Freshwater Barracuda Profile, Facts, Aquarium Care

freshwater barracuda
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Freshwater barracuda s also called the Red Tail Barracuda, scientific name  Acestrorhynchus falcatus is frequently found in the freshwater lakes and stream. Its other common names are Freshwater Barracuda, Gar Characin, Slant Nosed Gar, South American Freshwater Needlefish, Silver Gar, Hujeta Pike Characin.

Freshwater barracuda Profile

Water Temp: 76-82° F
KH 8-15
pH 6.8-7.4
Max. Dimension: 11″
Native to: South America
Household: Acestrorhynchidae

This fish is characin associated to each tetras and the piranha! The Red Tail Barracuda is a threatening wanting fish with a protracted, slender silver physique with a shiny tail. It’s recognized for its giant sharp tooth which might be simply seen.

The Red Tail Barracuda is a streamlined predator that can be known as a Freshwater Barracuda!

The Red Tail Barracuda Acestrorhynchus falcatus is one among about 15 or so characins belonging to the genus Acestrorhynchus.

About half of these are discovered within the aquarium commerce and are also known as Freshwater Barracuda.

Of this group, the Red Tail Barracuda is probably the most often seen characin. It is usually known as the Noticed Cachorro, Canine Characin, and Amazon Cachorro.

It simple to see why species of Acestrorhynchus are known as Freshwater Barracudas. The slender, elongated pike-shaped physique and mouth filled with sharp teeth say all of it.

Their physique form and huge, conical tooth make them completely tailored to prey on different sorts of fish.

A bigger aquarium that’s effectively established with vegetation is right for this species of Barracuda. Supply driftwood with a purpose to preserve an impartial to barely acidic pH and softer water in addition to loads of open swimming areas.

It is a vicious predator that ought to solely be housed with different extra aggressive predacious fish of comparable measurement.

The Barracuda is a carnivore and ought to be fed a wide range of residing meals corresponding to small fish and crustaceans! Shipped often about 3″ or extra relying on the season.

Freshwater Barracuda Distribution

The time period Freshwater Barracuda, nevertheless, is utilized to a number of freshwater fish in addition to species of Acestrorhynchus genus.

Livebearers of the genus Belonesox and the Gar characins of the genus Ctenolucius are two such teams, each of that are fast, sharp-toothed fish predators with streamlined our bodies.

One acquainted species is the Freshwater Barracuda, or Hujeta Gar, Ctenolucius hujeta, a fierce predator that may attain as much as 28 inches (70 cm) in size and isn’t often stored within the residence aquarium.

The Red Tail or Freshwater Barracuda has change into an extra widespread import within the final a number of years. Its slender, streamlined physique options refined, iridescent, silvery-gold hues which might be complemented by lovely purple fins.

This fish can develop to only shy of 11 inches (27 cm) in size and is a really extremely advanced fish predator.

The Red Tail or Freshwater Barracuda can devour any fish that’s about half its measurement or smaller. Regardless of its measurement, look, and conduct, nevertheless, this fish will not be a real barracuda however a Characin identical to the extra acquainted tetras, hatchet fish, and pencil fish.

So long as you might be prepared to offer to reside fish as meals, the Red Tail or Freshwater Barracuda makes a fantastic aquarium pet.

These fish do get fairly huge and being from river surroundings, they want plenty of swimming area and clear, well-oxygenated water. Although a bit on the nervous aspect, they’re very fascinating, energetic fish.

They do the greatest with the firm and could be stored in a small faculty or with different companion fish. They are going to often do very effectively with similarly-sized tankmates.

The kind locality is given merely as ‘Suriname’ however this species is extensively distributed all through northern drainages of the Amazon in Peru and Brazil plus the Río Orinoco in Venezuela and varied coastal river basins in Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Fish Keeping Problem

The Red Tail, or Freshwater Barracuda is really useful for an aquarist with some fish holding expertise. They’re comparatively hardy fish.

Although delicate to natural pollution and swings in water chemistry, water high quality will not be often a problem if the aquarium is effectively maintained.

The largest difficulties with these fish are behavioral. These quick swimmers are liable to flightiness, in order that they must be housed in a big aquarium with loads of open swimming area.

Additionally, they must be fed live fish.

Aquarium Hardiness: Reasonably Troublesome

Aquarist Expertise Stage: Intermediate

Meals and Feeding of Freshwater Barracuda

Red Tail or Freshwater Barracuda are carnivorous piscivores. They solely eat reside meals, and so they want fish!

There’s a probability they are often educated to simply accept pre-killed fish, however, you possibly can’t depend on that.

As a result of residing fish are what they prefer to eat, an excellent follow is to set up a small tank to maintain a gradual provide of small, reside feeders obtainable.

You may as well supply them earthworms, river shrimps, aquatic bugs, and different good sized invertebrates. They could sometimes additionally take pellets for carnivores, Tubifex, and chopped meat.

Weight lose plan Sort: Carnivore – This fish is piscivorous. They eat different fish virtually completely.
Flake Meals: No
Pill / Pellet: No
Dwell meals (fishes, shrimps, worms): Most of Weight loss plan
Meaty Meals: All of Weight loss plan
Feeding Frequency: A number of feedings per day


Inhabits main river channels and tributaries and mentioned to indicate a desire for clear and black water environments versus turbid ‘white’ waters.

The Freshwater or Red Tail Barracuda Acestrorhynchus falcatus was described by Bloch in 1794.

This species of Freshwater Barracuda is discovered in lots of rivers of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana, and all through a lot of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins.

This species will not be listed on the IUCN Red Checklist. Different widespread names it’s recognized by are Noticed Cachorro, Freshwater Barracuda, Canine Characin, and Amazon Cachorro.

They’re a riverine species, inhabiting clear, reasonably flowing waters and are sometimes present in faculties. This formidable predator feeds completely on fish.

Scientific Identify: Acestrorhynchus falcatus
Social Grouping: Teams – They’re typically present in faculties.
IUCN Red Checklist: NE – Not Evaluated or not listed


The freshwater or Red Tail Barracuda has a slender, elongated pike-shaped physique and a mouth filled with needle-sharp tooth which might be often seen. It could actually stand up to only about 11 inches (27 cm) and has a lifespan of Eight to 10 years.

The physique color is an iridescent, silvery-gold with a whitish space on the stomach. The fins are clear, typically displaying an orange-gold tint.

The forked tail fin is an extra colorful purple with a big black spot on the base. Generally, a black horizontal line develops, operating from the attention to the tail spot.

Dimension of fish – inches: 10.7 inches (27.20 cm)

Lifespan: 10 years – They have got a lifespan of Eight to 10 years.

Most Commonplace Size

250 – 275 mm.

Social Behaviors

Within the wild, freshwater or Red Tail Barracudas are sometimes seen in teams. In captivity, this nervous fish frightens simply, and companions assist them really feel safer.

Preserve them in a small faculty of Red Tail Barracudas, or different similar-sized occupants.

They are often stored singly or in teams of 6 or extra. A smaller group of two to five will result in aggression and prevention.

Although they don’t seem to be significantly aggressive, they are going to eat any fish sufficiently small to suit their giant, toothy mouths.

Good tankmates embrace different similar-sized fish, predators or in any other case, which might be usually placid and ideally feed on the substrate.

Characin species like Ctenolucius, Mylossoma, and Silver {Dollars} or Myloplus make good tankmates. Different good companions embrace Geophagus spp., Plecostomus, and different backside dwelling scavenger catfish.

Venomous: No
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Suitable with:
Similar species – conspecifics: Sure – This fish ought to both be stored singly or in teams of a minimum of six to maintain aggression ranges low.
Peaceable fish: Protected – As it’s extremely predatory, tankmates ought to be equally sized.
Semi-Aggressive: Monitor
Aggressive: Threat – Aggressive tankmates ought to be averted in all however the very largest tanks.
Giant Semi-Aggressive: Monitor
Giant Aggressive, Predatory: Menace
Gradual Swimmers & Eaters: Monitor
Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: Could also be aggressive
Crops: Protected

Intercourse: Sexual variations

Females are plumper than males.

Breeding / Reproduction

Apparently courtship and even spawning have been noticed in aquaria however no fry raised.

Studies recommend that spawning happens in midwater with the feminine remaining stationary whereas the male swims around her in a ‘figure-of-eight’ sample.

The eggs are scattered in giant numbers and parental care is non-existent.

Within the wild, the Red Tail Barracuda begins replica with the onset of the wet season. These egg scatterers discharge eggs and sperm into open water.

Like different Characins, this free-spawning fish produces many fries. They haven’t but been efficiently bred in captivity.

Specifically, the courtship and spawning of the Red Tail Barracuda have been noticed within the aquarium, however, no fry have been efficiently reared.

Frank Magallanes documented their breeding conduct and furnished the uncooked footage to Oregon State College, Neotropical Division, in 1994.

The video exhibits the spawn occurring in midwater with the male swimming up and across the feminine in a sort of determining Eight samples whereas she stays stationary. Later spawning movies present the feminine releasing the eggs.

For an opportunity at efficiently breeding them, separate the males from the females and situation them closely with residing meals.

Present a big spawning tank. This is usually a low aquarium, stuffed 3/Four full with clear, aged water, and with a preliminary temperature that matches their common aquarium.

The underside could be sandy or naked, nevertheless, it ought to be lined with dense foliage.

Introduce the men and women into the ready tank, with a ratio of two males per feminine. Regularly improve the temperature to around 80° F (27° C) to stimulate breeding.

As with different Characins, masking the highest with a towel will create darkened surroundings to assist set off the spawn.

Pairing ought to happen rapidly under the floor of the water, with a number of eggs being shed at a time.

Take away the mother and father from the tank as soon as the spawning is full, or the mother and father will eat the eggs.

The eggs ought to hatch in about 24 hours. As soon as free-swimming, the fry could be fed rotifers, Cyclops, or Artemia nauplii.

The fry ought to be fed generously, a minimum of three instances a day, as newly hatched freshwater barracuda are cannibalistic and will in any other case eat one another.

See Breeding Freshwater Fish: Characins for a basic description of breeding processes, and see Fish Meals for Fry for details about sorts of meals for elevating the younger.

Ease of Breeding: Unknown – This fish has but to be bred in captivity.

Aquarium Dimension

Acestrorhynchids are usually very energetic and very quick swimmers so minimal base dimensions within the area of 250 ∗ 90 cm are required for long-term care.

Even juveniles want a major quantity of room since they have an inclination to behave skittishly in small tanks and may simply injure themselves by swimming into the glass.

It’s suggested to discover a filter which has a water stream between 4-5 instances the amount of your aquarium.

At a quantity of 2025 liters, the filter we advocate could be discovered right here. As this can be a giant aquarium, you could want multiple of those.

Different aquarium filters which have been really useful extremely by prospects in your space could be discovered right here.


This species is a near-exclusive inhabitant of open water and an extra cover can really stress it which means, substrate apart, nearly all of the tank ought to be décor-free with loads of open area.

Must you want to create a pure impact use a sandy substrate, maybe with a number of handfuls of leaf litter and a few driftwood branches or roots.

Crops that might develop in the sand will also be added as can these which want to be connected to stable surfaces corresponding to Microsorum Pteropus, Taxiphyllum Barbieri or Anubias spp. whereas lighting can merely be tailor-made to the vegetation getting used.

If utilizing a deeper tank you could possibly even fill it to 50-70% of capability and add emergent branches or vegetation which might look very efficient.

freshwater barracuda

A tightly-fitting cowl ought to be utilized in all circumstances since acestrorhynchids are usually highly effective jumpers.

Environment-friendly filtration is a should when holding predatory species as a result of quantity of waste produced so set up a number of exterior canister filters and/or a sump system, organizing the return in such an approach that some floor motion is created.

Weekly water modifications of 30-50% ought to be thought-about necessary as this species could be delicate to natural pollution and swings in water chemistry, and because of this, it must not ever be launched to biologically immature set-ups.

Red Tail Barracuda – Fast Aquarium Care

Aquarist Expertise Stage: Intermediate
The dimension of fish – inches: 10.7 inches (27.20 cm)
Minimal Tank Dimension: 55 gals (208 L)
Temperament: Semi-aggressive
Aquarium Hardiness: Reasonably Troublesome
Temperature: 75.Zero to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8° C)

Water Circumstances

Temperature: 22 – 28 °C

pH: 6.0 – 7.5

Hardness: 18 – 215 ppm

Click on right here to seek out the heater we advocate for an aquarium of this measurement. As this can be a giant aquarium, you could want multiple of those.

To seek for different prime quality aquarium heaters in your space, click on right here.
Weight loss plan

An obligate piscivore able to consuming fairly giant prey in relation to its physique measurement.

Newly-imported specimens could refuse to simply accept something however reside fishes though most could be weaned onto useless options as soon as they recognize them as edible, and a few even study to simply accept dried meals.

Just like the overwhelming majority of predatory fishes, this species shouldn’t be fed mammalian or avian meat corresponding to beef coronary heart or rooster.

A number of the lipids contained in these can’t be correctly metabolized by the fish and will trigger extra fat deposits and even organ degeneration.

Equally, there isn’t any profit in the usage of ‘feeder’ fish corresponding to livebearers or small goldfish which carry with them the chance of parasite or illness introduction and at any fee have a tendency not to have an excessive dietary worth until correctly conditioned beforehand.

Aquarium Care

Because of their weight-reduction plan of reside meals, Red Tail Barracuda put a big bio load on the aquarium, so their tank wants ample filtration.

Water modifications of about 30 to 50% are wanted each different week, relying on the bioload, to maintain this fish pleased and wholesome.

Water Adjustments: Bi-weekly – Do a 30 to 50% water change each different week.

Aquarium Setup

These Freshwater Barracudas will spend most of their time close to the center of their residence. They require plenty of area to thrive.

Although they don’t get all that giant, a minimal tank measurement of 55 gallons is important to maintain them in good situation. In addition, they require good filtration with some present.

These very energetic fish want quite a lot of open area for swimming, however, they’re additionally nervous and frighten simply.

Present a decor with some tall vegetation across the perimeter to assist them really feel safe and cozy, however, be sure their swimming space is open and unobstructed.

They could leap, so the aquarium wants a good-fitting cowl.

Minimal Tank Dimension: 55 gals (208 L)
Appropriate for Nano Tank: No
Substrate Sort: Any
Lighting Wants: Average – regular lighting
Temperature: 75.Zero to 82.0° F (23.9 to 27.8° C)
Vary ph: 6.0-7.5
Hardness Vary: 8 – 15 dGH
Brackish: No
Water Motion: Average
Water Area: Center – Freshwater Barracudas will swim close to the center of the tank.

Behavior and Compatibility

Comparatively peaceable with something too giant to swallow and could be maintained in a group supplied tankmates are chosen with care.

Aggressively territorial or very aggressive species ought to be averted with the perfect selections being placid fishes corresponding to Geophagus spp., Acarichthys heckelii, medium-sized doradid or loricariid catfishes and characids from genera like Ctenolucius, Mylossoma or Myloplus.

This species will not be usually aggressive in the direction of conspecifics with juveniles particularly exhibiting a marked education intuition.

Older people are usually extra solitary however nonetheless group collectively from time-to-time, and it’s greatest maintained in numbers of 4 or extra.

One essential level to notice is that acestrorhynchids are cannibalistic given the chance so if shopping for a bunch or including to a present faculty attempt to make sure that all people are of comparable measurement.

Sexual Dimorphism

Sexually mature females are likely to develop just a little bigger and be deeper-bodied than males.

Fish Ailments

Red Tail Barracuda are hardy and illness will not be often an issue in a well-maintained aquarium.

That mentioned, there isn’t any assurance that you simply will not cope with well-being issues or illness. Something you add to your tank can introduce illness.

Not solely different fish however vegetation, substrate, and decorations can harbor microorganisms.

Take nice care and ensure to correctly clear or quarantine something that you simply add to a longtime tank in order to not upset the steadiness.

As a result of these fish eat reside meals, illness could be handed to them from their meals. To stop this, quarantine resides meals earlier than feeding.

Two sorts of illnesses are likely to have an effect on the Acestrorhynchus genus in captivity: parasites and fin rot. Each is extraordinarily preventable and even treatable.

An advantage of the Red Tail Barracuda is that on account of their resilience, an outbreak of illness can typically be restricted to only one or a number of fishes if handled at an early stage.

The easiest way to proactively forestall illness is to provide your fish the correct surroundings and a weight-reduction plan of reside meals which might be parasite free.

As with most fish, Red Tail Barracuda are liable to pores and skin flukes, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, and so on.), ichthyobodo an infection, parasitic infestations (protozoa, worms, and so on.), bacterial infections (basic), and bacterial illness.

Aquarists ought to learn up on widespread tank illnesses. Figuring out the indicators and catching and treating them early makes an enormous distinction.

For details about freshwater fish illnesses and sicknesses, see Aquarium Fish Ailments and Remedies.


The Red Tail Barracuda is usually obtainable and reasonably costly, with value depending on measurement.

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