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South America


Chalceus macrolepidotus

Chalceus macrolepidotus


    Very active and is always moving, the Pink Tail chalceus is a large predator and should be kept with other large fish. In their home waters they have been seen jumping out of the water in pursuit of insects.


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: 10" (25 cm)
    Tank: 48 inches (standard 55 gallon)
    Strata: Middle-Top
    PH: 6.0-7.5
    Hardness: Soft to hard. dH range: 6.0 - 18.0
    Temperature: 73 to 82°F (23-28°C)


    Order: Characiformes
    Class: Actinopterygii
    Family: Characidae
    Subfamily: Incertae sedis
    Genera: Chalceus
    Species: macrolepidotus

Chalceus macrolepidotus

Common name:

    Pink tailed chalceus

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    South America, Rivers from Guyana to Colombia

General Body Form:

    Rather long and pike like in appearance the pink tail has the look of a sleek predator. It is elongated and laterally compressed. The scales on the upper portion of the fish are quite large and they get smaller as the head toward the lower regions.


    The most notable feature of this fish is the bright Pink tail The rest of the fish is not striking but lends to an overall pleasant appearance. The back is silver and the sides are silver with a greenish / blue iridescence. The bottom is silver with a slight pink hue. The fins can range from a dark red to a pale orange or yellow. In the eye the upper part of the iris is also orange to yellow . There is a dark spot near the gill cover.


    A large tank is the most important requirement of the Pink tailed, a standard 55 gallon will suffice for a fish up to about six inches in length. A skittish fish that frightens easily the tank must be tightly covered to prevent jumping. Plant the tank along the sides and back but allow plenty of space for swimming. Water parameters are not overly critical as they can live in a wide range of conditions but good filtration and slight water movement are essential . Tankmates should include other large species that will not be hunted. Although in nature a schooling fish, in the home aquarium it should be kept singly, there is just not enough room for a school of six or more and a lower number will cause aggression among themselves. Feeding is not difficult as they will take all types of live food as well as frozen flakes and pellets. Not the perfect community fish the Pink tailed is a fine addition to a species or aggressive tank set up.


    Highly oxygenated open rivers in its home range


    It would have to be classified as not bred in captivity. I have read a few accounts that they have been bred but it seems to be a sporadic occurrence and only happened in huge aquariums. No reference on the care of the fry, just that large amounts of eggs are scattered among the plants


    Chalceus macrolepidotus


Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Chelsie
I love my Pink Tail Chalceus. She's A beautiful fish with a bright orange tail and black tips . She does stay in the middle to the upper range but she does also go to the bottom quite often. She has her own 30 gallon tank and lives peacefully with an Algae eater. She's approximately 6 inches and eats mostly flake food. She is aggressive to other fish. I had to remove her from a community fish tank. She enjoyed their tails.
From: Johnny
I have one Pink Tail Chalceus in my 125 Community tank. It has been there for about 7 months, along with 25-35 assorted tetras, 1 cory, 1 17" Pleco, 5 Blood Parrots, 1 Bolivian Ram, 1 Beta, 2 Clown Loaches, and a few other fish. The Chalceus (named Torpedo) hangs at the top and rarely if ever interacts with other fish. He is quite the opposite of aggressive, even during feeding time.
From: Brian
What a great fish! We have had "Pinky" in a 40 long tank since before may wife and I were married, and we have been married for 20 years next month!! Pinky may just be the oldest pink Tail in captivity!? Pinky gets along well with any fish that stays below him and can't fit in his mouth!

From: Mark Lafavor
I have had my Chalceus macrolepidotus for about 2 yrs, and have never had a problem with aggressiveness towards other fish, but is extremely skittish , and has bitten me while feeding. Still it is one of my favorite fish.

From: Vegas fish girl
I have had these successfully before and grown to about 8 inches. They get a bad rap for being aggressive; perhaps like people, no two are alike. The best thing about these is that they stay at the top all the time, so one can maintain different fishes in lower and middle locations of the water column. I have learned with these and others like arowana, etc. that once they get a taste of live food like crickets or bugs, they tend to look for live things in the tank. If fed on other alternatives of non-live, I believe you can greatly reduce if not eliminate the possibility of having smaller fishes eaten.

From: Peter
I have my Pink-Tail for 8 month and it is now 6" long. Loves to eat raw meat of pig heart, dog food pellets and enjoys a cricket every now and then as well as male bees, drones. Hates flake food and does not hurt other fishes. I have seen it jump up to catch a mosquito sitting on the glass.

From: Rose
Our Pink Tail is over 12 years old! He stays at the top, and believe it or not, his name is "Peaceful Fish". His color is still pretty, and he is very sweet, hasn't ever hurt another fish, no matter how small. He is a little jumpy if startled, but likes to "visit" throughout the tank glass!

From: Chris
I have had my Chalceus for about 6 months now and despite what people say about their aggressiveness, mine is very happy in a 72 gal. bow front with a variety of species including; discus, rainbows, clown loaches, ompoks and angel fish. A word to the wise though; I made the mistake of adding neon tetras. There were 13 one day and 0 the next. I think chalceus man had a little to do with that.

From: Droid
I have 3 in a 48 inch tank They don't bother each other. I agree about the skittishness and explosive speed. The fish chew on Doromin quite happily and are a good addition to a large cichlid tank.

From: George
Mine is about 6 to 7 inches long and in my tank about 4 years. Doesn't bother anything else in tank and remains aloof to all the others. Hangs more or less motionless close to surface waiting for something to drop in. Instant reaction time and explosive speed. Very nice.

From: C. Keil II
3" specimen kept with angelfish, gouramis, black convict, synodontis eupterus, synodontis angelicus, corydoras catfish. The chalceus gets along fine with everything except the feeder guppies I put into the tank for movement. The chalceus will gorge itself on live foods, pellets, sticks, flakes, and just about anything fed to it. Chalceus hangs near the surface of the water and doesn't react violently to invasions of its "personal" space. Overall, a nice change of pace for the community tank.

From: Erin S.
This fish has to be seen to be appreciated. He is only about 3 inches, very colorful and a mouth filled with teeth. They take a predatory stance in the tank. However, I have six Harlequins about an inch long and he hasn't bothered them yet. My Chalceus has eaten Tetra flakes, betta bites, frozen bloodworm, and dried tubifex. I presume once he gets larger, because his mouth is already capable of opening wide, he will have little difficulty devouring whatever he wants. This fish will work as a community specimen with large aggressive fish.





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