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Maximum size : 12.5 cm

Long Finned Tetra - Brycinus longipinnis : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Long-finned Tetra is a unique and captivating species, known to grow more substantial than many other well-known Tetra species. Despite their size, these fish are incredibly peaceful and outgoing, making them an excellent addition to any large community aquarium. However, it is essential to note that small or slow-moving species may feel intimidated by their constant activity and size. Consider housing these Tetras in a dedicated West African tank alongside other Characins, such as African Red-eyed Tetras or Congo Tetras, for an optimal setup. Other suitable tankmates could include Cichlid species, such as Pelvicachromis or Hemichromis, and Synodontis Catfish. In larger tanks containing South American Cichlids, such as Satanoperca, Uaru, and Geophagus, the Long-finned Tetra makes an ideal shoaling fish. It is crucial to purchase a group of at least six individuals, as these fish fare much better when in the company of their own kind. As they mature, the Long-finned Tetras develop an overall silver body with noticeable greenish-gold iridescent colours on the dorsal surface. They also display short yellow-orange and black bands on the caudal peduncle, with males developing an exquisite dorsal fin extension, adding to their allure and beauty. Keeping these fascinating creatures as part of an aquatic display is an experience not to be missed.

Long Finned Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Discriminating between male and female Long-finned Tetras is a relatively simple task. The adult males exhibit an elongated and gracefully flowing dorsal fin, a distinct convex profile of their anal fin, and are characterized by their more extensive and vivid colouration compared to their female counterparts. On the other hand, the females are relatively smaller, less colourful, and devoid of the elongated flowing fins.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameBrycinus longipinnis
Year Described1864
Other NamesLong-finned Alestes, African long-finned Tetra, Long-finned Characin, Longfin Tetra
OriginsGambia Democratic Republic of the Congo Cameroon Liberia Nigeria Sierra Leone Togo Gabon
Max Size12.5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan3 - 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 19
72 - 79
22.2 - 26.1

Natural Habitat

The Long-finned Tetra is a fascinating species that inhabits the majestic waterways of several African countries, including the Gambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo, and Gabon. They are unique members of their genus, capable of migrating from larger rivers into smaller streams and tributaries, making them adaptable and resourceful creatures. As if that weren't intriguing enough, these Tetras also demonstrate a surprising resilience and versatility, as they are known to thrive in lightly brackish estuarine waters.
 Congo River - Democratic Republic of the Congo
Democratic Republic of the Congo Flag


Breeding Long-finned Tetras can be a challenging endeavour that requires specific conditions to be met. To begin with, a separate breeding tank with dim lighting, soft, acidic water, and ample plant cover must be set up. The tank's length should be maximized to facilitate the expected active spawning. It is advisable to set the temperature at the higher end of the preferred range and use gentle air-driven sponge filtration. The fish should be conditioned in a separate tank with a diet comprising live and frozen foods. Once the females are ripe and plump, the best-coloured male and fattest female should be selected and placed into the breeding tank. Spawning typically commences at daybreak when the first rays of the sun penetrate the aquarium, and several hundred orange eggs are scattered around. Prompt removal of the pair from the tank is necessary to avoid predation on the eggs. In addition, maintaining the eggs' aeration is vital, as optimal oxygenation is critical during their early developmental stages. The eggs typically hatch between four to six days after spawning. Therefore, Infusoria should initially be provided to the young fry, followed by baby brine shrimp and microworms a few days later.

Diet & feeding

When first imported, Long-finned Tetras can be finicky eaters. However, they typically acclimate well to various diets once they have had time to settle. To ensure optimal health and condition, it is advisable to provide a balanced mix of live and frozen foods, such as white mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, bloodworm, and Mysis, as well as high-quality dried food such as flakes, algae wafers, sinking pellets, and granules. These Tetras exhibit a substantial demand for protein and should be regularly offered meaty food, such as chopped earthworm or prawn, to meet their dietary needs. Careful attention to their nutrition can lead to robust and thriving individuals, contributing to an attractive and captivating aquatic display.

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