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Maximum size : 4.5 cm

Dawn Tetra - Aphyocharax paraguayensis : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The mesmerizing Dawn Tetra (Aphyocharax paraguayensis) is a beautiful and active fish species that requires careful attention to its environment. While they may be aggressive towards smaller and slower-moving fish, they are hardy and undemanding, making them a suitable choice for experienced hobbyists. These Tetras thrive in planted aquariums with areas of dense vegetation for them to explore, as well as open areas for swimming. The addition of driftwood and bogwood can provide a natural feel to the aquarium, and floating vegetation can be beneficial as these fish tend to swim at the top of the water column. To keep these jumpers in the tank, be sure to have a tight-fitting lid for the aquarium. The Dawn Tetra's silvery body coloration is stunning, and the opalescent pale green colour reflecting from the scales behind the gill plates adds to its unique beauty. The moderately full, black line running along the spine from the back of the gills to the caudal fin, and the transparent fins with a strong black band closest to the body before becoming transparent in the anal fin, and the caudal peduncle extending into the caudal fin gives these fish their striking appearance. To ensure optimal health and well-being of the Dawn Tetra (Aphyocharax paraguayensis), it is recommended to keep them in a group of at least 9 individuals or more. This will help minimize the internal aggression among the group and promote a more natural social behavior. It is important to note that this species is not suitable for a community aquarium as it is known to be aggressive towards slower-moving and long-finned fish, resulting in constant fin nipping. Therefore, it is advisable to keep Dawn Tetras either alone or with compatible substrate fish. It is also recommended to provide an aquarium with ample swimming space and some open areas, along with dense vegetation and driftwood to provide hiding places and visual barriers. Careful consideration should be given to the selection of tankmates to ensure a peaceful coexistence in the aquarium. With careful attention to water quality and temperature, the Dawn Tetra will thrive and continue to add a beautiful and unique touch to any aquarium.

Dawn Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexing the Dawn Tetra is a relatively straightforward process. The male of the species boasts more prominent and bolder markings than the female and displays a more pronounced marking on the anal fin. In contrast, the female is slightly fuller-bodied than the male.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameAphyocharax paraguayensis
Year Described1915
Other NamesPanda Tetra, Paraguay Tetra
OriginsBolivia Brazil Paraguay
Max Size4.5 cm
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

Natural habitat

The Dawn Tetra originates from the rich and diverse lands of Bolivia, Brazil, and the Rio Paraguay Basin in Paraguay, South America. These incredible creatures can be found in a variety of environments, including river drainage systems, shallow streams, and tributaries. One of the most remarkable features of the Dawn Tetra is its ability to thrive in environments that are shaded by overhanging or floating vegetative cover. This unique adaptation enables them to live in areas that other fish species cannot, making them a truly exceptional and fascinating species to observe. Join us on a journey to explore the fascinating world of the Dawn Tetra and discover the incredible diversity and adaptability of these remarkable creatures. From their origins in South America to their unique ability to thrive in shaded waterways, the Dawn Tetra is a true marvel of the natural world.

How to breed the Dawn Tetra

To successfully breed Dawn Tetras, a separate breeding tank with soft, acidic water, dim lighting, and heavy planting is required. Spawning mops can also be used as a medium for the fish to lay their eggs on. To protect the eggs, placing a mesh with small holes at the bottom of the tank is recommended. Adding live food into the tank will also stimulate spawning. When the female is ready to spawn, she will become more active and should be transferred to the breeding tank with one or two healthy and brightly colored males. The male will encourage the female to lay her eggs by bumping into her. The female will then lay her sticky eggs on the available plants or spawning mops, with some falling to the bottom of the tank. The male will immediately fertilize them. Once spawning is complete, the adults should be removed from the breeding tank as they may consume the eggs. The lights should also be turned off as the eggs and fry are sensitive to light. The eggs will hatch approximately 24 hours after being laid, and the fry will initially feed on their yolk sac. After 4-5 days, they will become free-swimming and can be fed with infusoria, particularly rotifers.

Diet & feeding

The Dawn Tetra (Aphyocharax dentatus) is an adaptable species that will consume various foods in the aquarium. While live foods are preferred, they will readily adapt to other food sources, making them a suitable addition to most aquaria. For a well-balanced diet, offer them high-quality flakes, granules, or small pellets as the primary food source. As with most fish, providing a variety of food sources is essential to maintain optimal health. As such, offering occasional live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or white worms as a treat is advisable. To ensure that the food particles are small enough for these tiny-mouthed fish to consume easily, crush the flakes or pellets to an appropriate size. This practice will also prevent overfeeding and help maintain excellent water quality.

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