Go to Home

Coupons & Deals
Aquarium Fish Stress and Disease
Stress & Disease

Fish Deals
on EBAY!
Breeding Aquarium Fish
Aquarium Fish Compatibility





Find the best fish and fishy deals on the products you should buy.

FishDeals.com | Characins
About Characins (CYPRINIFORMES)
(Tetra, Piranha, Pacu, Hatchetfish, Silver Dollars, Pike, Gar)

Characins > Quick Stats
Food: Varies between Carnivore and Herbivore. Pacus are vegetation, Piranha eat meat, preferably live fish. Check specific species.
Breeding: All are egg-layers with little of no brood care. Very specific to water conditions. Research individual.
Tank Conditions: Most are tropical with a few preferring cooler water.

Characins make up the family Characidae in the order Ostariophysi. Characins are found in Central America, South America and Africa. They are considered by some to be the most ancient fishes in the order of Cypriniformes.

Characin, is a common name for any member of a family of freshwater fishes that are prevalent in South America but also common in Mexico, Central America, and Africa. More than 1400 species are known. Characins can be recognized by the presence of a short, stublike adipose fin located between the tail and the dorsal fin. Many species are small and brilliantly colored, such as the neon tetras popular among aquarists. The largest characin is the African tigerfish, which reaches a length of about 1.4 m (about 4.5 ft), while the smallest is the Bolivian pygmy blue characin, which has a length of about 1.5 cm (about 0.6 in).

One feature, which is common to all species, is the presence of teeth, and Iím sure you are aware of that fact where the piranhas are concerned; indeed, in some species of Piranha these are so large that the fish has difficulty in closing its mouth. Many Characins are favorite aquarium fishes because of their bright colours and small size, and are peaceful in the community aquarium.

 Piranha species
 Pacu species
 Tetra species
 Hatchetfish species
 Silver Dollars species
 Gar / Pike species
The Essentials Related Web Links
Photo Image Gallery of Characins Photo Gallery of Characins
Catfish Forum Discussion Characin Forum Discussion
External Web Resources
 Characins @ Aquabid.com

Characins are basically shoaling fishes; an ideal situation would be to have a shoal of a single species in an aquarium, planted at the back and sides, with plenty of free swimming space in the middle.

In nature the majority of Characins are carnivorous, fortunately, in the aquarium, they are not so demanding and will take almost anything that is offered, although you should try to provide a proportion of live food for them to thrive.

Tetras are probably the most popular of all tropical freshwater aquarium fishes. They are mostly all peaceful, and come in various sizes and colors. They are great for the community tank, or a tank dedicated to all one kind of tetra. I love the look of several dozen neons schooling together.

They consist of: the Alestiidae (African Tetra), the Characidae (Characins), the Citharinidae, the Ctenoluciidae (Pike-Characins), the Curimatidae, the Gasteropelecidae (Freshwater Hatchetfishes), and the Lebiasinidae families.

Characins > Navigate Popular Types

Pacu Species
(Photo Gallery)

Piranha Species
(Photo Gallery)

Tetra Species
(Photo Gallery)

Hatchetfish Species
(Photo Gallery)

Silver Dollars Species
(Photo Gallery)

Gar/Pike Species
(Photo Gallery)

The Temperament of these fish vary widely between Carnivore and Herbivore.


  • 1: any freshwater fish of the family Characinidae
  • 2: tropical freshwater fishes of Africa and South America and Central America

  • CHARACINS - Most Commonly Kept in Aquariums
    Common Name
    Scientific Name
    Similar Names
    Black Neon tetraHyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodiN/A
    Common hatchet Gasteropelecus sterniclaHatchetfish
    Glowlight tetraHemigrammus erythrozonusN/A
    Neon tetraParacheirodon innesiN/A
    Red PacuPiaractus brachypomusRed Bellied Pacu
    Red-Bellied PiranhaPygocentrus nattereriN/A
    Serpae tetraHyphessobrycon serpaeN/A
    Silver dollarMetynnis hypsauchenN/A

    CHARACINS - Aquarium Full Listing - Missing One?
    Common Name
    Scientific Name
    Similar Names
    Freshwater barracudaAcestrorhynchus falcatusN/A
    Pink-Tailed ChalceusChalceus macrolepidotusPink Tailed Lady
    PacuColossoma macropomumN/A
    Slant Nosed GarCtenolucius hujetaPike characin
    Common hatchet Gasteropelecus sterniclaHatchetfish
    Black Widow tetraGymnocorymbus ternetziN/A
    Rummy-nosed tetra Hemigrammus bleheriN/A
    Buenos Aires tetraHemigrammus caudovittatusN/A
    Glowlight tetraHemigrammus erythrozonusN/A
    Tiger/Wolf fishHoplias malabaricusN/A
    Bleeding Heart tetraHyphessobrycon erythrostigmaN/A
    Black Neon tetraHyphessobrycon herbertaxelrodiN/A
    Serpae tetra Hyphessobrycon serpaeN/A
    Silver dollarMetynnis hypsauchenN/A
    Red Eye tetra Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenaeN/A
    Dwarf PencilfishNannostomus marginatusN/A
    Cardinal tetraParacheirodon axelrodiN/A
    Neon tetraParacheirodon innesiN/A
    Red PacuPiaractus brachypomusRed Bellied Pacu
    Red-Bellied PiranhaPygocentrus nattereriN/A
    Silver prochilodusSemaprochilodus taeniurusN/A
    White/Black PiranhaSerrasalmus rhombeusN/A

        FishDeals.com Special Features  

    Breeding Aquarium Fish
    Compatible Groups for Aquariums
    View Aquarium Coupons & Deals