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There are over 1500 species of Characins that are found in South America and Africa. They have compressed scaly bodies and usually there is a small fin behind the dorsal fin. They are active, peaceful, colourful and are excellent for display aquariums. Characins are the second most popular aquarium species. Aquariasts enjoy these fish because of their schooling tendencies and their ease of keeping. Characins come from nine different families, seven of which are included in this book. They consist of: the Alestiidae (African Tetra), the Characidae (Characins), the Citharinidae, the Ctenoluciidae (Pike-Characins), the Curimatidae, the Gasteropelecidae (Freshwater Hatchetfishes), and the Lebiasinidae families.