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Nematobrycon palmeri (Emperor tetra) 

Scientific name: Nematobrycon palmeri.
Trade name: Emperor tetra.
Natural habitat: Rio San Juan in Colombia
Food in their natural habitat: In their natural habitat they probably eat everything what fits into their mouth
Food in the aquarium: A mix of quality small pellets, flakes, artemia, etc fed sparingly. No mammal meat!
Behaviour in my aquarium: Very active little fish. Males are territorial and they display to the females and the other males most of the time. They love to chase each other around through the plants, but this doesn't result in  injuries.
Tank mates: All other peaceful and non predatory South American fish of average size.
Maximum size:  Can vary quite a bit depending on water quality and food amount. Grows to about 5-6 cm.
Aquarium: A tank of  >80L is recommended as the males are territorial, pH between 5.5 - 7.5, temperature 25 to 28°C

 

Nematobrycon palmeri in my 750L aquarium where they feel extremely well.


Personal notes:

I like these little tetra's! Maybe because they have a little bit of cichlid behaviour? I bought 8 of them and added them to my 750L planted South American tank where they rapidly adapted to their new environment. The dense Vallisneria "wood" soon became their favourite habitat and territories got established. The male displaying behaviour is particularly funny. The Emperors will swim in front of the female or another male and tilt their body like more fish do, but I never observed the way their pectoral fins tremble alternately with other fish species! They also chase each other, but without any damage done. As far as breeding is concerned they did some attempts in the dense Anubias nana that grow on a piece of maponi wood as can be seen in a picture below. They probably succeeded, but the Geophagus steindachneri were always there to feed on the fresh eggs. I would have to add Java moss for better survival rate of the eggs as I've read and heard from fellow aquarists, but at the moment I'm resigning with the fact that all eggs will be eaten on the spot. I still have time for this as the fish are still young.


One of the male emperor tetra's


A male and a female spawning in the dense Anubia "bushes".


Close-up from the head.


Another close-up. Click for a larger view.


A displaying male. Click for a larger view.


A female. Click for a larger view

Text and Photos by Frank Panis / MCH

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