Cardinal Brachyrhaphis (Brachyrhaphis roseni) Species Profile & Care Guide
Cardinal Brachys are active, fast-swimming boisterous and robust fish that are best kept in a species only tank or with fish of a similar temperament as they can be nippy and will go after other fish, including Corydoras Catfish. Males aggressively court females, and even females will occasionally spar.
These fish are relatively simple to look after and are incredibly hardy. It would be best to keep these fish in groups of at least six individuals as they are schooling fish and make sure you have more females than males.
Cardinal Brachys are better suited to the more experienced or advanced aquarist due to their occasional aggressive nature and cannibalistic behaviours.
Cardinal Brachys have a pale brown body colour, and the dorsal fin on both males and females is orangey-red on the outer half and is banded with black. Females also have an orange hue on the front area of the anal fin, accompanied by a black bar running from the body to the bottom edge of the fin.
The male has a black bar that runs from the body along the top of its two-toned yellow and black gonopodium. Both sexes have seven or eight faint stripes going vertically along the anterior part of their body, and their scales are edged in black, displaying a lace-like pattern. The conflicting black and orange markings on this fish make it one of the more colourful wild-type livebearers available.
|Scientific Name||Brachyrhaphis roseni|
|Other Names||Cardinal Brachy, Olomina|
|Aquarium Level||All Levels|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Temperature||71 - 86 ℉ (21.7 - 30 ℃)|
|PH||6.5 - 8.0|
|GH||5 - 20|
Natural Habitat of the Cardinal Brachyrhaphis
Cardinal Brachys are endemic to Costa Rica and Panama in Central America. These fish inhabit shallow areas of rivers, creeks and streams, where they hang out amongst rocks and boulders surrounded by plenty of plants and dense vegetation.
Other Livebearers of interest
Cardinal Brachys are omnivores that will readily accept most foods. These fish appreciate live and frozen foods such as fruit flies, bloodworms, brine shrimp and white worms but will also happily take good quality dried foods such as flakes pellets and wafers.
Sexing the Cardinal Brachyrhaphis
It is relatively simple to distinguish males from female Cardinal Brachys. Males are slimmer, have a red dorsal fin, a gonopodium and are also slightly smaller than females. In contrast, females are larger, lack the gonopodium, and their dorsal and caudal fins are edged with an iridescent whitish blue.
Breeding the Cardinal Brachyrhaphis
Breeding Cardinal Brachys is easy as they are prolific breeders. However, raising the fry can be somewhat challenging as these fish are very cannibalistic towards their babies.
The gestation period for these fish is usually around a month, and the fish may produce anything from 25 to 50 fry. Females should be kept in a densely planted aquarium as this will give the fry some cover until you are able to remove them or the parent to avoid them being eaten.
If you have managed to save any fry, you should provide them with finely crushed flake food and baby brine shrimp daily. Once they reach one month old, you can then feed them with more significant flake foods. Around three months of age, they can eat the same foods as the adults, and they start to show their colours and markings.