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Pristella maxillaris is one of the more popular tetras in the hobby.
A hardy species, it can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. This
makes the Pristella a good community fish for new aquarists.
Listed tank sizes are the minimum
||Up to 1.75 in (4.5 cm)
||15 gallons (57 litres) or larger for a proper school
||Mostly middle but will go everywhere.
||6.0 - 8.0
||Soft to medium: dh range 4.0 - 35
||75°F to 82°F (23°-28° C)
||Pristella (Incertae sedis)
Pristella Tetra, X-ray Tetra
South America: Native to coastal waters of Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname,
French Guiana and northern Brazil.
General Body Form:
Medium tall and compressed. Females are larger and more full bodied.
Sexing & Coloration:
Other than the silver body-sack covering internal organs, the Pristella
has a translucent body, hence their other common name of X-ray Tetra.
The tail is red and the other fins (especially dorsal and anal) are
white, black and yellow barred. There's a selectively-bred "golden"
color strain available which is a semi-albino fish. Care is the same
as for the standard color form.
The Pristella Tetra is a great choice for beginner fishkeepers as they
are fairly hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.
It is important to keep a group of at least 6 for it to feel at home.
The Pristella tetra is very peaceful and in a school, is quite lively.
However, it won't compete well with highly active, or large fish. It
combines well with other South American species, such as other small
tetras, pencil fish, hatchet fish, dwarf cichlids such as Apistogramma,
Corydoras and small Loricariids. In a more general community, ideal
tankmates are smaller rasboras, barbs, livebearers, loaches, Anabantoids
and West African dwarf cichlids.
The Pristella Tetra's natural diet is mostly small insects and planktonic
animals. In the home aquarium, it will relish frozen/freeze dried brine
shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and tubifex worms. It will also accept
high quality flake food.
The Pristella spawns rather easily, but the fry can be more difficult
to raise. You'll need to set up a special breeding tank if you want
to be successful. A tank measuring 18" x 10" x 10" is sufficient. It
lighting should be very dim and the females will need a safe place to
deposit her eggs (300 - 400 eggs per spawn). Java moss or other fine-leaved
plants are satisfactory. Ideally, the water should be soft and acidic
in the range pH 5.5-6.5, gH 1-5. You can achieve soft water by filtering
it through peat. The only filtration necessary is a small air-powered
sponge filter. Because the adults will eat the eggs, they should be
removed as quickly as possible after the spawn. The eggs will hatch
between 24-36 hours later. The fry should be fed infusoria for the first
few days, until they're large enough to eat freshly hatched brine shrimp
DIt lives in clear water streams and tributaries in the dry season.
However, when the rains come, the heightened water allows it to move
to into flooded savannah, where it spawns in the middle of the submerged
vegetation. Unlike most other characins, it is tolerant of (and sometimes
found in) slightly brackish water.
maxillaris - X-ray Tetra
Tetra - Pristella maxillaris
tetra - Pristella maxillaris
maxillaris, Ulrey, 1895