Splash Tetra (Copella arnoldi)
Splash Tetras are a peaceful species, are indeed beautiful and fascinating little fish. They are easy to keep and a delight to breed. The only disadvantage is that they are pretty scarce and rarely offered for sale.
Splash Tetras are shoaling fish; therefore, they are best maintained in good-sized groups of at least six to ten individuals. Due to their relatively small adult size, you must take care when it comes to choosing their tankmates. These Tetras are easily intimidated by larger, more boisterous fish, and you should not house them with anything that would consider them a snack. Good companions would include smaller species of Dwarf Cichlids, Pencilfish, Corydoras Catfish, Killifish and other small blackwater Tetras.
Splash Tetra are a small, slender fish with an olive-brown body and a whitish belly. They have a relatively large and upturned mouth with acutely pointed teeth. They display a dark spot on their dorsal fin with a whiteish-pink border and a dark band from the snout to the eye, which can continue through to the operculum.
Their caudal fin is profoundly forked, with the upper lobe being more extensive than the bottom lobe, which has a scarlet flash. Their adipose fin is absent, and they use their large pelvic fins when spawning. In desirable water conditions, the upper half of the iris will develop an iridescent orange colour.
|Scientific Name||Copella arnoldi|
|Other Names||Splashing Tetra, Spraying Tetra, Jumping Tetra|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||3 - 5 years|
|Temperature||68 - 82 ℉ (20 - 27.8 ℃)|
|PH||4.0 - 7.5|
|GH||3 - 12|
|TDS||18 - 143|
Splash Tetras are endemic to the Orinoco and the Amazon tropical River Basins in Brazil as well as the coastal drainages of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana, including the Demerara Essequibo, Suriname and Nickerie in South America.
They inhabit both clear and blackwater in shallow creeks, streams, swamps and wetlands and transpires in flooded forests during times of high water. Huge amounts of overhanging riparian vegetation characterise the most-favoured habitats for these Tetras. In addition, the water is often stained in tannins due to materials released by decomposing naturally grown matter.
Other Tetras of interest
Diet & Feeding
Splash Tetras will accept good-quality dried foods of a suitable size, such as flakes and granules in the aquarium. However, you should also offer them daily meals of small live and frozen fares such as Moina, baby brine shrimp and grindal worm to keep your Tetras in tip-top condition.
You can also provide these fish with insects such as Drosophila fruit flies or small crickets, although you must ensure their stomachs are full before giving them to your fish. You can achieve this by feeding them fish flakes or vegetable matter.
It is relatively straightforward to distinguish male from female Splash Tetras. The males usually are larger than females and have longer fins which are more colourful, with red and black outlines. In addition, when males are in spawning condition, a thick dark band may extend posteriorly along the body from behind the opercle.
Splash Tetras are pretty easy to breed, and their unique and truly extraordinary behaviour is something that every aquarist should try to observe.
It would be best to place a pair or a trio in a small tank with a sponge filter and lots of Java Moss or floating plants. You should then drop the water level to around 10cm from the top. Next, organise it so that the water from the sponge filter splashes the water surface and tank sides, making a moist microclimate between the cover and the aquarium lid.
These Tetras will spawn on the sides of the aquarium glass or the lid. The male and female will coordinate their jumps and use their enlarged pelvic fins to cling to their chosen spawning site. They will lay around a dozen eggs during each leap and can lay over 100 eggs.
If more than one female is available, the male will mate with them all. The nests can be in the same place, or there can be various nests.
Once spawning is complete, you need to remove the females. The male will now guard the eggs and deftly flick water on them using his tail every few minutes. This is how these fish get their nickname of "splash" or "spraying tetra".
If the male has multiple nests to tend to, he will remember where they are and splash each nest in turn. If the eggs are fertile, they will usually hatch after two or three days, and the babies will drop into the water. At this time, you must remove the male.
The fry is small and requires live foods initially. Infusoria and paramecium are sufficient. They will also find nourishment within the Java moss and floating plants. After about ten days, the fry will be large enough to eat vinegar eels or newly hatched brine shrimp. It would be beneficial if you carried out partial water changes to keep on top of the water quality.