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X-ray Tetra

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Scientific Name:   Pristella maxillaris      
Min. Tank Size:   25 gallons      
Personality:   Peaceful      
Temperature:   75-82°F      
pH:   6.0-8.0/0-25°dGH      
Size:   1.75"      
Diet:   Omnivore      
Breeding:   Egglayer      


Best kept in shoals with 6 or more of their own species; can be kept with other Tetras, Pencilfish, Hatchetfish, Dwarf Cichlids, Rasboras, Barbs, Anabantids and Corydoras.

X-ray Tetra

The only member of the Pristella genus, the X-Ray Tetra is also sometimes called the Golden Pristella Tetra. These fish are named for their transparent bodies. Many specimens exhibit a slight reddish hue on the caudal fin as well as yellow, black and white banding on the dorsal and anal fins. X-Ray Tetras are most often found in the coastal waters of Guyana, Suriname, Venezuela and northern Brazil. These fish tend to inhabit clear streams and tributaries, though during the rainy season they may migrate to the savannah where they spawn among areas of submerged vegetation.

Tank Set-up

X-Ray Tetras are commercially bred in large numbers and, thus, tend to adapt well to a variety of tank conditions. It is one of the easiest, and most hardy, species to keep - which makes it an excellent choice for beginning aquarists. These fish look their best in heavily planted tanks and biotype tanks and will likely appear washed out or dull in sparsely decorated setups. Since it's a schooling fish, provide plenty of open swimming area. The X-ray Tetra will display its best colors in a tank with water towards the acid side of neutral, dark substrate and dim lighting. This species of Tetra is very peaceful, ideally kept with other South American species like Pencilfish, Hatchetfish and Corydoras. X-Ray Tetras are shoaling fish by nature and should be kept in groups with at least 6 of their own species.


These Tetras are micropredators by nature, feeding on small invertebrates in the wild. In captivity, however, X-Ray Tetras are easily fed - they will eat almost anything you give them. Offer your fish a staple diet consisting of high-quality flakes or granules supplemented with small live and frozen foods such as Daphnia, brine shrimp and bloodworms. For optimum health and coloration, feed a varied diet on a regular basis.


Breeding X-Ray Tetras is fairly easy but raising the fry may be more difficult. To encourage spawning, condition a pair of sexually mature adult fish on live foods. Introduce the pair into a separate breeding tank filled with soft, slightly acidic water having a pH between 5.5 and 6.5 kept at a temperature between 80 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. If spawning occurs, it will likely happen in the evening and the adult fish should be removed from the tank immediately afterward so they do not eat the eggs.

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