Saturday, May 03, 2008

Congo Tetra

Data Sheet

Congo Tetra. Love the red color.

Scientific Name: Phenacogrammus (Micralestes) interruptus
Other Name:Congo Tetra,
Family: Characidae
Origin:Congo, Africa
Adult Size:8cm- 10 cm (3 to 4 inches) for males. around 6cm-7cm for females (2.3 inches)
Social:Very Good. Peaceful fish
Lifespan:5 years
Tank Level: All (generally middle layers).

A Congo Tetra with yellow coloration

Minimum Tank Size:60 gallons, but bigger tank is recommended
Diet:Cheerfully eats almost any food you care to feed it.
Breeding:Egg Layer - tends to scatter eggs on the gravel.
Ideal pH: 6 - 7
Temperature: 24-27 C (74-81 F)
Tank setup:

Have lots of free swimming spaces for this fish as it is a strong swimmer.
Sexing: Males are bigger and tend to be flashier

Healthy Specimen of Congo Tetra

Another awesome male.

Congo Tetras looks their best in groups.A blue color congo tetra


Congo Tetra appears to be a rather drab, gray to silvery fish with a copper to reddish-brown band from the gill cover to the adipose fin. However, when light strikes their large opalescent scales, various color are refracted from the scales, though yellows, greens and blues predominate.

Congo Tetra has feathery extensions that grow from the trailing edge of the caudal fin (tail). These extensions are well-developed in males and tends to become more elaborate as the fish matures. The dorsal fin of the male is very long and may extend as far as the end of the tail in some individuals. The dorsal, pelvic, anal and caudal fins are all generally light gray in color with milky white edges.

Author's Note: This is un-doubtablely one of the most beautiful fish I have ever encountered, and any available stock in the local aquarium are quickly snapped up.


The Congo Tetra is an open-water, schooling fish that is found in the rivers and lakes of the Congo River basin.

Congo tetras are shoaling fish and should always be kept in a group of at least six. Males develop better colouration when kept in a group containing a number of female fish to display to. These fishes are excellent jumpers, and aquarium owners should consider a lid to prevent them from jumping out of the aquarium.

The Congo tetra is sensitive to poor water quality> and frequent water changes are very important. Good water circulation in the aquarium is also necessary.

Mixing with other fishes:

Congo tetras are very peaceful and can be mixed with most community fish. However, large specimens may eat frys and smaller fishes, and sometimes nibble soft plants. Take care not to introduce potentially nippy fishes, like Tiger barbs or Red-eyed tetras, as these may bite the flowing fins of the males.


In the wild, Congo Tetra is primarily insectivorous, but will also feed on plants occasionally. In an aquarium, Congo Terta accepts most aquarium foods, but benefits from good quality flake food containing colour enhancers. To ensure that these fish look their best, their diet should be supplement by additional food such as bloodworm, daphnia and brine shrimp.


Breeding Congo Tetras generally requires a large, well-lighted tank with plenty of swimming space that is at least partially planted. Goe Gallon noted that the ideal water should be soft and slightly on the acid side, and that filtration through peat may be beneficial to encourage spawning. He also noted that spawning temperature is best between 25-27 degree C (75 - 77 degrees F). Prior to breeding, a pair of Congo Tetra should be ideally conditioned beforehand with ample feedings of live or frozen foods.

During mating, the male will actively pursue the ripe female until between 300 - 500 eggs are laid, generally in or around plants. These eggs are only weakly adhesive and it is common for most of the eggs to sink to the bottom. At this point, it is recommended to remove the parents once the eggs are laid as the adults may eat the eggs or new frys. The eggs should hatch after an incubation period of approximately 5 - 7 days.

Photo Galley

Got a photo? Contact me.

References Cited:

1. Animal World - Congo Tetra [Online] Available, Accessed 3 May 2008,
2. Congo tetra, Phenacogrammus interruptus, [Online]
Available, Accessed 3 May 2008,
3. Congo Tetra By Joe Gallon, [Online], Available, Accessed 3 May 2008

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