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Ctenolucius hujeta (Hujeta Gar, Freshwater Barracuda)
Medium-sized streamlined fish very pike-like in shape and habits. Body essentially unmarked silver except for a bold black eyespot on the caudal peduncle. The mouth is large and filled with numerous long, sharp teeth.
Quite a widely traded species, and one of the better predatory characins for the casual aquarist, being hardy and easily trained to take non-live foods.
Fish information (behaviour and breeding):
Although highly predatory, this species is otherwise peaceful, and should be kept alongside peaceful tankmates (ideally, species that swim at lower levels of the tank).
Somewhat gregarious; keep in groups. Needs swimming space and appreciates a strong water current. Likes to jump, so not suitable for the open-topped aquarium.
Kept properly it is lively and easily tamed, quickly becoming trusting enough to be fed titbits of food using long-nosed forceps. Not fussy about food, but shows little to no interest in dried food. Instead offer a variety of chunky frozen foods including lancefish, squid, prawn, cockle, and mussel. These fish will also eat earthworms and large insects, but live feeder fish are not required and best avoided on health as well as ethical grounds.
Breeding is very rare under captive conditions. Water chemistry seemingly not important, but the water temperature should be warmer than usual, around 27 C. Pairs engage in lively chases and displays, until eventually spawning across a period of three hours. Eggs scattered among plants and substrate; at least 1000 eggs are produced. Hatching takes place after ~20 hours, after ~60 hours the fry are ready to feed on rotifers and cyclops. Fry are cannibalistic and require regular feeding.
|Distribution||South America: Colombia and Venezuela|
|Size||15-20 cm is typical|
|Water Parameters||Adaptable; avoid extremes|