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Silver Dollar

(Metynnis sp.)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Peaceful   • Maximum Size: 6"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 75-82° F, KH 4-8, pH 5.0-7.0
• Diet: Herbivore   • Origin: South America, Amazon, Captive bred   • Family: Characidae
• Species: Tetras   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Silver Dollar native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Silver Dollar (Metynnis sp.) fish is a South American species closely related to both Piranha and Pacu, and are native to same South American rivers, streams and tributaries. There a number of subspecies of Metynnis who vary in coloration and pattern based on their origins, some common species of Silver Dollar include: Silver dollar (Metynnis argenteus), Striped silver dollar (Metynnis fasciatus), Spotted silver dollar (Metynnis lippincottianus), Red-spot silver dollar (Metynnis luna), Speckled silver dollar (Metynnis maculatus), Black-barred silver dollar (Myleus schomburgkii) and Red hook silver dollar (Myloplus rubripinnis).

They have been available within the aquarium hobby since the origins of the hobby, but have remained very popular due to their bright silver coloration, unique rounded body shape and their active schooling swim style. Silver Dollars prefer to swim in medium to large schools and are generally found in the middle to upper regions of the water column within the aquarium. Ideally they should be kept with a minimum of six individuals, which will allow them to school and provide them a sense of security.

In their native habitat Silver Dollars congregate in large schools of fish, where they swim throughout the heavily vegetated shorelines of the numerous streams and river tributaries of the Amazon basin and northern portions of South America in search of aquatic plant life and algae on which to feed. The slender disc like body of the Silver Dollar allows them to move easily throughout both the dense vegetation of the river shoreline and the stronger water currents found in deeper rivers and tributaries.

While in nature their brilliant silver coloration and schooling are used as defense mechanism that helps them to avoid being eaten by predators, hobbyists covet Silver Dollars for the brilliant coloration and active swimming style, which looks amazing in aquarium environments ranging from Amazon biotope aquariums to tropical community aquariums.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Silver Dollar in the home aquarium.

Like other South American fish species whom originate from river habitats, the Silver Dollar prefers warm, soft acidic to neutral water conditions, plenty of moderate or laminar water flow and low to moderate levels of nitrate. As an active swimming and schooling species, Silver Dollars will do best in aquariums that provide plenty of horizontal swimming space.

They will also greatly appreciate aquarium decor that mimics their native environment, thus a tank with plenty of plants, either live or fake, combined with driftwood or wood root and open swimming areas will go a long way toward giving the Silver Dollar a comfortable and secure feeling aquarium environment. Additionally, hobbyists should really keep this species in groups of at least 5 individuals, as schooling species like the Silver Dollar do much better in groups as opposed to single individuals or pairs.

Hobbyists looking to keep live plants with Silver Dollar fish will need to do some research on which plant species can be kept safely with this species without being consumed. Silver Dollars are known to readily consume many varieties of aquatic plant life and make short work of plants that they find appetizing. Their larger size allows them to be housed with a wide variety of tank mates including other peaceful community species, semi-aggressive community species and even many species of Cichlids as well.

At an adult size of around six inches, the Silver Dollar will consume very small fish species like Ember Tetra or smaller Neon Tetra; however, they are not aggressive towards tank mates larger than these very small Tetra species. They can also be kept as dither fish in community Cichlid aquariums containing peaceful to semi-aggressive Cichlid species.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Silver Dollar and provide a healthy diet.

The Silver Dollar is a herbivore as the majority of its diet in nature consists of plant material and algae. However, they will consume a variety of meaty items, insects and small crustaceans should the opportunity arise. Hobbyists should make sure that the majority of their diet is plant based in order to provide them with correct vitamins and minerals that they require for good health.

It is best to feed a variety of flake, small pellet, freeze-dried or frozen food designed for freshwater herbivores, a couple times a day. Be careful when keeping Silver Dollars with live plants or very small fish like young Neon Tetra, as they will consume certain plants and fish small enough to fit in their mouths.

Breeding Information

How to successfully breed Silver Dollar in the aquarium environment.

Hobbyists interested in breeding Silver Dollars generally begin with a small group of juvenile fish, roughly 6 to 8 individuals. As the fish mature a male will generally establish himself as the dominant fish within the group and exhibit mating behavior towards a chosen female. This established pair can then be separated from the group and kept in a separate aquarium that is maintained with ideal breeding conditions, which include: warm 80 to 82° temperature, soft slightly acidic water (KH 4-8), dim or diffused lighting, vegetation (real or fake) and lastly a smooth rock, slate or submerged wood on which to lay eggs.

Females will lay upwards of 1500 to 2000 eggs somewhere on the bottom of the tank or on piece of hard scape. They fry will hatch within three days and after approximately a week they will be free swimming and able to eat fine foods such as commercially prepared fry food, finely-crushed flake food or freshly-hatched brine shrimp.

Silver Dollars are good about not eating their own eggs or fry, but can be removed once the eggs hatch as well, which should generally make it easier to raise the fry without having to also contend with larger adult fish.

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