Alestopetersius caudalis (Yellow-tailed African Tetra)

Alestopetersius caudalis

Last updated on September 16th, 2022 at 08:13 am

The Alestopetersius caudalis (yellow-tailed African tetra) is one of the most beautiful fish in the aquarium hobby, with its silver body, yellowtail, and orange fins. It comes from Africa’s Congo River Basin in lakes Tanganyika and Malawi, as well as their tributaries such as Lake Rukwa and Lake Mweru, hence its scientific name that means ‘from the lakes’ in Latin.

This freshwater fish is often kept as an aquarium pet and reaches lengths of up to 3 inches (7 cm).

The beautiful Yellow-tailed African tetra, Alestopetersius caudalis, is one of the most popular and beloved aquarium fish, with good reason. It’s hardy and easy to care for, and can thrive in tanks as small as 20 gallons, provided that certain conditions are met (more on this later). It’s attractive and active, with an iridescent light blue body and yellow tail fin, accented by neon yellow markings on its sides and belly.

Origin and descriptions

Alestopetersius caudalis

Alestopetersius caudalis is a freshwater fish originally from Africa. It’s also called Alestes Petersii caudalis in some places. This fish is native to large rivers, such as those that flow into Lake Tanganyika and Lake Malawi. The word ‘caudalis’ in its name comes from Latin; it means tailed.

There are two different color phases of yellow-tailed African tetras, one which has black coloring on its head and body, and another which has orange/red coloring on its head and body before finally becoming an adult.

Species profile

Alestopetersius caudalis

The bright yellow tail of Alestopetersius caudalis is what sets it apart from other freshwater aquarium fish. Its scientific name means cheerful Peter, after its discoverer and professor of biology at Oldenburg University in Germany, who described several new species in his report on fishes collected by Ludwig von Kromer in Gabon.

Like many fish that live around rocky formations in water currents over a great deal of sand or rubble, it has been known to burrow into sand or gravel with only its eyes protruding above. It’s called a dweller, but like most tetras, prefers to spend most of its time swimming rather than staying put; while they aren’t superactive swimmers they are more active than many smaller tetras.

Oncorhynchus Mykiss "Rainbow Trout"


Alestopetersius caudalis is from Africa. It is found in the sandy bottoms of large rivers where there are overhanging grasses for it to hide in, as well as snags for breeding. It tends to stay around 4’6′′ deep, but can be found at depths of up to 19′. The water temperature should be kept between 77 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit (25 – 27 degrees Celsius).

Alestopetersius caudalis size

This species is a shoaling fish, thus it should be kept in groups of at least five. It grows to a maximum size of 3 inches (7 cm).

Alestopetersius caudalis tank size

The minimum recommended tank size for an adult alestopetersius caudalis is 30 gallons

Alestopetersius caudalis tank mates

Alestopetersius caudalis can be kept with larger tetras, catfish, and loaches. They can live in freshwater aquariums. They are best in a tank that is 30 gallons or more and should be kept with other peaceful fish.

Some other good tank mates are silver tip tetras, white skirt tetras, Boeseman’s Rainbowfish, and head and tail light dwarf danios. When keeping these fish with others, it is important to remember that they can be quite territorial so you should only have one Alestopetersius caudalis in a five to ten gallon aquarium.

You should also make sure that there is not much of a size difference between each fish because if there is, then your larger tetra will most likely bully your smaller tetras.


Alestopetersius caudalis

The Alestopetersius caudalis is easy to breed in a tank that’s at least 20 gallons with an average temperature of 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Good filtration, a variety of plants and rocks, along with good quality water will create an environment where these tetras are able to spawn and thrive. After they have successfully spawned, they need to be separated because they will eat their own eggs/babies.

Filtration should also continue 24 hours a day during spawning and for 3 days afterwards so as not to stress out or move around any fry. Breeding them may take some time but once you do it you can expect new fry every 2 weeks.

Ctenopoma Nebulosum (Anabantidae)

The adult female carries her fry in her mouth for several days after hatching until they are able to fend for themselves.

Are Alestopetersius caudalis peaceful or aggressive?

The yellow tailed african tetras are peaceful and can be kept with other species of fish. You do need to keep at least five in each tank or else they will become aggressive towards others.

Alestopetersius caudalis care

Alestopetersius caudalis

Alestopetersius caudalis is an ornamental tropical freshwater fish of open waters. They are generally not kept in a community tank, but only as singles or in pairs. As such they should be provided with ample hiding spaces and plants for them to hide during times of stress (such as during water changes, for example). They prefer cooler temperatures around 75 degrees F/24 degrees C, but can handle higher temperatures if necessary.

What do Alestopetersius caudalis eat?

Alestopetersius caudalis are omnivores. While they are primarily insectivores, their diet consists of different types of crustaceans and insects. They have a wide range of appetites and will eat whatever is most available in their habitat. They are fond of mosquito larvae and small worms, but they also devour small mollusks like oysters and snails.

This variety in food sources helps to ensure that A. caudalis remain healthy by consuming all of the nutrients that each type of food provides. Their bodies require many types of vitamins and minerals in order to function properly; without them, fish suffer from stunted growth or serious health problems.

Water parameters

Alestopetersius caudalis

Alestopetersius caudalis thrives at a water hardness of less than 8 dH, while optimum pH ranges from 6.5 to 7.5. Though it can grow up to 3 inches (7 centimeters) in length, its size is generally between 4 and 5 inches (10 to 13 centimeters). It should be kept in schools of 5 or more individuals.

Keep them in planted tanks with hard and fine-leaved plants such as Anubias or Java fern and driftwood pieces for cover. You’ll need an aquarium that’s at least 20 gallons (75 liters), though 30 gallons (115 liters) would be ideal. Provide a filter rated for around 20 gallons/hour and moderate lighting; floating plants also help shade these tetras. The habitat needs fairly soft water.

Northern Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus Oregonensis)

Also, yellow tailed african tetras are very sensitive to ammonia levels, water changes must be carried out regularly so that you don’t introduce too much of it into your tank, because ammonia will cause high nitrate levels which can potentially kill your fish.

Alestopetersius caudalis lifespan

They can live for up to 10 years if kept properly, but usually, they live 5 to 7 years in most home aquariums.

Parasites and diseases

Alestopetersius caudalis is an extremely common fish, so it isn’t surprising that few major diseases affect them. However, like all fish, they are affected by parasites. Treating your tank with a parasite medicine is a great idea for any fish you plan to keep long term. Also, remember to keep a close eye on your tank water for ammonia and nitrite levels.

Some common diseases of Alestopetersius caudalis are Mycobacterium marinum and hemorrhagic septicemia (HSV). There are two different species of mycobacteria that can infect fish. One, Mycobacterium marinum, causes a condition known as fish TB. It usually only affects certain types of fish, including some marine and freshwater species. It is more likely to affect weak or injured fish, especially if they have been stressed by poor water quality or other factors.


African cichlids are not safe from their tank mates. However, they are usually safe in a community aquarium. It is best to keep at least six in a school. You can also add them to your aquarium with other peaceful fish or catfish (tetras and barbs). Keep an eye on aggressive fish like blue gouramis. They will harass and possibly eat young African tetras if they do not watch out for each other’s safety.

Some other common predators are Oto Catfish, Tiger Barbs, Siamese Algae Eaters, and other larger aggressive fish. African cichlids can also be eaten by their tank mates if they get injured, so keep an eye on your fish to make sure they do not have any sores or scrapes. If a tetra has an injury like that, it is best to separate it from other fish so they cannot hurt them.

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Do Alestopetersius caudalis make good pets?

Yes. Despite their relatively small size, Alestopetersius caudalis make excellent aquarium fish. As with other tetras, they are hardy and can be housed in smaller aquaria than many tropical fish. Their small mouths, peaceful nature, and schooling behavior mean that they do not usually cause problems for other species of fish.

While generally shy, these fish will be more active at feeding time. This species prefers hard water and live foods for optimal health; however, it can adjust to softer water over time.