Alternative species (click on the thumbnail to see the card)
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Pantodon buchholzi schizonotus
Pantodon buchholzi macrolepis
African Butterfly Fish
Origin: Africa (Cameroon, Congo, Nigeria, Chad, Sierra Leone)
The posterior edge of the male's anal fin appears to be "cut out", and the central rays form a kind of tube. These features are unique to the male.
200 L / 44 Imp Gal / 53 US gal
T°: 25 to 28°C or 77 to 82°F
pH: 6.5 to 7
Hardness: 5 to 10°dGH
10 to 15cm (4 to 5.9")
4 to 5 years
How to feed the African Butterfly Fish?
It is not difficult to feed it. Basically, it's an insectivore, and its large, wide-split mouth is designed for that! In aquariums, however, it accepts dry food sold in the shops.
For a balanced diet, offer him mostly natural prey such as spiders, cockroaches, crickets, flies, brown locusts, daphnia, maggots ... His favorite food? Mosquito larvae! (dry or frozen). You can also distribute large pieces of beef, chicken or fish.
Complement (for convenience) with classic commercial foods.
What kind of behavior does the African Butterfly Fish have?
It constantly lives just below the surface of the water. There is a rather twilightly and nocturnal activity. Generally speaking, it is a calm and peaceful fish but with a predatory tendency.
Who can live with the African Butterfly Fish?
Gregarius, this fish likes to live in small groups: adopt at least 4 specimens.
Beware of cohabiting with aggressive or fin nibbling fish. Indeed, because of its morphology (its large and beautiful pelvic fin ends in long peaks), it would be one of the first victims of turbulent fish.
More generally, only keep this species with bottom-dwelling species because fish living in the open water (in the middle of the aquarium) could hinder it. Other species living on the surface should be banned completely. Finally, beware of possible predation on small fish (less than 5 cm / 2").
How to breed the African Butterfly Fish?
Reproduction of the butterflyfish is difficult and rarely carried out.
Prepare an aquarium of at least 60 litres for breeding (cover your aquarium as these fish jump). Fill with water from the main aquarium. The water height will be about 30 cm. Put in floating plants.
To trigger spawning, increase the temperature by 2 to 4°C to reach 30°C (86°F). Other recommended water parameters are a pH of 6.5 and a hardness of 10°dGH. Feed adults abundantly with live prey. Courtship is very long and spawning can last several days. This fish is not very prolific and each clutch will give only 3 or 5 eggs at a time. As the number of days of egg laying varies, it is difficult to anticipate the total number of eggs. Sometimes, between 200 and 400 eggs are laid during the whole breeding period.
Collect the eggs as you go along to put them in a breeding aquarium.
The eggs are fairly large, translucent (turn brown in about 10 hours) and float on the surface of the water. Incubation lasts between 36 and 48 hours depending on the temperature (36 hours at 25°C/77°F). After hatching, the fry move towards the ground. When the yolk sac is consumed, they come to the surface.
Food for the fry: artemia then fruit flies, aphids and springtails. Ideally, they should be fed with small live prey floating on the surface, which can be a difficulty.
Which aquarium for the African Butterfly Fish?
In its natural environment, the Pantodon Buchholzi lives in calm waters (marshes, streams, ponds, lakes...). In an aquarium, you must be careful not to subject it to too much current as this would eventually exhaust it.
The water height should be at least 20 cm (7.8").
As far as the decor is concerned, leave large open spaces just below the surface of the water. Set up a few islands of floating plants. Plant your aquarium with large, broad-leaved plants that come to the surface. The shadows they provide are much appreciated by the species.
Filtration on peat will help you to slightly acidify its environment. It will therefore be a plus in its maintenance.
Very good jumper, make sure to always cover your aquarium and protect your lighting system.
Good To know
Good To know
Find all additional information!
His family, the Pantodontidae, includes only one species: him! They say it's a monotypic family.
Its first import for aquarium trade goes back to 1905 (Schroot for Hamburg).
In the wild, it doesn't really hunt, they rather wait for the prey to come to them!
Dynamic and powerful, this fish can make good one or two meters!
Its name "butterfly fish" comes from its very characteristic shape. Indeed, seen from above, its beautiful fins look like butterfly wings:
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