shoal of Congo tetra in aquarium
How to grow Congo tetra
Congo tetra - Phenacogrammus interruptus, are a relatively small, but highly ornamental species native to the central Congo River Basin in Africa. They are a common sight in retail aquariums, yet are unfortunately often overlooked. Why? Well because Congo tetra only show their iridescent colours once they have matured.

The Congo tetra has the typical tetra shape although a little more wide bodied, wither larger scales and extending tail and dorsal fins. The iridescent colors run from front to back,  with blue on top changing to red through the middle, to yellow-gold, and back to blue just above the belly. The tail fin, is a beautiful grayish-violet with white edges. Male Congo tetras can be expected to grow to 8.5 cm long, while females are a little smaller up to 6 cm. The males are generally more colourful with longer tail and dorsal fins.

Single adult Congo tetra in full colouration
How to grow Congo tetra
To keep them successfully provide an aquarium of at least 30 litres of water will be required, although larger tanks are preferred. Like the Amazon cousins, the Congo tetra will perform at their best in a well planted conditions with low light levels and a dark substrate. Provide soft, peat-filtered water conditions with a dGH of between 4–18 °,  a pH of 6.2 and a temperature between 24–27 ° Celsius. They are known to tolerate neutral pH levels but this can affect their health and colouration.

 They are a shoaling species which should be kept in groups of at least a dozen or so. They have a nervous disposition and so should be kept in a slow moving aquarium without potential predators and plenty of hiding places to swim to if they become spooked.

Congo tetras are omnivorous, but will readily take to a good quality flake food. To maintain good condition, periodically feed with bloodworms or brine shrimp, but avoid tubifex worms as these can pass on a variety of diseases.

If successful you can expect Congo tetras to achieve a lifespan of between 3-5 years, although older specimens have been recorded.

Congo tetras are egg-layers but little is known about their wild breeding habits. Under optimum aquarium condition a single female can lay up to 300 eggs, which once released are left to drop to the bottom. If successfully fertilized, the subsequent fry are large enough to eat newly hatched brine shrimp.

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