Breuseghem's tetra, Bathyaethiops breuseghemi

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Matt Clarke explains how to keep Breuseghem's tetra, Bathyaethiops breuseghemi, a rarely seen species from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Common name:

Breuseghem's tetra.

Scientific name:

Bathyaethiops breuseghemi (Poll, 1945).

Origin:

B. breuseghemi is from the Democratic Republic of Congo in West Africa and has been recorded from Pres de Luebo, Tshimbula, in the Belgian Congo and from Bena Tshadi, Lukibu, Zaire. 

Size:

Reaches up to 7cm/2.8. 

Water:

Soft and acidic preferable, say pH 6.0-7.0, with a temperature in the mid 20sC/75-79F However, they can adapt to harder, more alkaline water. 

Diet:

Frozen bloodworm, Daphnia and brineshrimp, plus a good quality flake.

Aquarium:

This beautiful and rarely seen African tetra is well worth looking out for. It seems happiest and looks best when kept in a large group in a spacious tank. 

Why not set up a biotope, complete with sandy substrate, bogwood, peaty water and African plants such as Bolbitis and Anubias? 

They mix well with most fish, although sometimes a little nippy, but other African tetras and small West African dwarf cichlids would be perhaps the best tank mates. 

Notes:

This species was first described as Micralestes breuseghemi in 1945, and has previously been considered a member of the Phenacogrammus genus too. 

Like many of the African alestid tetras, these fish can be sensitive when first imported, so make sure your dealer has properly quarantined them for at least a week before you purchase them.

Once established, they are quite simple to keep. 

Identification:

Bathyaethiops breuseghemi is sometimes mistakenly identified as the African moon tetra (B. caudomaculatus) by African exporters. 

You may spot some male fish with an orangey-red marking on the dorsal surface of the dorsal fin and the area immediately anterior. This marking is only usually present on male breuseghemi. The dark spot on the caudal peduncle of breuseghemi is also roughly circular, compared to being much more ovoid in caudomaculatus. 

Availability:

These have been sporadically available for many years, but they're far from a common sight. We photographed these at Maidenhead Aquatics @ Peterborough in February 2008. 

Price:

£4. 

This article was first published in the May 2008 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine.