Pink Tail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidetus)

The Pink Tail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidetus) is found in highly oxygenated rivers and streams throughout northern South America in Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Pink Tail Chalceus are considered a rare import and because of their large size are not usually kept by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts.

Pink Tail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidetus)

Pink Tail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidetus)

Pink Tail Chalceus are long and sleek with large iridescent silver scales that gradually diminish in size as they near the underside of the fish and a faint lateral line.

They have large eyes, a dark splotch on the lower gill cover, and dark red, pink, pale orange, or yellow fins.   The upper portion of the iris is orange to yellow.

The Pink Tail Chalceus is a skittish, predatory, mid to top water shoaling species that in their natural habitat feed on insects, aquatic crustaceans, worms, and smaller fish.

They are capable of sudden bursts of speed and in an aquarium environment often leap from the tank or injure themselves when startled.

Chalceus macrolepidetus is best housed as single specimens or in grops of at least 6 of their own kind. They need at least a 55 gallon aquarium with a sandy or gravel substrate with smooth river rock, a few background plants, some driftwood branches, and enough floating plants to diffuse overhead lighting and minimize skittishness.

They make good candidates for a large community aquarium with similarly sized characins like Leporinus, Brycon sp., Metynnis, Mylossoma, larger Loricariids, Pimelodiids, and Geophagus or Satanoperca sp. type cichlids.

Pink Tail Chalceus require a good filtration system with a powerhead for some water movement, a lot of free swimming space,and a tightly fitting cover to prevent jumping. Regular water changes are mandatory.

The Pink Tail Chalceus is an egg scatter that has been bred in an aquarium environment.  They require a very large, densely planted aquarium. Details are sketchy but females scatter up to 2000 eggs among the submerged vegetation that hatch out into relatively large fry that are capable of eating newly hatched brine shrimp as they become free swimming and the yolk sac has been absorbed.

The Pink Tail Chalceus is a carnivore that feeds primarily on insects and crustaceans. In an aquarium environment they should be fed live, frozen, or freeze dried prawns, mussels, clams, bloodworms, chopped earthworms, etc. along with floating carnivore flakes or pellets. Several small feedings daily are recommended.

When Pink Tail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidetus) are available for purchase, they are usually 3″ to 5″ in size. They are available from specialty tropical fish keeping shops and online from a variety of sources at moderate prices.

Pink Tail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidetus)

Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Hardy
Water Conditions: 73-82°F , 5-18°H, pH 6.0-7.5
Max. Size: 10″
Color Form: Silver, Red
Diet: Carnivore
Compatibility: Keep with larger fish
Origin: South America
Family: Characidae
Lifespan: 15 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced


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