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Penguin tetra - Thayeria boehlkei

Penguin tetra - Thayeria boehlkei

Scientific name: Thayeria boehlkei

Common name: Penguin tetra

Family: Characidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 6 - 8 cm (2.36 - 3.15 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 5.5 - 7

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 4 - 18°N (71.43 - 321.43ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 28 °C (71.6 - 82.4°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South America

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Middle levels


The Penguin Tetra originates in the Peruvian Amazon and the Rio Araguaia of South America.


Thayeria boehlkei can live between 3-5 years.

Short Description

Thayeria boehlkei does best when kept in a community tank or in large groups in a species tank, this will bring out the best colouration in the fish and reduce any chance of fin nipping other tank mates as they are too busy squabbling with themselves. They should never be kept with larger species of fish or they will be seen as food and be predated on, they are fine with the small cichlids such as Apistogrammas or even rasboras.The Penguin Tetra has a unique way of swimming with its head tilted toward the surface of the water.

They are very adaptable to a wide range of water parameters making them ideal for novice fish keepers but the quality of the water should be kept as high as possible for long term health. They are ideal for a planted tank aquarium but as they are an active species, open swimming space must be allowed so keep the planting to the rear and sides of the aquarium, a specimen plant at the front of the tank should not impede them and hiding places will make them feel more secure.


The Penguin Tetra is an omnivore and will accept small insects, worms and crustaceans. Algae should be added into their diet to provide much needed nutrition. They are not fussy eaters and will accept all commercial foods but remember that they only have small mouths so keep the food matter small to enable them to digest it.


Mature females tend to display a duller colouration and will have a more rounded belly area, this is much more noticeable when swollen with eggs.


Breeding the Penguin Tetra is not very difficult to do. This is an egg laying fish that should be removed once the eggs have been laid and fertilized. The female will lay up to 1000 eggs which will take approximately 24 hours to hatch and 4 days to become free swimming. Thick, ground covering plants can be used to protect the eggs and the fry from predators.

Always keep the breeding tank at a low light and never used a mains powered filter, use an air powered sponge filter to provide the filtration and a low water flow. Gravel can also be used for the substrate so that the eggs can fall through the gaps to prevent the parent fish from eating them before they are removed.


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Penguin tetra, picture 1 Penguin tetra, picture 2 Penguin tetra, picture 3

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