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Pantodon buchholzi - African butterfly fish


  • Pantodon buchholzi - African butterfly fish

    Photo thanks to Too Many Choices

    Scientific name: Pantodon buchholzi
    Common name: African butterfly fish
    AKA: Butterfly fish

    Country of origin:

    pH: 6.0 - 7.5
    Temperature: 23 - 30c
    Hardness: 5 - 15 dGH
    Water flow: low
    Oxygenation: standard

    Maximum size: 12 cm

    Diet: Live, frozen & flake foods - high in protien, as they are carnivorous. They will only eat from the surface, so ensure they are able to obtain sufficient food.

    Males - Rays of anal fins longer. Back edge of anal fin is convex.
    Females - Rays of anal fins shorter. Back edge of anal fin is straight.

    They are egg-scatterers, and the parents may eat the eggs or fry. Eggs should be removed as soon as they are laid - they will float to the surface. The pair will lay over a few days, around 100 eggs a day. The parents need floating plants to lay in. The eggs & fry need good quality water. The fry will not actively hunt food, only taking what comes past them. They need tiny live food.

    Tank companions: It is a hunter, and although it hunts at the very surface of the tank it is also a large fish, and likely to make light work of any shrimp population provided.

    It goes well with other peaceful tank inhabitants - other African species make a good choice. Avoid fin-nipping fish at all costs.

    It is likely to be aggressive toward other surface-dwelling species, including its own species. A small group of P. buchholzi can be kept if there is sufficient vegetation and enough surface area at the top of the tank.

    As with all fish it will eat anything it can put in its mouth, and equally be eaten by other fish which can fit it in their mouths. This should be taken into account when selecting tankmates.

    Position in tank: It lives at the very surface of the tank. It is prone to jumping, particularly when startled, so needs lids on the tank, with no gaps. It jumps both to evade predators and to catch flying insects as part of its natural behaviour in the wild, where it jumps metres in a jump.

    It requires a minimum of a 3ft tank.

    It does best in water with tannins, floating plants and a dark substrate. The rest of the tank set-up does not seem to affect the fish, and can be arranged to suit the other inhabitants.

    It is often confused with hatchetfish.
    There are 9 species of hatchetfish, in 3 genera of freshwater hatchetfish.
    4 are in the aquarium trade:
    Carnegiella marthae - black-winged hatchet/ Marthae Silver Hatchet - 3cm & dark toward top of fish & fins
    Carnegiella strigata - marbled hatchet - 3.5cm & with diagonal dark stripes
    Gasteropelecus levis - Silver hatchet - 3.5cm
    Gasteropelecus sternicla - Common hatchet/ Silver hatchet - 7cm

    As with hatchetfish, its inverted pectoral fins allow it to swim extremely swiftly, and turn more sharply than many other species, giving it an advantage in both hunting prey and avoiding predators. It spends the majority of its time without moving, hiding at the surface amongst the plants.

    Pantodon buchholzi are legal imports to Australia as of 20/10/2013:

    The IUCN Red List reports Pantodon buchholzi as a species of least concern with an unknown population trend at 20/10/2013:

    It is very important not to release any aquarium specimens into our waterways. Any that are not sold or re-homed/ given away, can often be re-sold to aquarium stores. If they are homed in ponds, care should be taken that they cannot escape in run-off into our waterways. Even if fish are native & local they should not be moved from one waterway to another, as this can transfer disease. If they are not local fish, they can both spread disease and either out-compete or eat local fish, shrimp & plants, causing their demise.

    It is a good fish for people with some basic experience.

    Relevant threads:

    Photo thanks to Too Many Choices
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