Long Finned Tetra (Brycinus longipinnis) Species Profile & Care Guide
The Long-finned Tetra grows more extensive than many other well-known Tetra species. Still, they are very peaceful and outgoing fish. Long-finned Tetras make an excellent addition to the larger community aquarium, although small or slow-moving species may feel intimidated by its constant activity and size.
Ideally, it would be best if you kept these Tetras in a dedicated West African setup, with other Characins such as African Red-eyed Tetras or Congo Tetras. Other tankmates could include Cichlid species such as Pelvicachromis or Hemichromis and Synodontis Catfish.
The Long-finned Tetra makes an ideal shoaling fish for big tanks containing South American Cichlids such as Satanoperca, Uaru and Geophagus. Make sure you buy a group of at least six individuals as these fish fare much better when in the company of their own kind.
The Long-finned Tetras have an overall silver body but develop very noticeable greenish-gold iridescent colours on the dorsal surface as they mature. These Tetras also display short yellow-orange and black bands on the caudal peduncle, and males develop an exquisite dorsal fin extension with maturity.
|Scientific Name||Brycinus longipinnis|
|Other Names||Long-finned Alestes, African long-finned Tetra, Long-finned Characin, Longfin Tetra|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Beginner - Intermediate|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Temperature||72 - 79 ℉ (22.2 - 26.1 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 19|
Natural Habitat of the Long Finned Tetra
Long-finned Tetras are endemic to the Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and Gabon in northern West Africa as well as the western coastal regions of Africa. They inhabit the upper and lower reaches of large rivers and are also the only member of this genus to migrate into smaller streams and tributaries. You may also sometimes find these Tetras in lightly brackish estuarine waters.
Other Tetras of interest
Long-finned Tetras can be fussy when first imported, but they will usually adapt well to various foods once they have settled.
For the best health and condition, feed your fish on a mixture of live and frozen foods such as white mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, bloodworm and Mysis, as well as good quality dried food such as flakes, algae wafers, sinking pellets and granules.
These Tetras appear to require a great amount of protein, so you should also regularly offer them meaty fares such as chopped earthworm or prawn.
Sexing the Long Finned Tetra
It is relatively straightforward to distinguish male from female Long-finned Tetras. Adult males will develop an elongated, flowing dorsal fin, its anal fin has a unique convex profile, and they are also slightly more extensive and more vibrantly coloured than females. In contrast, females are smaller, duller and lack long flowing fins.
Breeding the Long Finned Tetra
Long-finned Tetras can be challenging to breed. You will need to set up a separate breeding tank dimly lit with soft, acidic water and plenty of plant cover. Spawning is expected to be quite an active affair, so the tank should be as long as possible. It would be better to set the temperature towards the high end of the preferred range and provide filtration using a gentle air-driven sponge filter.
The fish themselves are best conditioned in an independent tank using plenty of live and frozen foods. When the females are ripe and plump, you will need to select the best-coloured male and fattest female and place them into the breeding tank.
Spawning usually begins when the first rays of the morning sun hit the aquarium, then several hundred orange eggs will be scattered around. You should then remove the pair as soon as possible after spawning; otherwise, they will predate on the eggs. From this point on, you must keep the eggs well-aerated, as a high level of oxygenation appears to be essential during the early developmental stages.
The eggs will hatch around 4 to 6 days later, and you can offer the young fry infusoria, followed by baby brine shrimp and microworm a couple of days after that.