African Butterflyfish Care Guide & Species Profile

The African butterflyfish is a freshwater fish of the Pantodontidae household and also is the only family member and also varieties. These surface-residing fish differ in shade, varying from brownish to environment-friendly to grey. The air-breathing, triple-jawed fish are frequently described as living fossils since the fish have actually stayed unmodified for numerous years. African butterflyfish have actually lately obtained appeal with aquarists due to the fish’s one-of-a-kind look.

African Butterflyfish Information & & Introduction

freshwater butterfly fish

Taxonomic name Pantodon buchholzi
Usual names African butterflyfish, freshwater butterfly fish
Circulation West Africa
Dimension 4– 5 inches long
Life span 5– 6 years
Shade Brownish, grey, or environment-friendly varicolored pattern
Diet Regimen Insectivore
Character Semi hostile
Minimum container dimension 40 gallons
Temperature Level: 75– 86 °F( 23– 28 °C)
pH 6.5– 7.0
Solidity 8– 12 dGH
Treatment degree Advanced
Reproduction Egg scatterer


The African butterflyfish is normally happening in still, superficial lake water in West Africa. These fish are frequently located in the Congo Container, Cameroon, Ogooue, Lake Chad, and also the Lower Niger and also Upper Zambezi rivers. Smaller sized populaces of these fish can be located in the Lower Ogun, Niger Delta, and also Lower Cross rivers.

Grownup Dimension & & Life-span

In the wild, African butterflyfish mature to 5 inches long. In bondage, these fish are smaller sized, with an ordinary size of 4 inches. The typical life-span of this fish is 5 years however, with correct treatment, aquarists can expand fish life-spans as much as ten years.


Women African butterflyfish expand longer and also larger than men and also have a wide unbroken rectal fin. The male fish’s rectal fin is divided right into 2 areas with the reduced section being longer than the top part of the fin.


The African butterflyfish is easily offered in a lot of pet shops. The fish expense from $10 to $25 each– typically a lot more costly than various other freshwater fish. The varieties can be acquired online at Aqua-Imports, Nobility Aquatic and also Pet Dogs, and also LiveAquaria

Look & & Habits

African butterflyfish are largely less active and also occupy the leading areas of fish tanks. This habits assists the fish in searching for food. These fish have deep bodies that are level on the top. The pectoral fin’s winged form offers the butterflyfish its name.


Color Styles, Patterns, Fins, and also Sex Distinctions

African butterflyfish are brownish, grey, or environment-friendly with a discovered pattern that aids them assimilate with plant.

When watched from above, the wide pectoral fins appear like a butterfly. The pectoral fins are attractive, comparable to a butterfly’s wings, and also permit the fish to leap out of the water to capture victim. African butterflyfish have huge back fins and also average-sized rectal and also dorsal fins. The caudal, rectal, and also dorsal fins are all a little transparent with equally spaced dark lines.

The butterflyfish are killers and also their framework sustains their surface-dwelling searching habits. Their eyes and also mouths angle upwards, which aids these fish see and also record victim.

Men have fractional rectal fins with a tiny top area and also a big, reduced convex area. The women fish have single rectal fins with a directly reduced side.

Regular Habits

African butterflyfish are primarily stationary unless they’re searching. The fish quickly record their victim and afterwards dart away to consume it. These butterflyfish are quick swimmers when needed. When they are not searching, the fish remain motionless listed below the surface area of the water, concealed by drifting plant.

Butterflyfish are territorial and also will certainly deal with various other fish that attack their area. This varieties have to be coupled with similar-sized fish since butterflyfish will certainly consume smaller sized fish.

African Butterflyfish Treatment & & Container Demands

freshwater butterfly fish

African butterflyfish are challenging to take care of since they require unique treatment and also have unstable actions.

Normally meat-eating, this varieties prospers when fed a diet plan of real-time pests numerous times daily. The fish can be fed cockroaches, crawlers, flies, and also earthworms. Insects are likewise chosen.

Environment and also Container Demands

Fresh water African butterflyfish demand soft or a little acidic water. A long, broad, superficial fish tank with enough surface and also drifting plant gives one of the most appropriate environment for these killer fish.

The fish delay near the surface area for victim, and also drifting plant gives the fish with required security while the butterflyfish pursues. African butterflyfish need a lidded container since the fish are outstanding jumpers.


Container Problems

The African butterflyfish ought to be housed in a 40-gallon superficial container loaded with a little acidic water and also drifting plants.

  • Water kind: Soft, a little acidic
  • Storage tank dimension: Minimum 40 gallons (151 litres)
  • Water temperature level: 75– 86ºF (23– 28 °C)
  • Substratum: Any Type Of
  • Storage tank configuration: Plants
  • Level Of Acidity: 6.5– 7.0 pH
  • Water solidity: 8– 12 dGH
  • Filter: Yes, at the end of the container over the substratum
  • Bubbler: No

African butterflyfish need an effective container filter that can maintaining the container water tidy without developing water activity. The filter must be at the base of the container to guarantee it will not trouble the butterflyfish. Transforming 20% of the water weekly is advised.


African butterflyfish are prone to microbial infections, skin flukes, parasitical invasions, ichthyobodo infection, and also microbial conditions. This varieties is durable and also does not catch conditions in a properly maintained environment.

Completely tidy brand-new container aspects– fish, plants, substratum, and also decors– prior to including them to the butterflyfish’s container to stay clear of presenting conditions and also interrupting the ecological community. Quarantining enhancements prior to including them to the container is one more method to dissuade illness in the fish tank. If an episode is identified early, the variety of fish contaminated can be restricted due to this varieties’ durability.


Stress and anxiety is an usual reason for illness. If the fish are uneasy in their environment, they are most likely to create conditions with time. To stay clear of anxiety, maintain the superficial container tidy with soft, a little acidic, stationary water, bottom-dwelling tankmates, and also drifting plant.

Container Companions

The African butterflyfish is a great container friend for fish that swim in all-time low or center of the fish tank. This fish can be hostile to tiny fish and also fish that swim at surface area degree. Fin-nipping fish produce a difficult setting for the butterflyfish.

Although butterflyfish sometimes consume shellfishes in the wild, both varieties typically exist side-by-side in bondage since they occupy contrary components of the fish tank.

Terrific container friends for African butterflyfish consist of:


  • Elephant nose fish
  • Catfish
  • Blade fish
  • West African cichlid (medium-sized)
  • Rope fish
  • Bristlenose and also rubber lip plecos
  • Kuhli loach
  • Congo tetra

Diet Regimen and also Feeding

African butterflyfish are normally meat-eating and also feed upon a diet plan of water pests, water larvae, and also insect fairies. The very best diet regimen for this fish in bondage is one that imitates the butterflyfish’s diet regimen in nature.

Feed your African butterflyfish a protein-rich diet regimen 2 to 4 times daily of real-time pests and also feeder fish that drift externally. Prevent pellets and also flakes. Hold food at surface area degree with forceps to feed the butterflyfish if the food does not drift.


African butterflyfish are challenging to reproduce. Reduced the water degree to 6– 8 inches, feed both real-time foods, and also lower the water temperature level in the container to urge spawning.

When generating starts, the lady will certainly create 3 to 7 eggs in each breeding pass, and also the white eggs will instantly drift to the surface area. Both can create greater than 100 eggs a day.


After generating, instantly eliminate the eggs from the container so the moms and dads do not consume the eggs. The eggs dim over the very first 24-hour and also will certainly hatch out within the week.

Child butterflyfish have underdeveloped fins and also do not consume unless food is straight before their mouths. Older and also bigger butterflyfish consume smaller sized weak brother or sisters, and also this can drastically lower the variety of fry.

Feed African butterflyfish fry salt water shrimp and also daphnia. Regularly eliminate leftover food that is up to all-time low of the container to make certain the fry’s health and wellness does not weaken.

Should You Obtain an African Butterflyfish for Your Fish tank?

freshwater butterfly fish

African butterflyfish are difficult freshwater fish to take care of and also the varieties needs a particular environment to grow.

If your container does not consist of tiny fin-nipping fish that dwell near the surface area, the African butterflyfish will certainly make a fantastic enhancement to your container. These fish make magnificent fish tank enhancements that place on a program by leaping out of the water and also moving via the air.

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