybody know? :) bloop bloop bloop... bettybloop
We have two large iridescent sharks we are looking to find another home for. Our tank is too small and they are very large. Do you have a big tank? Do you know they can grow 3-4 feet? Where are you located? Jackie
Hi! I thought I was buying a danio but it ended up being PetCo sold me a super small juvenile Ranbow Cichlid! Now I would like to buy a similiar one so this lil guy can have company. If you know where I can find another one, please let me know! I haven't been able to find another one at Petco since I bought mine...thanks! Kobie
I am looking for a source of several hundred cichlids. They will be research animals, not pets. I am doing a study looking at male mate choice and fecundity based on selection of female in relation to the size of her orange 'patch'. The animals will not be required all at once (actually it is preferable that they are not all at once) but we will need about 50 at a time. We need fish which are greater than 1 inch in length and about twice the number of females to males.
If anyone has any suggestions! Kristy
Looking for a 6in+ sized cat, if you have one let us know Erich
The Congo Tetra Phenacogrammus interruptusis a timid but incredibly beautiful fish. They are often overlooked when seen in the pet store however, as they are generally adolescents that have not yet attained their full size and adult coloration. As adults, they are the most gorgeous of the true African Characins. They have luminescent rainbow colors in the body and their dorsal, anal, and tail fins develop into the most beautiful feathery appendages.
These are a peaceful schooling fish, but get nervous if not housed with a group of their own kind. They need to be kept in schools of 6 or more fish to thrive. The males can reach up to over 3 inches (8.5 cm) in length, so a group of these good-sized fish need a large aquarium. A 40 gallon tank or larger, planted aquarium with open space in the middle, will give them plenty of room to swim and develop their full beauty.
Congo Tetras are best kept by aquarists with some experience. Their water quality must be maintained or they will loose their beautiful color, and the males' fins may become impaired. They are most comfortable in an aquarium with lower light levels, which can be provided by floating plants. However, they sometimes do like to nibble on softer plants and young shoots.They prefer soft, peat filtered water and a dark substrate. The beautiful rainbow colors of this fish will show off best with a dark substrate and lower light levels, too.
They are generally a good community fish with other peaceful, similar sized companions, but they may try to bite smaller fish. These fish are easily frightened by aggressive tankmates and loud noises. Do not tap on the glass! Congo Tetras are also timid eaters and may wait for you to leave the aquarium before they will feed.
The Congo Tetra Phenacogrammus interruptus was described by Boulenger in 1899. This species is listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC) because it has a large population and no major widespread threats. They are found in Africa in the Zaire River region of the upper Congo Basin.
They are found in streams, tributaries, pools, and marshes with slightly acidic and murky waters. These habitats have tall vegetation around the margins and sandy bottoms, or in slow-moving pools the substrate can be thickly layered with silt and mud. There are few rocks in these areas and no branches or wood. The Congo Tetras swim in schools and feed on worms, crustaceans, insects, plant matter, algae, and other zooplankton.
Scientific Name: Phenacogrammus interruptus
Social Grouping: Groups
IUCN Red List: LC - Least Concern
The Congo Tetra has a full-bodied typical tetra shape with rather large scales. Males have lush fins, with the dorsal, anal, and tail fins sporting long veiled edges, and the middle portion of the tail fin becomes extended. Males will reach about 3 1/3 inches (8.5 cm) in length, and females will reach about 2 1/3 inches (6 cm). They have a lifespan of between 3 to 5 years in the home aquarium.
When mature, the Congo Tetra has a palette of rich opalescent colors runing along the body from front to back. They are blue on top, changing to red down through the middle into a yellow-gold, and then back to blue just above the belly. The fins are grayish violet with white edges.
Size of fish - inches: 3.4 inches (8.51 cm) - The males get up to 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) while females reach up to 2.75 inches (6 cm).
Lifespan: 5 years - They have a lifespan of about 3 to 5 years in the aquarium.
Fish Keeping Difficulty
Congo Tetras are moderately hardy, but due to their care requirements, are suggested for hobbyists with some experience. They are sensitive to the quality of the water. Diligent tank maintenance is necessary or they will loose color and the male's fins may become impaired. Be careful picking tankmates as these peaceful, long-finned tetras are often a target for attacks by aggressive tankmates. These attacks can stress them out and injuries can lead to disease and possibly death.
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately hardy
Aquarist Experience Level: Intermediate
Foods and Feeding
The Congo Tetras are omnivorous. In the wild these fish are insectivores, feeding primarily on insects, but also eat small worms, crustaceans, plant matter, algae, and other zooplankton. In the aquarium the Congo Tetra will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance, give them a high quality flake food every day. Feed brine shrimp (either live or frozen) or blood worms as a treat. Feed them several times a day and only what they can consume in 3 minutes or less at each feeding.
Diet Type: Omnivore - In the wild, these fish are primarily insectivores, but they can usually be trained to take live foods, large flakes, and pelleted foods.
Flake Food: Yes - Provide large flakes.
Tablet / Pellet: Yes
Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
Meaty Food: Some of Diet
Feeding Frequency: Several feedings per day
Congo Tetras are not exceptionally difficult to care for provided their water is kept clean. They will loose their color and the male's fins may become impaired in less than optimal conditions. Aquariums are closed systems and regardless of size, all need some maintenance. Over time, decomposing organic matter, nitrates, and phosphate build up and water hardness increases due to evaporation. The water needs to be replaced on a regular basis. At least 25% of the tank water should be replaced every other week, and up to to 50% if the tank is densely stocked.
Water Changes: Bi-weekly
The Congo Tetra has been successfully kept and even bred in aquariums as small as 20 gallons. This fish is commercially bred in huge numbers, so it is adaptable and will thrive in most well-maintained tanks. However, because they really need to be kept in schools of at least 6 fish, an aquarium of at least 40 gallons or larger is recommended. For a larger school or when the become adults, 55 to 75 gallons or more is best for them to thrive. Water should be on the acidic side and soft with good circulation. Dim lighting will develop the tetra's best coloring.
To get the best out of this fish, set up a biotype tank. These fish prefer some plant cover and a dark gravel. The Congo Tetra looks particularly effective in a heavily-planted setup, but with some open space in the center for swimming. It can appear a little washed out if the decor is too sparse. For the substrate, use a river sand with some drift wood and twisted roots. Add some dried leaves to the tank, which will stain the water a light brown, and then replace the leaves every few weeks.
Minimum Tank Size: 40 gal (151 L) - This fish should be kept in groups of at least 6 and requires plenty of swimming space.
Suitable for Nano Tank: Sometimes
Substrate Type: Any
Lighting Needs: Low - subdued lighting - Low lighting and a shadowy tank setup will bring out this tetra's best coloration.
Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C)
Breeding Temperature: 77.0° F - These fish will spawn at 77 to 82.4° F (25 to 28° C).
Range ph: 6.0-7.5
Hardness Range: 4 - 18 dGH
Water Movement: Moderate
Water Region: All - These fish will swim in all areas of the aquarium.
The Congo Tetra has a very timid temperament and should be kept in a school with at least 6 individuals. They get easily frightened and need a school of their own kind to be comfortable and thrive. Keeping them in a species tank with up to 20 individuals is ideal, but with smaller groups, keep a mix of 2 or 3 females to 1 male or keep all males. That will help avert any aggression that may arise when in breeding mode or establishing a social group dominance.
They are generally a good community fish as well, but they may try to bite smaller fish. These shy fish should not be housed with any of the more aggressive fish. The best tankmates are other tetras, rainbowfish, Corydoras, Loricariids, Synodontis, and some peaceful dwarf cichlids. Do not keep Congo Tetras with fish that are known to be fin nippers as male Congos will sustain injuries. Rasboras and Barbs (except for extremely nippy species like the Tiger Barb) may also work, but keep an eye out for any aggression. Also, they sometimes like to nibble on softer plants and young shoots.
Same species - conspecifics: Yes
Peaceful fish (): Safe - This fish has a very timid temperament and should not be housed with aggressive or fin-nipping fish.
Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
Aggressive (): Threat
Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Monitor - Tetras can out compete them for food.
Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Safe - not aggressive
Plants: Monitor - They may snack on soft plant matter and new shoots.
Sex: Sexual differences
The male is larger and more colorful, and the tail fin and dorsal fin are more extended. In the picture above, you can see the extension at the center of the tail fin. A mature female will be more rounded.
Breeding / Reproduction
Congo Tetras are egg layers and have been bred in captivity. They are bred commercially for the aquarium trade, with most available species originating from Eastern Europe and the Far East. Breeding these fish in the home aquarium, however, can be a bit of a challenge. Their spawning is seasonal and getting a pair to spawn in the aquarium is somewhat difficult.
To breed them, provide a large aquarium with peat-filtered water and bright lighting. A 20-gallon spawning tank is adequate. The water should be soft and acidic with a pH of 6.5 to 6.8, a hardness around 1.5 to 3° dGH, and a temperature of 77 to 82.4° F (25 to 28° C). Provide bunches of live plants, java moss, or artificial spawning grass to give the female a place to deposit the eggs. A layer of mesh works, too, if it is wide enough for eggs to pass through but small enough to keep the parents out. A small, air-powered sponge filter is needed for filtration and water flow. Filtering the water through aquarium-safe peat will encourage this fish to spawn.
They can be spawned in pairs or in a group, with 2 males for every female. To optimize breeding success, condition the males and females in separate tanks prior to breeding. Feed them a rich diet that includes plenty of small, live foods for about 14 days. Select a breeding pair or group and transfer them into the breeding tank in the evening. A mature female's belly will become nicely rounded when she is full of eggs. Choose males that are the most colorful.
The tank should be brightly lit to induce spawning. They may spawn immediately, or it may take a day or two, even up to 6, to start. The male will chase the female through the plants, then they will sink down in the tank and spawn side-by-side with a quivering motion. The females will scatter up to 300 round, transparent eggs, which will sink to the bottom.
Once a successful spawn has been achieved, remove the parents, so they don't eat the eggs. At this point, keep the tank very dim as the eggs are sensitive to light. Any eggs that whiten and start to look fuzzy are developing a fungal growth. Remove these to prevent fungus from spreading. The fertilized eggs will hatch in about 6 to 7 days, and the fry will be free-swimming right away. The newly hatched fry are large enough to eat freshly-hatched brine shrimp, rotifers, or finely crushed flake food. See Breeding Freshwater Fish: Characins for a general description of breeding processes, and see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.
Ease of Breeding: Moderate - Getting a pair to spawn is moderately difficult. Peat-filtered water and morning sunlight conditions can help initiate a spawn.
The Congo Tetras are fairly hardy and disease is not usually a problem in a well-maintained aquarium. However, they are prone to developing ich if kept in colder temperatures. Also, remember that anything you add to your tank can introduce disease. Not only other fish but plants, substrate, and decorations can harbor bacteria. Take great care and make sure to properly clean or quarantine anything that you add to an established tank so as not to upset the balance.
A good thing about Congo Tetra is that due to their resilience, an outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if dealt with at an early stage. When keeping more sensitive types of fish, it is common for all fishes to be infected even before the first warning signs can be noticed. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your fish the proper environment and a well-balanced diet. The more closely their environment resembles their natural habitat, the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happier. A stressed fish is more likely to acquire disease.
As with most fish, Congo Tetras are prone to skin flukes, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), ichthyobodo infection, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, etc.), bacterial infections (general), and bacterial disease. It is recommended to read up on the common tank diseases. Knowing the signs and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.
The Congo Tetra is readily available but more expensive than many tetras.
Ted22 - 2012-02-22 I've got 19 of these beauties in a 100gal in an african biotope tank with other congo basin species of fish, mixed sex group, the males look stunning. All the males are around 4 inches and what I thought was fully grown. Looked in the local fish shop today and they had large congos for sale. a good 5 inches + they dwarfed my fish. The person who said they grow this big was talking complete sense, nothing documented online for congo tetras of this size but they do exsist and presumably all have the potential to grow to this size (unless they were hormone treated or something). Fantastic fish, definately more rowdy than this article makes them out to be, voracious feeders they swarm and tear food apart like a group of beautiful pirahnas, all my fish are large semi aggro and the congos hold thier own wonderfully! Just another thing, I wouldnt keep a group of these in anything less than a 4 ft tank, they certainly like their swimming space!
MIke C - 2004-11-28 These Fish are amazing, the colouration of them is usually not seen while at the store, but once they grow up a bit they glow (more obvious when not looked at straight on).
They can reach a max length of 5" tho, so make sure you have a larger tank for these fish. I have 4 in a 75Gal and they play well, tho they are agressive when fed (will knock other fish out of the way for food)
Alex Burleson - 2012-01-09 They are certainly a beautiful, and exciting specimen for most community aquariums!
Mike - 2010-02-27 Beautiful fish. I have 7 in a 30 gallon in addition to some other fish.
Someone here said they reach a max of 5 inches, but everything everywhere I've read said that males get to 3.5 inches, and females stay closer to 2.5 inches.
they seem to get along well in a community tank.
Plus, you have the joy of having very rare tetras which 90% of other people don't have.
I take pride in having rare fish. And the Congo's fit right in with my African Butterfly, Leopard Ctenopoma, Female Krib, and cories.
cheryl - 2010-09-04 I have some of these & am going to expand the school as a larger fish in the tank died. They are beautiful & mine are not timid at all. I have the ones that look more olive green/electric blue & I am having a hard time finding more of those. Mine are getting along nicely with African Red Eyed Tetras (another less known, awesome fish! - not to be confused with Red Eye Tetras) a Giant Danio that has a blue-green sheen to him, a large killifish (that I believe was mislabeled as a gardneri) & a couple of peppered cory cats. I have a blue-green iridescent thing going on somehow... I have a Leopard Ctenopoma that i would be afraid to put with these because he is (& so has every other one I've owned) a little on the aggressive side. They like to chase other fish, especially when the lights are out. They are one of my favorite fish.