Animal Stories - Silver Dollar Fish

Animal-World Information about: Silver Dollar Fish

The Silver Dollar is one of the most readily recognized fish in the hobby, and a favorite too!
Latest Animal Stories
Ray - 2014-10-04
I have a female silver dollar purchased September 1990. It is now 24 years old. The only documentation I have is family members who have seen it over the years. My wife and I are amazed that it is still alive and wonder how much longer it will live!

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  • Clarice Brough - 2014-10-09
    Wow! That is awesome. They average 10 years or more, but you'll have to let us know what the 'or more' means, because you're breaking new ground:)
Charles Damanis - 2010-01-20
I have 9 Silver Dollars in a 30 gal tank. I Love them because they out live all other fish you have. I think I have had them for about 5 years or so and they are about 4.5" long right now. Over the past five years they have had their share of viruses and sicknesses due to water quality as well as introducing "dirty" fish into the tank that may have had Ick and other problems.
It seems like I always have them on a medicinal regiment of Metafix, stressZyme, stressCoat and every now and then Erithromiacin anti-biotic powder form (also used in humans).

Here are my suggestions...Erithromiacin is good when your silver dollars have cloud eye and even tail and fin rot and redness in odd areas. It does not damage your water although you cant use a filter with it (I still keep my Ammo Chips in though). The down side is all the water changes you will have to do. Its annoying if you have a big tank, but why do you have a big tank if you can't stand up keep. My thoughts are to transfer some water from the regular tank and add treated water (not straight from the tap) into a smaller tank and transfer your silver dollars into the smaller tank to treat them in a sort of quarantine (just as long as you DO NOT have a parasite, if you do leave the fish where they are because you need to kill the parasite in the normal tank). If you have Ick I suggest Aquari-sol. It is a liquid solution that is better for fish with sensitive skin and it doesn't change your water green, make sure your doses are the right measurement, you do not want to poison your fish.
IMPORTANT: I put in some aquarium salt and raise the temp to about 79-80'F when treating fish with medicine. It is always good to have some salt in your tank. Just remember the only way to get rid of salt in your water is to do water changes so do not over salt your tank. Place some (depending the size of your tank) in after every 3-5 water changes.

DO NOT BUY PLANTS. The silver dollars will eat all of them no matter how much you feed them. Even plants suggested by this web page will not work with your silver dollars. Obviously if you have baby silver dollars they can not eat your plants as quick but they still will.
IMPORTANT: The lack of plants will mean that there is less Oxygen in the tank. I put in a long Air Stone and the silver dollars love to swim through it. Its fun watching them get used to it at first they are cautious then the pack leader will test his or her might and try to get through them. Eventually they all go through the bubbles. Im sure they like the way it tickles.

Romain lettuces is a must. Highly nutritious for you and your fish. It also makes your mind up when you're thinking about testing a new plant in the tank. Just put a piece of lettuce in the tank and a few hours later you will know not to get plants.
They love Shrimp pellets. They nearly choke on them because they shove the whole thing in their mouth and suck on them like cigars. You will NOT need to dump a considerable amount in order to get one into each ones mouth. I have 9 and usually dump 15. It's bad but I do not do it regularly. You can also just throw a few in while the lettuce is in as a treat only to those who grab them first. I use flakes but don't like to do so. Too many flakes gets you PLANARIA (flat worms). I have Planaria and it is impossible to get rid of them.
Important: They will eat/pick at small fish like tetras (when the silver dollars are larger). Only because they think that they are fish flakes. I also had a three inch butterfly fish that floats on the top of the tank. It also sleeps on the top and at night the silver dollars would swim up and bite it thinking it is food. It then died and they are all over it... All I found was a fin floating.

Useful information:
Too many decorations will not be good for your fish. They may like places to hide but if you place driftwood in your tank they are likely to run into it and hurt themselves. Sometimes this will lead you to believe that your fish are sick but it may just be that they ran into something. I have not tried this but have been thinking about it...I believe if you paint or tape an aquarium scene (the paper on the outside that has pictures of plants and whatnot) they will be less likely to crash into the glass. The glass fools them sometimes. They are not as smart as us and something to tell them stop may be useful.

Tank Size:
Bigger is better, they love to swim or just hang out but when they get bigger they start to get black stripes on their side. That means they're stressed and a bigger tank is needed. At this point you will have to battle sicknesses regularly because they are more susceptible to sickness when stressed out. I have 9 in a 30 gal but they deserve to be put in a 55 gal now. I also do not have any other fish in my tank.

I hope the information I have left is useful. This information has been learned the hard way through my experience with the fish. They are a joy to have and if they get any bigger I'm going to have to stop myself from getting my fishing pole.

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  • Sheryl - 2010-04-20
    I have been blessed with a coworker wanting to give us his 55 gal established with silver dollars and tetras. We have not had any experience with silver dollars so this experience you had through trial and error I find most informative. Thank you so much!
  • Tom - 2014-02-08
    Your silver dollars get sick because you overcrowd them. 9 silver dollars in a 55 is over doing it, 30 is worse. I have noticed if they actually have room, and you do your regular water changes, they rarely if ever get sick.
adam - 2013-08-30
I have 12 silver dollars in my tank and only 1 is female she had ova a couple hundred eggs today, very happy!

david - 2011-06-12
Are Rams compatible with Heckel Discus, Altum (wild) Angelfish, and Black Ghost Knifefish? How about with Silver Dollars?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-06-13
    The Knifefish needs a minimum of a 100 gallon tank on his own. They are beautiful but they get huge and he will most likely eat the others.
  • cody - 2013-02-24
    The angel fish isn't recommended but you may try with a knife fish all depends on you tank size to oh and for the discus. Alot of people may tell you to keep them in a single species tank and they need different water phlevels in their tank.
Linda - 2013-02-13
I have a Silver Dollar that I have had for about 7 years.  Just in the 2 weeks he has been looking a little swollen and today I noticied that his eyes are bulging quite badly. I am guessing that he is probably old and sick and going to die. Is there anything I can do and do you think he is in any discomfort. I have him in a tank with 4 very large angels.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2013-02-14
    Eyes buldging are usually a water condition issue.  You may have had a spike in one or more of your levels.
Cindy - 2012-05-07
My silver dollars are about 5 years old and for the last three days one has been laying at the bottom of the tank and his eyes are cloudy looking. He seems to be breathing fast and is very disoriented when I disturb him...swims very fast and hits everything. I don't know what to do to help. I have been putting some melafix in the tank every day but have not done any water changes because I don't want to stress him out. Any advice would be appreciated very much. Thank you.

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  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-08
    Check you water levels and definately do a water change. Do you have good water movement?
  • Cindy - 2012-05-08
    Yes lots of bubbles and the other fish are all doing good. How do I check my water levels?
Reply - 2012-08-06
How long will it takes before the eggs is ready to brake open for life? Sorry my englich is bad.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-08-07
    After the eggs are laid, if they are fertile, they will take about 3 - 4 days to hatch.
  • Annatjie - 2012-12-02
    Please help, my dollars (6 in a 200litter tank) look as if they lay egges, small tiny white stuff thin like hair on the glass of the tank and on the pots in the tank, in the mornings earrly the pots is cleaned and after a hour or so you see on the pots this look like dust or fine sand lite, lite broun, what is it it goes now for 2 week + and I don't se any black swimming. How big is the eggs and fry after. Please help me. This is the 1st time my Dollars done that, the water is clear and the temp is right. I have 8 diffrent tanks with diffrent fish spesies. All Tropical. My Guppies an d Mollies is get babys a lot on time. I had the fishes now 1 year. My Widows had I put also now in seperit tanks it looks lite they will also strat briding. I also don't now nothing about them. Pleasse can you help me. I will glad if you can give me advise or photos about the drifferent fishes and how it looks when they start breading and how it looks. Thank you very much.Annatjie
  • Annatjie - 2012-12-03
    I write a few minutes a go, now I see on the pots is white stuff look if they had a black spot inside. They lay between the lite brown stuff on the pots is this eggs and what will happen with them. In the evenings they are gone. Please help. Annatjie. Thank You.
Ian - 2011-10-06
I got 4 small silver dollars, about the size of silver dollars.... I tried to put them in with my 3 inch Tiger Oscar but he chased them all around and actually grabbed one in its mouth! I moved them to a different tank... Any suggestions on what I should do to try to get the silvers back with my Oscar? Oh and I got the silver dollars for a great price of 1.25 when my Oscar was about 10.

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  • Zorb catfish - 2011-11-05
    It depends on your oscars temperament. If it if relatively peaceful to larger fish than you can put then in when full grown. If your Oscar is very mean than I would not recommend putting them in at all
  • Alex Burleson - 2011-11-05
    Unless your Silver Dollars are about the same size as your Oscar, or too large for them to fit in his mouth, they should not be housed with him! Silver Dollars are more peaceful than a large Cichlid such as an Oscar, and should be separately housed.
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-05-15
    You really need bigger silver dollars. Sometimes if you feed the oscar heavily and make sure it is very full and slow, then try to re-introduce the silver dollars. Make sure the oscar remains full until he gets use to the idea of sharing his tank.
  • Tegan - 2012-05-15
    My dollar fish is getting eatin alive by my tiger striped fish! WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Ezz - 2012-05-28
i have got a silver dollar, and it is always staying beside the filter away from other fish in the tank , is that normal, and do it need a companion?

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  • Charlie Roche - 2012-05-28
    It is recommended that a tnak be 75 gallons for a silver dollar - so how big is your tank?
  • oscar - 2012-05-28
    My tank is small it is only 30 litres can a silver dollar fish live in it or it needs a larger tank?
  • Jeremy Roche - 2012-10-24
    Silver Dollars do like to be in groups. They do tend to be shy without some of its own kind.
Anonymous - 2012-01-26
Hi, how many of these can I keep in a 150 gallon tank with a red bellie pacu, 3 senegal bichirs, 4 firemouth cichlids, 4 feeder fish, 6+ mousquito fish, 6 banded dartersP.S. the silver dollars would be to distract the pacu from edible fish like the darters.

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  • Jake Hunt - 2012-05-27
    Having Firemouth cichlids in the aquarium is a bad idea if you want to introduce silver dollars! :/