Where Do X-Ray Fish Live in the World (Habitat Diversity)

Where Do X-Ray Fish Live in the vast world’s aquatic habitats? Have you ever seen a fish so transparent its insides are on display? That’s the X-ray fish, a captivating creature with a nearly see-through body! But where do these fascinating fish call home? 

Buckle up because X-ray fish defy expectations. They’re not just found in crystal-clear freshwater streams, but they can also tolerate the slightly brackish waters near the coast!

Dive deeper with us as we explore the surprising world of the X-ray fish and uncover the unique habitats that make up their astonishing range.

pristella maxillaris

In this article, we will explore the habitat diversity of X-ray fish and examine where they are commonly found around the world. We will delve into the unique characteristics of their habitats and discover how these amazing hardy fish have adapted to thrive in their varied surroundings. 

Where Do X-Ray Fish Live?

X-Ray Fish is also known as the golden pristella tetra, a small species of freshwater fish native to the Amazon Basin coastal waters of Brazil, Guyana, and Venezuela in South America. They can be found in streams and tributaries during the dry season and rainy season.

How to Breed X Ray Tetras

They are schooling fish, often seen in groups for protection against larger predatory fish. These tropical fish have translucent skin that allows their bony internal structure to be visible, giving them the name “x-ray fish.” They are omnivorous and feed on insects, worms, and small fish.

X-ray fish reproduce by laying eggs, unlike some other tetra species that give birth to live larvae.

In the Wild, X-ray fish live among vegetation and are a vital part of the ecosystem, serving as both predator and prey. Their goldfinch-like appearance is distinct, with dorsal and anal fins that add to their beauty.

X-ray fish are equipped with a Weberian apparatus, a unique set of organs and skeleton that allows them to detect sound waves underwater. These small fish are a popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their striking appearance and peaceful nature.

What Does an X-ray Fish Eat in the Wild?

X-ray fish, also known as Pristella tetras, are omnivores. This means their diet in the Wild consists of both plant and animal matter.

Here’s a breakdown of their typical menu:

  • Tiny animals: They’re micro predators, meaning they hunt small critters like worms, aquatic insect larvae, and shrimp-like animals.
  • Plant material: While primarily focused on animals, they’ll also nibble on algae and other plant matter for additional nutrients.

But Why the Unusual Translucent Skin?

One of the most intriguing aspects of the X-ray fish is its unusual translucent skin. This small species of fish, also known as x-ray tetra, is popular among typical freshwater fish kept in aquariums.

The Latin name of the x-ray fish is pristella tetra, and it is a colorful South American fish. It was first described by Albert Ulrey in 1894.

During the breeding season that the x-ray fish lays eggs among small crustaceans that live close to the water. This unique feature of being translucent sets it apart from many other fish.

The X-ray tetra fish is also known for its transparent skin, which allows us to see its internal organs, giving rise to its peculiar name.

Can You Keep an X-ray Fish in an Aquarium?

Yes, you can definitely keep X-ray fish, also known as Pristella tetras, in an aquarium! They are peaceful schooling fish that are relatively easy to care for, making them a great choice for beginner aquarists.

Here’s what you need to know about keeping X-ray fish in an aquarium:

  • Tank size: A 10-gallon tank is the minimum size for a small school of X-ray tetras (around six fish). However, a larger tank (20 gallons or more) is recommended to provide them with ample swimming space.
  • Water parameters: X-ray tetras prefer slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.0-7.5) with a water temperature between 75-82°F (24-28°C).
  • Tank mates: They are peaceful community fish and can be housed with other peaceful fish of similar size, such as neon tetras, harlequin rasboras, corydoras catfish, and dwarf gouramis. Avoid keeping them with larger or aggressive fish that might nip their fins.
  • Diet: In the aquarium, you can feed them a variety of high-quality flake food, pellets, and frozen or live brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.
  • Tank decor: Provide them with a well-planted tank with plenty of hiding spots. They appreciate a gentle water current and subdued lighting.

With proper care, X-ray tetras can live for up to 5 years in an aquarium, adding a touch of transparency and wonder to your underwater world.

Most Adaptable Species of Tetras in Fish Tanks

Pristella maxillaris, or X-ray pristella tetras, is considered to be one of the most adaptable species of tetras in fish tanks. These small freshwater fish, commonly known as the x-ray fish or x-ray tetra, are found in the Amazon and coastal waters. 

Choosing the right tetra for your freshwater tank can be exciting! There are many dazzling varieties, but for those seeking adaptability, a few species stand out:

  • Neon Tetra (Paracheirodon innesi): This classic favorite is known for its vibrant red and blue stripes and its hardiness. Neon tetras thrive in a range of water conditions, preferring slightly acidic water (pH 6.0-6.8) and temperatures between 72-80°F (22-27°C). They are peaceful schooling fish and a great choice for beginners.
  • Cardinal Tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi): Similar to neon tetras in care requirements, cardinal tetras boast a stunning display of red, blue, and neon. They are just as adaptable and prefer slightly acidic water (pH 6.0-7.0) with a temperature range of 72-80°F (22-27°C).
  • Black Neon Tetra (Hyphessobrycon schwarzi): This close relative of the neon tetra offers a striking contrast of black, blue, and red. Black neon tetras are comfortable in a wider range of water conditions than their neon cousins, tolerating a pH of 6.0-8.0 and temperatures of 72-82°F (22-28°C).
  • Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae): These fiery-colored fish add a vibrant orange and red splash to your tank. Ember tetras are adaptable to water parameters that are slightly acidic to neutral (pH 6.0-7.5) and prefer temperatures of 75-80°F (24-27°C).
  • Harlequin Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha): Not technically a tetra but often grouped with them, harlequin rasboras are peaceful schooling fish with dazzling red, black, and gold iridescence. They are quite adaptable, thriving in slightly acidic to neutral water (pH 6.0-7.5) with temperatures between 72-82°F (22-28°C).

These are just a few examples! Remember, even adaptable fish have their preferences. Always research the specific needs of any fish before bringing them home to your aquarium.

What are some fun facts about X-ray fish for kids?

X-ray fish are tiny, see-through fish with sparkly fins! They live in South America’s rivers and can even hear with their backbones!

What is the maximum size of the X-ray fish?

The X-ray fish, also known as the water goldfinch tetra, reaches a maximum size of around 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length.

Are there X-ray fish in Florida?

No, X-ray fish are not native to Florida. They hail from the Amazon and Orinoco basins in South America.

Are X-ray fish aggressive?

No, X-ray fish are peaceful. They are schooling fish and prefer to be in groups of 6 or more. X-ray fish are small fish that aggressive tankmates can bully.

Why are they called X-ray fish?

X-ray fish get their name from their nearly transparent bodies. Their translucent skin reveals their internal organs, similar to how an X-ray image works.

How big do X-ray tetras get?

X-ray fish is a small fish, reaching a maximum size of around 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length.


In conclusion, the mesmerizing world of the X ray fish has captivated both scientists and nature enthusiasts alike. Its translucent beauty and unique ability to reveal its inner workings through its transparent skin have made it a true marvel of nature. We have explored the various aspects of this extraordinary creature, from its physical characteristics to its mysterious habitats.

X-ray fish can be found in the freshwaters of South America, specifically in the Amazon River basin and its surrounding tributaries. Their preferred environments include calm, slow-moving waters with dense vegetation and ample hiding spots. 

By understanding where do X-ray fish live, we gain valuable insights into their ecological significance and the delicate balance of their ecosystems. So, next time you find yourself near the lush waters of the Amazon, keep an eye out for the magical X ray fish and witness nature’s true wonder in action.

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About Me

I am the founder of, a devoted wife and mother, and an avid fish enthusiast. My aim is to assist fellow fish lovers worldwide in understanding how to properly care for and breed their pet fish.

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