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Maximum size : 5 cm

X Ray Tetra - Pristella maxillaris : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The X-Ray Tetra (Pristella maxillaris) is a fascinating and peaceful species that is well-suited for community aquariums, particularly for those just starting with fishkeeping. With their adaptable nature and easy-to-care-for requirements, these Tetras are a popular choice among hobbyists. To ensure their best quality of life, it is important to keep these fish in groups of at least six, as they are a shoaling species. They are most compatible with other fish of similar size and temperament, such as other Tetras, Dwarf Barbs, Pencilfish, and Dwarf Cichlids like Apistogrammas. You can also house them with Corydoras Catfish and smaller Plecos. For an optimal habitat, consider setting up a biotope environment with a sandy substrate, a few driftwood branches, and tangled roots. Dried leaves can also be added for a more authentic feel, although aquatic plants are not a necessary feature of their natural habitat. Allow the wood and leaves to dye the water brown, replacing old leaves every few weeks to avoid fouling the water. Keep the lighting fairly dim to mimic their natural environment. The X-Ray Tetra has a small, translucent body that allows you to see its backbone. The scales are a yellowish-silver color, sometimes nearly golden in appearance. The species also displays a re-tipped tail and strikingly lined anal and dorsal fins that are black, yellow, and white. Additionally, they possess a bony internal structure called the Weberian apparatus, which is used to pick up sound waves, adding to their sharp sense of hearing. A gold variety of this species is also available. In summary, the X-Ray Tetra is a captivating and peaceful species that is well-suited for community aquariums. Their adaptable nature and ease of care make them an excellent choice for beginner aquarists. With a proper setup and care, these Tetras can thrive and provide an eye-catching display in any aquarium.

X Ray Tetra Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

X-Ray Tetras are nearly identical in their appearance. However, sexual dimorphism is apparent, as females are generally larger and more robust than males. It is also worth noting that the female's gravid condition can be detected by the visible presence of eggs. Conversely, males tend to have a slimmer and streamlined body shape in comparison to the females.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePristella maxillaris
Year Described1894
Other NamesX-Ray fish, Golden Pristella Tetra, Water Goldfinch
OriginsGuyana Suriname Venezuela
Max Size5 cm
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

Natural habitat

X-ray Tetras are endemic to the Orinoco and Amazon rivers in South America where it thrives in clear water tributaries and streams. You'll also find these mesmerizing fish in swamps and coastal rivers in Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela, and French Guyana. During the rainy season, the X-ray Tetra ventures into flooded marshlands of savannahs, where the water is softer and more acidic. It's a remarkable behaviour that showcases the species' adaptability and resilience. Here, they spawn amongst the lush aquatic vegetation, creating a stunning natural spectacle. What's truly remarkable about the X-ray Tetra is its ability to thrive in both freshwater and brackish waters. It's a testament to their hardiness and versatility, making them an excellent choice for any aquarist looking for a unique and captivating addition to their collection. Prepare to be mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the X-ray Tetra and its fascinating behaviour. With its natural adaptability and resilience, this species serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving our planet's precious natural resources.
 Orinoco - Venezuela
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How to breed the X Ray Tetra

X-Ray Tetras can be bred quite easily with proper care and conditions. To start, a separate breeding tank with plenty of plant coverage such as java moss is needed, or you can use spawning mops. The water conditions should be slightly acidic and soft, with a temperature a couple of degrees higher than their average temperature. A small air-powered filter should be provided for gentle movement and filtration. For best results, choose the most vibrantly colored male and the fattest female and feed them an adequate supply of small live foods to condition them. X-Ray Tetras can be bred in a small group or as a pair, and they will typically begin spawning at dawn. During spawning, the female will lay up to 300 eggs on the plants or spawning mop. Once the eggs have been laid, it is crucial to remove the parents from the tank to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch within 24 to 36 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming 3 to 4 days later. It is recommended to feed them infusoria or equivalent small food until they are big enough to accept more extensive food.

Diet & feeding

To provide a well-balanced diet for X-Ray Tetras in the home aquarium, a combination of dried flakes, pellets, and granules should be provided. In addition, offering small live or frozen foods, such as Artemia or Daphnia, can help provide essential nutrients that may not be present in dried foods alone. This variety in their diet can help ensure the overall health and vitality of the fish.

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