3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium

3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium
A Congo Tetra Group In African Biotope Tank (Copyright: @nicoluchoro_biotopes On Instagram)

3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium – African tropical river fish always become ‘another’ option than the Amazonian fish, which their livestock is much and easy to access. Even when thinking about African aquariums is to think of large stones habitat and vast lakes brimming with cichlids fish species.

Why don’t you try something different, some popular fish in Africa originate from tea-colored water with slightly acidic water, which means they can grow best in blackwater aquariums. You can create a biotope tank similar to some forest river Congo’s environments to achieve new faces of African tank setup.

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There are three types of African blackwater fish that are easy to find in the trades. These freshwater fish are suitable for a beginner aquarist too and also at lower prices. Let’s see the list below:


3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium

3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium


Kribensis Species

Kribensis species (Pelvicachromis genus) is the cichlids fish varieties native to West African, including Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. These tropical aquarium fish are among the best for cichlid tanks, so many hobbyists keep them in their tanks.

3 types of Kribensis are often seen in trades P. pulcher, P. subocellatus, and P. taeniatus. , they are commonly called “Krib” among fish keepers.

These tropical tank species are hardy fish and easy to maintain make them grow quickly as popular cichlids fish were almost available in all countries. Their habitat is one of the reasons which gives them the strength to survive in almost water conditions.

3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium
A Male Kribensis Fish In Blackwater Aquarium (Copyright: @tanninsph On Instagram)

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Some populations are known to inhabit an area close to the sea and typically hard water, alkaline, slightly brackish. The other populations are found in blackwater streams are more softly and acidic. Kribs can live in slow and fast-moving water, but they tend to be found around dense underwater vegetation areas.

The temperature levels in their natural habitat normally range between 24°-26°C (75°-79°F) and most localities have ph level around 5.6 to 6.9. According to some reports from other aquarists, the captive-bred specimen normally can thrive well in alkaline conditions (in some cases, reach pH level up to 8.5) than the wild-caught.

The male Kribensis can grow up to 10 cm (4 Inches) in body length, while the female generally stays around 8 cm (3 inches). Their lifespan can reach up to 5 years with another ability that is slightly resilient to diseases than other African cichlid species.

Almost all types of Kribensis may have dark/black horizontal stripes start from their mouth through the caudal fins. They also may have or no black and yellow stripes on the face. In some types, their dorsal and tail fins are orange-red, blues, or yellow-colored. Even they have gold-ringed ocelli (eyespots) in that areas.

On the anal and pectoral fins, some specimen have bluish-purple colors, and sometimes you can see the green sheen on their gills plate. During breeding, the female abdomen tends to be reddish-pink color.

For a single pair of Kribensis, you will need a 20-gallon tank size. For a group or community, you require at least a 50-gallon tank or more. Give more space is always worth it; make your fish happier by it.

Other fun facts about these fish are they easy to breed without any special coaxing. They also show interesting fry-rearing behavior, where the parents shoal their fry around the aquarium for a few weeks. Depending on their variety and quality, they usually sell for around $5 or more in the fish stores.

Read Also: COMPLETE Blackwater Fish Tank Setup Guide


Congo Tetra Fish

Phenacogrammus interruptus (Congo Tetra) is a beautiful tropical fish with many shimmering scales, making them look such a contrast for a blackwater aquarium. As their name, they originate from Congo River Basin in Africa. These freshwater fish are a member of the African Characin family.

In the wild, they usually inhabit the main rivers and tributaries. Generally, live as big groups as schooling fish. They also can be found in marshes, slow-moving streams, and pools with substrates are made from a mixture of silt, sand, and muds.

The Congo’s tributary streams tend to have a thick silt burden that creating blackwater conditions. As we know, this water condition typically has less visibility and is quite acidic. Congo Tetra fish species more prefer some habitat with a lot of greenery long stems vegetation.

3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium
An Adult Congo Tetra Fish Species (Copyright: @nicoluchoro_biotopes On Instagram)

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An adult wild Congo Tetra can reach up to 4.5 inches (11 cm) in body length. But, the tank-bred specimen is normally only around 3.5 inches (9 cm) for males and 2 inches (5 cm) for females. In a captive setting, they can live around 3-5 years. Sadly, these tropical characin fish are prone to stress that may decrease their lifespan. So, give the best maintenance to make their life as long as possible.

Farm-raised specimens are more colorful and full-finned rather than wild-caught ones. These African aquarium fish have large scales with long and flat bodies shape make them are perfect on appearance. Commonly, there is some blue color on the belly part, gold and red color in the middle part, and blue color on top.

The males usually have longer and flowing violet fins with white edging. Their tail fins are beautiful, long, and flowing through the vertical medial stripes.

Congo Tetras naturally are omnivorous. They tend to prey on small insects, worms, algae, and plants matter. As pets, they are not picky eaters. You can feed them dried from pet stores (such as flakes algae-bassed) or live and frozen foods.

Keeping these small tropical African fish should be in large numbers. They will show awesome swimming behavior in a group; the more members are, the better view. If you want to make them more brilliant in the aquarium, have a big tank on hand. And set up your tank in biotope blackwater conditions.

In the trades, the average costs of these small schooling fish species are between $5 – $7 per fish. You need at least a 30-gallon tank size for a group of these fish.

Read Also: Asian Popular Freshwater Aquarium Fish Types That Originally Live In Blackwater


African Banded Barb Fish

Another African tropical blackwater fish is the African banded barb (Barbus fasciolatus). These pretty ray-finned fish species is belong to the Cyprinidae family. They are commonly found in Zambia and Angola, but they are also discovered in neighboring countries such as Congo, Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana.

These African aquarium fish types inhabit the shallows of lakes, bays, floodplain lagoons, and rainforest rivers and streams. Their favorite spots are typically heavy with vegetation, slow-flowing water, and highly oxygenated. Some populations are also found in brown water with riches of humic acid and other substances by decomposing organic materials.

Other common names of these fish are Angola Barb, Blue-barred Barb, and Fire Barb. Their main color depends on their habitat; it can be orange, olive, or red. A unique characteristic of these little barbs is a series of vertical dark lines which vary in number (generally 10-16). Its shape slightly resembles tiger stripes.

3 Best Tropical African Fish For Blackwater Aquarium
A Pair Of African Banded Barb (Copyright: @tintthenorth On Instagram)

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Males are normally smaller than females. They only can reach 2 inches body length while the female can grow up to 2.5 inches. The Angolan barb’s lifespan is between 3-5 years; it can be longer if put in an ideal aquarium with its characteristics.

These small freshwater African fish are perfect for a community aquarium of more than 20-gallon tank size. This capacity can accommodate between 8-10 specimens; a larger tank, more group members is the best view.

African Banded Barbs are schooling fish species, and they will show impressive display when kept in natural habitat in forest creek of West Africa. You can create their wild environments with some materials, including fine substrates, aquatic carpet plants, coconut shells, gnarled roots, leaf litter, and using subdued lighting systems.

A single Barbus fasciolatus usually need costs around $5. You can find them in fish stores or online markets. They also may be available to some fish hobbyists.

Read Also: South American Fish For Aquarium That Native To Blackwater

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