|Common Name||X-Ray Tetra, Water Goldfinch, Pristella Tetra, Golden Pristella Tetra|
|Scientific Name||Pristella Maxillaris|
|Origin||South America / Amazon River|
|Temperature||72F – 82F|
|Water pH||6.0 – 7.5|
|Size||up to 1.75 inches|
Table of Contents
X-Ray Tetra Facts
- X-Ray Tetras were given their name due to their see-through appearance. Juvenile X-Ray Tetras are even more transparent than mature ones. This transparent coloration serves as excellent camouflage in the murky Amazon water.
- X-Ray Tetras are a schooling micro-predator that is considered opportunistic and omnivorous feeder.
X-Ray Tetras inhabit the black waters of the Amazon River in South America. They are a hardy species that can be found in freshwater and brackish waterways throughout South America. They inhabit the inland streams during the dry season and migrate to the more murky marshland waters during the rainy season. They thrive in dense vegetation and debris areas, where they hunt the shoreline for food.
X-Ray Tetras are small, schooling fish whose markings help them see each other and stay together in the murky Amazon waters. X-Ray Tetras are small fish that only group up to 1.75 inches in length. These micro-schooling fish, like most fish in the Amazon, are opportunistic, omnivorous feeders. This means that they will eat what they can get, both plant and animal matter.
X-Ray Tetras have small, torpedo-shaped bodies with rounded bellies. They have a silvery, transparent coloration. Their dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are yellow and black with transparent tips, while their tail fins are red. They are stunning and popular fish for the home aquarium due to their looks. They are not quite as see-through as other species, but it is still a helpful adaptation of effective camouflage from predators.
X-Ray Tetra Care
X-Ray Tetras are considered hardy fish that are easy to care for. They accept and can thrive in a wider range of water parameters, making them easy fish to place in a community tank setup without issue. They are somewhat forgiving of changes in their water parameters and can tolerate them without rapidly declining. Do not misunderstand; it is still important to establish regular water parameter checks and correct any issues. X-Ray Tetras are great for beginners to the fishkeeping hobby for this reason.
Not only are X-Ray Tetras tolerant of water parameter changes, but they are also not picky regarding feeding time. The home aquarium will readily accept flaked, pelleted, or freeze-dried foods.
X-Ray Tetras are schooling fish, and if you are planning on purchasing them for your home aquarium, you will want to make sure that you have enough room for the size of school you wish to have. The good news is that they do not require that large of a tank for a small school because they are small. To house a small school of 5 X-Ray Tetras, you will need a tank of at least 20 gallons. X-Ray Tetras are an active species, and if you have more room for a larger tank, you will be able to keep a larger school while still giving them plenty of room to swim about freely.
X-Ray Tetras are hardy fish that can tolerate a wider range of water parameters. This makes them great fish for beginners, as they will not go into a rapid decline if their water parameters are off. This does not mean that you should not perform regular water checks. It only means that they will not decline rapidly if their water parameters are incorrect. They do best when kept at a temperature range of 72F to 82F and a 6.0 to 7.5 pH.
Food and Diet
Like many fish in the Amazon, X-Ray Tetras are opportunistic and omnivorous micro predators. This means they will eat whatever they can, plant or animal matter, but they prefer to hunt for their food. In the wild, X-Ray Tetras spend their time searching for food along the shoreline and can be found snacking on small crustaceans, insects, and worms as well. X-Ray Tetras also eat plankton. Pretty much anything small and moving is a possible meal for a hungry X-Ray Tetra. They will also eat aquatic plants, but their preferred feeding method is hunting for food.
In the home aquarium, X-Ray Tetras will readily accept frozen foods, live fish foods, and flaked foods. They should be fed a high-quality, varied diet so that they are sure to receive all the nutrition that they need. Feeding them different foods will help keep them from getting bored with their eating. Remember, in their natural environment, X-Ray Tetras have a large variety in what they choose to eat. You can supplement their diet with occasional feedings of live foods as well, such as Daphnia or Bloodworms.
Since they are such voracious eaters, it can be easy to overfeed this species of Tetra. They should be given 2 to 3 meals daily and only enough food to consume in 2 to 3 minutes completely. You will want to ensure that you are feeding them bits of food that are small enough to fit into their tiny mouths.
X-Ray Tetra Size and Lifespan
X-Ray Tetras can only grow up to 1.75 inches in the home aquarium. Some wild specimens have reached the 2-inch mark, but this is not very common. If they are cared for properly and fed the correct diet with adequate nutrition, you can expect your X-Ray Tetras to live up to 5 years. In the wild, they do not live quite as long.
X-Ray Tetra Tank Setup
When setting up a tank for X-Ray Tetras, you will want to take a look at their natural habitat. X-Ray Tetras come from the Amazon, migrating from clear waters to murky ones. They enjoy a tank that is heavily planted and also provides them with plenty of space to hide, explore, and roam.
They are active fish that will enjoy as much space as you can give them. A nice sandy substrate will mimic the sandy river bottoms of the Amazon, and lots of plants should be used to decorate their aquarium, as well as driftwood and smooth stones. Plants are a great choice as they help filter out ammonia and other waste products from their water.
X-Ray Tetra Breeding
X-Ray Tetras become fully mature and can spawn at around 5 to 8 months old. In the wild, X-Ray Tetras migrate to floodplains to spawn, so setting up a dedicated breeding tank will help achieve similar conditions and trigger them to spawn.
The breeding tank should have a slightly warmer temperature and be heavily planted with dim lighting. It can be difficult to pair off your X-Ray Tetras because there is not much difference between males and females until they are fully mature. The best way to successfully breed X-Ray Tetras is to have a group of them and let them pair off naturally.
When conditioning your X-Ray Tetras for spawning, you will want to offer them live foods at least twice a day while ensuring their pH is neutral. When the female is ready to spawn, she will lay her eggs among the plants, and the male will come along and fertilize them. Once the X-Ray Tetras are done spawning, you will need to remove them from the breeding tank as they do not provide parental care to their eggs or young. They will also eat their own eggs and fry.
X-Ray Tetra eggs hatch around 24 and 36 hours after fertilization. They remain connected to their yolk sac for around 3 to 4 days before they become free swimming.
X-Ray Tetra fry feeds on insect larvae in the wild, but in captivity, your challenge will be to ensure that the food you offer them is small enough for them to fit in their mouths. You can feed them infusoria and change it up to brine shrimp when they are a little larger.
How Do X-Ray Tetras Breed?
X-Ray Tetras are egg-laying fish. When they are ready to spawn, you will be able to see your female X-Ray Tetras growing large in their belly. This is due to them carrying eggs. In the wild, X-Ray Tetras migrate to breed in dense floodplains. You will want to set them up in captivity with a breeding tank that closely mimics those conditions.
When the female and male have paired off, the female will then choose to lay her eggs on different plants in the tank. The male will then come after her and fertilize the eggs. X-Ray Tetra females will lay anywhere from 200 to 400 eggs during this time.
X-Ray Tetras are not easy to breed, but of all the Tetra species, they are among the easiest to spawn in the home aquarium as long as the right conditions are met.
How Do you Tell X-Ray Tetra Males from Females?
X-Ray Tetras are fairly difficult to determine male from female until they have reached maturity. X-Ray Tetras reach maturity at around 5 to 8 months old, and around this time, you will be able to determine which X-Ray Tetras are females due to their enlarged, egg-filled bellies. Fully mature females are also slightly larger. Due to there not being much difference between the two, you will have greater success in getting a breeding pair if you have a group of juvenile X-Ray Tetras and let them mature together and naturally pair off.
X-Ray Tetra Disease
X-Ray Tetras are considered hardy fish, but they are still susceptible to many of the same ailments as other freshwater fish. Like most fish in captivity, their health and longevity is directly related to how well they are kept. If X-Ray Tetras are not kept in adequate conditions, their health will suffer. It is more important to prevent these ailments from happening than it is to try to cure them once they do. You should perform regular water checks and changes to ensure your fish are kept in the ideal water parameters.
Here are some of the diseases that can affect X-Ray Tetras:
Ich is a parasitic disease that appears on the body of the affected fish in white, blotchy spots. You will be able to visibly see if you have a fish that is affected by Ich. If left untreated, it will spread all over the fish’s body and into its gills. Once it gets into their gills, it can quickly render the fish unable to gather oxygen from the water, and they will suffocate. Ich is very contagious. It can easily be carried over to your aquarium from affected fish and decor.
It is important to quarantine any new additions to your tank for at least 2 weeks to ensure you are not contaminating your other fish. If it is caught early enough, Ich can be treated.
Fluke is a common name for a type of parasitic flatworm that can live on the skin or in the gills of your fish. Flukes attach themselves to the skin or gills of the fish. Skin flukes can be treated but can cause death if left untreated.
Parasitic and Bacterial Infections
If caught early, parasitic and bacterial infections can be cured in X-Ray Tetras.
Are X-Ray Tetras Aggressive?
X-Ray Tetras are considered a peaceful species that can be placed into a community tank setup without much issue. They are active fish that occasionally nip at the fins of slower fish with long, flowy fins.
How Many X-Ray Tetras Should Be Kept Together?
X-Ray Tetras prefer to be kept in a school. They should be kept in a grouping of at least 6, so they are comfortable enough to display their interesting grouping behavior. X-Ray Tetras do not do well as lone fish of their species in the home aquarium as they will quickly become stressed and ill.
Tank Mates for X-Ray Tetras
X-Ray Tetras are peaceful fish that can easily go into a community tank setup as long as they are being kept with fish that have a similar nature and requirements. Other tetras are great tank mates, and some Dwarf Cichlids, Plecos, and Corydoras. When choosing tank mates, make sure they occupy different spots in the water column of your tank to avoid overcrowding. Betta Fish can also be great tank mates for X-Ray Tetras as long as there is plenty of room and your X-Ray Tetras are not nipping the fins of the Betta.
You will want to avoid placing them with fish that are larger, territorial, or will out-compete them for food. You will also want to avoid any fish that could potentially see your X-Ray Tetras as a meal. X-Ray Tetras can become stressed and ill if they are housed with fish that are not compatible. Keep in mind that although they are peaceful fish, X-Ray Tetras can be fin nippers for fish with long, flowy fins and slower moving like Angelfish.
With all new additions to your community setup, you will want to monitor them closely to make sure that they are getting along and that you can correct any issues as they arise before they become detrimental to the fish.
Where Can I Find X-Ray Tetra For Sale?
X-Ray Tetras can be found at pet stores and from breeders online for around $3 per fish. Remember that they must be kept in a grouping of at least 6.
Wild Type X-Ray Tetra
Wild Type X-Ray Tetras are simply X-Ray Tetras that come from the wild instead of being bred in captivity. Their needs and requirements are the same as their temperament, but Wild Type X-Ray Tetras can be a little pickier regarding the food they eat.
Red Belly X-Ray Tetra
Red Belly X-Ray Tetras are similar to Wild Type X-Ray Tetras, except they have bright red bellies and red tips on their fins. They have the same needs as other X-Ray Tetras and can cohabitate peacefully.
Albino X-Ray Tetra
Albino X-Ray Tetras still have a transparent look to them, but they are duller. They have pink eyes and pink spots on their bodies as well. They are still the same as X-Ray Tetras; it is just their look that is different.
Balloon X-Ray Tetra
Balloon X-Ray Tetras have much larger, more rounded bodies than regular X-Ray Tetra. They have roughly the same requirements and temperament as the regular X-Ray Tetra, just in a much rounder body.