The Red Tail Barracuda, also known as . the Spotted Cachorro, was described by Bloch in 1794. This species of Freshwater Barracuda is found in many of the rivers of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana and throughout much of the Amazon and Orinoco River basins. They inhabit clean flowing waters and are often found in schools.
The Red Tail Barracuda is an ominous looking fish with a long, slender, silver body with a bright red tail. The most distinguishing characteristic of this fish is the large sharp teeth that are easily seen. Often referred to as the Dog Characin, Freshwater Barracuda, Spotted Cachorro, or the Amazon Cachorro, this fish is a Characin related to both tetras and the piranha.
The Red Tail Barracuda, also known as the Spotted Cachorro, has become a more common import in the last several years. It is one of a dozen or so species belonging to the genus Acestrorhynchus. It doesn't take much of an imagination to see why species of Acestrorhynchus are called Freshwater Barracudas. The slender body shape and a mouth full of sharp teeth says it all. Despite its size, appearance, and behavior however, this fish is not a true barracuda. It is a Characin just like the more familiar tetras, hatchetfish, and pencilfish.
Order: Characiformes (characins)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Max. size: 27.2 cm SL (male/unsexed; Ref. 35687)
Environment: benthopelagic; freshwater
Distribution: Gazetteer South America: Amazon and Orinoco basins and rivers of Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana.
Maximum length: 27.2 cm (11 in)
Minimum aquarium size: 285 L (75 gal)
Water: Freshwater 22 °C (295 K, 72 °F) - 28 °C (301 K, 82 °F)
General swimming level: Top to midwater.
The word " barracuda " immediately conjures images of a sleek and powerful fish with a mouthful of dagger-like teeth. While most people associate the name with large, open-water marine predators, it is several different species of freshwater fish also carry this as their common name. The majority of these come from the genus Acestrorhynchus.
With around 15 species described, this is an interesting group of fish. Also known as pike characins, all of them come from the rivers of South America. They are all extremely specialized piscivores (fish that eat other fish). Depending on the species, these fish range in mature size from under 4 inches to over 10 inches in length. They all have very similar body structure – elongated, silver bodies that are made for speed and power. These fish stalk their prey and make a lightning-fast strike to catch the fish. Needle-like teeth fill their mouths and allow them to grasp their prey. Most are solid silver with glittering scales and have a yellow, orange, or red tail.
One of the most common species available is Acestrorhynchus falcatus – the Red Tail Barracuda. These fish can easily exceed 6 inches. They have enlarged eyes and a hydrodynamic body, typical of all the fish in the genus. The namesake red tail is punctuated with a black spot on the caudal peduncle. A powerfully built fish, the Red-tail Barracuda is an impressive species.
Care and feeding:
The Red Tail Barracuda are carnivorous piscivores. They only eat live foods, and they prefer fish! Because this is what they like to eat, a good practice is to setup a small tank to keep a steady supply of small, live feeders available. You can also offer them earthworms, river shrimps, and other good sized invertebrates.
This is a species that requires lots of space to thrive. Even though they don't get all that large, a minimum tank size of 50 gallons is necessary to keep them in good condition. They also require good filtration with some current. These are very active fish and will need a great deal of open area for swimming, but they are also a nervous fish that frightens easily. Providing a decor with some tall plants around the perimeter, possibly some floating plants as well, will help make them more secure and comfortable.
In the wild the Red Tail Barracuda is often seen in groups. In captivity this is a nervous fish that frightens easily, companion fish help to remedy this. The ideal situation would be a small school Red Tail Barracudas, or other similar sized occupants. They are not particularly aggressive but will eat any fish that are small enough to fit into their large, toothy mouths. Good tank mates include other similar sized fish, predators or otherwise, Plecostomus, and other bottom dwelling scavenger catfish.
Sexual Differences: Unknown.
pparently courtship and even spawning have been observed in aquaria but no fry raised. Reports suggest that spawning occurs in midwater with the female remaining stationary while the male swims around her in a 'figure-of-eight' pattern. The eggs are scattered in large numbers and parental care is non-existent.
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