Black Morpho Tetra (Poecilocharax weitzmani)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Black Morpho Tetra
Poecilocharax weitzmani
Black Morpho Tetra (Poecilocharax weitzmani)
Name Black Morpho Tetra
Name Lat. Poecilocharax weitzmani
Family South American Darters
Family lat. Crenuchidae
Order Characins
Order lat. Characiformes
Origin South America
Habitat Forest streams
Diet Carnivore
pH 5.0-6.5
Behavior ♂ territorial
Keeping Pair, harem, group
Care Level Experts only
Reproduction Cave spawner
Breeding Difficult
Life Span 3-5 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size ♀ 3 cm, ♂ 4 cm
Temperature 24-28 °C
Hardness 0-5 °dH
Aquarium 40 l
US Units
Size ♀ 1.2", ♂ 1.5"
Temperature 75-82 °F
Hardness 0-89 ppm
Aquarium 10 gal

Distribution and habitat

Weitzman's predatory tetras are native to the watersheds of the upper Rio Solimoes (Brazil), Rio Orinoco (Venezuela) and the upper Rio Negro (Brazil, Colombia). There they live in the blackwater of slow-flowing forest streams with dense riparian vegetation.


The aquarium should have a varied, partly dense planting, with shelters and hiding places (roots, bamboo tubes) and provide sufficient swimming space. Soft, slightly acidic water, a dark substrate covered with some foliage (e.g. sea almond leaves) and shaded light (floating plants) is ideal

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


In nature they feed mainly on small insects and larvae. The food supply consists of live and frozen food. Feed once daily with cyclops, daphnia, bosmids, artemia or mosquito larvae (live or frozen). Protein-rich, sinking dry food is rarely accepted and should not be a main component of the diet

It is recommended to feed small portions several times a day, which are eaten within a few minutes. A regular and varied diet promotes health and increases resistance.

Behaviour and compatibility

The shy and not very swim-friendly fish should be kept as a pair or in a harem, a male with several females. The males form small territories without showing aggression towards other fish. Several males should only be kept together in a larger and richly structured tank. A socialization with other tetra species of the same size is well possible. In principle, only mutually compatible fish species with similar requirements to the water condition and water temperature may be socialized.

Sex dimorphism

Males are larger and more colorful than females and have an elongated dorsal fin.

Reproduction and breeding

The female lays her eggs on the ceiling of a cave and the male performs the brood care. After about 8 days the fry swim free and the brood care ends. The fry must be fed several times a day with special rearing food (infusoria, Artemia nauplii)

In a community tank breeding is hardly possible, because the fry are easy prey.


In their range there are populations that differ in their red and blue coloration. They are slow feeders and have high demands on water quality.

The foliage (sea almond tree, oak, etc.) enriches the water with humic substances and naturally lowers the pH.

The well-being of the fish should be checked regularly. The temperature should be checked daily, the pH, hardness and nitrate value at least every 14 days. Regular partial water changes are recommended, even if the contaminant level 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: Werner Winter; Image: petdata

Source: BMEL (1998): Tierschutzgutachten - Haltung von Zierfischen (Süßwasser); RIEHL & BAENSCH (2004): Aquarien Atlas Bd. 3, Mergus Verlag; ENGELMANN (2005): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Fische, Verlag Harri Deutsch

  • Gemäß § 21 Abs. 5 Tierschutzgesetz idgF