A Fish with Extraordinary Breeding Behavior
"Splashing Tetra", "Copella arnoldi", is like many
of the more peaceful tetras to keep, but its breeding behaviour is
extraordinary. This is described near the end of this article.
This lovely fish comes from South America, including the lower Amazon and Paru rivers. It grows to a length of about 3 inches (7cm) and will live for 3 years.
Other common names it has been called include "Splash Tetra", "Jumping Characin", "Spraying Tetra", "Arnolds Splashing Tetra" and "Spraying Characin". Some other scientific names that have been used for this fish are "Copeina arnoldi", "Copeina callolepis", "Copeina eigenmanni", "Pyrrhulina filamentosa" and "Pyrrhulina rachoviana".
The Splashing Tetra's natural habitat is warm tropical. Unlike some of the fish of the upper Amazon which is sometimes fed by melted show and can have some temperature drop, Splashing Tetras cannot take lower temperatures very well. The Splashing Tetra can take the 24 degrees C (75 degrees F) I usually recommend for a mixed tank of tropicals, but this is the lowest temperature I would suggest for this fish.
Neutral Ph is suitable, and a moderate amount of hardness does not seem to harm this fish.
The preferred food of the Splashing Tetra is small live food, including aquatic insect larvae and daphnia. They will also eat most normal aquarium fish foods and frozen bloodworms.
The Splashing Tetra is happy with other small peaceful fish like Neon Tetras, Cardinal Tetras, Green Neon Tetras, White Cloud Mountain Minnows, Cherry Barbs, Penguin Tetras, Pristella Tetras and Glowlight Tetras. They would probably also be OK with Siamese Fighting Fish.
I would be a little more cautious about putting them with slightly more aggressive fish like Red Eye Tetras, Silvertip Tetras, Gold Barbs, Rummy Nose Tetras , Scissortail Rasboras, Lemon Tetras, Emperor Tetras, Head and Tail Light Tetras, Glass Bloodfin Tetras, Swordtails, Platies, Mollies, Black Widow Tetras, Rosy Barbs, Tiger Barbs, Paraguay Tetras, Buenos Aires Tetras and Colombian Tetras although these may well be alright with Splashing Tetras.
The males grow a little bigger than the females. The female, when inbreeding condition, is plumper than the males. Some people believe they can see the actual eggs inside a female with eggs although I have never actually seen this myself.
The breeding behaviour of the Splashing Tetra is extraordinary. They do not even lay the eggs in the water. A pair of Splashing Tetras will be together underneath vegetation which has a leaf a few centimetres above the water surface. Once they are ready they will jump onto the leaf, holding on for a few seconds. The female lays some eggs while the male fertilizes them. The fish drop off. This is repeated until the female has laid all her eggs. This could be up to 200 although it is usually less.
chases the female away and for the next day and a half he regularly splashes
the eggs on the leaf, keeping them moist. The eggs hatch and the babies are
washed off by the splashing and quickly find hiding places amongst the plants
in the water.
The babies are small and will eat infusoria (protozoa) at first. A good supply of small live foods is a major factor in successfully raising the babies.
If you can set up the rather specialized breeding tank, with plenty of plants, including ones with good sized leaves out of the water, this fish is a ready breeder.
Practical Fishkeeping, Aqua-Fish.net, AquaWorld, Mungabay.com.