The African Butterfly fish (Pantodon buchholzi) is a unique and fascinating freshwater fish from Africa. Recommended for intermediate to advanced aquarists due to water parameter requirements (temp, pH and Hardness), diet and size. Minimum tank 150 litres, adult size up to 13 cm.
It is also known as the Freshwater Butterflyfish and is not to be confused with saltwater butterflyfish. The Butterfly fish was Introduced to European aquarists in 1905 and is the only member of its species, and its family. The Freshwater Butterflyfish is called a “Butterfly fish” because when seen from above, its widespread pectoral fins look just like the decorative wings of a butterfly. These fins are a silvery brownish green and patterned with dark markings. They are very pretty, but are also a wonderful feature for this fish. They help this fish leap from the water to capture terrestrial insects from above the surface. When these large fins are spread out, they allow this fish to glide short distances across the surface of the water. This is very much in the same manner as the saltwater flying fish.
Behaviour Butterflyfish are predator type fish, found in weedy pools of slow moving waters. There they will lie at the surface, almost motionless, waiting for unsuspecting prey to pass by.
Tank Conditions It’s very important to get a long tank instead of a tall one. These fish will spend almost all of their time near the surface of the water, so any space below them won’t get much use. Butterflyfish are used to areas with a significant amount of vegetation, and they spend a lot of time using these plants to hide. Some floating aquarium plants are a good choice for this. Anything that grows mostly at the bottom of their tank won’t be used very much since these fish spend most of their time near the surface.
It’s important to make sure you don’t have a current in their tank as well. Find filtration and pumps that allow you to run what you need without stirring up the water. African Butterfly Fish like their water to be calm!
A cover on your tank is an absolute MUST as these fish are jumpers.
Compatibility They can be relatively peaceful if kept with similar sized and larger tank mates. Avoid keeping them with smaller top dwelling fish as they may try to eat smaller fish that feed on the surface, such as hatchet fish. Steer clear of any fin-nipping fish too. The long dangling fins of a Freshwater Butterfly Fish make very tempting targets!
The following can be good tank mates: Nerite Snails, Cory Catfish, Bristlenose Pleco and Kuhli Loach.
Feeding Butterflyfish are omnivores, so provide a varied diet with live food, frozen food and flake food. They really enjoy small insects such as small live crickets (feed every few days) and they will even take them out of your hand with a little training.
Care Maintaining the proper water parameters is one of the most important aspects of African Butterfly Fish care. This species can only thrive in very specific conditions that need to be as stable and consistent as possible. Since this species can be very sensitive to their water parameters (temperature, pH and hardness) in their tank, it’s important to monitor these levels closely. This isn’t a fish where you can check in whenever you feel like it. Instead, have a schedule and test these parameters consistently. Get a reliable testing kit that will give you accurate readings and use it regularly (we suggest doing this every two days).
|Adult Size:||13 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate to Advanced|
|Minimum Tank Size:||150 litres|
|Temperament:||Peaceful, good community fish|
|Tank Level:||Top dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Aquarium Hardiness:||Moderately Hardy, sensitive to water Parameters|
|Lifespan:||5 – 6 Years|
|Water Flow:||Slow to none|
|Temperature:||24 to 30°C|
|pH:||6.5 to 7 (very important)|