Congo-Tetra guide

Congo Tetra Guide – Care and Breeding

Congo tetras are popular fish species that can be found in South America. However, they originate from the region of the Congo River in Africa. What they have in common is the beautiful and colorful texture of their bodies. The neon tetra glitters in every color of the rainbow. This vibrant color is used in extravagant courtship displays for both males and females.

Origin and Distribution

Neon tetras live in the Congo river basin. They can be found in pools, streams, marshes and tributaries. They prefer dark, murky and acidic waters. The congo tetra prefers areas with dense vegetation, few trees, and substrates composed of sand, silt, and mud. They eat worms, crustaceans, insects, plant matter, and algae.

This species was discovered in 1949 but was not widely available as an aquarium fish until the 1960s. During the 1970s, Florida fish farms perfected a breeding line, and most specimens found in pet stores are descended from this line. They have all the color and trailing tails of the native African fish.

Colors and Markings

Congo Tetra is about 4 1/2 inches long. Farm-raised varieties, on the other hand, will generally not grow beyond 3 or 3 1/2 inches, despite being fully finned and colorful.

Their bodies are long and flat, with large scales. This fish has amazing rainbow illumination that runs the length of its body from back to front. Blue on top, red and gold in the middle, and blue on the belly. Males also have long, flowing violet fins with white edging; the mail’s tail fin is long and flows along the vertical medial line.

What fish go well with Congo Tetras?

Congo tetras love the company of other fish. They are schooling fish which means they are most comfortable when they are in a group with their own kind.

They can easily get anxious and irritated if they are not in a group of at least six other fish. When they are in the company of other fish, they are peaceful.

If you are the pet owner of a beautiful congo terra and you are considering adopting other fish so they won’t be alone – the ideal tank mates are other tetras, rainbowfish and Corydoras catfish.

It’s recommended that you avoid putting aggressive species together with Congo tetra because they will probably bully the Congo Tetra which is more peaceful. Keep Congo tetras away from fin-nipping fish, as the males’ spectacular fins will be destroyed.

Congo Tetra Habitat and Care

If kept in properly maintained habitats, Congo tetras can survive quite well. They prefer water that is still, dark, soft, and peat-filtered, with low light levels. This can be accomplished by using dim aquarium lights and floating plants. They prefer darker substrates and feed on bottom-growing plants.

You’ll need to give your fish plenty of space and carefully filtered water to keep them healthy. If the water quality deteriorates, Congo tetras may lose some of their colors or experience severe fin damage.

Congo Tetra Diet and Feeding

Congo tetras are omnivores. This means that they eat insects, worms, plant matter, and algae. They are simple to care for and they are considered to be “low-maintenance” pets.

They like live, fresh, and flake foods, as well as brine shrimp and bloodworms. Give them small amounts of food several times per day. Don’t be concerned if you don’t see your Congo tetras approaching the food, as they don’t like to be observed while they are eating. If you think that your fish doesn’t eat enough food, consider using a behavioral feeding ring.

Gender Differences

Males are much more colorful than females; they are considerably larger and have more elaborate fin structure with a centrally extended caudal fin and a large and pronounced dorsal fin. The females are mostly golden with shades of silver and greenish. Females have no such fanciful fins.

Breeding the Congo Tetra

Due to the breeders’ size and the fact that they will lay 300 or more eggs, you will need a larger breeding tank than you would for most tetras. Most eggs are likely to hatch  In four or five weeks, the school of fry will grow quickly to a size larger than neon tetras in their full adult version.

You will need a 15-20 gallon long tank for the breeding. It’s not recommended to use a smaller tanks than this. For your breeding project you will need to boil enough peat moss.

Next you will need to cover the bottom of the aquarium with one inch of moss substrate. Allow it to settle for a few days in a tank already filled with reverse osmosis, distilled, or rainwater if you live in a rural area.

Spread out several thickets of Java moss on top of the peat moss substrate. Include more nylon breeding mops or clumps of fine-leaved plants. Make  sure the water is 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Aeration and filtration should be avoided because they would affect the peat moss and fog the water.

Place a pair of Congo tetras into the breeding tank before sunset or before sunrise. They usually spawn in the morning or when the lights are down. Make sure darkness is maintained for 8 hours.

Fish that are about to spawn dive into spawning mop or Java moss. They release eggs and milt side by side. Some eggs stay in the plant or mop, but the majority fall into the peat moss substrate. While the majority of the eggs won’t be eaten because they are well secluded under the peat moss substrate, you should still remove the breeders.

Typically, 300 to 500 eggs or more are laid. The hatching happens five to eight days after spawning. This is in stark contrast to their South American cousins, whose eggs hatch much faster. When the congo tetra fry springs up from the peat substrate they are ready to swim and mingle.

Infusoria can be fed to Congo tetra fry for a day or two before feeding them with baby brine shrimp. Within two weeks, they will be ingesting powdered dry food and will be almost an inch long.

They will reach two inches and show signs of color after three months of regular eating live and commercial growth foods. It is possible to determine gender at this stage, however they will not be able to breed until they are six months old and three inches long. With such rapid growth, it is clear that you will need a larger tank.

It is critical that you don’t remove the peat in the fry rearing tank. The fish require it for water quality. Also don’t  place them directly in freshwater as they are susceptible to fungus. Adult fish tend to favor peat moss in the filter or substrate.

You might be interested :

Neon Tetra Care Guide
Betta (Siamese Fighting Fish) Species Profile
Guppy Fish Care Guide

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