Cascarudo Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: October 23, 2022

The cascarudo is a freshwater fish that is native to South America. It is a bottom-dwelling fish that is known for its scavenging habits.

The cascarudo is a hardy fish that is easy to care for. It can live in a variety of conditions and does not require special care.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about cascarudo care. You’ll learn about their diet, size, lifespan, and more!

Species overview

The cascarudo (scientific name: Zapteryx brevirostris) is a fish that’s found in brackish and saltwater habitats along the coast of South America. Their natural range extends from Venezuela all the way down to Peru.

Cascarudos are a relatively large fish, growing up to around 18 inches in length. They have a very elongated body with a laterally compressed tail. This body shape helps them to be very fast swimmers in open waters.

The cascarudo is a carnivorous fish that preys on smaller fish, invertebrates, and crustaceans. In the wild, they are known to be very aggressive and have even been known to attack humans!

In the aquarium trade, cascarudos are not very common. This is likely due to their size and aggression making them difficult to keep in most home aquariums.



The first thing you’ll notice about the Cascarudo is their hard, armored shell. This exoskeleton is made of calcium carbonate and helps to protect them from predators and other threats.

The shell is dark brown or black and is covered in small bumps. The bumps help to camouflage the fish in their natural environment.

Underneath the shell, you’ll find a soft, white body. The fins on this fish are also white.

The Cascarudo has a long, thin body that tapers off at the tail. They have a small mouth that is located at the end of a short snout.

The dorsal fin is located towards the back of the fish and is rather small. The anal fin is located just ahead of the dorsal fin.

The pectoral fins are located on the sides of the fish and are used for steering and braking. The caudal fin is located at the back of the fish and is used for propulsion.


Cascarudo have a lifespan of 2 to 5 years.

The lifespan of a Cascarudo is greatly impacted by the level of care they receive. If they are kept in suboptimal conditions, their lifespan will be on the lower end of this range.

Good water quality, a proper diet, and low stress levels are all important factors in maximizing the lifespan of these fish.


The Cascarudo can grow up to 4 inches (10 cm) long, but is usually only about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in aquariums.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for a cascarudo is at least 30 gallons. This is a schooling fish so you will need to provide enough space for at least 5 or 6 fish.

Cascarudos are also known to be jumpers so you will need to make sure your tank has a tight fitting lid to prevent any escapees.

Water Parameters

The cascarudo is a tropical fish that prefers warm water with a high level of dissolved oxygen. They are very sensitive to changes in water parameters and will not do well in an unstable environment.

To maintain a healthy cascarudo population, it is important to keep the following water parameters within the ideal range.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 5 to 15 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 4 to 8 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The inside of a cascarudo’s tank doesn’t need to be anything fancy. They’re not a species that’s known for being fussy.

A simple gravel substrate will work just fine. You can go with something a little more naturalistic if you want, but it’s not necessary.

These fish don’t need a ton of decorations either. A few pieces of driftwood or some rocks will do the trick. Just make sure that any rocks you use aren’t too sharp or they might hurt your fish.

As for plants, you can go with whatever you want. These fish aren’t known for being plant eaters so most species will do just fine.

Just remember to avoid anything that has the potential to release toxins into the water. This can be very dangerous for your fish (and any other inhabitants of the tank).

Common Diseases

These fish are quite hearty and don’t usually succumb to disease easily. However, there are a few things that you should be on the lookout for, just in case.

The most common disease that cascarudos contract is ich. As we’ve mentioned before, ich is a very common freshwater disease that can affect almost any fish.

The most obvious symptom of ich is the presence of white spots on the body, fins, and gills of your fish. If you notice this, you should take immediate action.

Cure ich as quickly as possible, as it can be fatal if left untreated. Another disease to keep an eye out for is hole-in-the-head disease.

This is a disease that’s caused by poor water quality and the presence of activated carbon in your tank. It will present itself as one or two pits/holes in the skin of your fish’s head.

While it’s almost always curable, it will usually leave some scarring on your poor fish!

To avoid diseases like these, it’s important to maintain a clean and healthy tank. Provide your cascarudos with high-quality water and keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary.

Behavior & Temperament

The Cascarudo is a bottom-dweller that spends most of its time scavenging for food. It’s an active fish, so you’ll often see it swimming around the tank. But, it’s not a social fish and prefers to be left alone.

The Cascarudo is a peaceful fish, but it can be aggressive if it feels threatened. It has two long, sharp spikes on each side of its head that it uses to defend itself.

The Cascarudo is also known to be a bit of a escape artist. It can jump out of the tank if it’s not properly covered. So, make sure your tank has a secure lid!

Tank Mates

The Cascarudo is a peaceful fish that can get along with most tank mates. They’re not aggressive and won’t bother other fish.

This is good news because it means you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing tank mates.

In terms of water conditions, the Cascarudo comes from slow-moving rivers in South America. As a result, they can tolerate a wide range of water parameters.

This is another bonus because it gives you even more flexibility when stocking your tank.

Some good tank mates for the Cascarudo include:

  • Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Mollies
  • Platies
  • Swordtails
  • Corydoras
  • Plecos


The Cascarudo is an easy fish to breed in captivity. This species is known to be a good parents and will take care of their young.

To start, you will need to set up a breeding tank. This tank should be at least 30 gallons and have a sandy bottom. The water should be clean and well-filtered. The temperature should be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When ready, add a pair of Cascarudos to the tank. These fish are known to be peaceful, so you don’t have to worry about them fighting.

The female will lay her eggs in the sand. The male will then fertilize them. Once the eggs are fertilized, the male will guard them.

The eggs will hatch in about a week. Once they hatch, you can remove the adults from the tank. The fry will feed on microscopic organisms in the water. You can supplement their diet with baby brine shrimp.


The Cascarudo is an awesome fish that is perfect for the beginner aquarist. They’re easy to care for, can tolerate a wide range of water conditions, and are very hardy.

They’re also a lot of fun to watch as they scoot around the tank looking for food.

Overall, we think the Cascarudo is a great fish for anyone who is looking for a low-maintenance pet.