Golden Mascara Tetra Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Golden Mascara Tetra is a beautiful freshwater fish that has become quite popular among aquatic enthusiasts. Discover essential information on how to properly set up a tank, maintain water quality, and provide the ideal diet for these stunning fish. Enjoy the rewarding experience of keeping and caring for Golden Mascara Tetras in your home aquarium.

golden mascara tetra

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Golden Mascara Tetra Species Profile and Identification

The Golden Mascara Tetra (scientific name: Cyphocharax multilineatus) is a vibrant, and colorful freshwater fish native to Brazil and Venezuela in South America. This unique species is greatly admired not only for its striking gold and black coloration but also for its peaceful temperament and ability to adapt to a range of water conditions.

To identify a Golden Mascara Tetra, pay close attention to the following characteristics:

  • Size: Adult Golden Mascara Tetras typically grow to be around 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm) in length.
  • Coloration: The body is mainly gold with a black horizontal stripe running along the middle of the head, from the snout through the gills.
  • Fins: The pectoral and pelvic fins are usually transparent, while the dorsal and caudal fin has a captivating black edge that gives the fish its “mascara” look.
  • Lifespan: with good care and tank maintenance the Golden Mascara Tetra can live 5 to 7 years.

It’s essential to be able to identify this species accurately, as it will allow you to provide the best possible care and environment for your little aquatic friend. Keep in mind that while Golden Mascara Tetras are relatively hardy, beginners in fishkeeping will need to invest time and effort in understanding their needs and maintaining the perfect tank environment.

golden mascara tetra infographic

In the following, you’ll learn everything necessary to care for your Golden Mascara Tetra, including tank setup, water requirements, diet, and breeding. So, let’s dive right in and explore the exciting world of Golden Mascara Tetra care!

Golden Mascara Tetra Supplies

Before you bring your Golden Mascara Tetra home, it is essential to gather all the necessary supplies to ensure their proper care in the long run. Here is a list of supplies you’ll need to maintain a healthy and thriving environment for your fish:

  • Aquarium: A minimum of 30-gallon tank size is recommended for Golden Mascara Tetra to swim freely and happily. This should be a well-established aquarium with proper filtration and a secure lid to prevent any jump-outs.
  • Filtration System: A high-quality filtration system ensures the cleanliness of the water, removes excessive waste, and maintains a consistent flow of fresh water. Consider purchasing a hang-on-back (HOB) filter or a sponge filter for effective filtration.
  • Heater: Golden Mascara Tetras thrive in warm water, so they’ll require a heater to keep the temperature in the optimal range of 76-82°F (24-28°C). Be sure to check for the specific heater’s compatibility with your tank size.
  • Lighting: This species enjoys a dimly lit environment with a regular day-night cycle. Therefore, opt for subdued lighting or include floating plants that can help create a calmer ambiance.
  • Substrate and Decorations: You’ll need a soft or sandy substrate to protect the Tetra’s delicate fins. Additionally, provide plenty of hiding spots with driftwoods, rocks, or caves for them to explore and rest.
  • Test Kits: Regularly monitoring the water parameters is crucial for your Tetra’s well-being. Invest in quality water test kits to keep a check on ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and other essential water stats.
  • Fish Food: Golden Mascara Tetras are omnivorous, so offer them a balanced diet of high-quality flake or pellet foods, along with occasional treats of live or frozen invertebrates like brine shrimp and daphnia.

Golden Mascara Tetra Tank Setup

When you’re setting up a tank for your Golden Mascara Tetra, it’s crucial to choose the right-sized tank and incorporate suitable decor, plants, and equipment. A Golden Mascara Tetra thrives in a tank setup that mimics their natural habitat, often found in slow-moving streams and rivers with dense vegetation.

Tank size: A 30-gallon tank is the minimum recommended size for a small group of Golden Mascara Tetras, though a larger tank is always better. Bigger tanks provide ample swimming space and make maintaining water quality easier.

Substrate: Provide a fine-grained, dark-colored substrate on the tank’s bottom, which helps mimic their natural environment and also enhances the Tetra’s vibrant colors. Examples include sand and fine gravel.

Decor and Plants: Incorporate plenty of live plants, driftwood, and rocks to create hiding spots and simulate their native habitat. Some ideal plant choices include:

  • Java moss
  • Anubias
  • Amazon Sword plants

Remember to leave some open swimming areas for your Tetras to enjoy, too.

Filtration and Heating: A high-quality filter is essential for maintaining clean, well-oxygenated water. Make use of sponge filters or hang-on-back filters. Aim to keep the water temperature between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit by using a reputable aquarium heater.

Lighting: Golden Mascara Tetras can tolerate moderate lighting levels. LED aquarium lights work well and allow you to control brightness. Be sure to provide a consistent day-night cycle, with 10 to 12 hours of light per day.

Aeration: An air pump connected to an air stone helps maintain proper oxygen levels in the tank. This also helps improve water circulation for the fish’s health.

Golden Mascara Tetra Water Requirements

Golden Mascara Tetras, like many other tropical fish, have specific water requirements to thrive in your aquarium. Proper water conditions will play a significant role in the overall health of your fish.

  • Temperature: Golden Mascara Tetras prefer a temperature range between 76°F to 82°F (24°C to 28°C). Use an aquarium heater and thermometer to maintain a stable temperature within this range.
  • pH Level: A slightly acidic pH value is ideal for these fish. Maintain a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5 for optimal health and well-being.
  • Hardness: Soft to moderately hard water is best for Golden Mascara Tetras. Keep water hardness within a range of 2 to 12 dGH (degrees of general hardness).
  • Water Quality: As with any fish, maintaining good water quality is essential. Regular water changes and proper filtration are necessary to ensure water remains clean and free of harmful toxins. Aim to change at least 25% of the water weekly.
  • Water Flow: These fish prefer a gentle to moderate water flow within their tank. Provide an adjustable filter to control the current to their preference.

Maintaining stable water conditions, including temperature, pH balance, hardness, water quality, and flow, should be a top priority in your Golden Mascara Tetra care regimen. Investing in proper equipment like heaters, thermometers, testing kits, and suitable filters will go a long way in ensuring a healthy environment for your Golden Mascara Tetras.

Golden Mascara Tetra Diet and Feeding

Golden Mascara Tetras are omnivorous and thrive on a varied diet to stay healthy and showcase their vibrant colors. A well-balanced diet is essential to keep them in the best possible condition, so it’s important to feed them a mix of both protein and plant-based foods.

  • Flake food: High-quality tropical flake food can serve as the base of their diet, providing necessary vitamins and minerals.
  • Frozen and live foods: To supplement the flake food, include a variety of live or frozen options such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and micro worms. These protein-rich foods help promote growth and coloration.
  • Vegetables: Offer small amounts of blanched vegetables, such as spinach, zucchini, and peas to attend to their plant-based dietary needs.

Remember to feed your tetras in small portions that can be consumed within a few minutes and aim to feed them 1-2 times daily. Overfeeding can lead to various health issues and foul the tank water, so it’s important to adjust feeding according to the needs and activity level of your tetras.

Golden Mascara Tetras have small mouths, so make sure to provide food in an appropriate size for them to comfortably consume. It’s recommended to rotate their diet frequently to ensure they receive a wide variety of nutrients and to keep them interested in their food. Monitor your fish while feeding them, as this can give you valuable insight into their overall health and well-being.

Golden Mascara Tetra Care Schedule

Caring for your Golden Mascara Tetra involves a consistent routine to ensure their well-being. A proper care schedule includes regular feeding, tank maintenance, and periodic health checks.

  • Feeding: Feed your Golden Mascara Tetra two to three times a day with a variety of foods, including high-quality flake food, micro pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms, and brine shrimp. Limit each feeding session to 2 minutes and remove any uneaten food to prevent water pollution.
  • Tank Maintenance: Stick to a consistent tank cleaning schedule to ensure your fish thrive in a clean environment. Perform weekly water changes of about 25-30% to maintain proper water parameters and keep ammonia levels in check. Additionally, clean the filter every 2-4 weeks and replace the filter media as needed.
  • Health Checks: Regularly observe your fish for any signs of illness or disease. Typical symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, and discolored skin. In case your Golden Mascara Tetra shows any signs of distress, consult your local aquarium expert or veterinarian to diagnose and treat the issue promptly.
  • Water Testing: Monitor the water parameters with a reliable testing kit, and check ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, and general hardness at least once a week. Regular testing ensures that any imbalances are detected early and gives you time to correct the issue before it affects your fish’s health.

A consistent care routine is essential for keeping your Golden Mascara Tetra healthy and happy. Adhering to a regular schedule for feeding, tank maintenance, and health checks will ensure that your fish thrive in their environment.

Golden Mascara Tetra Health Problems

Golden Mascara Tetras, like any other fish, can face health problems if their living conditions are not optimal. To ensure the health and well-being of your fish, always maintain proper tank conditions and practice preventative care.

  • Ich (White Spot Disease): This is a common freshwater fish disease caused by a parasite. It presents as small, white spots on the fish’s body and fins. To treat Ich, raise the tank’s temperature to 86°F (30°C) for a few days and use a medication specifically designed for Ich treatments.
  • Fin Rot: Fin rot is caused by bacterial infections and can lead to the edges of the fish’s fins appearing frayed or tattered. To prevent fin rot, maintain good water quality and ensure your fish is not stressed. If you notice signs of fin rot, a treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotic medications is required.
  • Swim Bladder Disease: This issue affects the fish’s swim bladder, making it difficult for them to maintain buoyancy and swim properly. Ensure high-quality food with balanced nutrients is provided and avoid overfeeding to prevent this disease. Treatment may require fasting your fish for a few days and providing daphnia or peas as they are rich in fiber and can aid digestion.
  • Skin and Gill Flukes: These parasites bury themselves in the fish’s gills and skin, causing irritation and breathing difficulties. To treat this condition, a specific medication called Praziquantel can be added to the tank water.

Regular health check-ups and prompt attention to any signs of illness will help you maintain your Golden Mascara Tetra’s well-being. In case of severe or unusual symptoms, consult with a veterinarian specializing in aquatic medicine for proper guidance and treatment.

Golden Mascara Tetra Tank Mates

Golden Mascara Tetras are peaceful and social fish that can make excellent additions to your community aquarium. However, choosing the right tank mates is essential for maintaining a healthy and harmonious ecosystem. Here are some good tank mates for your Golden Mascara Tetras:

  • Other Tetra species: As schooling fish, Golden Mascara Tetras thrive in groups and get along well with other larger Tetra species, such as Black Skirt Tetras, Rummy Nose Tetras, and Black Phantom Tetras. Ensure you have at least 5-6 Tetras in your tank to create a sense of security and reduce stress for your fish.
  • Guppies: These colorful, live-bearing fish make excellent companions, since they are also peaceful community dwellers.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling scavengers aid in keeping the tank clean and share a similar temperament with Golden Mascara Tetras.
  • Dwarf Cichlids: Smaller cichlid species, such as Apistogramma or Rams, can cohabit peacefully with Tetras, as long as there’s enough space for each species to claim their territory.
  • Hatchetfish: Sharing the upper levels of the aquarium, Hatchetfish can be good additions and peaceful neighbors for your Golden Mascara Tetras.

When selecting tank mates, avoid larger, aggressive, or predatory fish, such as Oscars, or Arowanas, which may target your Golden Mascara Tetras as prey. Moreover, it’s crucial to consider the fish’s specific requirements, such as water parameters and tank size, to create a balanced and cohesive environment.

By careful planning and selecting compatible tank mates, you can create a thriving community tank with your Golden Mascara Tetras as the centerpiece.

Golden Mascara Tetra Breeding

Breeding Golden Mascara Tetras can be an exciting and rewarding experience for beginners. These fish are relatively easy to breed, but it is essential to follow some guidelines to increase the chances of success.

First, set up a separate breeding tank for the fish; a 10-gallon tank is sufficient because it will house the adult only for the spawning period.

The breeding tank should have a sponge filter, plants, such as Java moss or spawning mops, and a gentle water current. It promotes hiding spots for the eggs and fry and ensures that the water quality remains optimal.

Before introducing the fish to the breeding tank, it is crucial to condition the fish with a varied, high-quality diet. Offer them live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It increases their overall health and encourages them to spawn.

When selecting fish for breeding, it’s best to choose a healthy pair with bright colors and balanced fins. Typically, females have rounder bodies and are generally larger than males.

To trigger spawning, gradually lower the water temperature to 75°F while maintaining a slightly acidic pH (6.0 to 6.5). Increase the water temperature from 2°F to 4°F daily after introducing the fish into the breeding tank.

Once the fish spawn, it’s essential to remove the adult fish to prevent them from eating the eggs. The eggs will hatch within 24 to 48 hours, and the fry will become free-swimming within 5 days.

It is vital to feed the fry with appropriate food such as infusoria, liquid fry food, or newly hatched brine shrimp. The fry will grow rapidly, and within six weeks, they should have developed the characteristic coloration of their parents.


Proper care and attention to your Golden Mascara Tetra’s needs will ensure a healthy and happy fish. With this guide, you now have all the necessary information to provide the best environment for your new pet. Feel free to leave a comment or ask any further questions on Golden Mascara Tetra care!

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