The Characins are usually hardy fish, and make outstanding aquarium species, even though few are effortlessly bred.

As a rule they’re fairly peaceful, but occasionally a larger fish will nibble the fins of the smaller ones. Feeding presents no real issue as they take readily to dried foods, but they should be given a selection including live foods.

Even though the Characins are tropical, they’re not especially fond of high temperatures – an average of 70°-74°F being about correct.

They breed in the exact same manner as described for egg-laying tooth carps, but with a couple of exceptions which will probably be noted under individual headings. The eggs are adhesive or semi-adhesive, and in nearly all instances will probably be eaten by the parents if this is allowed. They make no effort to protect their young; in reality they appear to think about them as tit-bits.

The Characins belong to the super-order Ostariophysi, sub-order Characoidei, and are grouped under the family Characidae. They’re closely related to the Cyprinids (carp-like fish with toothless and protractile mouths) but could be distinguished by a general rule that they’ve teeth in their mouth, and an adipose fin. Most Characins have both of these features, but some will only possess one. Rarely, if ever, will a Characin be discovered with out either.