X Ray Tetra (Pristella Maxillaris) Fish Species Profile

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The X-Ray Tetra is an easy, peaceful fish that can adapt to a wide range of water parameters, are hardy, and they can tolerate other species. They are readily available in the hobby and are a relatively popular fish for in the community aquarium.

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.

Scientific NamePristella Maxillaris
Other NamesX-Ray fish, Golden Pristella Tetra, Water Goldfinch
OriginsSouth America
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespanup to 5 year
Maximum Sizeup to 5 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature75 - 82 ℉ (23.9 - 27.8 ℃)
PH6.0 - 8.0
GH4 -18

Origins of the X Ray Tetra

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.


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.

Sexing 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.

Breeding 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.

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Date Added: 9/11/2020 - Updated: 9/11/2020 1:39:31 PM