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Acipenser ruthenus - Linnaeus, 1758

Acipenser ruthenus.jpg

An endangered sturgeon that sometimes arrives in juvenile form in aquarium stores. Aaron Norman


This is a true Eurasian sturgeon sometimes available to aquarists in juvenile form.

Although they sometimes appear in the aquarium trade, Sterlets, like their larger caviar-bearing sturgeon relatives, are classified as an endangered species.

Sterlets are not tropical species, preferring much colder water temperatures than those offered in a typical community aquarium. They are sometimes kept successfully in outdoor ponds.

Often sold as “dwarf” fishes, they get much larger. (Maximum weight recorded for this species is 16 kg or 35 lb.

Native sturgeon species are banned in many states. This species is a CITES II species, with restrictions on its international trade.

Family: Acipenseridae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Cold northern rivers, where it often dwells in deep pockets and holes. In winter it takes to a protected place in the depths and goes into an inactive state.

Maximum length: 125 cm (49 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 2271 L (600 gal)

Water: Freshwater 12 °C (54 °F) - 18 °C (64 °F)

General swimming level: All levels, often resting on bottom.


Carnivore. Feeds on bottom-dwelling (benthic) organisms, including crustaceans, mollusks, insects and their larvae, worms, and fish eggs.

Aquarium Compatibility

Not recommended for home aquariums.

Special Care

Some aquarists recommend keeping the Sterlet in brackishwater.


In the wild, they swim upstream against powerful currents to spawn in gravel beds.


Sterlets are the shortest-lived of the sturgeons, generally up to 22-24 years.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW