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Australian Smelt are uncommon in the aquarium trade, and are an ideal fish for unheated tanks and garden ponds. Considered frog friendly, they are an excellent mosquito controller and thrive in cold water conditions. Distributed widely and naturally found from the Fitzroy River in Qld to the South East corner of South Australia.

They are active swimmers and prefer to be kept in shoals of 6 or more in planted yet spacious aquariums and ponds.

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Features of Australian Smelt:

  • Olive, brownish to transparent/silver long slender body
  • Males develop orange over the body with flecks of gold
  • Suitable for unheated ponds and aquariums
  • Grows to 7.5cm


Tank Mate Compatibility:

Australian Smelt are peaceful native Australian fish that prefer to swim in groups of 6 or more. They breed easily in aquarium or pond best in a ratio of 2 males to 4 females. They can also be kept with other peaceful cold water community fish and Rainbowfish of similar size. 

Here’s a list of some of the best tank mates:



Australian Smelt are omnivore's and are best fed of tubifex worms & mosquito larvae but over time can be trained to accept other foods such as flake and small pellets. For healthy fish, ensure a varied diet. 

Check out our extensive range of aquarium fish foods.


The Best Aquarium Size for Australian Smelt:

An aquarium of 70L or larger is recommended. They are also well known jumpers, thus their aquarium should be well covered. Can be kept in ponds, even in cooler climates.

Check out these suitable aquarium brands:

After an Aquarium for your fish? Browse Aquarium Tank Selection here.


Australian Smelt Tank Setup:

Aquarium Filtration for Australian Smelt

A good filtration system is necessary as they enjoy clean and clear waters with a slow flow rate. Ensure your filter has an adequate flow rate to effectively remove waste from the aquarium. This species can be sensitive to medications due to it's lack of scales. 

Shop our comprehensive range of aquarium filters here.

Aquarium Heater for Australian Smelt

This fish enjoy cooler temperatures between 11 - 20° C, and can be kept in unheated aquariums and ponds. If you are unable to maintain this temperature naturally, use an aquarium heater. Aquarium heaters also stabilize water temperatures.  A thermometer is recommended to monitor the water temperature.

Get yourself a new aquarium heater here. 

Aquarium Lighting for Australian Smelt

Australian Smelt are happiest in a dimly lit environment. We recommend LED aquarium lighting with adjustable brightness to ensure the light level can be altered for happy fish. If using moderate regular lighting, broad leaf and floating aquarium plants can offer shaded areas.

Need aquarium lighting? View available aquarium lighting here.

Substrate for Australian Smelt

Australian Smelt enjoy sandy substrates. Aquarium sands and fine gravels are best suited.

View our range of aquarium substrates here.

Aquarium Plants for Australian Smelt

Australian Smelt prefer spacious planted aquariums with medium to large plants, including floating plants. Plant the background with tall growing plants, leaving the foreground an open space for swimming. If keeping in ponds, ensure ample cover from predators in the form of floating plants.

Interested in live plants for your aquarium? View our range of live aquarium plants here.

Aquarium Decorations Australian Smelt

Rock & wood can be placed in the aquarium to mimic natural habitats and provide hiding locations to retreat to and reduce stress. This species can be stressed easily, therefore provide plenty of places to hide in the pond or aquarium.

View our large range of aquarium decorations here.

Additional Information

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