The most popular Freshwater Aquarium Characins are the
Long Finned Characin, the Spraying Characin, and the
One Striped African Characin.
The Long Finned Characin is a lively, peace loving fish
enjoying schooling. They like live food, insect and
The male has a high back with dorsal fin rays extending
as far as the caudal fin. Female has a crooked line along
the back and a similar one along the belly, the dorsal fin
does not have extended rays.
The Spraying Characin is a lively, peace loving fish,
enjoying life most in a school. They are best kept alone,
but can be kept with other quiet, nonaggressive fish
of about the same size. The primarily swim near the top
of the aquarium.
Eggs are laid above the surface of the water.
The one striped African Characin is a lively fish that
likes to live near the bottom of the aquarium. It is a good
breeder. The male is slender and brilliantly colored
One striped African Characins can be mixed with fish
that live near the top of the tank.
Characin, common name for any member of a family of freshwater
fishes that are prevalent in South America but also common
in Mexico, Central America, and Africa.
More than 1400 species are known. Characins can be recognized
by the presence of a short, stublike adipose fin located
between the tail and the dorsal fin. Many species are small
and brilliantly colored, such as the neon tetras popular
among aquarists. The largest characin is the African tigerfish,
which reaches a length of about 4.5 ft,
while the smallest is the Bolivian pygmy blue characin,
which has a length of about 0.6 in.
Even though characins tend to be small, with bodies that
are fusiform (tapered on both ends) or laterally compressed,
many species have body and mouth shapes adapted for capturing
a variety of prey and other food. Some species are strictly
herbivorous, while others feed on fishes. Species vary from
slow, deep-bodied, schooling omnivores to fast, torpedo-shaped,
Most characins scatter their eggs among aquatic plants,
where the young are protected from predators. Some species
migrate during the spawning season to habitats with dense
Piranhas and pakus are among the well-known larger species of
characins. The common red-bellied piranha may engage in a
feeding frenzy when it encounters a bleeding animal. However,
most piranha species are docile vegetarians, feeding on
fruits, seeds, and leaves that have fallen into the water
from overhanging trees. The herbivorous Amazonian tambaqui,
an excellent food fish, can reach a length of about
(about 3 ft) and a weight of about about 66 lb.
Scientific classification: Characins make up the family
Characidae in the order Ostariophysi. The neon tetra is
classified as Hyphessobrycon innesi, the African tigerfish
as Hydrocynus goliath, the Bolivian pygmy blue characin as
Xenurobrycon polyancistrus, the red-bellied piranha as
Pygocentrus natereri, and the tambaqui as Colossoma macropomum.
List of Freshwater Aquarium
List of Marine Aquarium Fishes