fish medium level

Phenacogrammus interruptus (Boulenger 1899)

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Mature Phenacogrammus interruptus in a aquarium tank will display a spectacular colouration. Its natural distribution are lower and middle Congo River basin in Democratic Republic of the Congo and Republic of Congo. In the hobby this species comes mostly from the commercial breeders in the Eastern Europe and South East Asia.

Submitted by
Natasha Khardina
3.3122480, 19.3885841
Geographical region
Central Africa
Drainage Basin
River catchment
Ubangi River
Water body type
Water body name
Water body part
Water body course
Middle course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Type locality
Stanley Pool, Lower Congo
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Not Evaluated (NE)


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Fresh water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
23-26 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

5-19 mg/l
Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
8.0 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
100 l
Social behaviour
Group fish
Behaviour description

In the aquarium this species should be kept in groups of 7 or more individuals, with plenty of swimming space, some driftwood branches, floating vegetation and Anubias species. Phenacogrammus interruptus is quite sensitive to water quality – the water should be good circulating and soft (pH 7.0 and less). Otherwise the fish might lose its brilliant colour and turn grayish.

Congo Tetra will accept most commercial foods. But in order to induce the fish to show their best colouration live and frozen food should make a good proportion of the diet.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

The adult males are larger and more colourful. They develop extended filaments in the caudal and dorsal fins.

Nutrition in Nature

In its natural environment this fish feeds on worms, small insects, crustaceans, plant matter and detritus.


Breeding tank set-up

For breeding it is needed a separate tank of minimum 70-80L, big enough to raise any numbers of fry. Lighting should be reduced.  Some clumps of plants added will be helpfull to induce spawning, as in Nature the eggs would be scattered amongst vegetation. The base of the tank should be covered with some kind of mesh large enough to allow the eggs to fall through it, but small enough prevent the adults from reaching them.

Nutrition parents

The fish should be conditioned using live and frozen foods.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

This species are open water substrate egg scatterers. The pair may lay up to 300 eggs, but 100-200 is more common. Phenacogrammus interruptus do not guard the fry.

Breeding habits
Egg scatterer
Hatching period
6 days
Number of eggs in average
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry

After the yolk sacs are consumed (1 day) the fry should be offered infusoria for 2-3 days, followed by nutrition by Artemia and microworm.

Notes on reproduction

During the first 24-48 hours of incubation it is common for many of the eggs to become fungussed. These should be removed with a long pipettes.