Max Size: 4.5cm

Dawn Tetra (Aphyocharax paraguayensis)

The Dawn Tetra is a hardy and undemanding, very active fish and remarkably aggressive towards fish that are slower moving, similar in size or smaller; therefore, they are not suitable for the community tank. However, the more significant the group, the less aggressive they become

The Dawn Tetra has a torpedo-shaped silver body with opalescent pale green reflecting from the scales behind the gill plates along the central, lateral area to the root of the caudal fin.

This fish is unique as it has a moderately full, black line running along the line of the spine from the back of the gills to its caudal fin and then continuing along the lower caudal fin to its tip.

Most of the fins are transparent. The anal fin has a strong, black band closest to the body before becoming transparent. The caudal peduncle is black and extends into the caudal fin about one-third of the way to the back of the tail. Below and above this black section of the caudal fin have white patches which extend, again, about one third the length of the caudal fin. The rest of the caudal fin is transparent.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameAphyocharax paraguayensis
Other NamesPanda Tetra, Paraguay Tetra
OriginsBolivia, Brazil, Paraguay
Aquarium LevelMiddle
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
TDS18 - 268
72 - 82℉
22.2 - 27.8℃

Photos of the Dawn Tetra

Dawn tetra
Dawn tetra
Dawn tetra
Dawn Tetra
Dawn Tetra
Dawn Tetra
Dawn Tetra

Natural Habitat

The Dawn Tetra is native to Bolivia, Brazil and the Rio Paraguay basin in Paraguay in South America. They inhabit river drainage systems, shallow streams, and tributaries that are usually shaded by the overhanging or floating vegetative cover.

What to feed the Dawn Tetra

The Dawn Tetra is not a fusser eater and will readily accept most food. Although live foods are preferred, these tetras will adapt to other foods.

Use high-quality flakes, granules or small pellets as the staple of their diet. Live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods should only be given as treats. These include bloodworm, brine shrimp, and white worms are ideal.

Eventually, they will take all foods that are offered but make sure that the food particles are small enough to fit into their tiny mouths.

How to sex the Dawn Tetra

It is relatively easy to determine males from females. The male has more distinctive, bolder markings and a more decisive marking on the anal fin whereas, the females are slightly fuller-bodied than the males.

How to breed the Dawn Tetra

A separate breeding tank will be required. The tank should have soft acidic water, be dimly lit and heavily planted. Spawning mops are also an excellent medium to lay eggs upon.

Placing a mesh that has big enough holes for the eggs to fall through but not large enough for the parents to reach them at the bottom of the tank is also advisable, that way if any eggs fall they can be safe from the parents. Adding some live food into the tank is also advisable as this should induce spawning.

It will be obvious when the female is ready to spawn and should be transferred into the breeding tank as she will swim more actively around the tank. Once the female has been placed in the breeding tank, add one or two of your healthiest and best-coloured males, they will encourage her to lay her eggs by bumping into her.

She will then lay her slightly sticky eggs on the available plants or spawning mops, and some may very well drop to the bottom of the tank. The male will then fertilise them immediately.

Once spawning has finished, remove the adults, as they are likely to consume the eggs, given a chance, and take no further parental responsibility and also turn the lights off as the eggs and the fry are especially sensitive to the light.

The eggs will hatch approximately 24 hours after being laid, and the newly hatched fry will initially feed on their yolk sac but, 4-5 days later, they become free-swimming, and can be provided with infusoria, especially rotifer.

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: 21/09/2020 - Updated: 22/11/2021 17:06:47