Congo Tetra

Micralestes (Phenacogrammus) interruptusExotic Aquarium Fish

I've recently added some Congo Tetra to my 150 liter tank and they are fantastic. When I purchased them they were quite small but have grown rapidly and their colors are starting to display more as they settle into their new aquarium.

I think most people love these fish because they are slightly more exotic than your average tetra. They are originally from the Zaire River basin Central Africa (or more properly the Democratic Republic of Congo) and indeed are one of the few Characins from that part of the world. The political upheaval over the years has seen the country's name changed several times but the Congo was probably named when it was known as the Belgian Congo, hence Congo Tetra.

Here is a little video I took of these beautiful fish schooling alongside my silver dollars and dwarf gouramis...

When they grow a little larger you'll see large silver scales along with several bands of color extending the length of their upper body from gills to caudal tail. The upper band is a yellow/gold color while the lower color band tends to be a metallic pale green color. Their fins are quite large and can appear to be rimmed with a white edge. I love this color as it tends to be iridescent or lustrous when viewed from different angles.





Another appealing thing about the "Congo" is, although they grow rather large for a tetra (3 & 1/2 inches), they are quite peaceful and mix well with many other community fish. You should buy them in numbers and school them as they can become quite nervous and "skittish" if they are kept one out. It's best if you keep at least five in a school.

On the downside these tetra can be quite susceptible to changing or suspect water conditions and chemistry. They do like slightly acidic water but if the water quality becomes compromised they will be one of the first fish to die.

If you want to breed the Congo you need a large separate breeding tank that has acidic water with a peat base and the water should be "soft".

Here are the specifics for keeping these lovely fish...

Congo Tetra Environment Needs

Tank Requirements

They need lots of open swimming space with preferably live plants. In addition you can include some wooden and rock ornaments...

Feeding Requirements

Insects, dried food/flake food, duckweed, vegetable matter etc

Water Chemistry

Water can be "soft" and slightly acidic. The pH should ideally range from 6 - 7

Water Temperature

Between 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal

Breeding

They will lay eggs over about 5 days which will be very sensitive to water chemistry.

For more information on the Congo Tetra click here...