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Blue eyed Congo tetras... and other African Tetras

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Magnum Man

Fish Herder
Jun 21, 2023
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Southern MN
are these a native species, or a cross breed??? one of the mail order places that I have ordered from before, has these, & when I look up the scientific name, regular Congo Tetras come up ( assuming that means this is a Congo Tetra that had been cross bred or line bred to get the colors??? ) thoughts ???

this is the description...
"This is a rare tetra from Africa. It comes from the same family as the famous Congo Tetra, but with key difference. The colors are amazing. The head and eyes are fluorescent blue and the body is shiny gold."

Tails don't seem to have the unique Congo shape... kinda makes me think these may be cross bred???

it's listed as

Phenacogrammus Aurantiacus​

They are distinct species, not hybrids. And in the same genus, so very closely related. Species within a genus can differ in several external traits, such as the caudal fin.
I've kept them. The Congo river and its related systems is enormous, and full of really nice tetra/Characin species. Most are a little large for the average tank. Yet the marketing geniuses behind the hobby would have us think there is only one. If "blue eyed Congo tetra" catches on as a name for auriantacus, it will cause even more confusion. I've kept a dozen different Congo species and almost every one had blue eyes.

Congo fish are rarely imported, unlike Amazonian ones.

My experience? They were very difficult both times. They're from side tributaries, of the Congo, in very black water. I had them with other beautiful Congo species, most of which lived 5 to 10 years. I was lucky if auriantacus lived even a year. I never even got to consider breeding them. Miss a water change, or use water with too many minerasl, and say good bye.

The fish from the main stream of the Congo are very tough. These guys are different.

There are inexperienced aquarists who like to claim all tetras adapt to all water. This fish shows how wrong they are.

I've been tempted by them since. Now my water is what's need for them - very soft. But they also ship badly and tend to be expensive.
I spent about an hour looking for various African Tetras... for sale for the aquarium trade... I found a handful... but most tetras are listed together, with the bulk being from South America... most for sale are less colorful than their South American cousins...

almost makes me want to do a tank with South American fish... Tetras, & the dwarf catfish
Colour-wise and diversity-wise, South America wins the tetra competition. There are half a dozen African tetras as nice as the top 40 SA tetras - but Amazonia has been the most interesting for speciation, of the two regions. There are a lot of nice African tetras not imported, but distance has a lot to do with that. Europeans see more African fish than Americans do, because of location and distance. A few of the really nice African tetras are really delicate and hard to ship, and they are scattered and farther apart, which raises prices for getting them.

Nothing beats African killies though.
I haven't seen that one in full colour like that. Do you know what it is? It's interesting.

A lot of them have those interesting tail structures, til they nip them off each other.
it's supposed to be...

Alestopetersius Brichardi​

& they are pretty spendy... at a 2 to 2.5 inch fish


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It would be better not to use common names, this species is not in the same genus. It may have this or that, but it is not a Congo. This can make a difference when tracking down species. The fish yesterday was in the same genus.
I'm terrible at trying to pronounce ( or spell ) scientific names... ( Red Congo ) sure is easier... so is cut & paste of the names I can't pronounce
Alestopetersius is an English word! The problem with common names is they differ by region, and often by seller. As well, the main aquarium hobby is no longer English speaking, and English trade names don't work internationally, like on this forum.

I figure if I've had to learn obscure names for automotive parts or computer components, learning fish names is nothing. It gets you what you want - info. And if you meet non English speakers in the hobby, it makes their lives a lot easier.
Oh yeah, the subject!

I've kept Alestopetersius caudalis a couple of times, and they lived forever, always beautiful. They're in the trade here at around the same price as Congo tetras. They're hardy and surprisingly pretty.

I also had a red species, an Alestopetersius I could never identify. I think one went 12 years - a stunner of a fish though my old one lived 3 years with one eye. They are all larger tetras than the average South American.

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