Pyrrhulina spilota

2. September 2022

The tetras belonging to the genus Pyrrhulina combine the advantages of two basic groups of ornamental fish. The first group are the schooling species that are always visible and swim merely in the open water: tetras and barbs. The second group has a fascinating behaviour and takes care for the brood: the cichlids and the labyrinth fish. 

One of the most attractive species of Pyrrhulina is P. spilota. We were able once more to import it from Peru. The males of the up to 7-8 cm long species can be easily distinguished from the females. Males have silvery scales in the first third of the body and a contrasting marked anal fin. Both features are missing in the smaller females.

Usually P. spilota behave like „regular“ tetras and swim in the open water. They prefer the upper third of the water column, but can be found anywhere in the tank. Like most tetras they feed happily on any type of usual fish food – even dried food items – and don´t damage any plants. So far their behaviour is much alike other tetras.

But when the breeding season comes everything changes. Now the males occupy territories, preferably around a plant with broad leaves, but if this is not availble a stone or a root will also do. For this is the substrate the fish spawn on. Most tetras are egg scatterers that take no care for their spawn at all. In contrast to them Pyrrhulina produce a pretty compact spawn that looks much alike the spawn of a cichlid. In Pyrrhulina, the male alone takes care for the eggs, like in labyrinth fish. And it is very serious with that! Possible tankmates have to take good care not come too close to the spawning site! When the offspring hatches and leaves the leaf the male´s job is done and it turns back to the behaviour of a regular tetra…

For our customers: P. spilota have code 286782 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade. Available in limited numbers only!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer