Penguin Tetra (Thayeria Obliqua)
The Penguin Tetra is an attractive and playful freshwater fish that makes a great addition to a peaceful community aquarium. These fish have a silver body with a slight iridescence and are characterized by their distinct black stripe that runs diagonally from the dorsal fin to the lower tail fin, which resembles a penguin's tuxedo. They are relatively easy to care for, making them suitable for both beginners and experienced aquarists.
Penguin Tetras grow up to 3 inches in length. It is highly recommended to purchase a group of at least 6 Penguin Tetras, with a preference for 10 or more. These fish are naturally schooling species and thrive in the presence of their own kind. Keeping them in sufficient numbers enhances their well-being and reduces any potential fin-nipping behavior, as they tend to focus on interacting with each other. The visual impact of a larger school is also quite stunning.
Penguin Tetras are often confused with False Penguin Tetras, but they can be distinguished by their physical characteristics. While both species have a diagonal black stripe, the stripe in Penguin Tetras (Thayeria obliqua) extends from the dorsal fin to the lower tail fin, whereas the stripe in False Penguin Tetras (Thayeria boehlkei) runs from the dorsal fin to the middle of the tail fin.
Penguin Tetras are peaceful fish that may struggle to compete with overly active or significantly larger tankmates. Ideally, they should be housed with other South American species such as Hemigrammus or Hyphessobrycon tetras, pencil fish, Apistogramma and other small cichlids, Corydoras, and Loricariids. In a more diverse community tank, they can coexist with smaller rasboras, barbs, Anabantoids, and West African dwarf cichlids like Pelvicachromis species.
Penguin Tetras are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet. They will readily accept high-quality flake food and live and frozen foods such as daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms, which contribute to their overall health and coloration.
The aquarium should have plenty of plants, hiding spots made with driftwood or twisted roots, and open swimming areas. Slightly diffused or dimmed lighting is preferable, with a dark substrate and floating plants to provide the shady conditions preferred by Penguin Tetras. Include some plants that can tolerate low light conditions, such as Java fern, Java moss, Anubias, or Cryptocorynes, along the back and sides of the aquarium. They enjoy swimming in open areas between aquariums' middle to middle-top levels.
The ideal tank habitat for Penguin Tetras should be at least 20 gallons, although a 30-gallon community tank is preferable. Keep the water parameters stable, with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0, a hardness of 5-20 dGH, and a temperature of 75-82°F (24-28°C).
To learn more about this fish, be sure to check out the Additional Information tab.