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Maximum size : 9 cm

Red Shiner - Cyprinella lutrensis : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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For those seeking a distinct departure from the typical goldfish, Red Shiners (Cyprinella lutrensis) offer an attractive and alluring option. These cold-water fish can be housed alongside similarly-sized and temperate species, such as Danios and white cloud mountain minnows, and can also coexist with peaceful bottom-dwellers like loaches and Gobies. However, it is not recommended to house them with goldfish, as they tend to compete for food, and the latter has a reputation for fin-nipping. Red Shiners exhibit dynamic and serene shoaling behaviour when kept in groups of six or more individuals, making them a beautiful addition to any aquarium. Therefore, ittablishing a well-filtered, spacious, and suitably furnished tank that includes hiding places like rocks, bogwood, or sturdy plants is imperative. Additionally, it is necessary to provide additional powerheads to generate adequate current in the aquarium. Red Shiners boast a unique and striking appearance with a laterally compressed, deep body that is silvery-green to white. During the breeding season, male Red Shiners sport iridescent pinkish-blue sides, a red crown, and red tips on all fins except the dorsal fin. Their distinct head features tiny eyes and a terminal to slightly sub-terminal mouth, with males possessing a sharply pointed nose that protrudes beyond their mouth. The anal fin contains 8 to 10 rays, the dorsal fin has eight rays, and the pelvic fins have eight rays. The caudal peduncle is broad, and the caudal fin is concave, providing an exquisite visual spectacle.

Red Shiner Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Discerning between male and female Red Shiners is a relatively uncomplicated task. The females are distinguished by their larger, more robust physique and their less vivid complexion. Conversely, the males are comparatively diminutive in size and exhibit a strikingly brilliant appearance, particularly during their reproductive phase, characterized by the presence of conspicuous white tubercles across their cranium.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCyprinella lutrensis
Year Described1853
Other NamesRed-horse Minnow, Rainbow Dace
OriginsMexico USA
Max Size9 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespanup to 3 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH7.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
50 - 72
10 - 22.2

Natural habitat

The elusive and vibrant Red Shiners is an indigenous fish species found throughout the Mississippi River basin. From the southern region of Wisconsin and eastern Indiana to the sprawling Louisiana and southern Wyoming, Red Shiners have established a robust presence in North America. Not only have they been introduced to states like Virginia, California, and Nevada, but they have also proliferated in areas where baitfish buckets have been emptied and aquariums have been released, among other methods. These agile swimmers can be found in various aquatic environments, including creek mouths, backwaters, and riffles, with sand and silt substrates. Red Shiners demonstrate a remarkable ability to tolerate areas with high turbidity and siltation, and they can withstand harsh environments that other fish species cannot. Although they typically avoid waters with high acidity, Red Shiners are remarkably adaptable, thriving in habitats characterized by natural physiochemical extremes, seasonally intermittent flows, and habitats degraded by human disturbance. In conclusion, Red Shiners are a captivating species that has flourished in North America's freshwater systems. Their tenacity and resilience in adapting to diverse environments make them an essential component of aquatic ecosystems.

How to breed the Red Shiner

In their natural habitat, Red Shiners engage in spawning activity within tranquil waters, with males exercising their discretion in selecting and protecting the designated site. Female Red Shiners have been observed emitting audible signals to lure males. The reproductive cycle occurs seasonally, commencing from mid-April through to September, during which time Red Shiners deposit their eggs in crevices as well as attach them to rocks and aquatic vegetation. While Red Shiners have been documented breeding in home aquariums, comprehensive information remains elusive. Female Red Shiners typically lay between 400 to 600 eggs in various orifices of the aquarium decor, including the gravel. Notably, Red Shiners possess the ability to hybridize with closely related species, such as the Blacktail Shiner and the Blue Shiner. Therefore, to prevent parental consumption of the eggs, removing the adult fish from the aquarium is recommended once spawning has concluded. The eggs generally hatch within 3 to 5 days, and the fry becomes capable of free-swimming approximately one week later.

Diet & feeding

In their natural habitat, Red Shiners primarily subsist on algae and various aquatic and terrestrial insects. However, in a captive setting, these fish are known to exhibit a versatile dietary palette, accepting an array of sustenance options. Red Shiners are highly receptive from standard dried feeds like flakes and micro granules to live and frozen varieties, such as vitamin-enriched brine shrimp, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and Daphnia, to various food sources.

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