Bluenose Shiner (Pteronotropis Welaka)


Pteronotropis Welaka is also called Bluenose shiner. This freshwater species belongs to the family Cyprinidae. Pteronotropis means “winged shiner” They are named Welaka because they were first found in the St. Johns River near the town Welaka. They exist in Florida and other parts of Georgia, Mississippi, and Alabama. They are found only in the USA in deep, small to medium rivers and slow-moving coastal creeks. They prefer deeper water areas with thick vegetation.


Bluenose shiners are small cyprinids. The longest fish of this family ever found was 53 mm in length. Their shape is cylindrical, slender, and compressed. Their mouth is like a pointed snout.


They have one dark and one bright parallel stripe that run the entire body till the tail. The scales cover their entire body. The fins are large, obvious and upper and lower fins are of equal size. They accentuate the body of the fish. There is no spine in the body of these fish.

The difference between males and females is in their color. The head and snout of male fish become bright royal blue during the mating season. They also grow gold flecks on both sides of their body. Their large dorsal fin becomes black. The dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins turn white and yellow.
Females do not have vibrant colors like males. Sometimes mature females have brighter blue snouts. The lateral band is darker black in females.

Behavior and Compatibility

In the natural habitat, bluenose shiners usually stay at the bottom of the water and prefer surrounding vegetation. Therefore, during floods, they come up close to the water surface to stood near the vegetation.

Bluenose shiners live in their population and move in schools. They have big eyes enabling them to locate other fish in the school. But, little is known about their communication habits since they were recently discovered back in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Water Parameters

Temperature: 10-26,5°C
pH: 6,2 – 7,2
Hardness: 3 – 6 dGH

The bluenose shiner originally lives in very soft waters. pH should be maintained between 6.4 to 7.0 in optimal and the temperature is best at 80°C to match the conditions closer to their natural habitat.

Proper Tank Conditions

Bluenose shiners are originally live in waters with thick vegetation. Therefore, proper plantation for their comfortable living in the aquarium is essential. Also, using some driftwoods and building hiding places by using them will help to maintain a suitable tank environment for the fish. Good filtration with medium water flow is essential for keeping this species healthy.


In their natural habitat, Bluenose Shiners feed on small insects by quickly darting to the surface to catch any small insect that happens to fall on the water. Otherwise, they lie in wait for any potential food that may float their way in the prevailing current of the water. They prey on also small water crustaceans and other small aquatic insects. In captivity, the bluenose shiner readily accepts flake foods, small granule foods, as well as a wide selection of small live or frozen foods. Live foods are especially useful when conditioning adults before spawning.


Bluenose shiners spawn in spring. In nature, the schools head to shallow areas and lay their eggs into the nests of the Lepomis megalotis the longear sunfish. They do not choose a specific place for nesting and spawning. But if it is available, they prefer the nests of longear sunfish in nature. If a sunfish leaves the nest for any reason, a bluenose shiner takes its place immediately and spawns in a matter of seconds. This is a strategy for increasing the survival rate of the eggs. They leave their eggs for the protection of the sunfish.

If bluenose shiners are alone in the aquarium, the male fish start a display of their anal, dorsal, and ventral fins. They flare their fins and involve in a Betta-like display. Then, for several seconds, they quickly circle each other in a 360° arc. Following this display, the entire population of males and females start spawning. They scatter eggs all over the substrate of the aquarium. The males keep flicking their fins for a short while to entice females. However, if a male fully flares his fins, he means to fight a rival male.

Image Source:
Photo by Anthony Terceira

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