Butterfly fish | Pantodon buchholzi
Others / Pantodontidae / Butterfly fish
Profile: Butterfly fish
Pantodon buchholzi Synonyms: None
Physical description: The butterfly fish is bird-shaped with a flat dorsal surface. The wing-like pectoral fins are very large when compared with overall body size. The large mouth points toward the surface. The base body color is brown with an irregular pattern of white and black spots and stripes.
Size/Length: 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Slow and still moving water with dense shore vegetation in West Africa; Nigeria, Cameroon, and Zaire.
Aquarium: A 30" (76 cm) or 20-25 gallon (95 L) tank is sufficient. Use a cover of floating plants and dim lighting. The tank should be arranged in dark colors and heavily planted. There should be 4-6" (10-15 cm) of space left between the surface and the tank lid. A tight-fitting cover is required for this species which prefers a shallow tank with a large surface area.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.5 (6.5); 2-10 dH (3); 75-86°F (24-30°C)
Social behavior: This species should only be kept with larger, peaceful fish of the lower swimming levels. This species may be aggressive towards others of its own species, and is perhaps best kept singly.
Suggested companions: Medium sized Mormyrids, African Knifefish, large Congo Tetras, Synodontis, African tetras, West African cichlids
FOOD: Small fish; insects; flies, spiders, crickets, meal worms; mosquito larvae; brine shrimp; acclimated specimen may accept flakes
Sexual differences: The male has an anal fin with a curved, even cleft, edge; while the female has straight-edged anal fin.
Breeding techniques: The tank should have a pH of 6.5, a water hardness from 8-10 dH, and a temperature from 79-84°F (26-29°C). Adding peat to the filter and feeding the pair a variety of food will help initiate spawning. Three to seven eggs are deposited at each pairing. The eggs float to the surface where they turn black after 10 hours. The fish will spawn a total of 100-250 eggs. Transfer the eggs to a breeding tank. The fry hatch after 36-42 hours and are very difficult to raise. The fry will not chase food, but only eat what passes directly in front of them.
Breeding potential: 8. This species is difficult to breed, and the young are even harder to raise.
REMARKS: A crepuscular species that is active mostly at dusk. The Butterfly fish is well-known for its ability to glide for short distances through the air. When startled this species may leap against the aquarium cover.
Difficulty of care: 6. This species requires frequent partial water changes and a diet including live foods. The Butterfly fish will eat smaller companions and is intolerant of other surface fish. Due to its leaping ability, this species must be kept in tank having a tight-fitting cover.