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Penguin Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) Care guide – Size, Life Span, Tank Mates, Breeding

The most complete information about the tetra penguin fish

The penguin tetra fish has a peculiar swim with its body tilted. If you are interested in acquiring one do not hesitate to continue reading to know all its characteristics.

penguin tetra
Scientific NameThayeria boehlkei
Other NamesHockey Stick Tetra and Blackline Tetra
FamilyCharacidae
GenusThayeria
OriginsSouth America
TemperamentPeaceful
Aquarium LevelMiddle – Top
DifficultyBeginner – Intermediate
ShoalingYes
Best kept asGroups 5+
DietOmnivore
ReproductionEgg-Scatterer
Lifespan3 – 5
Maximum Sizeup to 6 cm

What does the penguin tetra fish look like?

This fish has an elongated and very thin shape. Its body is silver and in the center it has a black line that goes from the operculum to the caudal fin. On the anal fin it has a thin line of white color that runs along the entire leading edge.

The tetra penguin fish is very similar to the Thayeria obliqua,differing only in the black line that presents the tetra penguin fish whose end is blurred on the back of the fish.

Tetra penguin fish can reach an average length of 6 or 7 centimeters. The difference between male and female is only that the female is fatter than the male tetra penguin fish. Sometimes this difference should not be seen with the naked eye, since sometimes males and females have the same size.

Other information about this family of fish

Tetra penguin fish live in areas covered with vegetation that have very calm waters. They are fish that despite having a great swim, likes to stay still when they are comfortable in their habitat. In addition, tetra penguin fish have a very particular swim, they swim in an oblique position.

It is very typical to find them in the waters of the Amazons in Peru or in Brazil, on the Araguaia River. They live at a temperature of 26 and 28 degrees and especially in soft and acidic waters.

Their behavior with the rest of the fish is very calm, without disturbing others. Among them they can be chased but it does not carry any danger because the tetra penguin fish is not aggressive. They are known to be bottom fish in the aquarium, thanks to their tranquility in front of the rest of the animals.

The tetra penguin fish belongs to the family Characidae or phaacids and its scientific name is the Thayeria Boehlkei. The first known import of this fish to other countries in the world is from 1935.

Feeding the tetra penguin fish

All fish need a specific diet. Although the tetra penguin fish does not need great care, a good diet based on live and frozen animals and also on processed foods is necessary.

Lunch schedule

Like any fish that lives in captivity, they must have meal schedules that I keep it during the day and night with energy. This schedule can be divided into two, three or four times during the day. Providing at all times a type of food adapted to your needs and with a recommended amount.

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Tetra penguin fish can find food on the bottom. To avoid overfeeding we must always give it the exact food,or regularly clean the bottom of the aquarium.

The best times for the tetra penguin fish to feed is in the morning. They are lovers of tranquility and also of resting when darkness comes. Feeding it in the morning will give you the necessary dose of energy so that it can be an active fish during the day.

We can also feed you when night falls, so you can swim before you start your rest.

Food for the tetra penguin fish

The penguin tetrafish is a carnivorous and omnivorous animal. He likes to eat all kinds of food and especially small insects as well as frozen food.

Live food is his favorite and provides great nutrients. Although we must take care of the abuse of this type of food because it can also lead to diseases to the tetra penguin fish. The most common are daphnia or also known as water fleas, and mosquito larvae.

Frozen food can be artemia or tubifex. With this kind of food we will be providing the fish with the same nutrients as life food, but preventing them from being infected with diseases that live prey can have.

Dry food is another variety of food that we give to tetra penguin fish, through scales, flakes, bars or granules. It is possible to find it with algae or crustacean.

They also eat commercially processed foods that we can buy at any pet store.

Diseases of tetra penguin fish

All fish whether they live in the wild or in captivity can suffer from diseases that can end their lives. In the case of having tetra penguin fish in our aquarium we must be aware and observe it to make sure it has good health.

How do I know my fish is healthy?


There are so many diseases in the animal kingdom that many times they can come with symptoms that are seen with the naked eye, but many other times we must be very aware of the behavior of fish to discover that it is suffering from some type of disease.

The most obvious thing to see that our tetra penguin fish is not in good health is its strange behavior,among which we can find a strange or slow way to swim, that spends a lot of time on the surface, or that barely moves from a place.

Regarding the time of eating we can look if the tetra penguin fish of the aquarium eat normally or however, most of the food ends up on the bottom without being digested. Or the opposite case, if we see a fish too big we will also be facing a health problem for the fish.

Diseases of tetra penguin fish

The most common diseases come from excess oxygen, a shortage of oxygen, or from an inadequate temperature for tetra penguin fish. On these three occasions we are talking about diseases caused by an external condition that we must solve quickly by returning to the values suitable for the life of the tetra penguin fish.

Costiasis is a disease that spreads through a parasitite manifesting itself in spots on the body of the tetra penguin fish. To treat it we must put the sick animal in water with drops of formalin and add more drops every minute, for 10 minutes.

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Because of the water we can infect the tetra penguin fish with diseases due to the fungi that can arise as a result of poor cleaning of the aquarium. These fungi do not attack animals, but they can spread to their wounds by gradually invading their entire body until they reach death.

Behavior of tetra penguin fish

These animals are very calm fish and their character is very peaceful. If you are looking to fill your aquarium, do not hesitate to put tetra penguin fish.

The behavior of tetra penguin fish

This class of fish has lived many years in the wild. But after the first import to live in captivity have been many who have wanted to place the tetra penguin fish in their aquarium with other fish, always with similar behavior and sizes to avoid misfortunes between them.

But for many, the experience of the tetra penguin fish goes further, and is that when you enjoy it in your fish tank you discover that they are very calm and even cowardly fish, since they will go to hide in a dark place if they do not have other fish from the same family next to it.

To enjoy the tetra penguin fish we must always keep them in a group with at least 7 specimens. The aquarium should be of a length greater than half a meter and a dark soil. We will also have to place plants so that they can rest and that will serve to filter the light, because they are fish that do not like to be exposed very much.

In addition, we must always cover the aquarium because tetra penguin fish are known for their agility to jump and could get out of the water.

Other data about your behavior

Tetra penguin fish do not usually attack other fish even though they may be bothering with their fast swimming. These animals are very calm and will normally never attack other fish. They will prefer to hide to avoid any danger to face the other animals in the aquarium.

But it is recommended that we always have the tetra penguin fish with other animals of similar appearance and behavior because finally each fish, can have exceptions in behavior. When the tetra penguin fish goes with others of the same species it will feel more protected and in company so it will not have the need to disturb others.

The moment we see our tetra penguin fish trying to attack others in the fish tank, we must immediately separate it to prevent some of the two from getting hurt.

Care of tetra penguin fish

Simple to care for, but still all fish need basic care to offer you the best life expectancy in the aquarium. Let’s know the details that will make your tetra penguin fish, a durable and happy fish.

Basic care for tetra penguin fish

Tetra penguin fish are very easy to keep. This type of fish needs hardly any care because they are very independent fish that need hardly anything to live their life quietly.

The only care we have to offer you is that every day you receive the daily dose of food for all the penguin fish that we have in the aquarium. It is also important to provide the ideal temperature that they can withstand. This temperature is from 26 to 28 degrees. Although they are not fish that can not live above or below it.

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And the last advice we offer you so that your tetra penguin fish is happy in the aquarium, is that it can enjoy a dim light,almost poor for it we can place different spaces where you can hide and enjoy the darkness when you want.

As mentioned above, the tetra penguin fish is a very simple fish to have, to breed and to extend its life expectancy with such basic care that it will hardly take time.

A large fish tank for a quiet swim

The tetra fish is a great swimmer,and it shows it by its speed and because it spends a large part of the day swimming from one place to another. Although they love to swim, on many occasions you can find him resting. He also likes to sometimes relax and let himself be carried away by the water.

The tetra penguin fish will always be bothering the other fish but they will not be in danger since the tetra penguin fish is a very peaceful animal that likes to chase the rest of the fish in the form of a game. But it doesn’t mean he’s going to attack them.

So that they can enjoy their swimming, it is recommended that you have a large water tank where you can go from one place to another without obstacles.

Baby tetra penguin fish

Tips to get our tetra penguin fish to reproduce successfully. Keep reading and put into practice all these tricks to have offspring of this fish so popular for aquariums. They are ideal for living in captivity thanks to their tranquility.

Tips for reproduction

The first step we will do is to lower the pH values to 6.5 and maintain a temperature of 25 degrees in the aquarium where we will put our tetra penguin fish to reproduce.



These fish need little light to unsno. We will proceed to cover all with cardboard or other material, leaving only the top part exposed.

Luckily, tetra penguin fish will not eat the eggs once laid, so the use of a grid is not necessary. Once we release the pair inside the aquarium where we will have the young, both will need a few days to adapt to the new habitat.

After these days, the laying of eggs will take place during the afternoon and very close to the surface. The male will try to conquer the female until he can spawn. Once the eggs have been released, we will take the parents out of the aquarium and remove a large part of the water.

The young of the tetra penguin fish are born

After 12 hours, the first larvae will be born and will stay in the darkest places of the water tank. At the bottom of the aquarium will remain the eggs that have not been fertilized. They must be removed by means of a thin tube.

From the fourth day since the tetra penguin fish have been born, the fry will be able to swim freely. From now on we will begin to give it a little light by removing some cartons or the material we have used to cover the aquarium. We will also begin to feed them paramecia constantly, to prevent them from starving.

When three weeks have passed since the fry began to be born, we must move them to a wider place. We will also begin to change the food for artemia nauplii, and finally we will proceed to uncover the aquarium so that it receives natural light and gets used to its new life.

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