Pinktail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidotus): Ultimate Care Guide

Most aquarists can tell you that fish come in all shapes and sizes. They’re also likely to tell you that there’s a species of fish that can fit every desire you might have for a tank. There are plenty of options for those people that want a relaxed and soothing tank. The same can be said for aquarists that wish for a constantly active and bustling tank. There are even options for those aquarists that want a large pink fish with a feisty nature that may just attempt to jump out of your tank. If that sounds like the type of fish you want in your tank, then say hello to the Pink Chalceus.

Pinktail Chalceus, also known as Pink Tail Chalceus, Pink Tailed Chalceus, or Chalceus macrolepidotus, is a carnivorous freshwater fish that is native to water in rivers in South America. As their name suggests, the Pink Tail Chalceus has a bright red or pink tail in addition to a silver-scaled body. You can find the Pink Tail Chalceus in countries such as Columbia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and Peru. In these locations, the Pink Tail Chalceus is the top layer of clean, fast-moving rivers. In the wild, Pink Tail Chalceus can often be observed leaping out of the water in order to eat insects. Pink Tail Chalceus use their razor-sharp teeth to eat not only the insects they catch but anything that will fit in their mouth.

Pink Tail Chalceus Care

Caring for any species of fish can sometimes be an intimidating task to undertake, and it even tends to get even more intimidating when the species of fish are carnivorous. Tropical fish care can sometimes be daunting for even the most experienced aquarists. However, you need not be concerned about that with the Pink Tail Chalceus. This vibrant and active fish is considered an easy species to care for. You just need to be sure that their tank meets their required parameters. Doing so will ensure not only the health of your Pink Tail Chalceus but their happiness as well.

Pinktail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidotus)
Pinktail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidotus). Edited. Clinton & Charles Robertson, CC BY 2.0


The Pink Tail Chalceus is a tropical fish from a tropical locale. This means they are used to slightly warmer water than some other species. On average, the Pink Tail Chalceus prefers a tank that is kept between 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 to 28 degrees Celsius. When kept in a tank, you should always be sure that you do your best to emulate the conditions of the locations that the species are originally from. Investing in a quality heater for your tank is recommended to ensure that the required temperatures level are met and maintained properly.

Water pH

It would help if you never overlooked the pH level of your tank. Most aquarists tend to keep a close eye on the pH level of their aquarium. If your pH level fluctuates or changes too much, it will adversely impact all of the species in your tank. Each species, whether it be flora or fauna, has its own unique pH level requirements that need to be maintained. The pH level of a tank that houses a Pink Tail Chalceus should remain between 6.0 to 7.5. Regular checks of the water parameters should help you maintain your pH level in the necessary range.

Pink Tail Chalceus Size

When fully grown, a Pink Tail Chalceus can reach a maximum size of 10 inches or around 25 centimeters. However, there have been some notable examples of Pink Tail Chalceus reaching nearly a foot in length. These cases seem to be extremely rare, and most Pink Tail Chalceus will not get that large.

Food and Diet

Feeding your Pink Tail Chalceus is one of the easiest parts of owning this fish. They aren’t picky and will do anything you give them, including pellets and flakes, as well as both frozen and live food. On average, you should feed your Pink Tail Chalceus twice a day. A twice-daily feeding schedule will help with the aggression of the Pink Tail Chalceus.

Pinktail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidotus)
Pinktail Chalceus (Chalceus macrolepidotus). Edited. Boonchai C, CC BY 3.0


If kept in an adequate tank and given the proper care, the Pink Tail Chalceus will live for around 8 years. However, they can live longer, but this will only happen if you give them the utmost care. But keep in mind that an average lifespan is not a guarantee. Your fish can live for much longer than the average lifespan or for much shorter.

Tank Size

Pink Tail Chalceus can reach up to 8 inches in length, which means they need a large tank to accommodate their size. They are also a very active species, which means they need plenty of room to swim. Most aquarists recommend a starting tank size of at least 55 gallons in volume for the Pink Tail Chalceus. However, for the best results, you should aim for a tank that is at least 100 gallons in size.

Tank Setup

When setting up a tank for your Pink Tail Chalceus, remember they prefer the top level of tank, meaning that is the area you should focus on. The most important part of the tank setup is the lid. Pink Tail Chalceus are known to jump, so a cover is required to keep them in the tank. If you plan to add any rocks or decorations to your tank, make sure they leave the top portion of the tank clear. Floating plants are a good option because it helps emulate the native environment of the Pink Tail Chalceus.


Breeding Pink Tail Chalceus is considered nearly impossible in a tank setting. For starters, it isn’t easy to differentiate between male and female Pink Tail Chalceus. Some say the female is slightly plumper than the male. If you’re lucky, you may notice some eggs stuck in the plants in your aquarium.

Where can I find Pink Tail Chalceus for sale?

Because Pink Tail Chalceus is a tropical fish, you may not be able to find it local to you. However, you can always find it for sale online. When purchased online, Pink Tail Chalceus sells for around $15.