Max Size: 6 - 8.5cm

Congo Tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus)

The Congo Tetra is quite popular in the aquarium hobby. These Tetras are active, timid and stunning fish. In addition, these Tetras are hardy, peaceful schooling fish that are excellent for beginner aquarists and community aquariums.

Congo Tetras typically stick in large groups in the wild. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep these fish in a group of no less than six individuals. Keeping these Tetras in more significant numbers create a spectacular swath of colour that will be the centre of attention in your aquarium.

Ideal tankmates for Congo Tetras can include other Tetras, Dwarf Barbs, various peaceful Cichlids, Rainbowfish, Loaches and Corydoras Catfish. However, it would be best if you did not keep Congo Tetras with species that may nip their intricate finnage or with much larger, more boisterous species due to their nervous nature.

The ideal aquarium setup for Congo Tetras would be an African biotope design with driftwood branches, floating vegetation and Anubias. However, their stunning colours will show up more in a well-planted aquarium. In addition, these Tetras will need plenty of swimming space and prefer soft and acidic water with excellent circulation. Finally, Congo Tetras get scared relatively quickly, so you should also make sure they have places to hide when they feel stressed.

Congo Tetras have a full-bodied typical Tetra shape with rather large scales. The males have beautiful greyish-violet fins with white edges, with the dorsal, anal, and tail fins sporting long veiled edges. These fish have rich opalescent colours running along the body from front to back, blue on top, shifting to a yellowish-gold down through the middle and then back to blue just above the belly. In addition, these Tetras also have red colouring on their heads.

Tank Mates for the Congo Tetra

10 ideal tank mate ideas for the Congo Tetra include:

Celebes Rainbowfish(Marosatherina ladigesi)
Coral Red Pencilfish(Nannostomus mortenthaleri)
Diamond Tetra(Moenkhausia pittieri)
Long Finned Tetra(Brycinus longipinnis)
Panda Corydoras(Corydoras Panda)
Panda Garra(Garra Flavatra)
Polka Dot Loach(Botia Kubotai)
Queen Arabesque Plecostomus L260(Hypancistrus sp)
Sahul Rainbowfish(Melanotaenia sahulensis)
Twostripe Corydoras(Corydoras bifasciatus)
Quick Facts
Scientific NamePhenacogrammus interruptus
Year Described1899
OriginsDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan3 - 5
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.2 - 7.2
GH4 -18
KH4 - 8
TDS150 - 250
75 - 81℉
23.9 - 27.2℃

Photos of the Congo Tetra

Congo Tetras
Female Congo Tetra
Male Congo Tetra
Congo Tetra
Blue Congo Tetra
Blue Congo Tetra
Congo Tetra
Male & Female Congo Tetra
Blue Congo Tetra Male
Congo Tetra Male
Congo Tetra Male
Albino Congo Tetra
Congo Tetra
Congo Tetra
Congo Tetra
Congo Tetra

Natural Habitat

Congo Tetras are endemic to the River Congo's upper reaches in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. You can find these Tetras in slow-moving and shaded waters in rivers, streams, pools, and marshes where they prefer murky, slightly acidic water with aquatic plants and dark substrates, typically sand, silt and mud. You will not find many rocks or tree branches in their habitats..

What to feed the Congo Tetra

Congo Tetras require large quantities of food in their diet and will eat several times a day. Therefore, the Congo Tetra will readily accept live, frozen and freeze-dried food such as dried worms, bloodworms, daphnia or green vegetables.

These fish will also require high-quality dried food such as pellets, granules and flakes as this will provide them with a balanced diet allowing them to retain their bright colouration.

Unfortunately, if there is a lack of plant elements, they will start eating soft plants used for decoration.

How to sex the Congo Tetra

It is relatively easy to differentiate between males and female Congo Tetras. Males are much brighter, bolder and slightly larger than females, and their caudal and dorsal fin are more elongated and edged in white. In contrast, females are somewhat smaller, duller being mainly golden, with a silverish green hue and their fins are not as impressive as the males.

How to breed the Congo Tetra

Although not impossible, it isn't easy to breed Congo Tetras as their spawning is seasonal, and successfully getting a pair to produce in the aquarium is somewhat tricky.

To breed them, you will need to provide a large aquarium with peat-filtered water. It would be best to have relatively bright lighting in the tank as this will help induce reproduction. You should also make sure you add plenty of moss or equivalent as this is where the fish will lay their eggs to hatch.

The male will perform a dance display for the female. She will then go into the moss at the bottom of the tank, where the male will follow her, and they will then start breeding.

Once the female has laid her eggs, they will fall into the moss. This is a good thing because it offers protection. However, when the fish have finished breeding, you should remove the adults from the tank as Congo Tetras are known to consume the eggs.

Approximately a week later, the tiny fish fry will start to emerge. You can feed them infusoria initially for a few days. Then, after about a week, you may begin to feed them baby brine shrimp and microworm. The fish will be large enough to eat powered fish food by the two-week mark.

Other Tetras of interest

African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
Black Neon Tetra(Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
Black Phantom Tetra(Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 20/05/2020 - Updated: 25/02/2022 12:21:08