African Moon Tetra (Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)

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African Moon Tetra
Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus
African Moon Tetra (Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus)
Name African Moon Tetra
Name Lat. Bathyaethiops caudomaculatus
Synonym Phenacogrammus caudomaculatus
Family African Tetras
Family lat. Alestidae
Order Characins
Order lat. Characiformes
Origin Africa
Habitat Rivers
Diet Carnivore
pH 6.0-8.0
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Group
Care Level Moderate
Reproduction Egg scatterer
Breeding None reported
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 7 cm
Temperature 22-25 °C
Hardness < 15 °dH
Aquarium 80 cm / 110 l
US Units
Size 2.8"
Temperature 72-77 °F
Hardness < 267 ppm
Aquarium 30 gal

Distribution and habitat

The range of the African Moon Tetra is tributaries of the Congo River in the Congo Basin, such as the Sangha River. There they live in groups in the clear water rivers with dense riparian vegetation and low current.


The aquarium should have a dense border planting, with hiding and retreat possibilities (roots, stones) and offer a lot of swimming space. In soft, slightly acidic water, subdued light (floating plants) and a dark substrate covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves) they show the most beautiful coloration.

No ammonia, ammonium and nitrite should be detectable, the nitrate value should not exceed 100 mg/l. To ensure the water quality and oxygen content, a filter and heater adapted to the aquarium size is required, as well as lighting for the species-appropriate day-night rhythm of the animals.


The food supply consists of live food, such as daphnia, cyclops, tubifex, mysis and black mosquito larvae, which are also eaten in frozen form without any problems, plus commercially available frozen special food mixtures, supplemented with high-quality dry food (flakes, granules), which is well accepted. Especially mysis and black mosquito larvae should not be missing, as they are needed to maintain the luminosity and body color.

Regular and varied feeding promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms. Only as much should be fed as is eaten immediately (in a maximum of 10 minutes).

Behaviour and compatibility

They are peaceful, unproblematic schooling fish for the community tank. At least 5, but preferably more African Moon Tetras should be kept together.

In principle, only mutually compatible fish species with similar requirements for water quality and water temperature should be kept together.

Sex dimorphism

Males have a more extensive or lobed anal fin and the blood red spot at the base of the dorsal is smaller in females than in males.

Reproduction and breeding

They spawn in the open water between plants. The larvae hatch after about 35 hours and swim freely after 7 days. Breeding in the aquarium has not been successful so far.


Experience shows that the life expectancy of African Moon Tetras is reduced if the water temperature exceeds 25 °C for a prolonged period.

The well-being of the fish should be monitored regularly. Temperature should be checked daily, pH, hardness and nitrate levels at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the pollutant load has not yet reached the upper limit. Sudden changes in water quality should be avoided. Newly introduced fish must be accustomed slowly to the water in the aquarium.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: petdata

Source: BMELV (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2002): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 3, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF