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Hemigrammus rodwayi
Gold Tetra

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Gold Tetra - Hemigrammus rodwayi

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goldtetra1.jpg (20kb)
Photo Credit: Marcos Avila

Name: Hemigrammus rodwayi
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Guiana
5 cm 40 L 7.0 26°C


The Gold Tetra is a peaceful, hardy little amazon school fish, with a highly reflective silver body and a black spot on the tailfin base. Over the silver background there is usually a gold or copper powderlike coloration (thus the name), which is believed to be caused by internal parasites.

Contributed by Marcos Avila

Wild-caught specimens are a golden or coppery color with a very metallic golden spot on their head and a black spot on the caudal peduncle. Tank bred gold tetras are silver, lacking the gold coloration which is thought to come from a microrganism that lives within the wild variety. When frightened or stressed the black spot on the tail will virtually disappear and they take on a mottled blackish color. They are a fairly active, playful fish and are peaceful with other species. They love to swim against the powerhead's current, wriggling their bodies and flashing their beautiful gold flanks. My experience is that they are rather hardy, I even used them to partially cycle a new tank and they were fine. These are shoaling fish, so you should buy more than a couple. My 4 gold tetras and 4 pristella tetras have grouped up to form a larger shoal, and they often play together in the currents. I recently moved mine from a 10-gallon to a 55-gallon tank, and the males' fins turned a deep red with a white edge. I'm told many fish will remain immature in a small tank, so they are probably just going through "puberty" and in the future they may only turn red during spawning.

Contributed by Sheila Summers

I've had 8 gold tetras for a year and a half now. These are really great fish. In the beginning they schooled religiously...sometimes, single file, in a figure 8 pattern around an A. Ulvaceous leaf and some imaginary point. One would take the lead, and pretty soon, another would dart off in the opposite direction...if none followed, he'd rejoin the "line," but if he got enough followers, the line would reverse was great. That was until the first breading season...when the temp dropped and I started adding distilled water to drop my hardness (fully planted tank...) they went into a breeding frenzy. After that they looked like crap. All fins were shredded and spots where scaled were removed turned black. They are the only fish in my 29 gallon tank, except for bottom dwellers so they weren't overcrowded. I've fully restored them back to gold and most fins are ok...with only one that is constantly beat-up. Now they all have specific plants they defend at all cost...a truly great fish with lots of personality. At night they all become friends, apparently to defend against some imaginary predator. Have fun!

Contributed by Chris Spurgeon

These fish are PIGS! They are good fish but eat everything in site. They are very cool. with a black dot on their tail. They don't bother the other fish but they chase each other! HIGH A+!

Contributed by Jason A.

I finally got my gold tetras to spawn, and about 40 or so babies made it to a size that makes them no longer a source of food (1/5 the adult size). They were raised in a 280 liter tank with 20 cardinals, 11 adult gold tetras, 6 silver hatchets, a khuli loach, two tatia cats (5 cm max, perugae, I think), a "red tail" pleco (about 10 cm, 3 years old), and about 6 otos...not a lot of fish for a tank that size. The plants are way out of control (not a bad thing). Because I didn't change my water for 2 months, a layer of short, wispy algae built up on the anubias and african fern...this provided a place for the eggs to fall into, preventing the cardinals and golds from eating them. The mass of fern and anubias provided cover for the little guys and the leftover food that was on the algae provided micro-food for nourishment. When you have a large tank, understocked with small fish, water changes aren't as necessary. Just don't feed so much. My water parameters are ideal and all the fish are healthy...pH 6.6, GH 8. I raised baby gold tetras with success and most of my fish are at least a few years old. I feed the fish just once a day and skip a day or two each week. Once again, no deaths or diseases. When you just let the tank go, you get to see all kinds of stages that you normally would not if you kept changing the water and trimming the plants. I now like my aquarium more than ever because it looks real.

Contributed by Jason A.

I love these tetras! I only have one left, it is 7+ years old! When I first bought a school of them, the resident Angelfish ate them like crazy! Needless to say, I took the Angels back to the store. A couple survived for 7 years and now I only have the one. They are fun, loving fish!

Contributed by Scott Ferrell

Gold tetras are a great choice for small planted tanks. Their small size makes it able to have a suitable shoal of at least 10, even in a 40 L tank. The vibrant color makes a great accent against the plants and driftwood. Gold tetras have great personalities and will give some excitement to your natural aquarium.

Contributed by Kevin Gallagher

Gold tetras are shiny and beautiful, especially in schools of 5 or more. They don't grow much bigger than 5 cm, but are hardy and eat well. They're peaceful, even in a community tank.

Contributed by Rachel Genevieve

Cute little fish! They look like they are made of gold lamé. They add a lot of flash to a tank. You can see them from accross the room. Especially pretty in a heavily planted tank.

Contributed by Patti

These guys usually are not very brassy in color and mine stay more like a light silver. If you want a really energetic, fast swimmer which scoots around in the upper one third of the aquarium from one end to the other, this is it. They tend to chase aggressively other look alikes, but I never see any real physical damage caused. These tetras are tough as nails. I suggest a bigger aquarium if you want to see them move.

Contributed by Richard Scott

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