Scientific Name: Thayeria oblique
Ease of Care: Easy
Approximate Arrival Size: 1 to 2.5 inches
First described by Eigenmann in 1908, the Penguin Tetra is a smaller schooling fish that will spend most of its time hovering in position. As it hovers, it keeps its head up at an angle, as if its tail is too heavy. The body has a semi-transparent golden scaling, clear fin except for a bold black stripe from the base of the tail to the bottom tip of the forked tail. There will also be a slight white fringe on the edge of the fin along the black stripe. The Penguin is often confused with the Thayeria boehlkei. This fish has similar colors except that the black stripe extends along the midline of the fish. In many books, this is the picture given for the Penguin Tetra.
Tetras are one of the standard fish of the aquarium. Schooling fish, they will do best when there are more than 3 fish in the school. Generally peaceful, they can match up with just about any other type of fish that is not large enough to eat them. While the Tetra might prefer softer, acidic water conditions, most can adapt to a wide range of water parameters. Most are now raised in Florida and SE Asia under conditions very different than their natural habitat in South America. As an omnivore, Tetras will eat most aquarium prepared foods, darting to the surface for floating food and picking sinking food out of the water as it descends. They will be more at home if there is a fair amount of cover to dart into if they feel threatened. While it is possible, most Tetras will not spawn in the home aquarium. If they do, several males will chase the female as she scatters the eggs among the plants. Relatively hardy, care should be taken when treating Tetras with parasitic medications.