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Metynnis lippincottianus (COPE, 1870)

SynonymsTop ↑

Myletes lippincottianus Cope 1870; Metynnis goeldii Eigenmann 1903; Myletes orbicularis Steindachner 1908; Metynnis roosevelti Eigenmann 1915; Metynnis seitzi Ahl, 1923; Metynnis anisurus Ahl 1923; Metynnis heinrothi Ahl 1924; Metynnis snethlagae Ahl 1924; Metynnis dungerni Ahl 1925


Metynnis: from the Ancient Greek μετά ‎(metá), meaning ‘after, beyond’, and

lippincottianus: named in author of the author’s friend, James S. Lippincott, “author of important contributions to Meteorology, Agriculture and other subjects”.


Order: Characiformes Family: Characidae


The precise extent of this species’ distribution is unclear. It certainly occurs in the lower and middle Amazon basins, at least as far upstream as Manaus, and has been collected from the Oyapock system at the border between Brazil and French Guiana. Records from some coastal drainages south of the Amazon’s mouth, including the the Piriá, Pericumã, and Parnaíba watersheds, also appear legitimate.

Records from other major watersheds in Brazil, such as the São Francisco, plus the upper Amazon in Bolivia and Colombia may refer to other species.

Type locality is ‘Pará, Brazil’.

Maximum Standard Length

5.3″ (13cm)

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

A group of adult fish will require a tank of at least 60″ x 15″ x 15″ (150cm x 37.5cm x 37.5cm) – 220 litres. Length and width are more important than height. Juvenile fish can be housed in smaller aquaria.


Inhabits densely planted river tributaries in the wild. The difficulty in replicating this in captivity is that the species is an avid plant-eater! Hardy plants should be chose but will still need to be replaced regularly. Artificial plants could be used as an alternative as some of the fabric and silk-type plants that are now available make convincing fakes. Metynnis can be nervous fish, so dim lighting and areas of refuge will boost their confidence. Inhabits areas of rapid water in the wild, so will enjoy a decent waterflow in the aquarium.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 73 – 81°F (23 – 27°C)

pH: 6.0 – 7.0

Hardness: Up to 10°H


Provide a large amount of vegetable matter in the diet, including; courgette, cucumber, peas, spring greens and other green vegetables. Commercial foods such as algae wafers, spirulina and vegetable flake are also recommended. Silver dollars will also accept the majority of aquarium foods and will relish such treats as bloodworm and brineshrimp.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Best kept in groups of at least five fish. Generally peaceful community fish and can be kept with other larger peaceful species. Much smaller fish may be eaten. Metynnis mainly occupy the middle and top areas of the aquarium, so it is a good idea to select tankmates that occupy both the bottom of the tank to add contrast. Larger peaceful catfish such as plecos and doradids would be a good choice.

Sexual Dimorphism

Anal fin is more elongated on the male and a red tinge may be present.


No report of breeding in the hobby, although assumed to be similar to m. argenteus

NotesTop ↑

Metynnis lippincottianus is occasionally seen for sale, sometimes under the name of “Silver Dollar”. It is easily distinguishable from m. argenteus and m. hypsauchen (which are more commonly sold as Silver Dollars) by its spotted pattern, hence the common name. M. lippincottianus shares a common name with m. maculatus but the two can be distinguished as the spots on m. maculatus are more pronounced.

Silver dollars are common and popular fish in the hobby. They are related to piranhas and indeed are often mistaken for their predatory cousins. Silver dollars form part of the metynnis genus which is closely related to both the myleus and mylossoma genera and the species are often misidentified or confused with each other.


  1. Cope, E. D., 1870 - Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society v. 11: 559-570
    Contribution to the ichthyology of the Marañon.
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