The Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus) is a beautiful representative of African tetras (Alestidae family). It is a family of Characiformes, which include a great number of species.
Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus) lives in small forest streams and reservoirs in the rainforests of the central and lower Congo basin in the Democratic Republic of Congo. It is a quite big fish of extraordinary beauty. Males grow up to 8 cm long and females 6 cm. Their body shimmers in blue, purple and green. A very characteristic feature of this species is a yellow-orange stripe running along their trunk. The males are not only bigger, but also more intense in color. In addition, males also have elongated, arched dorsal fin and elongated mid-rays of the tail fin. You won’t see all the beauty of these fish in a pet shop because they usually sell young, not yet coloured specimens. But don’t let that discourage you. In a well-arranged home tank, they will delight you with their colours and feathery fins.
Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus) is a social fish and, as I have already mentioned, quite large, so an aquarium for this species should have a capacity of about 240 liters. In such a tank, you can have a group of 10-20 individuals. Remember that the stock in which they will feel safe is at least 5-6 fish. Like many other Characiformes, Congo tetras can be shy. The aquarium must contain plants among which they can find shelter. However, when planting them, remember to leave the swimming space. You can also use roots and stones to decorate the tank. Keep the water temperature at 25-26°C. Congo tetras prefer soft water (5-10°dGH) and a slightly acidic 6.0-6.5 pH. You can combine them with other fish with similar requirements. However, avoid species that could bite off the tetras’ fins.
In nature, these fish feed on insects, crustaceans and algae. In the aquarium they willingly accept all types of food. It is worth remembering that the addition of live and frozen food will perfectly affect their appearance and readiness to spawn. The recommended formulated foods are both multi-component products, e.g. Vitality & Color, Africa Carnivore, Krill Flake, Supervit, Supervit Mini Granules, Red Mico Colour Sticks as well as those with a high proportion of plant ingredients, e.g. Africa Herbivore size S, Super Spirulina Forte and 3-Algae Flakes.
Fish intended for reproduction should be placed in a specially prepared aquarium. There should be a spawning grate or moss at the bottom. You can also place plants in pots. The water should be warm (about 27°C), soft and slightly acidic. In such a prepared aquarium we place a group of fish with predominantly males. One female lays about 200 eggs on average. After spawning catch adult fish out. The larvae hatch after about 6 days. After resorption of the yolk sac, start feeding the fry with protozoa. As they grow, artemia naupliiuses and powdered foods such as Pro Defence Micro size can be introduced.
Ph.D.Eng Aleksandra Kwaśniak-Płacheta