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Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

The Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi) is native to the slow moving rivers, tributaries and floodplain lakes of Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Peru and Brazil. It is sometimes found in mildly brackish water where it is abundant in the coastal floodplains.

Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Wild caught Gold Tetras collected from several areas in nature are a dazzling metallic gold color that is formed by deposits of guanin. The deposits are due to a skin reaction that the fish get when infected by a specific type of trematode parasite.

The usual color of the Gold Tetra is a somewhat dull silvery grey body color with colorless fins. Captive bred specimens that have not been infected by the parasite do not have the spectacular gold color that is prized by tropical fish keeping enthusiasts. The anal fin of male Gold Tetras have a white leading edge and contain more red pigmentation than that the females. Adult females have a more rounded belly than the males.

The Gold Tetra is a peaceful shoaling species that does well in a community aquarium of at least 20 gallons. They do best in groups of at least 6 to 12 individuals and will get along with other smaller South American species such as pencil fish, Apistogramma dwarf cichlids, Corydoras, Loricads, Hyphessobrycon or Hemigrammus.  They are more generally housed with the Pelvicachromis (Kribensis) species of dwarf cichlids, barbs, rasboras, and the smaller Anabantoids (labyrinth fishes).

In an aquarium environment, Gold Tetras are perfect for a blackwater biotope setup. A substrate of river sand with a few branches of driftwood or gnarly roots and a handful of dried leaves is all they really need to keep them healthy and happy.   Filter the water through some peat to aid in turning the water a tea color which they enjoy in their natural habitat. Alternatively, they can be housed in a peaceful, well maintained community tank setup that is densely planted; even though aquatic plants are not a feature in their natural habitat.

Gold Tetras can be bred in an aquarium but if you want to raise decent numbers of fry, set up a separate breeding tank. Like many egg scatterers, they should be provided with a spawning mop or some clumps of fine leaved plants like Java Moss or Cabomba where they can lay their eggs. Some breeders cover the bottom of the tank with small “egg crate” or some other type of mesh to save as many eggs as possible from being eaten. The breeding tank should have soft acidic water with a pH of 5.5 – 6.5 a gH of 1 – 5 and a water temperature of about 80-85 degrees F.

Gold Tetras can be spawned in groups of 6 to 12 fish with equal numbers of males to females or in pairs. Condition them with daphnia, brine shrimp or other live foods until spawning occurs; usually in the mornings. When spawning a single pair; choose a male and a “full” female from a conditioned group and transfer the pair to a breeding tank with a fine sponge bubble filter and a breeding mop. Breeding will usually occur the following morning and after the eggs have scattered, immediately remove the pair from the tank. The eggs will hatch in about 28 to 36 hours and the fry will usually be free swimming 3 to 4 days later. Both eggs and fry are light sensitive and should be kept in a dark tank until the fry are able to eat regular foods. Feed infusoria until the fry are large enough to accept or baby brine shrimp.

Adult Gold Tetras are easy to feed. They readily accept just about anything offered but regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm,
and brine shrimp, along with a quality dried flake food will keep them healthy.

Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)

Gold Tetra (Hemigrammus rodwayi)






Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Aquarium Hardiness: Moderately Hardy
Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 4-8, dGH 12, pH 6.0-7.0
Max. Size: 2.25”
Color Form: Gray/Silver, Gold
Diet: Omnivore
Compatibility: Suitable for peaceful community tanks
Origin: South America, Suriname, French Guiana
Family: Characidae
Lifespan: 5 years
Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner

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