The Absolute Best Silver Dollar Fish Care Guide

silver dollar fish

Getting their name due to their silver color and flattened body shape, the silver dollar fish are medium-sized aquarium fish that are relatively easy to care for.

Although not recommended for beginner level tank keepers, anyone with a little bit of experience in fish keeping can easily consider adding them to their aquarium tank. 

If you are searching for a medium-sized fish to add to your community tank, indeed, consider the silver dollar fish.Throughout this article, we will be sharing everything you need to know about this beautiful fish to keep it happy and healthy in your aquarium


Belonging to the Characidae fish family, the silver dollar fish comes from the South American region.

Although the Characidae fish are known for their aggression, the case is the complete opposite with the silver dollar fish. They are known for their peaceful temperament, making them a great addition to any community fish tank. 

The fish does have an intermediate care level, but it does not mean you can’t add it to your tank or should be intimidated by the thought of owning it.

They do well in groups and can easily be found across pet stores and fish stores due to their immense popularity. When cared for properly, a silver dollar fish lifespan can easily cross up to ten years. 


As the name suggests, the fish looks like a silver dollar. The fish has a round and flattened body that makes it look like a coin. The silver collar makes them resemble a silver dollar even more. 

This fish is often confused with the M. hypsauchen fish family. However, they have a black patch on their bodies and behind their eyes, which the silver dollar fish lacks. This feature can be used to distinguish between the two. 

Some popular silver dollar fish variations based on their appearance include:

  • Spotted Silver Dollar Fish This silver dollar fish’s body is covered with black dots. 
  • Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish – The red-trimmed anal fin of the red hook silver dollar fish is quite similar to a red hook, thus the name. 

Typical Behavior

By nature, the silver dollar fish is a schooling fish. Despite its large size, it likes to be kept in groups of at least five fish. Generally, these fish are peaceful and like to mind their own business. The fish will not disturb any other tank mate or initiate any fight or chaos in the tank. 

However, when it comes to silver dollar fish feeding, the fish can get aggressive. They tend to get competitive when being fed, and you might see them chasing each other around.

These are pelagic fish. Pelagic fish are fish that like to swim close to the surface of the water. Therefore, the tank owners have to be vigilant as the fish will try to jump out of the tank. 

Tank Mates

The silver dollar fish is a large-sized yet peaceful fish. The fish is quite active inside the tank, and you will barely see them sitting around idly.

Due to their peaceful temperament, they can easily be added to any community aquarium tank. Since these are pelagic, they will spend most of their time close to the surface of the water. 

You can keep them with other peaceful community fish. Since they will occupy the upper water column inside the aquarium tank, you should add fish who like to stay in the middle and lower water column. Catfish, Plecos, and Doradid fish are ideal tank mates for the silver dollar fish. 

Other freshwater tank mates include South American cichlids, Central American Cichlids, Angelfish, Green Terror cichlids, Firemouth fish, Pacus, Giant Danios fish, Anostomus fish, etc. 

Although the silver dollar fish is peaceful, it will eat away smaller fish. Therefore, avoid keeping them with Gourami fish, Betta fish, and Tetra fish as the silver dollar fish might end up eating these fish. The same case applies to adding shrimps and snails in the silver dollar fish tank. 

Since it is a schooling fish, it will do amazingly well when kept in a group. Due to their schooling nature, you will find them being sold in bulk. You should try to keep at least five silver dollar fish in a tank.  When kept alone or without their species, the silver dollar fish can get lonely and withdrawn.

Tank Setup

The silver dollar fish’s natural habitat is the South American region. Here the water is dark, and there is plenty of wrinkles. The bottom of those rivers is filled with gravel, rocks, driftwood, and weed.

There is plenty of vegetation, and overall the ambiance of the water is dark with moderate to weak water currents. 

When setting up a silver dollar fish tank, the goal should be to imitate the fish’s natural environment as much as possible. The silver dollar fish is not idle, it is quite active, and therefore, you should pick a large tank, so they have plenty of space to swim around. 

By nature, the fish is quite hardy; therefore, it will do well and tolerate fluctuations in the water conditions. Make sure that you have a good filter inside the tank to maintain clean water. Maintain a moderate water flow and oxygenate the water properly. 

You will have to be very careful when picking equipment for your silver dollar fish tank. The fish will bump in glass equipment and cause it to break. Therefore, avoid adding glass equipment inside your tank. 

They are pelagic; therefore, they might attempt to jump out of the tank now and then. Ensure that you seal the tank with a lid on top to prevent them from coming out of the tank. 

The overall ambiance of the tank should be dark. Therefore, opt for dark gravel as a substrate. Also, build some hiding spaces inside the tank using rocks and driftwood.

But make sure that these hiding spots do not come in the way of the silver dollar fish, and there is still ample room for them to swim around. 

The silver dollar fish diet is omnivorous; therefore, you will have to pick the right plants for the tank—plants, which will not get eaten by the silver dollar fish.

You can use artificial plants to create fake vegetation, but if you want to use natural plants, java fern and hornwort are the best possible options. 

The tank’s ideal temperature range is between seventy-two to eighty-two degrees Fahrenheit whereas the pH should be maintained between 5.5-7.5. They are tolerant in terms of water hardness, but the optimal range is 4-18 dGH. 

The silver dollar fish large size demands a larger tank. The minimum tank size should be around seventy-five gallons for a group of five silver dollar fish. The general estimate is to add ten gallons of water per individual silver dollar fish added to the tank. 

Diet and Feeding

By nature, the silver dollar fish is omnivorous in terms of diet. However, they prefer having a herbivorous diet. Their favorite food is vegetation inside the tank; therefore, the tank owners have to be careful when choosing plants for the silver dollar fish tank. 

You can feed them green vegetation like peas, lettuce, cucumbers, spring greens, etc. They also like to feed on seaweed and store-bought vegetable flakes. Some tank owners report that their silver dollar fish loves to be fed carrots, boiled potatoes, and spinach too. 

Due to their herbivorous preference, they eat away the plantation inside the tank. This prevents the overgrowth of plants and makes aquarium maintenance easier for the tank owners.

However, if underfed, they will not refrain from feasting and eating all the plantation in your tank, leaving it barren. Although they are not explicitly classified as “Algae Eaters,” they eat algae in the tank and help maintain a clean aquarium tank. 

Make sure to add some protein-based elements in their diet and occasionally treat them to brine shrimp and bloodworms. Feed your silver dollar fish twice a day but control the amount of food you add to the tank. Only add food that can be easily consumed in a couple of minutes. 

They will get aggressive and competitive during feeding; therefore, keep an eye on all the fish and ensure that each one of them is fed properly. If left hungry, the silver dollar fish will not refrain from creating chaos inside your tank. 


If you wish to go ahead and proceed with silver dollar fish breeding, you will first have to find a mated pair. The best way to do so is to keep them in groups and raise the juveniles together. The silver dollar fish reaches maturity when one year old and is ready to breed. 

Once you have identified the mated pair, it should be separated from the rest of the group. You will have to care for it and keep an eye on their diet and health to prepare them for breeding.

Increase vegetation in their diet and maintain a soft water tank with a temperature between seventy-nine to eighty-two degrees Fahrenheit and a pH between 6.0-7.0. 

The lights in the breeding tank should be dim with plenty of plants to provide a soft and smooth surface. Floating plants are recommended in this regard. 

The male fish’s color will darken when it is ready to spawn, and he will start chasing the female fish. The female fish always releases eggs around the water surface, and the male immediately rushes to fertilize them.

The female can release up to two thousand eggs at a time. The eggs sink to the floor of the tank once fertilized. 

The silver dollar fish is not a threat to the fry; therefore, you may choose to leave the parents in the same tank as the eggs. The eggs take three days to hatch, and you will see silver dollar fish fry swimming around the tank within six to nine days. 

Feed the fry crushed flakes and planktons until they grow in size and fed regular silver dollar fish feed. The fry tends to grow rapidly and will reach its full size within six to eight months. 

Care and Monitoring

The silver dollar fish is not a demanding fish species. They are quite hardy and easily adapt to a range of tank conditions. But this does not mean that the tank owners do not have to be careful about their tank’s hygiene and cleanliness. 

Tank hygiene is a very important factor. Make sure that the tank’s water is changed every week. Rather than changing the entire water, it is recommended that a quarter or half of the water volume is removed and replaced.

This will help get rid of decomposing material and prevent infections and silver dollar fish illness. 

When cared for properly, the silver dollar fish will hardly ever get sick. However, the white spot disease, also known as itch, is quite common in them.

As indicated by the name, small white spots appear on the fish’s body, which is itchy, and the fish feels uncomfortable. The spots can appear on the gills, fins, or any other part of the fish’s body. 

The main cause of this disease is nothing but poor tank hygiene. Invest in a filter for the tank so that the toxins can be flushed out. Also, keep an eye on the decomposing matter like leftover food and decaying plants. Remove them as soon as possible to maintain a clean and healthy aquarium tank. 


If you are looking for a large-sized yet peaceful temperament fish, the silver dollar fish is the right choice for you. It is a schooling fish that loves to be kept with others of its kind and makes an ideal addition to any community tank. 

They are a favorite amongst experienced fishkeepers, and you, too, will not regret adding them to your aquarium tank.

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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