Silver Dollar Fish: An Ultimate Guide

Fish keepers around the globe love to bring home this beautiful pet: Silver Dollar fish. Anyone who comes through this fish automatically adores its calm, peaceful, and hardy nature. Silver Dollar is one of my favorites because of its appearance, behavior, activeness, and ease of care, relieving me from headaches.

The fish justifies its name: Silver Dollar, resembling a silver dollar, with silvery color and flat round shape. Generally, four types of Silver Dollar fish are found. They are omnivorous and are a great add-on to freshwater aquariums. These fishes are durable and tolerate a wide range of conditions. Moreover, the top-dwelling in nature provides space for the other bottom dweller fish. 

In this article, I am providing you with a wide range of information starting from an origin and eventually its types, care, diet, tankmates, and many more. Hope this article meets all your queries related to the Silver dollar fish.

Silver Dollar: Overview

The Silver Dollar belongs to the Characides family and primarily the genus Metynnis. These freshwater fishes are closely related to piranha and pacu. 


The Silver Dollar is commonly known to originate from South America, especially from the countries Brazil and Guyana. Though it is believed to have originated in the Tapajos river in Brazil, they are found in shallower river tributaries across northern South America. Still, today they are found in the Amazon River Basin.

Natural Habitat

This fish is freshwater fish, and they prefer dark rivers. They prefer rivers filled with debris, gravel rocks, and driftwood. All these make a good hiding place for the fish.

In addition, they prefer moderate water flow and dense vegetation. Generally, Silver Dollars live in tropical climates on the sides of weedy rivers. Thus, their tank should mimic their natural habitat environment.


The Silver Dollar fish is found in Amazon and Paraguay river basins. They are also found in the rivers of the Guiana shield. 

Moreover, this fish is widely popular in the aquarium trade. The most popular species reared in aquariums worldwide is Metynnis argenteus. It is one of the 16 known species of the Silver Dollar fish. 

In addition, other species of Silver Dollar in the aquarium industry are Metynnis hypsauchen, Metynnis lippincottianus, Myleus rubripinnis, and Mylossoma aureum. The Metynnis argenteus and Metynnis hypersaucen are similar in appearance. However, the Metynnis argenteus has small dots on their sides.

Different Species of Silver Dollar Fish

Generally, there are several types of Silver Dollars found worldwide. Some of the notable types of are:

Silver Dollar Fish

These are a common type of fish mostly available in fish stores. These species that fall in the common Silver Dollar fish category are Metynnis argenteus and Metynnius hypsauchen. These two differ slightly in their appearance.

Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish

The red hook Silver Dollar fish has a noticeable red anal fin. Their body is similar to the common Silver Dollar fish. The coloration of these fishes is in patches. The scientific name of these species is Myleus rubripinnis.

The red hook Silver Dollars grow up to 22 inches in their natural habitat. However, in an aquarium, their growth is limited to 9 inches.

Spotted Silver Dollar Fish

These species are found primarily in Guyana and Brazil. Likewise, Spotted Silver Dollar fish have black dots on their shiny Silvery body. In addition, the scientific name of these species is Metynnis lippincottianus. They grow up to the size of 6.5 inches.

Tiger Silver Dollar Fish

These species of Silver Dollar fish are found in rivers of the Amazon rainforest. The Tiger Silver Dollar has stripes on its body. The scientific name of this species is Metynnis fasciatus. These species are gaining popularity due to their unique body appearance. They grow up to 7 inches.

More About Silver Dollar Fish

The Silver Dollar is a generic name that refers to multiple species of Characin. Out of the various species of Silver Dollars, Metynnis hypsauchen and Metynnis argenteus are the most popular.

This fish is a popular freshwater fish due to its magnificent appearance and easy-to-care for quality.


The most eye-catching feature of the Silver Dollar fish is its appearance. The Silver Dollars have a shiny silver body, which gives a slight green tint indirect light.

In addition, some healthy fishes have small tinted dots on their side. Moreover, the male Silver Dollar has slight red color on the anal fin.

In addition, the body of the Silver Dollar is tall and flat. Due to the unique structure of its body, they appear circular from the side. The dorsal fin of the Silver Dollar fish appears tilted and is opaque on the front ridge.

Likewise, Silver Dollars have a slightly bulged body. Thus, both the ventral and dorsal part of the fish is in the shape of a triangle, and the middle body part is bulged out. In addition to their body appearance, they have small mouths with enlarged lips and sharp teeth

Thus, the beautiful appearance of the Silver Dollar fish is one of the reasons fish lovers bring home this fish.


We all know the size of the fish is an important factor in adding a fish to your aquarium. So if you want to add Silver Dollars to your aquarium, remember they aren’t small fish.

On average, the size of Silver Dollar fish is about 6 inches. Moreover, some fish may occasionally grow up to 8 inches.

But, the average size of the fish depends on the species of Silver Dollars you wish to choose. For example, Myleus rubripinnis– one of the largest species of the Silver Dollar, can grow up to 22 inches in length.

So, the size of the Silver Dollars varies from species to species and also depends on factors like care, tank size, diet, and genetic characteristics.

Availability Of Silver Dollar

As the Silver Dollar fish is easy and peaceful to breed, they are readily available in most fish stores. Due to their shiny appearance, they are in huge demand in the market. So, almost all stores stock these freshwater fish. They are usually sold in bulk because they love schooling.

Lifespan Of Silver dollar

Though the lifespan of a fish depends on several conditions, the average lifespan of the Silver Dollar fish is 10-12 years.

But, they can live longer with good care and feeding. In addition, genetics also play a role in increasing their lifespan.

However, even though these fishes are hardy, improper tank conditions and caring practices may shorten their lifespan. So, take things seriously and maintain a favorable environment for the Silver Dollar to grow and live longer.

Price Of Silver Dollar

The price of the Silver Dollars is fairly reasonable due to their availability. Their average price is $5 -$7. However, some high-quality species’ prices may go up to $11-$12. Thus, the price of the Silver Dollar fish falls in the range of $5- $12, depending on the rarity and quality of the species.

Sexual Difference For Silver Dollar

Unlike other fish, there is no noticeable distinct feature distinguishing between male and female Silver Dollar fish. However, if you notice carefully, the male has a longer anal fin, tinted with red color on the front. 

During mating, the male develops two large black spots behind the base of the pectoral fins. Likewise, the red color of the male fins darkens during mating. In addition, as the fish ages, the female tends to be larger than the male.

Social Behavior Of Silver Dollar 

If you wish to create a peaceful environment in your aquarium, opt for a Silver Dollar fish. They are very peaceful even with smaller fishes than themselves. In addition, the Silver Dollars are calm and fairly active fishes.

Therefore, you will never notice the Silver Dollars in aggressive moods with their tankmates. Thus, they make a great community fish, and you will see them enjoying the company of their tankmates.

Since the Silver Dollars love the community, it is always good to rear them with the same fish or other tankmates. However, if they are kept alone, they can be quite reclusive and shy. 

Tankmates For Silver Dollar

Since Silver Dollars spend most of their time roaming in the upper half of the aquarium, bottom-dweller tank mates make a greater company. They also make a great pairing with fishes that spend their time in the middle of the tanks.

Likewise, peaceful bottom dwellers like Bristlenose, Clown plecos, Kuhli loaches, and Cory catfish are compatible with Silver Dollars. In addition, cichlids like Oscar fish, Red Empress, and Blue dolphin make a good pairing with the Silver Dollar fish.

Moreover, Bala sharks and Plecostomus also can be housed with Silver Dollar fish if you own a large aquarium. Similarly, smaller fishes like Guppies, Tetras, etc., also do well with peaceful Silver Dollar fishes. 

Thus, it is always more beautiful to watch a Silver Dollar playing around with its tankmates than sadly loitering around in the aquarium. 

Tank Setup For Silver Dollar Fish

Setting up the tank does not need tons of time; however, you must remember a few key points. Tank setup directly impacts your Silver Dollar fish’s activities, growth, and function. I have jotted down some of the tank parameters you need to know as a fish keeper. Let’s have a look at those parameters now. 

Tank Size For Silver Dollar

Your Silver Dollar fish are schooling fish; thus love to remain in a bunch. You need to keep at least a group of five in the tank. For that reason, you need to have a bigger tank. 

The minimum tank size for keeping a group of five fish is 75 gallons. For an increment of each fish, you should add 10-15 gallons per single one. 

Tank Equipment For Silver Dollar

Some tank equipment is necessary when setting up a tank for a Silver Dollar fish. The tank equipment help to maintain clear water and environmental conditions for optimum growth of the fish.

First of all, don’t forget to add filters to the tank. As the Silver Dollar fish produces many waste products, filters help process the waste products. Thus, the concentration of ammonia in water is maintained.

Secondly, a heater is an absolute must for the Silver Dollar fish tank. They are tropical fish, so the temperature must mimic their natural habitat.

Additionally, you must equip the tank with the powerhead. The powerhead aids in water movement and oxygenation. However, make sure not to use glass powerheads as your active Silver Dollar may shatter the powerhead.

Types of equipment for your silver dollar tank are:

Water Parameters

You also need to consider water parameters for your Silver Dollar fish’s smooth growth and development. They are freshwater and tropical fish; thus, you need to ensure all these parameters are met while setting up the tank. 

Water pH

Fluctuation in pH might put your Silver Dollar fish in danger. It is because they find it difficult to cope with such drastic changes. Moreover, the pH in which your Silver Dollar feels comfortable ranges from 5 to 7

If you find it difficult to maintain this pH range, you can always take the help of a pH test kit that is easily available at the stores. 

Water Temperature

Silver Dollar fish do well in temperatures of around 75°-82°F. But, a lower temperature may reduce the metabolism of your fish, making them inactive and slow. 

Likewise, too hot water in the tank causes a reduction in the ability to utilize oxygen from the tank, eventually to the death of your fish.

Water Hardness

In general, Silver Dollar Fish is a freshwater fish; thus, the hardness of water is low compared to other marine fish. Normally, your Silver Dollar fish does fine in hardness of 4-18 dGH (degree of general hardness). In addition to this, long-term aquarists prefer the hardness of around 8-15 dGH.

Water Filtration 

Filters play a key role in maintaining the aquarium nitrogen cycle. For the safety of your Silver Dollar fish, you need to maintain water filters in the tank. The excess ammonia is toxic to your fish. Moreover, as the Silver Dollar is an active fish, they produce a large amount of waste.

Thus, the tank should provide a good filtration system and well-oxygenated clean water. However, your Silver Dollar is hardy and has some tolerance towards different water conditions.

Water Maintenance For Silver Dollar

You should maintain the water conditions according to the parameters required by the Silver Dollar fish. In addition, moderate water flow is optimum for a Silver Dollar fish. 

Moreover, ensure that the nitrate levels in the aquarium’s water do not exceed 50ppm. Though the Silver Dollar can tolerate slight fluctuations in water parameters, you cannot neglect the maintenance of the aquarium.

Lighting For Silver Dollar

Naturally, Silver Dollar fish loves to hide under the substrate or driftwoods. They like subdued light rather than bright ones. Your fish sometimes may frighten when you turn on the light suddenly. Ensure the lightings are dim or in a moonlight setting for your pet.

Tank Decoration And Substrate For Silver Dollar

Despite being an omnivore, your Silver Dollar fish loves to have plant-based food more; hence, you should consider what plants to keep while decorating the tank. 

You can keep plants like Java moss, Hornwort, Water lettuce, water sprite, anacharis, Java fern, and frogbit as your fish won’t devour these plants. 

Image Plants for tetra aquarium Link
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Silver Dollar fish like ample driftwoods, rocks, gravels, and plants inside the tank, which provides them more space to hide. 

Food And Diet Of Silver Dollar Fish

Food for Silver Dollar fish includes more veggies as they tilt towards veg-diet rather than non-veg despite being an omnivore. Although the inclusion of some meaty products makes their diet aids in protein content. 


As your Silver Dollar fish loves plant-based food more, there is ample high-quality veg food. Some include algae wafers, flakes, cucumber, peas, lettuce, spinach, leafy vegetables,  seaweed, watercress, spirulina flakes, carrot, etc.


Although your fish does not wish to have meaty products, these are excellent sources of proteins and other vitamins and minerals. You can occasionally introduce bloodworms, glass worms, or brine shrimp as a treat to them. Some of my recommendations are:

How Often To Feed Your Silver Dollar Fish

Feeding now and then is not normally suggested as it gives unnecessary load to their gut. Depending upon your feasibility, a maximum of 3 meals per day works quite well. 

Diseases Of Silver Dollar Fish

Your pet may encounter several health issues. Though the fish’s lifespan is ten years, fatal infections may lead to early death. Thus, it is necessary for early diagnosis of the infections and their treatment.

The Silver dollar fish encounter many of the same common illnesses as that freshwater fish.

Bacterial Infection

The general bacterial infections in the Silver Dollar fish show symptoms like reddish patches on skins and fins, whitish or yellowish patches on the skin, Finland and tail rot, and white mouth.

In addition, the fish shows abnormal swimming, such as swirling and flickering due to bacterial infections. The bacterial infection is treated with anti-bacterial drugs like Neomycin, Penicillin, Nitrofurazone, etc.

Consult advice from your veterinarian or aquarium shop about the doses of various medicines. Make sure to start treatment as soon as the first symptoms appear. 


API Melafix Fish Remedy for Bacterial Infection in Freshwater Aquarium

API PIMAFIX Antifungal Freshwater and Saltwater Fish Remedy

Methylene Blue

Fin Rot

Another common disease among tropical fish like the Silver Dollar fish is fin rot or tail rot. The rotting of fins is the first sign of fin rot. In the beginning, the white margins develop on the fins, followed by tails turning red.

The fin rot treatment is a wide range of anti-microbial drugs such as tetracycline, neomycin, nitrofurazone, etc. The usage of each drug depends on the type of bacteria that infect your fish.

Ichthyophthirius multifiliis (White Spot Disease)

The white spot disease is a very common problem in freshwater fish. The disease is caused by protozoa, commonly called ich or ick. It is a preventable and treatable disease in fish.

Once infected with ich, your fish develops small-blister-like raised lesions on the skin and fins. The lesions are visible as white spots. However, if the white spots are restricted to the gills, no white spots are visible.

Moreover, the ich-infected fish has a high mortality rate and can kill all the fish in the tank in a short period. Ich treatment is difficult as the parasite penetrates the fish’s skin.

The commonly used anti-itch chemicals are formaldehyde, malachite green, and copper sulfate. Immediate care of ich-infected Silver dollar fish is to move the fish to a separate tank.

Medicine for Ich

API Aquarium Salt

Seachem ParaGuard


Breeding Silver Dollar Fish

You don’t have to worry about breeding the Silver Dollars as they are capable enough to produce thousands of eggs under favorable conditions. Having said this, I suggest you provide a comfortable environment for spawning. 

The Silver Dollar fish breed in shallow waters and the flooded area with high vegetation in the wild. I have mentioned some points you should consider while breeding your fish stepwise for your ease. So let’s have a look at it.

Identifying The Sex Of Silver Dollar Fish

During the juvenile period, it’s difficult for you to identify the sex of your Silver Dollars. However, as your fish grows, you can easily identify them by observing the anal fins. The males have rounded anal fins with red and black bars. 

Likewise, during spawning, the male develops black spots behind the gills. In contrast, female fish do not develop any of these specific characteristics. In this way, you can easily identify them without any difficulty. 

Pre-conditioning The Silver Dollar Fish

Your Silvery fish is omnivore in nature but loves to have veggies more. Therefore, you can provide them with high-quality vegetables during this period.

In addition, include some animal-based food like frozen bloodworms and brine shrimp which will provide essential proteins needed during breeding.

When your fish shows red and black bars on its anal fins, you should know it’s the right time for spawning. Now, you have to shift those breeding mates to a separate 55-gallon tank for easier breeding. 

They prefer to lay eggs on the base of the tall plants, so ensure you aid your tank with those artificial plants.

Most importantly, you should consider water parameters, including hardness of 4-8 dGH and pH of 6-7; this enhances the spawning process.

Mating Of Silver Dollar Fish

Here, male fish chases females all around the tank. The female hides under the plants and driftwoods, and this play continues till the male finally catch the female. The male then wraps the female by its anal fin until the female releases eggs.

The rate of releasing eggs is 20 eggs at a time. It can lay up to 2000 eggs. Males then fertilize the transparent yellow-colored eggs laid by the female fish. The eggs start to hatch around the third day of laying.

Raising Silver Dollar Fry 

Once the eggs are laid, it’s suggested to remove the parent from the tank. Although parents do not harm their eggs, it’s better to shift the parents to the other tank to reduce the risk of accidental hazards.

When the fry is six to nine days old, the fry starts to swim and reaches adulthood in the time six to eight months. After that, they attain their sexual maturity at one year. 

Care For Silver Dollar Fry 

You need to nurture your fry for its rapid growth and development. Negligence to the newly hatched fry might be fatal. Hence to reduce the danger and loss, you need to consider the following points.

  • As your fish is social and loves to remain in a bunch, you can keep half a dozen fry in the same tank.
  • For feeding your frying in the initial days, you can introduce them to infusoria-type food.
    Eventually, you can feed them with finely ground brine shrimp and spirulina powder, easily available in online and offline stores.

Additional Caring Tips For Silver Dollar

Some additional caring tips will help you remain careful and make you a good parent of your Silver Dollars. Though they are hardy fish and need little care and maintenance compared to other fishes, keeping these points in mind benefits both you and your fish.

  • As your fish likes to swim in the upper part of the tank, they tend to do suicidal jumps when they are startled. Thus, do not forget to place the tank lead on top.
  • To prevent the fish from becoming ill due to toxins, you should replace 25-50% of the tank in the water every two weeks.
  • You can use sponge filters to provide gentle water flow during the spawning period.


At last, Silver Dollar fish are excellent freshwater fish suitable for the aquarium. If you are opting for the addition of new fish in your community fish tank, Silver Dollars would be a perfect fit. Not requiring more nurture and having calm behavior is the good point of this fish. As a fish keeper myself, my strong recommendation would be to bring home this cute little pet: Silver Dollar fish. 

Happy fishkeeping!