Distribution and Availability
The white star tetra is found in the upper Amazon River basin in Brazil and Peru and the middle Madeira River in Brazil. The type locality is a tributary of the Rio Madeira, near Porto Velho, Brazil. It lives in slow-moving water courses and flooded areas.
A very small tetra with a pinkish body which has a faint mid-lateral horizontal stripe which gets stronger towards the tail and ends in a blotch on the caudal peduncle. Above this blotch is a metallic gold spot which seems to glow when the fish are in good condition and the light is subdued. The leading edges of the fins are edged with white in mature fish. The adipose fin is present although it’s small and hard to see. The upper eye is also gold.
This species has a rather unusual swimming style. It will hover in the water, dart forward a few centimetres at breakneck speed then hover motionless again. It looks like a little humming-bird.
This fishes small size and tendency to be shy means it isn’t suitable for most community set ups. Either keep it in a species only tank or choose other small peaceful fish that thrive in similar conditions. Small Corydoras, dwarf cichlids and pencilfishes would be ideal.
- Tank size: 60cm minimum. Can be smaller for breeding.
- Decoration: fine-leaved and floating plants, leaves and twigs.
- Temperature: 22 – 26oC
- pH: 5.5 – 6.5
- Hardness: requires soft water, 2 – 8odH
Requires a variety of small live foods to prosper. Newly hatched brine shrimp, vinegar eels, grindal worms and daphnia are all good choices. Flake food crushed and sprinkled on the surface will be eaten.
These fish can be bred fairly easily if their requirements are met.
Place a group in a dimly lit tank with a large clump of Java moss. Place an egg trap of some kind under the moss to prevent the eggs and fry from being eaten. Add black water extract (or dried leaves suitable for the purpose) and ensure the pH of the water is around 5. The water can be filtered through peat if necessary.
The adults seem to spawn more or less continuously and small numbers of fry start to turn up within a couple of weeks. They find enough food in the Java moss to get started and soon join the main shoal. Carry out partial water changes to keep on top of the water quality.
USA Show standards
- Size: 4cm
- Breeding category: A
- Show class: CA
Axelrodia stigmatias is a lovely little fish that will appeal to the more experienced hobbyist. Provided it’s given the proper conditions it will thrive and can be bred.