Max Size: 5.5cm

Sailfin Tetra (Crenuchus spilurus)

Sailfin Tetras are peaceful with other species but do not always make an ideal community fish due to their rather timid nature. Ideally, it would be better to maintain these fish with their own species in groups of six or more individuals or with similarly-sized, non-aggressive Characids plus smaller Loricariid or Callichthyid Catfishes.

Nuptial adult males can be somewhat territorial; however, physical damage rarely occurs as long as the decor is arranged so that plenty of broken lines-of-sight are provided.

In the wild, these Tetras are generally recognised as somewhat of a cave-dwelling species, so naturally, Sailfin Tetras seem to do better under dim lighting. Still, you can add aquatic plant species that can survive under such conditions. Floating vegetation is also helpful.

Sailfin Tetras have stocky silver bodies with a black patch on the caudal peduncle. The anal and dorsal fins have orangy-red tips, although the female's fins tend to be almost transparent. Males have fin markings similar to that of the Pearl Gourami.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameCrenuchus spilurus
Other NamesNone
OriginsGuyana, Suriname
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.5 - 6.5
GH1 - 5
TDS18 - 90
68 - 82℉
20 - 27.8℃

Photos of the Sailfin Tetra

Sailfin Tetra

Natural Habitat

Sailfin Tetras can be found in the Orinoco and Amazon Basins, as well as various coastal rivers of French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname in South America. These fish inhabit minor tributaries and forest streams and often transpire in flooded forests during periods of high water.

Large amounts of overhanging riparian vegetation characterise its most-favoured habitats, and the water is typically stained with tannins due to substances released by decomposing organic matter.


What to feed the Sailfin Tetra

In the wild, Sailfin Tetras mainly feed on terrestrial and tiny aquatic invertebrates and other zooplankton. In the home aquarium, these fish may accept good quality dried foods such as flakes or granules providing they are of a suitable size. However, it would be best if you ideally offered them daily meals of small frozen and live fares such as daphnia, bloodworm, artemia nauplii, grindal worm and Moina.

How to sex the Sailfin Tetra

It is relatively easy to differentiate male from female Sailfin Tetras. Males are larger and have more extended dorsal and anal fins and, when ready to mate, become more intense in colour as well as being very territorial. In contrast, the females are smaller and have rounder abdomens and aren't as fancy or bright as males.

How to breed the Sailfin Tetra

Sailfin Tetras typically spawn in small caves or amongst leaf litter, and they form temporary pairs. Males will take sole responsibility for the eggs and brood care.

In nature, sexually active males form small, temporary territories at the centre of which they usually construct a small cave from leaf litter. However, in the aquarium, you may choose any suitable structure.

The males then attempt to attract females in the proximity to enter the cave through magnificent fin displays. The eggs are generally attached to the roof of the chosen 'cave' with the female dismissed post-spawning.

Inexperienced individuals may eat their first few clutches, but it would be better if you did not remove the eggs and hatch them artificially, as the presence of the male seems to be crucial to success.

The incubation period is usually 36 to 48 hours, where the fry will initially feed off their yolk sac. The fry becomes free-swimming around 4 to 6 days after that.

The male will continue to guard them carefully during this time. Once they are free-swimming, you can offer the babies infusoria, newly hatched brine shrimp and microworms.

You can leave the parents with the fry as they are generally safe; however, observe them for any sign of predation if you do decide to do this.

Other Tetras of interest

African Moon Tetra(Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
African Red Eyed Tetra(Arnoldichthys spilopterus)
Black Darter Tetra(Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Black Line Tetra(Hyphessobrycon scholzei)
Black Neon Tetra(Hyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodi)
Black Phantom Tetra(Hyphessobrycon megalopterus)
View all Tetras
Date Added: 28/04/2021 13:15:31 - Updated: 02/12/2021 17:41:28