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Characins / Alestiidae / Congo Tetra

Congo Tetra, Congo Salmon
Phenacogrammas interruptus

Synonyms: Micralestes interruptus, Alestopetersius interruptus, Hemigrammalestes interruptus, Petersius codalus
Physical description: The Congo Tetra has a laterally compressed body, large eyes, and large scales. The body in reflected light is iridescent green, blue, yellow, and sometimes even violet. the dorsal and caudal fins are transparent to brown, while the tail has a white fringe. The fins are elongated and flowing.
Size/Length: 5" (13 cm)
Similar species: Golden Congo Tetra ( Phenacogrammas aurantiacus ), Black Banded Congo Tetra ( P. huloti )
Habitat: Western Africa; Zaire (Congo) River watershed
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: 32" (80 cm) or 30 gallons (114 L). Adult fish should be kept in a 40" (122 cm) or 45-55 gallon (170-209 L) tank. The tank should be well-planted with a cover of floating plants to diffuse the lighting. Leave open swimming areas. Use good filtration to keep the water clean.
Water chemistry: 6-7.5 (6.7); 4-18 dH (7); 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: The Congo Tetra is a peaceful fish recommended for most community tanks. Do not combine this African Tetra with fish that have a fin-nipping nature. The Congo Tetra can be kept in pairs or in schools.
Suggested companions: Peaceful Synodontis, Pelvicachromis, South American tetras, Corydoras, Discus, Glass Catfish.
FOOD: The Congo Tetra is occasionally a timid eater that may not eat when it feels uncomfortable. Live; insect larvae, Brine Shrimp, aquatic insects, Tubifex ; flakes; vegetable matter.
SEX: Male is larger and more colorful. Males have elongated dorsal, anal, and caudal fins
Breeding techniques: A pair should be kept in heavily planted tank with soft water. Feed the pair a varied diet of mosquito larvae, blood worms, and Brine Shrimp. Courtship is initiated by the morning sun or bright light. A pair will spawn in the shallows and will drop 300 eggs. Remove the pair after the spawning is complete. The eggs develop a hard shell before hatching. Fry hatch in six days. Start feeding with Brine Shrimp nauplii and Infusoria.
Breeding potential: 8. Congo Tetras are challenging fish to breed.
Remarks: The Congo Tetra is a timid and easily frightened fish. It is sensitive to noise and water pollutants. Frequent partial water changes are required for the Congo Tetra to thrive.
Difficulty of care: 4. The Congo Tetra is sensitive to toxic compounds and needs a diet that includes live foods. Otherwise it is a hardy fish.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com