We obtained this charming ground tetra from Brazil. Melanocharacidium dispilomma has a very wide distrubution in northern South America. There are scientific reports from Bolivia, Brazil, the Guyana countries, Venezuela, and Colombia. There is a strange contrast between this very wide distribution and the fact that M. dispilomma has been described scientifically only in 1993. In the ornamental fish trade M. dispilomma is also a top rarity.
Basically speaking all species of ground tetra are very nice aquarium fish. The have a very interesting behaviour. In M. dispilomma the ability to change the coloration drastically is also fascinating. Against tankmates and plants M. dispilomma is completely ignorant, and they can (and should) be also kept along with conspecifics. Maximum size reported is about 5 cm. Males can be easily recognized by the prolonged pectoral and ventral fin rays.
For our customers: the fish have code 267552 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
The ground tetras belonging to the genus Melanocharacidium can change their coloration drastically. This makes a determination often pretty difficult, because the characters used in scientific papers to distinguish the species cannot be seen in life fish and the colours exhibited in preserved specimens may be very different from those observed in life specimens.
The genus Melanocharacidium contains so far nine scientifically described species, none of them has been ever reported for Peru. The only species that lives „nearby“ is Melanocharacidium rex from Ecuador. Sadly there are only two known specimens; however, it seems to be unlikely that our fish belong to the species M. rex, for the type specimen of M. rex is larger than 10 cm, while our fish seem to be at least sexually differentiated – they are currently 4-5 cm long.
So in all probability our imports belong to a scientifically unknown new species. The fish are very entertaining in the aquarium. They are more bottom-bound than their relatives, the ground tetras of the genus Characidium, which may occassionally be found swimming in the free water column. Depending on mood, our Melanocharacidium can look almost black, in other moods they exhibit a dark horizontal band that is followed by a brightly shining one.
For our customers: the fish have code 215903 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos; Frank Schäfer