According to the current state of science, the predatory tetra species Erythrinus erythrinus is widespread throughout practically all of South America: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Paraguay, Bolivia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela. However, they look somewhat different everywhere, so that one must assume that in case of a modern revision of the animals some species will have to be renamed. The probably most colorful Erythrinus come from Peru, from where we received again an import.
With a maximum length of 25 cm – usually are lengths of 12-15 cm – this predator remains comparatively small. It has an auxiliary respiration organ, whereby it can breathe atmospheric air and still survives even in practically oxygen-free mud holes. If they dry out completely, Erythrinus try to wander over country and find a new open water. They are excellent jumpers, who purposefully find even the smallest holes in the aquarium cover; presumably they feed on land insects in nature to a large extent, which would explain the jumping ability.
We usually keep such predatory fish individually, but they are not so badly incompatible with each other. For photo purposes we looked for a splendid male from the current import, it measures 16 cm with tail fin. Unfortunately all females – recognizable by the considerably less extended dorsal and ventral fins – were clearly smaller. So we took an approx. 10 cm long female out of necessity. This small animal had no fear of the big man, but threatened the large one. The whole thing reminded of a Pinscher, who barks a Great Dane. The big male was a gentleman and let the lady go without resistance… There were no mutual biting attacks, although the photo tank is relatively small by nature.
For our customers: The animals have code 253404 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer