Silver Dollar Fish: (13 Silly Facts & Advanced Care Guide)

The silver dollar fish is a rare and popular freshwater fish that has been a regular addition to tanks for quite some time.

Silver dollar fish could be for you if you’re a fish keeper with some experience and want to expand your collection.

These fish are peaceful and medium-sized, making them ideal for community aquariums.

The name of these silvery-colored fish comes from their appearance. These fish look very much like an old-fashioned silver dollar when they are flattened laterally.

Silver dollar fish maintenance is easy and won’t take much time or cause you too many headaches. These fish require little to no maintenance and can last a lifetime if you honor your commitments.

They are great for community tanks. You have a lot of options for silver dollar fish-tank mates.

These fish are great for topwater schooling. We will be covering everything you need about silver dollar fish, as well as how to care for them. This guide will help you to decide if it is worth your time to buy one.

The Silver Dollar Fish Facts and Overview

Care LevelIntermediate
Color Form:Silver
Lifespan:10 years
Size:6 inches
Minimum Tank Size:75 gallons
Setup of a TankFreshwater
Compatibility:Large peaceful fish
Silver Dollar Fish Stats

Metynnis argenteus silver dollar fish, Metynnis argenteus gets its name because of the way they look. These are silvery-colored fish that come from South American rivers.

They belong to Characidae (the same family as Pacus and Piranha). These fish are peaceful and herbivorous, making them suitable for large-sized community aquariums.

Silver Dollar is a common name that refers to many species of the Metynis genus.

The scientific name of the fish describes it perfectly. Metynnis means “with plowshare”, which is the laterally flattened body. Argeus refers to being “covered with Silver”.

The fishes eat mostly plants and are well-known for being able to devour all plant life that crosses their path. Their nickname is the “plantpiranha” This is an important point to remember because it will affect how you decorate and fill up your tank with plant life.

Silver dollar fish also have a wide range of hiding spots, other than in their natural habitat. You will find driftwood and rocks all around the water they swim in.

These top-dwelling fish will spend most of the time in the upper portion of your freshwater tank. Knowing this information is useful when you plan for potential tank mates.

They are tough fish that can survive for up to 10 more years with proper care.

These pets can be found in pet shops as well as online at a very affordable price. Because they prefer to be kept in groups, most people sell them in bulk.

Typical Behavior

They are largely peaceful schooling fish and require plenty of swimming space. Keep them in a small group of five to six individuals. They can become quite shy and reclusive when left alone.

They are Pelagic Fish which means that they spend most of their time swimming near the water’s surface. They are easily startled and will leap out of the tank.

While they are peaceful, they can be quite aggressive during mealtime and chase one another around the tank.

The Lifespan

A silver dollar fish’s average lifespan is approximately ten years. It’s not unusual for silver dollar fish to live up to a year longer if they have the right genetics and are given optimal care.

These fish are very resilient due to their natural habitat. You can reduce their lifespan by not maintaining the right water and tank conditions. If you take this seriously, you can expect to see your pets live a long and happy life.


Silver Dollar Fish Care
Silver Dollar Fish Image By Eric Kilby (Flickr)

Silver dollar fish’s bodies are flat and tall, giving them a very circular appearance.

While the majority of their bodies are quite shiny, their fins become more translucent. The silver dollar-like similarities are further enhanced by Thie.

Their dorsal ridges look like a tilted triangle with the top of their bodies. The front ridge of their dorsal Fin is often more opaque than the rest.

Their caudal peduncles are slightly forked and perfectly symmetrical. These fish’s silver caudal peduncle extends a little into their caudal fist.

Silver dollar fish have a slightly lumpy body. From their head, it is a straight triangle with the top and bottom in the middle. Next, their dorsal end is slightly slanted before hitting a bump. The bottom flattens before turning sharply towards the caudal.

Silver Dollar Fish can be used to refer to many characin species. Metynnis.hypsauchen is a popular species. They look very similar.

Only the black patches behind the eyes of M. Hypsauchen can be used to distinguish between the two species.

Red Hook Silver Dollar (Myleus redripinnis), is another species that is commonly found in the aquarium trade. Their fin shapes and colors are what distinguishes them.


The silver dollar fish is approximately 6 inches long. However, they are not known to exceed 8 inches in length.

These fish are large and will require a lot of planning. These fish are not only long but also tall. Their width is the only space-saving feature of silver dollar fish.

Types of Silver Dollar Fish

There are several types of silver dollar fish you will see often. While the standard silver color is most common, they aren’t the only ones.

Tiger Silver Dollar Fish

We love the tiger-silver dollar fish. It is a blue-silver fish with large vertical dark stripes. This fish is very entertaining to watch.

Spotted Silver Dollar Fish

The spotted Silver Dollar Fish can be identified by its distinctive silvery color and black spots on its body, as the name suggests. They can grow to as high as 6.5 inches and are found in Brazil, French Guyana, and France.

The spotted silver dollar fish is a unique variation that many aquarists enjoy. They have a darker primary color (more like a grey than anything else) on their bodies and are covered in dark brown spots.

Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish

This fish has a distinct red anal fin with black trim. Its coloration stands out more than other Silver Dollar fish.

They can reach up to 22 inches wild and up 9 inches in tanks.

The red hook silver dollars fish has a distinctive red anal fin. It looks almost like a ship’s rudder. Although the body is very similar to that of the classic silver dollars, their coloration can sometimes be more varied.

Habitat and Tank Conditions

Silver Dollar Fish Originate in South America.

These waters are dark, and they are filled with peat. There will be gravel and rocks, dense vegetation, and plenty of hiding spots. The rivers they live in often contain large rocks and debris like driftwood and weeds.

Currents aside, water flow in this area will be moderate.

Silver Dollar Fish Tank Setup

Silver Dollars are tropical freshwater species. The tank should be as close as possible to its natural habitat.

They will swim in the middle and upper part of the water column. Therefore, they require open areas to swim.

These fish are extremely hardy and can adapt to different water conditions. They require water that is clean and well filtered and has moderate flow. To aid with water movement, oxygenation, and filtration, a few powerheads are possible.

You should avoid using glass powerheads, as your Silver Dollars could be very active and break the powerhead.

They prefer dark backgrounds and dim lighting. For a substrate, we suggest dark-colored gravel. The tank should have plenty of space. However, it also needs to be well-lit.

They are herbivores and should be avoided plants that aren’t very tasty. You might try Java Fern or Hornwort. Alternative options include artificial plants.

The water temperature should be between 75-82° F and have a pH of 5.5 to 7. A water hardness range between 4-18 dGH.

What Size Aquarium is Best for Silver Dollar Fish?

Your silver dollar fish will need a 75-gallon tank. This is an assumption that your tank should hold at least 5 fish. These are schooling fish, which do better together than they do individually. Therefore, we recommend not including fewer fish in your tank to save space.

A long tank is important for adult silver dollars fish, as they love to swim and are very active. This will allow them to move around freely without feeling cramped.

Tank Mates

Silver Dollar Fish is a large, peaceful, and active species of fish.

These fish are great for the community and they can be found swimming at the aquarium’s top. For some added contrast, you might consider other peaceful large fish such as catfish. They spend most of their time in the tank’s bed. Plecos and Doradids are good choices to start with.

The peaceful South American Cichlids are ideal as tank mates. These include Firemouth Cichlids and freshwater Angelfish. Anostomus and Pacus are great tank companions.

Silver Dollars shouldn’t be kept with smaller fish like Bettas, Gouramis, and Tetras. They might get eaten.

Although shrimps and snails can make a nice addition, they might also get eaten.

Keeping Silver Dollar Fish Together

Silver dollar fish are at their most when they are kept in groups. They are schooling fish and feel safer and better protected when they are together.

Keep them in a small group of 5 or less.


Silver dollars are actually an omnivorous species of fish. However, they would rather eat an herbivorous diet. They eat the vegetation surrounding them, including terrestrial plants.

They can be fed a variety of plants, such as lettuce and chickweed, cucumbers, peas, spring greens, and chickweed. You can also give them seaweed, such as spirulina, along with large vegetable flakes.

Alternate food options include carrots and spinach as well as fruit.

They will love random treats, such as brine shrimps, ghost shrimps, and bloodworms.

The role of herbivorous fish is important in all major environments. Both freshwater, as well as seawater herbivores fish, can help control certain habitats’ communities.

They feed on the plants around them, which prevents coral and algae from overgrowing and stealing nutrients. By grazing on plants, they help to maintain a healthy and stable environment.

Silver Dollars should be fed two times a day.


Silver dollar fish caring is easy. These fish can thrive in all kinds of environments and are tough and durable.

This gives you the luxury of not having to worry about perfect tank conditions. You’ll still need to learn a few things.

Since aquariums are closed systems harmful chemicals such as nitrate or phosphorous will build up over the years.

This is why water needs to be replaced regularly and water should be changed every other week by at least 25-50%.

Even though Silver dollars are resilient fish, it is not guaranteed that they will not contract a disease. Every time you add something to your tank, it can be a potential source of infection.

Clean water, a balanced diet, and an environment that resembles natural habitats are key to settling your fish and making them happy and healthy.

The Ichthyophthirius multifiliis is a common disease in ornamental fish. It’s also known as white spots disease or ich. Your fish may develop white spots on its scales, gills, and fins.

The water temperature plays a major role in this protozoan cycle. Higher water temperatures of 77°F or more will affect the life stages and help to prevent an outbreak.


Silver Dollars can be easily spawned in captivity if they are given a large, comfortable environment. You will see them spawning in shallow water or in heavily-planted areas of flooded river banks in the wild.

A mated pair is the first thing you need.

Keep them in a group to ensure they are raised from the time they are young to maturity. This will make it easier for you to find breeding pairs. This fish typically reaches maturity at around 4 inches in length after a year.

Separate a pair of students if they are in a relationship. Preconditioning males and females to spawn can be done by providing high-quality vegetables, plants, and other foods. Their color will change when the males are ready for spawning, especially around the caudal, dorsal, and anal fins.

You will need a separate tank that is at least 40gallons in size with soft, warm water to ensure a successful spawn. You should keep the temperature at 79-82° Fahrenheit, pH at 6.0-7.0, and water hardness between 4-8 dGH.

A sponge filter powered by air can be used to create a gentle flow of water.

The breeding process will be easier if there is dim light and java moss in the corners. Males will begin to chase the females around your tank. The females will start to spawn when they are near the floating plants. The male will fertilize the eggs.

Females can produce as many as 2000 eggs that are transparent and slightly yellow. These eggs will sink to the floor.

While it’s easier to raise the fry yourself, silver dollars don’t usually eat their young. The eggs will hatch in 3 days. The fry will start swimming within 6-9 days.

Fry can be fed infusoria food until they are ready to eat more, such as vegetable flakes, brine shrimp, nauplii, and small plankton. Fry will reach adult sizes in 6-8months.


Are Silver Dollars Aggressive Fish?

While the silver dollar is considered semi-aggressive by some, others can be quite mellow. These fish can live in community tanks with smaller fish. They can also be kept with larger fish such as Oscars, pikes, or larger catfish once they are fully grown.

How Many Silver Dollar Fish Should be Kept Together in a Tank?

Silver dollar fish are at their most when they are kept in groups. They are schooling fish and feel safer and more secure in a group. Keep them in a minimum of five individuals.

With What Fish Can Silver Dollars Live With?

Cory catfish and Kuhli loaches make great silver dollar fish tank mates. A number of cichlids can also be great tank mates. Cichlid pairings that work well include the Oscar fish and red empress as well as the blue dolphin.

How Big Can a Silver Dollar Fish Grow?

How big can silver dollar fish grow? Metynnis.argentus, the most popular species of silver-dollar fish, has a length of 6 inches. Myleus rubripinnis can grow to as much as 22 inches in length. But sizes can vary from species to species.

Can You Put Silver Dollars With Angelfish?

With silver dollar fish, angelfish make great companion fish. Angelfish have long, flowing fins and are very stylish with their bright colors, large stripes, and vivid colors. The best thing about keeping angelfish with silver dollars fish is that the angelfish can grow to approximately 10 inches in height.

Do Silver Dollar Fish Eat Other Fish?

Silver dollar fish are not aggressive towards other fish species and will not eat eggs or fry of any other fish in the tank. However, these fish will eat any plant life that is available so be careful if you have them in your tank.

Are Silver Dollar Fish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Silver Dollars are tropical freshwater fish that can withstand harsh conditions. They are peaceful and calm schooling fish, which makes them a great addition to any community aquarium.

They can be skittish if left to their own devices, so it is best to keep them together.

Their name, Silver Dollars (a generic name for different Metynis species that are different in size and colors), is quite fitting.

They work best with aquarists who have some experience. They will eat any food you give them but prefer vegetables and plants.

What’s your thought on a Silver Dollar? Leave a comment in the following section…


Dibyajyoti Bordoloi is the creator and author of, a third-generation experienced fish keeper and owner of a successful pet breeding farm. He is also a member of the Center for Wildlife Rehabilitation And Conservation (Assam), the Marine Aquarium Societies of North East India, and the Kaziranga Nature Conservancy of Assam.