Max Size: 5cm

X Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris)

The X-Ray Tetra is a peaceful species of tetra that can adapt to a wide range of water parameters, making them a hardy candidate for any community aquarium and a good choice for beginner aquarists. In addition, they are readily available in the hobby and are a relatively popular species of fish.

These Tetras have a small translucent body, and you can see their backbone. The scales of the X-Ray Tetra are a yellowish-silver colour that is very faint, resembling nearly golden in some lights. The X-Ray Tetra also displays a re-tipped tail and strikingly lined anal and dorsal fins that are black, yellow, and white. This species has a bony internal structure known as the Weberian apparatus, which is used while picking up sound waves and adds to their sharp sense of hearing.

Quick Facts
Scientific NamePristella maxillaris
Other NamesX-Ray fish, Golden Pristella Tetra, Water Goldfinch
OriginsGuyana, Suriname, Venezuela
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespanup to 5 year
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH4 -18
75 - 82℉
23.9 - 27.8℃

Photos of the X Ray Tetra

X-Ray Tetra
X-Ray Tetra
X-Ray Tetras
X-Ray Tetra
X-Ray Tetra
X-Ray Tetra
X-Ray Tetra

Natural Habitat

The X-ray tetra is endemic to South America. It is found in tributaries in both the Orinoco and Amazon rivers. You can also find them in swamps and coastal rivers in Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela and French Guyana.

During the dry season, these Tetras inhabit clear water tributaries and streams and when the rainy season comes they move to flooded marshlands of savannah, where the water is softer and more acidic where they will spawn amongst the aquatic vegetation.

The X-Ray Tetra can live in both freshwater and brackish waters.


What to feed the X Ray Tetra

In the home aquarium, these fish are unfussy. Please give them a mixture of dried flakes, pellets and granules along with small live and frozen foods such as Artemia or Daphnia to provide them with a fully nutritious diet.

How to sex the X Ray Tetra

The X-Ray tetras are very similar in appearance. Females are usually bigger and noticeably stockier than males, and when a female is pregnant, you should notice the eggs inside her. In contrast, the males will have a more slender body shape than the females.

How to breed the X Ray Tetra

X-Ray Tetras are relatively easy to breed. You will need a separate dimly lit breeding tank with plenty of plant coverage, java moss or equivalent will be fine, alternatively spawning mops would do just as well, so the female has places to deposit her eggs.

The water condition should be slightly acidic and soft, and the temperature should be a couple of degrees higher than their average temperature. A small air-powered filter is required for gentle movement and filtration.

The X-Ray Tetra can be bred in a small group or as a pair, and for the best result choose the more brightly coloured male and the fattest female and feed them an adequate supply of small live foods to condition them.

They will generally start to spawn at dawn, and the females can lay up to 300 eggs on the plants during this time. Once they have been laid, you should remove the parents straight away; otherwise, they will get eaten.

The eggs will begin to hatch within 24 to 36 hours, and the fry will be free-swimming 3 to 4 days later, and you will need to feed them Infusoria or similar.

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: 11/09/2020 - Updated: 02/12/2021 17:51:46