How To Care For A Silver Dollar Fish
The charming silver dollar fish looks just like the shiny coin your probably picture in your mind when you hear the name. However, while the fish that you purchase in a pet store are quite small while they are young, you should be aware that they can mature at a length of over six inches. These are an ideal species for a novice collector due to their easy going temperament and long lifespan.
Although the silver dollar fish is quite hardy, it is a social specimen and does not do well on its own. They are very timid and easily frightened in groups of less than six. Therefore, if you plan on collecting these fish, you will need about a 75 gallon tank to comfortably house them.
Since they do scare easy, you should always approach their tank slowly. Sudden movements can cause them to scurry and get injured. These fish do not appreciate bright lights. Dim lighting and hiding places are all that they really need to be happy. You can even skip the fancy decorations and just give them some dark substrate.
The silver dollar fish prefers a water temperature between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when you change their water you should aim to keep the temperature consistent. They thrive in moderately acidic water and you need to change their filter often because stale water is prone to higher nitrate levels which is quite harmful to them. Also, it is important to note that these fish will eat live plants so if you must have plants in your tank, they should be plastic if you want to keep them.
See Related: Shovel Nose Shark
The silver dollar fish is a member of the piranha family however, they are primarily herbivores rather than carnivores like their family members. Vegetable flakes are their favorite food including lettuce, spirulina, cooked romaine, watercress and spinach. They also very much enjoy cooked vegetables such as peas, squash and zucchini but when you offer them food of this sort, you need to be sure to remove any uneaten debris so that it doesn’t foul the water.
Although they prefer mostly plants and vegetables, as an occasional treat you can give them live food such as blood worms, brine shrimp and glass worms. You need to really monitor the eating patterns of your silver dollar fish because they will not fight other species for food and therefore could risk going hungry.
These fish are similar to angelfish and are best raised as a group of juveniles together. While the parents are fairly easy going and do not consume their eggs or their fry, the other fish in the tank probably will. Therefore, when you are ready to spawn them, they should really be moved to a separate tank.
The best way to facilitate spawning is with soft, warm water, fine-leaved plants and dim lighting. When they are ready, a couple will spawn and a female silver dollar fish is capable of laying up to 2,000 eggs at a time. The eggs simply fall into the tank’s bottom where they stay until they hatch three days later. Within a week, this massive fry will be swimming freely and are capable of eating fry food, freshly hatched brine shrimp or very finely crushed spirulina.
See Related: How to Care for a Red-Bellied Piranha
Aside from being fantastic tank mates to each other, they get along quite well with many other fish including angels, swordtails, mollies, white tip shark cats, pictus catfish and plecostomus catfish. Some people also have success housing them with giant danios, gouramis, bala sharks, rainbows, clown loaches, Jack Dempseys, Oscars and firemouths. Also, if they are given enough room, they can also get along in the same tank as zebra danios. Since these are mid-dwelling fish, you can comfortably house bottom-dwelling and top-dwelling fish with them.
Always be sure to thoroughly educate yourself on the needs of whatever fish that you introduce to your tank. The silver dollar fish is one of the hardiest species but they do have requirements that must be met to be healthy and happy.