|Synonyms||Hydrocynus maculatus, Xiphostoma maculatum, X. taedo|
|Distribution||Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.|
|Maximum Size||35cm (13.8")|
|Temperature||23-27 deg C (73-81 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||pH: 6.0-7.5, dH: up to 18 degrees.|
|Compatibility||Community of medium-large sized peaceful fish only.|
Dim (brighter lighting should be diffused with plants)
The Spotted Pike Characin has an exceptionally wide area of distribution, occurring throughout much of the Amazon, Orinoco, and Tocantins River basins. Here, this piscivorous species is found in moderately flowing tributaries close to riparian and overhanging vegetation, where it lurks in mid-top water waiting for smaller fish to hunt. The aquarium should be spacious and mature, with tangles of driftwood and dense thickets of tall plants to provide shade and hiding places. Floating vegetation can also be useful in helping to diffuse the light and will provide additional shelter and security for the fish. The tank should be sited in a quiet location where it does not receive a large amount of continual foot traffic going past. These are skittish fish that are easily startled, so they must be provided with enough swimming space and many shady hiding spots, along with some very tight fitting coverslides to prevent them from accidentally jumping out. Prior to setting up a tank for this species, it is worth purchasing some structured 3-D aquarium-safe background and attaching this to the inside glass of the back and sides. This will help to prevent the fish from damaging their long, delicate jaws when swimming at speed into the otherwise unseen glass at the sides. When cleaning the aquarium, take things slowly so that the fish do not become too startled. Filtration should be efficient, with areas of moderate water movement, along with some quieter resting spots out of the current. Ensure there is a decent level of dissolved oxygen, and perform regular partial water changes in order to keep nitrogenous wastes to a minimum. Despite their predatory nature, Spotted Pike Characins are peaceful with one another and are best kept in groups of 5 or more. Juvenile fish often display shoaling behaviour, and although adults are mostly solitary, they will still group together loosely at times. Tankmates must be chosen carefully - ideal companions would include peaceful fish of similar size which occupy the mid to lower levels of the tank, such as Geophagus spp., Leporinus spp., silver dollars, along with doradid and loricariid catfishes.
In the wild, this species feeds exclusively on smaller fish, but adapts well to the taking of meaty frozen foods in the home aquarium. Smaller specimens can be offered bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, Mysis shrimp etc, whilst larger individuals will enjoy krill, chopped prawns, chopped mussel meat, and chopped white fish fillets.
This species has not been bred in the home aquarium.