Silver Dollar Care Guide, Breeding, Tank Size, & Diseases (2024)

Silver Dollar Fish: A Brief Introduction

Silver dollar fish (Metynnis argenteus) are a type of freshwater fish native to South America. They are known for their silver, disk-shaped bodies and can grow up to 8 inches in length. They are popular in aquariums and can be kept with other peaceful fish species. Silver dollar fish are omnivorous and require a varied diet of both plant and animal matter.

Silver Dollar Overview

The Silver Dollar fish are a perfect kind of fish that you can easily keep in a community tank with other kinds of fish. This is because the fish is known to be highly sociable and will keep other kinds of fish busy. The fish is a relative of the piranha, which is a highly aggressive fish but it is relatively calm and sociable even with other fish breeds.

The fish is known to grow fast and remarkably big and thus may require a tank that is big enough to accommodate a group. A tank that is at least 50 gallons can be a good start with these fish especially if you are planning to keep a group together in a single tank. The fish will grow tall and wide as well within a short span of time as long as sufficient food is provided to them.

Unlike the Piranha from which they are related, the silver dollar fish are avid herbivores who feed on plants. If you have plants growing in your tank, expect the fish to feed on them after you introduce them there.

Information ChartSilver Dollar
Scientific Name: Metynnis argenteus
Family: Characidae
Care Level: Moderate
Temperament: Calm and peaceful
Color: Silver like a dollar coin
Lifespan: 10 years
Size: 6 inches
Diet: Herbivorous
Minimum Tank Size: 75
Temperature: 72°F and 77°F.
Water Conditions: Freshwater conditions with a pH level ranging from 6.5 to 7.
Tank Mate Compatibility Bristlenose Pleco, Dwarf Pleco, Cichlids

Appearance of Silver Dollar Fish

Silver Dollar Fish

The fish have a flat, thin and silvery appearance the reason for their name ‘silver dollar fish’. In fact the fish appears too silver in color that if a silver penny was placed on the surface of its body, it would not be easy for you to see the silver coin!

The dorsal fin, starting at the highest point of its body, shapes itself to look like an equilateral triangle. The front of the fin is opaque than the rest of the body. They also have symmetrical forked caudal fins that help the fish cruise and search for their prey.

The body of the fish is flat and thin but it if it is put on the side it will appear broad and large. The tail fin is broad and flat making the fish a good swimmer and some hobbyists are attracted to the fish for its characteristic red tailed anal fin and silver-like appearance. They have a slight bump that rises in the middle of the body and thins out on extreme ends, thereby depicting a streamlined body.

Varieties of Silver Dollar 

Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish

Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish

The Red Hook Silver Dollar Fish has a prominent red anal fin resembling a ship’s rudder. Apart from this one stark difference, the rest of the body looks very similar to the typical silver dollar fish. However, the body color of the Red Hook can sometimes be a bit patchier.

Spotted Silver Dollar Fish

Spotted Silver Dollar Fish

The Spotted Silver Dollar fish has a primary gray base color, accompanied by a little tinge of orange below its body.

Along with this, their entire body is covered in tiny dark brown spots. 

Tiger Silver Dollar Fish

Tiger Silver Dollar Fish

As the name suggests, the Tiger Silver Dollar is a clear blue-silver fish that has long dark vertical stripes across its body.

Silver Dollar Lifespan

The Silver Dollar fish can live up to ten years. Optimal care and genetics are significant factors that contribute to expanding its lifespan. They are pretty hardy fishes that do not get affected easily. Proper tank arrangements and optimal water conditions also add more years to their lives.

Silver Dollar Size

The average silver Dollar fish is about 6 inches long. Some can grow up to 8 inches but in very rare cases. They are slim and tall. However, sizes vary from species to species, like in larger specimens, the fishes can grow up to 22 inches. 

Silver Dollar Natural Habitat and Origin

The silver dollar fish are native to the tropical water of the South American region. Still, today, they’re commonly found in the Amazon River Basin.

The waters they live in are dark and filled with turf. Gravels, rocks, dense vegetation, and small hiding spots are common elements in their habitat. The rivers are full of debris, driftwood, weeds, and large rocks.

A moderate flow of current is very suitable for Silver Dollars. 

Silver Dollar Care and Tank Setup

Silver Dollar Tank Size and Specifications

Silver Dollar Care and Tank Setup

The silver dollar fish are one of the most aquarium fish that are so easy to care for in the aquarium. They are generally peaceful and will readily coexist with other peaceful fish species in the same tank. Here below are, some important tank requirements that you can follow to get you started with the fish:

Optimum Tank Size for Silver Dollar

The fish grows fast and remarkably big within weeks. If you’re petting a whole group, you may require a big enough tank to accommodate it. A tank of at least 75 gallons can be a good start with these fish, especially if you plan to keep a group together in a single tank. The fish will grow tall and wide within a short period as long as sufficient food is provided.

Tank Shape for Silver Dollar

A long tank would be best for your Silver Dollar fish. They are very active and like to swim a lot. A long tank will give them more space to cover without feeling confined.

Filter Type

Being a large fish, Silver Dollar produces a lot of waste. This waste produces ammonia, which is highly toxic for the other fish. Luckily, aquariums grow some beneficial bacteria that help to break down ammonia and nitrates into less toxic forms. 

However, Silver Dollar fishes need a large aquarium with canister filters. These large filters should be placed outside the aquarium, as they draw lots of water with the help of an outlet hose. It will also help trap lots of waste, leftover food, and debris from the tank.


Gravel is a suitable substrate for the Silver Dollar fish as it resembles riverbeds similar to their natural habitat. Dark substrates also enhance the silver color of the fish’s body.

How Many Silver Dollars in A 75 Gallon Tank?

Silver Dollars cannot be kept alone as they are schooling fishes. They will always swim and stay together in groups. You can easily keep four Silver Dollars in a 75-gallon tank.

Water Parameters for Silver Dollar Fish

Water Temperature

Water Parameters for Silver Dollar Fish

It is a tropical species of freshwater fish; thus, you ought to be conscious of the temperature conditions in the tank. The ideal temperature condition for the fish should be around 72°F and 77°F. 

Water Flow Rate

Moderate water flow is best for a silver Dollar tank.

pH level

In the tank, it may be best to provide soft water with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5.

The pH of the water in the tank should be around 5.0 and 7.0, not exceeding the 7.0 mark.

Water Hardness

The preferred water hardness should be between 4 to 18 dGH.  Some experienced aquarists also suggest it be from the 8 to 15 dGH range.

Also, ensure that the nitrates levels of the water in the aquarium don’t exceed 50ppm. Just ensure that you keep the aquarium conditions near the natural habitat.

Silver Dollar Tank Landscape

Because the fish can easily leap out of the tank, ensure that you have a good aquarium lid over your tank. To help them hide and take refuge, you can place some rocks and driftwoods. They hide behind these spaces to hide from predatory fishes when they feel threatened. You will want to decorate the aquarium with artificial plants so that they don’t feed on your live plants because these fishes are herbivores.

Silver Dollar Tank Landscape

Best Plants for Silver Dollar Tank

The Silver Dollar is an herbivorous fish. It will feed on most of the live plants in the tank. Artificial plants seem like a suitable option for many hobbyists around the world. However, live plants are always eco-friendlier and more beneficial. Here are some popular plants that you can put in a silver Dollar tank,

  • Water Lettuce – These are floating plants with thick leaves. Both of these characteristics prevent them from being eaten by Silver Dollar. The fish can sometimes eat the roots of these plants, but they are harmless. They can also work as shades inside the tank.
  • Water Sprite – Water Sprite is also a great option to put inside a silver Dollar tank. They are floating plants that you can tie to rocks or driftwood. These plants can grow in a gravel substrate as well. They have very hard stems, and the fish can only nibble on the leaves a little. They also keep the water oxygenated.
  • Hornwort – Like Water Sprites, Hornworts are also floating plants that you can tie to rocks and driftwood. The leaves of hornwort are like pointed needles which resemble a pine tree. It is very unlikely that the Silver Dollar will be attracted to chew on these leaves.
  • Frogbit – Frogbit is another floating plant to put in a silver Dollar tank. Yes, the fish often feeds on this, but the plant grows insanely fast, and it almost makes no difference.

Worst Plants for Silver Dollar

Unlike the Piranha from which they derive, the silver dollar fish are avid herbivores that love to feed on plants. If you have plants growing in your tank, expect the fish to feed on them after introducing them there.

The Silver Dollar will eat some plants too quickly. You must avoid putting these inside the tank.

Decorations For Silver Dollar Tank

Other fishes that live with the silver dollar tend to roam in the middle area of the tank. The fish is a freshwater fish that requires optimal conditions in the tank for its better growth and health. 

Decorations For Silver Dollar Tank

A proper habitat similar to their natural environment is a must for providing comfort to the Silver Dollar fish. They can suffer from high-stress levels in a tank with unfavorable conditions. Add plants in the tank that they do not find tasty. Once they start eating plants in the tank, your tank will be empty within a couple of days!

Arrange for abundant driftwood and small rocks that serve the purpose of hiding places. Silver Dollars mostly swim on the upper surface of the tank. However, they will appreciate some hiding places, nonetheless.

It is also safe to install one or two powerheads to establish proper water flow inside the tank. It also helps in circulating oxygen for keeping your fish active and thriving.

Lighting for Silver Dollar Tank

Silver Dollars prefers dimmed lighting and dark surroundings. Try building small cave-like structures for them to hide if the lighting is too bright. Use dark-colored substrates to help them get more accustomed to the setting.

Feeding Silver Dollar

Best Diet for Silver Dollar Fish

The silver dollar fish are primarily herbivores and will generally feed plant products. The fish will however not hesitate to feed on a variety of live food that is fed to them. They can be fed live food such as; live worms, live brine shrimp, and other meaty feeds. A general rule however is to feed the fish heavily on vegetarian diet because they are herbivores. Giving them live foods should only be encouraged because the fish just like any other animal the fish needs a balanced diet.

As for manufactured food don’t fret much with the thought that they like to feed on live plants a lot. They can be served manufactured vegetable-based fish flake foods and you can feed them Spirulina. You can as well provide green vegetable food from your kitchen to the fish in the tank and they will graciously feed on it!

How Often Should You Feed the Silver Dollar?

Silver Dollar only requires two meals a day. Try to feed them at equal intervals, preferably once during the day and the other at night.

Silver Dollar Behavior and Temperament 

These are calm and peaceful schooling fishes that need a lot of swimming space. They are also great community fishes as they barely show any aggression towards other fishes in the tank. 

Silver Dollars are pelagic fishes, i.e., they like to swim in the upper surface of the tank’s water. They get startled very quickly because of this and tend to do suicidal jumps out of the tank. Do not forget to place a lid on top. They are also great with fishes that spend their time at the middle and bottom of the tank.

You will always find them moving in groups. They do not like staying alone as it makes them lonely or shy. The only time when these fishes can get a little aggressive is during eating.

Are Silver Dollars Lonely or Societal?

Silver Dollars are schooling fishes. Do not keep them alone as it can cause extreme stress and anxiety. You should always keep them in groups of four or more. They can also live harmoniously with other fish species in a community tank.

Silver Dollar Tank Mates 

Silver Dollars are perfect for community tanks as they are compatible with many other peaceful fishes. You can easily keep them with tank mates that swim in the middle and lower layers of the water.

Silver Dollar Tank Mates

Ideal Silver Dollar Tank Mates

Bad Tank Mates for Silver Dollar

Breeding Silver Dollar

The Silver Dollar Fish will readily and easily breed in an aquarium as long the conditions are appropriate for it. For them to easily breed, ensure that the tank temperature is between 81 and 90 degrees Celsius. Once spawning has taken place with the male fertilizing the eggs of the female, it only takes just four days for the eggs to hatch. In a period of just a few weeks the fry will be seen swimming around in the aquarium. Another feature of the female that will tell you that it is ready for breeding is when you see some two black spots just near the side gills. The red color on the side gills will turn black so at this time it is the perfect time to place the male with the female in the tank.

Breeding Level


Sexual Dimorphism

In males, the anal fins are longer with reddish coloration on the leading edge. It will be easy for you to distinguish the female from the male, especially if they are in the same tank. Another easy sign to distinguish the male fish from the female is that sometimes the males will show a dark outline just along the edges of the tail fin.

Silver Dollar Common Diseases and Their Treatment

Healthy Silver Dollar

There are not a lot of complex diseases that can affect a Silver Dollar fish. However, common freshwater diseases like Ich can always make them suffer. Bacterial infections rooting from the tank can also cause severe health issues to the fish. Clean any decorative material or other objects thoroughly before putting them inside the tank.

Ensure good water quality, diet, and stress management to avoid Ich. Keeping these factors in check will significantly reduce any health risks for the fish.

Facts About Silver Dollar Fish

  • A Silver Dollar fish is a very close relative of Piranha, and it has very sharp teeth. However, their herbivorous nature makes them less dangerous.
  • The scientific name of the Silver Dollar is Metynnis argenteus.
  • They belong to the class of Actinopterygii and the family Characidae.
  • These fishes look precisely like a silver dollar coin and derive their name from the same.
  • The Silver Dollar fish lay about 2000 eggs at once. This makes them significantly less prone to extinction. 
  • These fishes are native to the freshwaters of South America.
  • They are schooling fish and living alone can cause them severe stress.
  • Keeping Silver Dollars in a community tank is the best suitable for them. They are compatible with many other peaceful fishes like some Cichlids and Plecos.
  • The average lifespan of these fishes is about ten years, but they can live longer in exceptional care.

Are Silver Dollars Suitable for You?

Silver Dollars are peaceful schooling fishes that require a large tank. They do not like staying alone and are quite big in size (approx 6 inches). These fishes require a large tank and big filter to survive.

You can keep them in your home aquarium if you have sufficient space to arrange for a 75-gallon tank or more. Generally, they are best suitable for community tanks.


Is Silver Dollar Fish-Friendly?

Yes, Silver Dollars are friendly and peaceful fishes. They are best for community tanks where they can live with other fishes without showing signs of aggression.

How Many Silver Dollar Fishes Should Be Kept Together?

Silver Dollars are schooling fishes. You can easily keep five or more fishes together in a tank.

What Fish Can Silver Dollar Fish Live With?

Silver Dollar can live with other peaceful fishes like Oscars, pikes, larger catfishes, bristlenose plecos, etc. It is better to choose those tank mates that swim at the tank’s middle or bottom layers.

How Big Can a Silver Dollar Fish Grow?

A Silver Dollar fish can grow up to 10 inches. However, the average size of these fishes is about five to seven inches. 


Silver Dollar are beautiful fishes that are a great addition to your community fish tanks. They are peaceful, calm, and do not require maintenance. Caring for these fishes can be tricky, but it gets easier with time. 

Their long lifespan is one of its most desirable features, unlike other fishes that may die quickly. These fishes will stay around for a long time if given proper care.

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