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CHARACINS



CHARACIDAE FAMILY

The Characidae or Characin Family are found in numerous types of water throughout South America. These fish require lots of oxygen in the water and are sensitive to noise. Characins can be divided into subfamilies including Characidiinae, Characinae, and Serrasalminae.

CHARACIDIINAE SUB-FAMILY

The Characidiinae or Darter sub-family consists of the genus Characidium and more than 50 species. Darters live near the substrate, usually in fast-flowing waters.

Darter Characin
[Pictures]
Characidium species
SYN: None
PD: A fish with a relatively flat-bellied profile. The body is elongated and the fish is usually seen resting on its pectoral fins. The body color depends on the species as does the body pattern. The fins are transparent on nearly all species.
SIZE: To 3" (8 cm)
SS: None
HAB: Clear streams in South America from the Rio de la Plata to the Orinoco.
S: bottom
TANK: 24" (60 cm) or 15 gallons (57 L). The bottom should be fine gravel or, better, sand. Leave open areas. Provide a moderate to strong current with good aeration.
WATER: pH 5.5-7.5 (7.0), dH 2-25 (6), 64-81°F (18-27°C)
SB: A peaceful loner that should be kept singly or in large groups of eight or more fish. If kept in groups smaller than about eight, fish act aggressively. Combine with small to medium-sized fish of upper swimming levels. An inquisitive fish, always investigating the tank floor.
SC: Tetras, Hatchetfish, Corydoras, danios, barbs, gouramis.
FOOD: Tablets; live; Tubifex, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp.
SEX: Females are slightly plumper and have a clear dorsal fin while males have spots around their dorsal fin.
B: Breeding the Darter is fairly easy. A pair spawns on the bottom, laying side to side. The parents should be removed from the tank after the eggs are laid. The 150 eggs fall between rocks and hatch after 30 to 40 hours. The fry have very small mouths and should be raised on food tablets, infusoria, and Artemia.
BP: 5. Breeding is not difficult.
R: About 50 Characidium species have been described although distinguishing between them is very difficult because of the subtle differences. Color depends on what environment the fish is found. Fish with a greenish color are found in rivers with heavy vegetation, while dark bodied specimen are found in rivers with dark rocks.
DC: 3. A robust species, that is suitable for most community tanks.

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By Rhett Butler







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