Penguin Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) Fish Species Profile

The Penguin Tetra is a peaceful, hardy and adaptable fish. They can be sensitive to nitrates but apart from that are relatively easy to care for and are ideal for beginners, and they make a lovely addition to an aquarium. This species does best in a densely planted aquarium.

The Penguin Tetra is usually olive with a prominent black line running down the lateral into the lower half of the tail fin, and its belly is silver colour. This species unusual swimming/resting motions can be quite eye-catching, and give the fish a strong sense of individuality amongst similar sized tank mates.

Scientific NameThayeria boehlkei
Other NamesHockey Stick Tetra and Blackline Tetra
OriginsSouth America
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
Lifespan3 - 5
Maximum Sizeup to 6 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature72 - 82 ℉ (22.2 - 27.8 ℃)
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH4 -18
TDS71.43 - 32

Origins of the Penguin Tetra

Penguin Tetras come from the Upper Amazon River Basin and Araguaia Rivers, Peru and Brazil in South America.

You will find them in small freshwater streams and rivers covered in dense plants, smooth river rock, small stones, and driftwood roots with a dark sandy substrate.


Penguin Tetras are not fussy eaters and will accept all commercial foods such as flakes and granules as well as brine shrimp and bloodworms. This species only have small mouths, so keep the feed little to enable them to digest it properly.

Algae should also be added to their diet to provide much-needed nutrition.

Sexing the Penguin Tetra

Adult females tend to display a duller, less intense colouration than the male and are more rounded in the belly.

Breeding the Penguin Tetra

It is not very difficult to breed Penguin Tetras as long as you have thick plants or moss covering the ground to catch then protect the eggs and the fry.

To bring on spawning it is advisable to feed them live foods and have several males and females to ensure a mating pair can be combined. The female can release hundreds of eggs, and these shall hatch within 24 hours.

You should remove the parents after spawning has taken place or there is a chance they will be eaten.

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Date Added: 7/21/2020 - Updated: 7/21/2020 2:53:16 PM