Betta Trading

Pristella Tetra Fact Sheet

An Easily Kept Little Fish

The "Pristella Tetra", "Pristella maxillaris", is also called the "X-Ray Tetra", "Water Goldfinch" and "X-Ray Fish".  As well as the beautiful normal form, there is also an Albino form of this fish, sometimes called the "Gold Pristella Tetra".  The Pristella Tetra comes from the Amazon, Orinoco, and coastal river drainages of Guyana.  It grows to about 2 inches (5cm).  This is a hardy fish and is suitable for beginners.

Water Conditions

The Pristella Tetra is a fresh water tropical fish.  24̊ C (75̊ F) is suitable.  It is less fussy than some tetras in its pH and hardness requirements.  A pH of between 6 and 8 is suitable.  I suggest 7 for a mixed tank with this species.  Although the water in much of its natural habitat is soft, this is not essential for the Pristella Tetra.

The fish seem less stressed with some plant cover in the aquarium.


The Pristella Tetra is an omnivore and is easy to feed, eating readily any normal tropical fish food.  Like most fish it relishes live food like mosquito larvae and Daphnia.  It also likes frozen blood worms.  The Pristella Tetra will eat some live plants although it is not usually as bad in this as some fish.


The Pristella Tetra is a schooling fish, and I suggest that at least 6 be kept together. They are peaceful and can be kept with a large range of similar sized fish.  Avoid putting the Pristella Tetra with large fish.

Some suitable companions are Swordtails, Rummy Nose Tetras, Harlequin Rasboras.


The Pristella Tetra is an egg scattering species that does not give parental care and will eat its own eggs and babies.  The parents should be removed from the breeding tank after spawning.  The eggs should hatch in 24 hours.

The babies are small and need microscopic food at first.  Normal fry foods can be used, but the babies benefit from suitable sized live food at all stages of growth.

I am indebted to the following sources for information about the Pristella Tetra: Pristella maxillaris in French Guiana ,  Aquarium Guides and
Steve Challis