Golden dwarf sucker Care Guide: Diet, Tank Mates, Diseases, Breeding & More

Updated: October 24, 2022

The golden dwarf sucker is a peaceful, hardy, and easy to care for freshwater fish that is perfect for beginner aquarium hobbyists.

Despite their small size, these little fish have a big personality and are always active and playful.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish that will add some color and life to your tank, the golden dwarf sucker is a great choice!

In this guide, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about golden dwarf sucker care. Tank size, diet, lifespan, you name it!

Species overview

The golden dwarf sucker (scientific name: Gasteropelecus stellatus) is a small freshwater fish that’s native to Southeast Asia.

They prefer slow-moving waters with a lot of vegetation, such as canals, ditches, and rice paddies.

Although they’re not the most popular aquarium fish, golden dwarf suckers are peaceful and easy to care for. They’re also compatible with a wide variety of tank mates.

The main attraction of this fish is its beautiful golden coloration. This, combined with its small size, makes it a popular choice for nano aquariums.


Golden dwarf sucker

The Golden Dwarf Sucker is a small, but brightly colored fish. The body is yellowish-gold in color and is marked with 5-6 dark vertical bars.

The fins are translucent with a slight yellow tinge. The dorsal fin and the caudal fin are both slightly forked.

The head is large in comparison to the body and the mouth is located at the bottom.


The average lifespan of a golden dwarf sucker is 5 to 10 years. As with most fish, their lifespan can be greatly impacted by the quality of care they receive.

If you provide them with a good diet, a clean and well-oxygenated tank, and appropriate tank mates then they will likely live on the upper end of this range.


The Golden Dwarf Sucker grows to an average length of 3-5 inches.


Tank Size

The recommended tank size for golden dwarf suckers is at least 30 gallons. This is for a single fish but, as with most fish, they do better in schools so you should aim for a tank that can accommodate at least 5 or 6 of them.

Water Parameters

Golden suckerfish are a schooling fish that come from the rivers and streams of South America. They prefer warm water with a moderate amount of flow.

This species is very tolerant of different water parameters. As long as the water isn’t too cold and the pH isn’t too high, they will do just fine.

Here are a few ideal water parameters for golden suckerfish.

  • Water temperature: 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit
  • pH levels: 6.5 to 7.5
  • Water hardness: 4 to 18 dGH
  • Alkalinity Levels: 2-12 dKH

What To Put In Their Tank

The interior of their tank should be set up with their natural habitat in mind. These fish come from fast-moving rivers with a fair amount of vegetation.

The substrate you use can be anything from gravel to sand. Just make sure it’s not too large since these fish like to sift through it looking for food.

As for plants, you have a few different options. They’re not likely to eat them, but they will uproot them as they swim around.

Floating plants are the best choice since they’ll be out of the way and the fish won’t be able to get to them. Hornwort, water wisteria, and Java moss are all good choices.

You can also include some rocks and driftwood in their tank. These fish like to have some hiding places, and these can provide that for them. Just make sure the wood is safe for aquariums and won’t leach any harmful chemicals into the water.

Common Diseases

The golden dwarf sucker is a peaceful and hardy fish that is a great addition to any freshwater aquarium. They are not very susceptible to disease, but there are a few things you should look out for.

The most common disease that these fish experience is ich. This is a parasite that can be quite serious if not treated properly.

The most obvious symptom of ich is the presence of white spots on the body of your fish. If you notice this, it’s important to take action immediately.

Other potential diseases include fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasites. These are all relatively rare but can still affect your fish if the conditions are right.

As always, the best way to prevent these diseases is to maintain clean and stable water conditions in your aquarium. A healthy environment will lead to healthier fish who are more resistant to disease.

Behavior & Temperament

The golden dwarf sucker is a peaceful, shy fish that does best in a group. They are social creatures that much prefer the company of others to being alone.

These fish are relatively timid, so they will often hide when they feel threatened or scared. This is why it’s important to have plenty of hiding places in their tank, like rocks, plants, and driftwood.

The golden dwarf sucker is a bottom-dweller, so you’ll usually find them near the bottom of the tank. They spend most of their time scavenging for food or resting.

Although they are peaceful, the golden dwarf sucker is known to be a bit nippy. They may nibble on the fins of other fish or pick at plants. This is usually just harmless fun, but it can become a problem if they nibble too much.

Tank Mates

Golden dwarf sucker fish are peaceful and can get along with most community fish. They’re not aggressive and will do well in a community tank with other peaceful fish.

Some good tank mates for golden dwarf sucker fish include:

  • Guppies
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Neon Tetras
  • Cherry Barbs
  • White Cloud Mountain Minnows


Getting these guys to breed in captivity can be a bit tricky. They’re not the most prolific breeders, but it is possible with some patience and the right setup.

First, you need to identify the males and females. males have a more elongated body shape while females are more round. The easiest way to tell them apart is by looking at their anal fins. Males have a longer and thinner fin while the female’s is shorter and thicker.

Once you’ve identified the sexes, you’ll need to set up a breeding tank. It should be at least 20 gallons and have a sponge filter. The water should be well-oxygenated and have a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add some live plants and a few hiding places. Then, slowly acclimate the fish to the new tank.

When ready, add two females for every male. Introduce them to the tank at the same time to avoid aggression.

The spawning process will begin with the male chasing the female. He’ll then nudge her sides until she releases her eggs. The female can lay up to 100 eggs at a time.

Once the eggs are laid, the male will fertilize them and then guard them. He’ll keep them clean and aerated until they hatch.

Eggs usually hatch in about three days. When they do, 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 or other small live foods.


The golden dwarf sucker is a great fish for beginners and experienced fish keepers alike. They’re easy to care for, hardy, and make a great addition to any community tank.

We hope this guide has helped you understand a little bit more about these fish and how to take care of them. If you have any questions or would like to share your own experiences with these fish, feel free to reach out to us on social media or through our website. We love hearing from other fish keepers and are always happy to help!