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Phenacogrammus interruptus
Congo Tetra

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Congo Tetra - Phenacogrammus interruptus

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congot1.jpg (20kb)
Photo Credit: Raymond Tan

Name: Phenacogrammus interruptus
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Zaire (Africa)
8 cm 80 L 6.8 24C


This species is a great community fish to be housed with raibowfish and other larger species. They grow to about 3 inches and will eat almost anything you can give them. They prefer temperatures of around 77 degrees farenheit. Keep them in a planted tank and they should thrive.

Contributed by Eric Brown

Good fish to have, but might do better in large groups. Good looking too. Also, you need to have to be willing to spend some money, because they run about 5 to 10 dollars a piece where I live. Sometimes you can find them cheaper.

Contributed by Jack Estes

This fish is definitely great in schools with a well lit tank. They are one of the most beautiful fish to keep in a fresh water community, very high end for Tetras and also a bit expensive but worth it. Best to keep this fish as the dominant species in your tank, it's quite the site to see.

Contributed by Gain Leam

I purchased my Congo's from WalMart. They were small but healthy, and no one apparently knew what they were or they would have been purchased before I got there! It was a gamble, but at WalMart's price, it was worth taking. They were drab, but I could tell which were males because of the slightly more fringed fins even as juveniles. I ended up buying them all (15), which resulted in 11 males and 4 females. I fed them blackworms, and all kinds of flakes and they took off and grew very rapidly. They also really go for frozen and live brine. They will eat the frozen brine right out of my hand. That's when I discovered my full grown Congo's have little teeth which you can actually see! They don't hurt when they mistake part of a finger for frozen brine shrimp, but it feels a littlelike sandpaper. They school great; the dominant males have a sort of fast side by side chase they perform, presumably a display of strength and testing of each other. I have even seen them displaying for the females on a one-on-one basis. After they got too big for my 140 liter, I moved them to my 270 liter bow front with my 7 Discus. I keep my Discus at 29C and they tolerate that elevated temperature well. I did, however, introduce them to the Discus tank very slowly to give them ample time to adjust to the pH and higher temperature. They were very leary of the Discus at first, but now they mingle quite freely with them. I would recommend them as a dominant tank species or as a subordinant species with a lot of room like I currently have them. Either way, you need to get eight or more because they really feel secure that way and actually show each other off to their best advantage when you see the males in constant movement and their colors reflecting their rainbow-like hues. I don't know for sure because I have never kept them singly, but I don't think they would do as well with one or two only. They really need high protein diets, like Bleeding Heart Tetras, to keep in top shape, i.e., worms, chicken liver slivers. An all around great active aquarium fish.

Contributed by Judy Allred

The most important thing about Congo Tetras, and most tetras for that matter, is to keep them in schools. Two or three fish is not considered a school. I know this fish can cost up to $10 each, but they are not worth keeping unless they are schooled. At least 5 should be kept together in a well lit and well planted tank (live better than plastic, but plastic is okay). True, Congo Tetras are very hardy and can survive alone. But for true color, behavior, and social interaction, they shoud be kept in schools. Also, feeding them very small amounts many times a day (as opposed to one or two heavy feedings) will reveal a more natural feeding behavior and tighter school. They need a long tank with lots of swimming space and good lighting.

Contributed by Kendall Roberg

I have a male and female congo in a mixed tetra and discus tank and they seem fine just as a pair. In fact, they have even started to breed. This starts with a 'shivering' display and then both fish sink to the tank bottom, they then side up next to each other, still shivering until they contact and then they part in a shower of eggs which sink to the bottom. There seems to be no set pattern for laying, i.e., no cleaning of a specific area, and the eggs are just left to fend for themselves.

Contributed by Steve Townsend

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