The Characins family has more than 1,300 different species, the majority in South America, although we can also find African characins , less popular among aquarium enthusiasts.
The Characid species used for hot water aquariums are mostly gregarious.
In nature, they tend to live in areas of rivers that are stagnant, without current and shallow, where there is a good profusion of plants, among which they hide for their reproduction.
Streams tend to have an acid pH, with soft waters, renewed when tropical rains occur.This is the habitat that we have to reproduce in the aquarium, a setting with a lot of vegetation, in which the water has to be renewed frequently.
They are fish that in most species are carnivorous, feeding on larvae and insects. In aquariums this diet is complemented with pieces of raw meat and fish, worms, prawns, mussels….
Within the Characins there are two or three species that stand out from the rest, on the one hand there is the Tetra fish, with multiple versions and on the other, the piranha, known worldwide for its voracity pushed to the limit in the cinema, but not reflected with the reality of this fish.
The Cardinal Tetra is native to South America , although it is widespread in US aquariums, since an American Airlines pilot introduced it in the 1960s. It
needs slightly acidic water, with a temperature between 23º and 27º , with a lot of vegetation in which to take refuge and reproduce.
They are relatively small fish, they do not grow more than 5 centimeters, which allows us to keep them in a small aquarium: 50 to 60 liters.
See: Tetra Cardinal
Fish Tetra serpae, Tetra serpa
Among aquarium enthusiasts, the Tetra serpa fish is often confused with Hyphessobrycon callistus and some other very similar tetras. The true Tetra serpa, comes from the Amazon region.
It is a calm fish that prefers slightly acidic waters with a temperature of 25ºC.
It can be reproduced in the aquarium, feeding the fry with specific products.
Neon Tetra Fish
The Neon Tetra is a gregarious, very peaceful species that is perfectly adapted to living in the aquarium together with other small species.
It is not very demanding in terms of water quality, although it prefers water filtered through the peat at the bottom of the aquarium, with a pH lower than 7 and dH lower than 10º.
It reaches a size of about 4 centimeters in captivity.
See: Neon Tetra
Silver Dollar Fish
This is one of the difficult characins to reproduce, although not impossible.
It is a quiet species that usually lives in a community in the north of South America.
We will need a large aquarium, about 200 liters, where there is enough space.
It is a vegetarian species, which can grow to 14 centimeters.
SEE: Silver dollar fish
The red piranha is preceded by a black legend, which really doesn’t do it justice.
The attacks that we see in the cinema rarely occur and are only directed against injured animals or animals that lose a lot of blood.
It is true that they have very sharp teeth, which can cause deep wounds , if we do not take the proper precautions, but like many other aquarium fish.
Read more: Red piranha
The aquarium for piranhas must have roots and provide shelters for piranhas , as well as have dim lighting.
The water temperature must be installed in the environment of 24º and 27ºC.
If you have hopes of reproducing it in the aquarium, it is known of some cases, but it is really difficult.
In captivity they can measure about 30 centimeters, and we will need an aquarium of about 300 liters.
The Borrachito Fish is a tetra native to the Orinoco River and the lower Amazon basin.
This is a very sociable fish that can live with a wide variety of freshwater species in a community aquarium.
They are gregarious fish, of which the best results are obtained, when there is a group of between 8 and 10 specimens.
In these conditions, the fish are calmer and their coloration is more striking.
See: Drunk Fish
Monja fish or Monjita fish
The Nun fish is characid, that is why it is known as Black Tetra or black widow.
It is a very active specimen, which is very striking in a community aquarium, especially if a small school of specimens is kept , an ideal situation for the animal itself and to our delight.
It is usually a quiet fish, which does not usually attack other specimens in the aquarium, unless they have long tails … why is not very well documented, but these fish attract it in a way and bite their tails.
It is an easy fish to acclimatize and maintain, which is why it is a highly sought after fish for those starting out in the aquarium.
Do you want to know more ?: Nun Fish