Phenacogrammus cf. taeniatus

28. January 2022

A new fashion trend in the hobby is emerging: tetras from the Congo! The region was already often in the focus of the hobby, but it was about killifishes or cichlids. The large flock of silver glittering open water species was of less interest. With the discovery of the unbelievably colorful Phenacogrammus sp. “Fantastique” (in courtship dress) a few years ago, this changed. Because also the “Fantastique” looks rather unspectacular in the normal pattern. 

Now, in the wake of the “Fantastique” all kinds of other species come to us, mostly under invented names. It is then often difficult to decide which species it is. Unfortunately, the animals are quite expensive.

One of the species, which has never been imported before, is the relatively small Phenacogrammus cf. taeniatus. It looks confusingly similar to Alestopetersius smykalai from Nigeria, but unlike the latter it has a black pigmented longitudinal banding that is either barely visible or intensely black, depending on the mood. In preserved specimens, this band is very prominent because the pigment cells relax in death. The rapid color change of many fish is due to the fact that the pigment cells can contract – then the color becomes almost invisible – or expand – then the color suddenly shines.

Phenacogrammus taeniatus is so far only known from Cameroon. Possibly the fish from the Congo is therefore a scientifically still undescribed species. However, all externally recognizable characteristics of the new import fit very well to P. taeniatus.

Who knows, maybe this tetra will also develop such a beautiful mating dress like the P. sp. “Fantasique”? The photographed male (recognizable by the anal fin shape, females have a “normal” triangular anal fin) is fully sexually differentiated with a total length of 5-6 cm, so the species probably does not grow very large.

For our customers: the fish have code 159122 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer