Tetras – Alestes Tetra (Brycinus longipinnis)

Updated on November 20, 2020 by

If you need a beautiful yellow colored and active fish to brighten up the tank, then you might just be asking for the Alestes Tetra.

They are a social fish that also behave greatly in community tanks, showing an energetic and vibrant personality to jazz up your aquarium. They are easy to care for which makes them suitable for any beginner enthusiast.

Quick stats – Alestes Tetra

CategoryInfo
OriginNorth West Africa
Max size6” / 15 cm
AquariumMin 55 gallon / 200 liters
Water72-79° F / 22-26° C

KH 4-8, pH 6.0-8.0

Care levelEasy
BehaviourPeaceful
DietCarnivore
FamilyAfrican Characidae
ColorsBlack, yellow

Alestes Tetra description

The Alestes Tetra is native to Northern West Africa spanning through Gambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon.

Otherwise known as the Long finned Tetra particularly for possessing a long fin, the Alestes Tetra are peaceful species belonging to the Characidae family.

They are more robust and larger than most of the Tetra species and often grow to a maximum size of 5.9” (15cm).

They are active and energetic swimmers and will often require a lot of swimming space to comfortably explore their aquatic world. They are schooling species and will often be found swimming in a school of 8 or more members.

They usually occupy the middle and top region of the water column, although they can also be seen swimming and feeding in the bottom level.

Although they are freshwater fish, they thrive in a slow moving blackwater but are adaptable to varying pH levels between 6.0-7.8, temperature of 22-26˚C (72.0-79.0F), and hardness of 6-20 dGH.

Generally they possess a silver body coloration, but as they begin to mature, they begin to develop distinctive iridescent coloration. The active schooling Alestes Tetra possesses a yellow to neon gold coloration with a horizontal black bar running through the base of the tail and fin.

They exhibit sexual dimorphism with the male being more brightly colored than the female. The male possesses a long and flowing dorsal fin and is slightly larger than the female.

Nowadays, they can be found in more and more pet and fish shops, and with just a few dollars, your home could host these active and beautiful species.

Alestes Tetra in the natural habitat

The alestes Tetra are native to Northern West Africa, spanning through Gambia to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon and other parts of the West Africa region.

They are often found in slow moving blackish water with varying pH levels between 6.0-7.5, temperature between 22-26˚C (72.0-79.0F), and hardness of 6-20 dGH.

They thrive in waters with dark substrates and some areas with thick vegetation. They are often seen swimming in schools of the same species, in the middle and top regions of the water.

In the wild, they tend to be carnivores and prey on smaller live species.

Alestes Tetra in the ideal aquarium

Alestes Tetra - Brycinus longipinnis

Setting up the ideal aquarium for Alestes Tetra, would require taking into consideration, their active nature, water chemistry, size and the comfort of mimicking their natural habitat.

This requires setting up a well filtered minimum 55 gallon aquarium having a pH range of 6.0-7.5, a temperature of 22-26˚C (72.0-79.0F), and hardness of 6-20 dGH to house a school group of 5-8 members. As an active species, they will require lots of swimming space, so If the number of school members should be increased, then an extra 5 gallon is recommended for each new member added.

Alestes Tetra are very sensitive to water conditions, so the water must be adequately maintained, subject to weekly changes whilst replacing up to 25% of the water at each interval.

The water flow should be slow and a dark substrate should be employed. This can be achieved by filling the substrate with dark sand along with rocks and lots of plant covering. Driftwood decor can also be employed to break the water flow.

Alestes Tetra thrive in areas with thick and dense vegetation, but this should not compete with its swimming space. Floating plants can also be introduced, this will also help to sublimate the light entering the tank. Aquatic plants such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, Cryptocoryne and Ceratopteris spp are excellent plants suitable for the Alestes Tetra.

They prefer a low or moderate lit tank. This will help to reduce their skittish nature.

As an active schooling species, Alestes Tetra are best kept in a school group of 8 members or more. However, as a community species, they are also suitable with other fish species. Care must be taken though when choosing the suitable tankmates of the Alestes Tetra.

Smaller Tetra species and dwarf shrimp should be greatly avoided, as the Alestes Tetra are carnivores and prey on smaller species.

Slow moving species should also be avoided or carefully monitored as the active Alestes Tetra are boisterous eaters and will always intimidate and outcompete them for food.

Also fin nippers such as the Tiger barb should be also avoided as they will harass the Alestes Tetra and even wound their long fins.

Aggressive species should also be avoided as they will harass the Alestes Tetra and make their stay uncomfortable.

However, they are suitable tankmates with the larger, active and peaceful species alike. These include milder African Cichlids such as Congo Tetra and African Red Eye Tetra, Synodontis Catfish, medium sized loaches, and  South American Cichlids such as the Severum, Uarus and Jurapari.

Alestes Tetra feeding

In the wild, the Alestes Tetra are carnivores. They are not fussy eaters (although they can be when they are initially introduced into the tank) and will accept just any types of meaty food including flake meals and pellets.

They can be fed with frozen and live meaty foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimp, earthworm, prawn, mosquito larvae, Mysis, daphnia etc.

Also their diet can be supplemented with high quality flake meals and micro pellets.

However, they can adapt to many food varieties including vegetables such as chopped cucumber and spinach.

They should be fed regularly with just as much they can finish in a few minutes. Every leftover should be removed to avoid deteriorating the water and infusing the water with the unsuitable excessive nitrates.

Alestes Tetra breeding

These species are rarely bred in captivity due to its trickish spawning methods. They are best conditioned in a separate tank. Spawning can be induced by adequately feeding them lots of live and frozen meaty food. When the female is ready for spawning then they can be introduced into a spawning tank along with a mating male pair.

The spawning tank should be set with the aforementioned water specification above. Lots of spawning spaces should be provided in the form of fine-leaved plants such as the java moss. The tank should also have a low lighting with lots of floating plants for shade.

However, the spawning exercise has never been recorded to date, but it is suggested to be similar to the Congo Tetra with the male often chasing the female.

Alestes Tetra are egg scatterers, laying several hundred yellow eggs. After spawning, the parents should be removed as they lack parental instincts and are notorious egg eaters.

The eggs should be adequately aerated as high levels of oxygen are essential in their early development stages.

The eggs hatch in 4-6 days and become free swimming fry 1-2 days after. The fry should be fed with liquid foods or infusoria. As they begin to mature after a couple of days, they can be fed with brine shrimp and microworm. Upon full maturity they can be introduced to larger tanks.

To conclude

The Alestes Tetra are active fish species with energetic spirit to buzz the aquarium tank.

They are social species and often swim in school groups.

Alestes Tetras are mostly carnivores and will feed on a variety of live, frozen and dried foods. However they are adaptive to varying diets including vegetables.

Although the spawning act has seldom been recorded, it is suggested to be similar to the Congo Tetra.

They are egg scatterers and will lay over hundred of eggs which hatch in 4-6 and become free swimming in 1-2 days.

With proper care and right tank condition, the Alestes Tetra can live up to 5 years whilst growing up to 15 cm.

Alestes Tetra FAQs

How long do the Alestes Tetras live?

With proper care and right tank condition, Alestes Tetras can live up to 5 years.

What is the maximum size of Alestes Tetra?

Alestes Tetras can grow up to 15 cm long.

What are the suitable tank mates of Alestes Tetra?

They are compatible with larger peaceful and community species suitable with their tank condition such as the milder African Cichlids, Congo Tetras and African Red Eye Tetra, Synodontis Catfish, medium sized loaches, and South American Cichlids such as the Severum, Uarus and Jurapari. However, they are most suitable with larger school members of the same species.

What are the food requirements of the Alestes Tetra?

In the wild, they are mainly carnivores and are not fussy about what they eat. They can be fed with frozen and live meaty foods such as bloodworm, brine shrimp, earthworm, prawn, mosquito larvae, Mysis, daphnia etc. They can also be fed with high quality flake meals and micro pellets. They can also adapt to varying diets including vegetables.