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Some Lesser-Known African Characins

Get to know some interesting African tetras, and create a tank dedicated to them.

By Oliver Lucanus |

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South American tetras are among the most popular aquarium fish. Almost every serious freshwater hobbyist has kept the South American cardinal tetras, bleeding hearts or black tetras in their aquariums. But characins are not just found in South America — many species live in Africa. Only a single African characin species is well-known to most people in our hobby: the Congo tetra (Phenacogrammus interruptus). Africa, of course, has much more to offer than the Congo tetra. Africa has some rare and unusual fish to offer — even if they are not often seen in our hobby.

African characins are exported from three main countries: Cameroon, Nigeria and Congo. African characins are notoriously difficult to ship. Their fine scales easily come off the body, causing hemorrhaging and bacterial disease. This is one of the major reasons many species are uncommon in the hobby. Both suppliers and importers shy away from African characin species, instead shipping hardier cichlids and oddballs. Shipping costs from Africa are increasingly high, so sensitive species present too much risk.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the December 2011 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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