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FLAGTAIL PROCHILODUS (YELLOW) (Semaprochilodus taeniurus)

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The central Amazon basin in Brazil.


It migrates and spawns in the river channels but feeds mostly in the floodplains. It can also be found in floodplain lakes (known locally as “várzeas”) and forest streams.

Maximum Standard Length

12″ (30cm).

Aquarium Size


An adult specimen will need a tank measuring at least 60″ x 24″ x 24″ (150cm x 60cm x 60cm) – 540 litres.



This species is quite unfussy regarding decor, but if you want to keep it in natural surroundings a biotope setup would be very simple to arrange. Use a substrate of river sand and add a few driftwood branches (if you can’t find driftwood of the desired shape, common beech is safe to use if thoroughly dried and stripped of bark) and twisted roots. Algal growth should not be discouraged as the fish will graze on it. It’s not the best choice for a planted tank, as it will devour any soft-leaved species and even less palatable vegetation will probably be picked at.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 73 – 84°F (23 – 29°C)

pH: 5.5 – 7.5

Hardness: 1 – 20°H


Though omnivorous it’s primarily a herbivore. Offer plenty of vegetable matter in the form of blanched spinach, lettuce, cucumber, courgette, algae wafers and similar. It will also accept most good quality dried foods and small frozen fare such as bloodworm

Behaviour and Compatibility

It’s aggressive towards its own kind when kept in small numbers, but can be maintained in groups of six or more in larger tanks. Otherwise it’s best kept as a single specimen in a community of medium to large fish. Suitable tankmates include other large characins, Loricariids, Doradids, peaceful cichlids, knifefish, arowana and freshwater stingrays.