The Pink-tailed Chalceus is a truly stunning fish that isn’t kept often enough in the hobby. A large aquarium with a school of Pink-tailed Chalceus swimming back and forth is a thing of beauty that never gets tiring to watch.
I have been keeping Pink-tailed Chalceus for a number of years now and I never regret giving over so much aquarium space to one species. Pink-tailed Chalceus are surprisingly undemanding and are a great choice for anyone looking for a new challenge.
Pink-Tailed Chalceus Origins
The Pink-tailed Chalceus naturally occurs throughout much of northern South America. It can be found in fast-flowing rivers in the Negro and Orinoco River basins and coastal rivers in French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname. The Pink-tailed Chalceus has also been reported in Columbia, Venezuela, and Peru.
Pink-Tailed Chalceus Habitat
The Pink-tailed Chalceus is usually found in fast-flowing, well-oxygenated waters.
What Size Aquarium For Pink-Tailed Chalceus?
Pink-tailed Chalceus grow to around 10” (25cm) long and are active swimmers. As such, they need an aquarium with a fair bit of space to swim. A 4’ (120cm) aquarium is the minimum size suitable for a group of Pink-tailed Chalceus. I currently keep a group of 8 Pink-tailed Chalceus in a 6’ x 2’ x 2’ (180cm x 60cm x 60cm) aquarium.
How Should A Pink-Tailed Chalceus Aquarium Be Set Up?
Pink-tailed Chalceus like lots of free-swimming space, so decoration is not especially important. I keep my Pink-tailed Chalceus in an aquarium with a sand substrate, a few rocks, and a mass of floating water lettuce. I have found since adding the water lettuce my Pink-tailed Chalceus are much less skittish than they were. The additional cover seems to have settled them. Some aquarium-safe wood can also be added to the aquarium to give a more ‘natural’ feel, but the fish themselves don’t really need hiding spaces.
One thing I learned very early on is that a tight-fitting lid is essential for a Pink-tailed Chalceus. These fish are jumpers. They can and will jump straight out of the aquarium given a chance.
Flow does seem important to Pink-tailed Chalceus. I have two wave makers at one end of my aquarium which gives the feeling of a fast-flowing river.
Pink-Tailed Chalceus Behavior In The Aquarium
Pink-tailed Chalceus are best kept either as a single specimen in a mixed community of similar-sized fish or in a group of 6 or more of their own kind. When kept in groups of less than 6, the Chalceus tend to pick at one another.
I originally started with a group of 10. Unfortunately, I lost one in quarantine very early on, then I lost a second one which jumped clean out of the aquarium. Since then, I am pleased to say the group of 8 have got on well together.
What Do Pink-Tailed Chalceus Eat?
In the wild Pink-tailed Chalceus would most likely eat insects that land on the water surface as well as water-borne crustaceans which inhabit the water column. In captivity, they will eat meaty food like prawns, worms, and small pieces of chopped fish.
Some fishkeepers have reported their Pink-tailed Chalceus have transitioned onto commercial fish foods like floating pellets. I, unfortunately, haven’t managed to get mine to take any prepared dry foods.
Breeding Pink-Tailed Chalceus In Captivity
During my research for this article, I wasn’t able to find many credible reports of these fish being bred in captivity. Some reports suggest Pink-tailed Chalceus are egg scatterers.
If you can dedicate a relatively large aquarium to this fish, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Pink-tailed Chalceus is full of character and makes a change from the usual suspects like Oscars. Give them some swimming space, keep a tight lid on and feed them well and they will reward you with constant movement and enjoyment.