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Maximum size : 6 cm

Cardinal Brachyrhaphis - Brachyrhaphis roseni : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Cardinal Brachys (Brachyrhaphis roseni) are an uncommon yet fascinating fish species in the aquarium hobby. Boasting dynamic personalities and captivating behaviours, these active, fast-swimming specimens are sure to steal the show in any aquarium. It's essential to keep Cardinal Brachys in a species-only tank or with fish of similar temperaments, as they have a propensity for nipping at other fish, including Corydoras Catfish. Males will vigorously court females, while even females display the occasional sparring match. While Cardinal Brachys are hardy and relatively easy to maintain, it's crucial to house them in groups of at least six individuals, as they are schooling fish. Additionally, maintaining a higher ratio of females to males is advisable to foster a harmonious environment. As experienced aquarists know, Cardinal Brachys' occasional aggressive and cannibalistic behaviors make them better suited for the advanced aquarist. Their pale brown body color, coupled with a striking orangey-red dorsal fin banded in black, and an orange hue on the front of the anal fin with a black bar, make for an attractive display. Males have a two-toned yellow and black gonopodium, with a black bar running down the body, while both males and females have seven or eight faint vertical stripes along the anterior part of their body, edged in black and displaying a lace-like pattern. The opposing black and orange markings make this fish one of the most vibrant wild-type livebearers available.

Cardinal Brachyrhaphis Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Discerning male Cardinal Brachys from females is a relatively uncomplicated task. Male specimens can be identified by their comparatively slender physique, possession of a crimson dorsal fin, the presence of a gonopodium, and slightly smaller stature. In contrast, females exhibit a larger physique, lack the gonopodium, and exhibit an iridescent whitish-blue edge on their dorsal and caudal fins.
Featured Male
Featured Female
Male Female

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBrachyrhaphis roseni
Year Described1988
Other NamesCardinal Brachy, Olomina
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.5 - 8.0
GH5 - 20
71 - 86
21.7 - 30

Natural habitat

The vibrant Cardinal Brachys is found exclusively in the verdant habitats of Costa Rica and Panama in Central America. These vivacious fish thrive in shallow stretches of rivers, creeks, and streams, where they bask in the company of rocks, boulders, and lush vegetation. Inhabiting densely planted areas, they form a stunning contrast against the backdrop of their natural habitat.

How to breed the Cardinal Brachyrhaphis

Breeding Cardinal Brachys is a straightforward endeavour as these fish are remarkably fecund. Nonetheless, raising the fry poses some challenges, as their proclivity for cannibalism towards their offspring is pronounced. These specimens' gestation period typically lasts approximately a month, yielding a brood ranging from 25 to 50 fry. To safeguard the survival of the fry, females should be housed in a densely planted aquarium, providing the fry with adequate cover until they can be removed from their parents' reach. Should any fry be successfully saved, a daily diet comprising finely crushed flake food and baby brine shrimp is recommended. At the age of one month, the fry can transition to more substantial flake foods, while at three months old, they can be fed the same diet as adult specimens, exhibiting their characteristic colours and markings.

Diet & feeding

As omnivores, Cardinal Brachys display an insatiable appetite, devouring a diverse range of foods with gusto. Their diet is inclusive of live and frozen comestibles such as fruit flies, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and white worms, while they also demonstrate a keenness for high-quality dried foods like flakes, pellets, and wafers.

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