All About Silver Dollar Fish: Care, Tank Mates, Size, and More

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Embark on the journey to discover Silver Dollar Fish, an extraordinary species of freshwater fish native to South America! These fascinating creatures stand out with their gleaming coin-like form and peaceful behavior. This blog post will cover all that you need to care for them, including facts regarding their habitat, different types of varieties available as well as information for and what type of tank mates they are compatible with. Let’s explore this exciting aquatic world together!

Key Takeaways

  • Silver Dollar Fish are attractive, peaceful fish that make great tank additions if you understand their needs.
  • Silver Dollar Fish come in several varieties and can reach up to 6 inches with the right care.
  • To keep them healthy, create a natural environment with tall plants & driftwood, monitor water parameters, feed veggies, algae & occasional meaty treats, plus avoid small or breeding fish as tankmates!

Species Overview

Scientific NameMetynnis argenteus / Metynnis hypsauchen
Common NamesSilver Dollar Fish
OriginSouth America
Care DifficultyEasy
Life Expectancy10 years
Tank LevelMid to Top
Minimum Tank Size75 gallons (284liters) – recommended 125 gallons (473 liters)
Water Temperature Range75-82°F (24-28°C)
Water Hardness4-18 dKH
pH Range6 – 7
Filtration/Water FlowModerate
Water TypeFreshwater
BreedingEgg layers
Difficulty to BreedModerate
CompatibilityCommunity Tanks – but not with small fish
OK, for Planted Tanks?No – will eat most plants


Silver Dollar Fish, also known as dollar fish, are popular in the aquarium world due to their vibrant personalities and gentle temperament. With proper care and maintenance, these active freshwater creatures do well living with other species of fish inside community fish tanks. Owning them is like owning a piranha (they are related to them), but without aggressiveness! Let’s learn about where they come from.

Origin And Habitat

The Silver Dollar Fish, originally from the Amazon Basin, Peru, and Guyana, have adapted to low light environments with soft acidic water. These fish can be found in shallow tributaries, which are full of vegetation, rocks, driftwood, and stones, providing them a natural habitat they feel at home within. All these elements provide shelter for this species, allowing them to swim in groups mimicking their native behavior. Blackwater environments offer ideal living conditions for Silver Dollars where they can thrive undisturbedly.


Silver dollar fish appearance will make you think that it looks like a piranha but does not have the aggressive and carnivore tendencies of its lookalike. Its features include a circular, disc-like shape that is reminiscent of a real silver dollar coin and sports triangle-shaped and angled dorsal fins as well as split caudal ones. This kind of laterally flattened body not only gives it an attractive look but also grants them great agility when swimming around the tank. The overall aspect that defines this species is their shining silvery coloration, which truly resembles a shiny metal currency piece – hence why they are called “silver dollars.”


Silver Dollar Fish, with their good genes and proper care, can live for up to 10 years. These fish need specific conditions in order to stay healthy, including a balanced diet, stress management as well as the correct tank environment and water temperature. Providing these requirements means that your Silver Dollars will be happy and have an extended lifespan of happiness.

By attending to the needs of Dollar Fish properly you are providing them with all they require for optimal health throughout many long years ahead.

Average Size

Silver Dollar. Fish can be impressive, with their size reaching up to 6 inches. Several factors, such as diet, tank size, water temperature, and age, affect how big a silver dollar fish will become. With the right care, an adult Silver Dollar fish should attain its full growth potential, which makes it an attractive feature in any aquarium set-up dedicated to them. Because of their larger size and schooling behavior, they will require larger tanks. I’ll discuss more of that later in the article.

The 5 Main Subspecies

Silver Dollar. Fish come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Among them:

  • Common Silver Dollar
  • Red Hook
  • Black Bar
  • Spotted
  • Tiger Silver

Each variety has its own unique features. Let’s check them out below

Common Type

Common Silver Dollar

The common silver dollar is the most common silver dollar you will find in fish stores. They have mostly silver colors with no striking features on their tails or bodies. They grow up to 6 inches and do well in groups.

Red Hook

Red Hook

The Red Hook Silver Dollar or hook silver dollar fish is a fish found in South America and features an eye-catching red anal fin. It is the largest of the 3 types of silver dollar – growing to 10 inches. However, it remains peaceful despite its size, making it the perfect addition for those who want some color added to their aquariums.

This species of dollar fish offers aquarists plenty, being one of the larger varieties available from this continent. Ideal if you are seeking vibrant hues as well as tranquility within your tank!

Black Bar

Black Silver Dollars (video source) exhibit a large black bar in the center of their body. They are from Colombia and do best in large groups. They get to around 7 inches in size. They are docile like most silver dollar species.


Spotted Silver Dollar

The Spotted Silver Dollar Fish is native to South America and has a grey body with dark brown spots. It grows up to 6 inches in length. These varieties of silver dollar can also be kept peacefully alongside larger fish like oscars, pikes and larger catfish if the tank is big enough.


The Tiger Silver Dollar Fish (video source), also called a dollar fish and hailing from South America, is renowned for its striking black and yellow striped pattern on the blue-silver of its body. It grows up to 6 inches, and it’s stripped features give it the most aggressive look of the three. However, they are peaceful and do well with many other fish.

Caring For Your Silver Dollar Fish

Silver dollar fish are generally easy to care for, as long as you have the right sized tank for them and by enough for a school of them. We will detail caring for these fish in the sections below. Let’s start first by finding them a suitable sized aquarium.

Tank Setup

A minimum tank size of 75 gallons is suggested for Silver Dollar Fish in order to give them ample space and the opportunity to school as they would naturally. The ideal environment should have tall plant life, driftwood, stones, along with dark-colored gravel which resembles their native habitat. To keep the water clean due to their high waste output, a canister filter will be needed too. Creating hiding places among these decorations adds more pleasure to your pet fish’s lifestyle.

Low lights are helpful as well – or consider adding tannins. Some aquarists keep these fish without lights. It’s an option if you don’t keep plants. If you do keep plants, they will eat most plants. The only plants that are possible would be tough plants like Java Fern, Anubias, or Hornwort.

Water Parameters

Maintaining a healthy environment for your Silver Dollar Fish is key to their well-being. Water parameters such as pH, GH and KH need to be kept stable for optimal health. Ideal ranges are 6.0 – 7.0 for pH, 6 dGH of water hardness. To keep this perfect balance in the aquarium, it’s important to do regular water changes with water of similar parameters!

Temperature is another factor. These fish are from the Amazon and do require warmer temperatures. They prefer ranges from 75 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider getting a reliable heater that can take the punishment. Knowing this fish can live with larger fish, it’s likely that the heater may get bumped. Opt for a titanium heater if you plan on keeping the heater in the display tank.

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Stable parameters will help keep a healthy environment. Let’s talk about how to feed your silver dollar fish below.

Feeding And Diet

Silver Dollars are very active fish that require frequent feedings and a varied diet. This can be supplied in both plant and animal matter. You can feed them various nutrients found in vegetables and algae, making a pelleted or flake food specifically formulated for herbivores the best choice.

To enrich their diet, you can occasionally give them frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp as treats. The great thing with Silver dollars is they eat just like their piranha cousins – voraciously. They are one of the easiest fish to get to eat. Your challenge is keeping them from getting to skinny due to their activity. Just feed them 2-3 small meals a day, switch out foods, and they should be happy and thick in no time.

Behavior And Social Dynamics

The Silver Dollar Fish, otherwise known as the dollar fish, are a peaceful and sociable species. They are large schooling fish that needs to be kept in groups. A group of 6 or more are best. Silver dollar fish swimming is typically due at the middle and top of their community tanks with other compatible tank mates.

A major thing to note about Silver dollar fish behavior is they are very fast and can be spazzy fish. They will regularly dart around when scared. They are prone to jumping out of tanks as a result. Prevent this by covering your tank.

It’s also good to keep decor that will not damage them. Avoid decor that has sharp edges. Opt for silk plants if you want to use artificial plants, and give them plenty of open space so they don’t run into anything accidentally.

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Compatibility With Tank Mates

Silver Dollar. Fish can live peacefully alongside many other types of bottom-dwelling and peaceful fish species, making them great for various community tanks. For successful cohabitation between your dollar fish and tank mates, it’s essential to think carefully about their respective sizes, water needs as well as temperaments so that the whole aquatic environment is harmonious.

They are larger and have good demeanors, which make them compatible with lots of fish. They are also known as dither fish, which are fish that are active and help timid and territorial fish come out in the open more.

Good Tankmates

Severums Fish

When considering what other species to include in a tank with Silver Dollar Fish, it is important to choose peaceful fish that can coexist together. Good options are:

As adults, they have been known to successfully house with larger aggressive fish like Oscars and Jack Dempsies. Caution should be kept when attempting to keep them with these fish, and a backup plan should be formulated if they end up not getting along. When they get along with these more aggressive fish, they will be out in the open more and be more active due to the benefits of having a dither fish in the aquarium.

Bad Tankmates

Comet Goldfish

When choosing tankmates for Silver Dollar Fish, it is important to avoid the smaller fish such as bettas, neon tetras. Their small size and, in the Betta’s case – their lower activity will make it difficult for them to compete for food. Here are other bad choices:

  • Goldfish – incompatible temperature preferences
  • Small tetra fish
  • Rasboras – too small
  • Discus fish – Will have trouble competing for food with your silver dollar fish


For those interested in the process of Silver Dollar Fish Breeding is an exciting and rewarding journey. Male and female differentiation must be done to start off their preparation for mating before eventually caring for the fry produced from it all.

In order to successfully go through these steps, we’ll detail how one can distinguish between males and females as well as conditioning them accordingly along with giving guidance on nurturing newborn dollar fish offspring afterwards.


To identify the sex of your Silver Dollar Fish, look for their anal fin. In males, this will be rounded and may have a red leading edge or display some red/black bars along it. In females, the shape is straight-edged. Knowing which gender you are dealing with makes all the difference when preparing them to breed.

One thing to note, it is difficult to determine the differences between males and females when they are young. The good thing is if you buy a group of them, it’s likely that you will have a few males and females. They don’t get territorial with each other, so mixing them is totally fine.

Conditioning And Mating Process

Breeding Silver Dollar Fish, like with any fish, requires you to keep them in prime health. It is important to provide them with the proper diet. Frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp are excellent sources of nutrition that will help condition your fish for mating. To create a natural atmosphere in which egg-laying can take place, construct a separate tank containing tall artificial plants as decoration.

When ready, males may initiate courtship by chasing after females while entwining their anal fin around hers, an act required for external fertilization to be achieved. The embrace they do is very similar to Betta Fish. The eggs will then be laid on plants, which you can take out and raise in a separate tank. Silk plants are ideal to use for breeding as they can be easily taken out.

Raising Fry

One unique thing about Silver Dollars is that they will not eat their eggs or their young. This will actually allow you to colony breed your Silver Dollars in your display tank if you only keep them. A breeding tank is not necessary if you only keep a school of silver dollar fish.

The fry will appear after 3-4 days and should be fed with brine shrimp or spirulina for ideal nutrition during the growth and development stages. Providing this proper food choice as well as suitable environmental conditions can make sure these dollar fish prosper and remain healthy.

Common Health Issues And Prevention

Maintaining the proper care of Silver Dollar Fish is essential for their overall health and well being. Regularly changing the water, monitoring parameters, providing a balanced diet, avoiding overcrowding in tanks, and offering plenty of hiding spots are all necessary steps to prevent common illnesses like ich from occurring with these fish species.

That being said, these fish are prone to getting illnesses. Here are a few you may come across:

  • Ich
  • Fin and tail rot
  • Flukes
  • Internal parasites
  • Bacterial infections

The best practice is to quarantine these fish if you are willing to do it. You should consider a larger quarantine tank unless these fish are small when purchased.

They are generally hardy fish, as long as you give them a healthy environment and they aren’t already sick when you buy them.

Frequently Asked Questions

How big do silver dollar cichlids get?

Silver dollar cichlids can grow up to 8 inches in length, so they need a sufficiently large tank like a 75 gallon tank and above for them to have enough space. They should be kept in a group of at minium 6.

How often should I feed my silver dollar fish?

For a healthy silver dollar fish, it is recommended to give them 2-3 feedings per day. Provide some extra nutrition for your dollar fish by adding treats that are made from insects or meaty products into their diet. While they readily will eat just about anything you give them, be such to mix up their foods for a balanced diet.

How big do silver dollar tetras get?

Silver dollar tetras require a very large aquarium due to their relatively large size. This species usually grows up to 6-8 inches in length, meaning juveniles need at least 75 gallons of water. Ideally, they do best in larger groups in a six feet long silver dollar fish tank!

Are silver dollar tetras aggressive?

Silver Dollar tetras tend not to be overly aggressive. They will intimidate much smaller fish due to their size and activity and will outcompete slower fish for food. In a tank full of other fish, it is important that none are small enough for the silver dollar tetra to eat or large and aggressive such as gars and larger catfish that may see them as prey. Even so, Silver Dollars can sometimes still do fine with such fish because they are too fast for many traditional freshwater fish.

Closing Thoughts

This guide has examined the intriguing Silver Dollar Fish and provided insight into their history, physical characteristics, maintenance needs, behavior patterns, and breeding processes. With correct upkeep and attention to all of its particular requirements, you can craft a suitable habitat for these amazing fish where it will happily thrive – giving years of pleasure as an eye-catching addition to any aquarium.

Ever kept this Silver Fish before? Let us know in the comments below and let’s start a conversation. Until next time!

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