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Abramites hypselonotus
Marbled Headstander, High-Backed Head Stander

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Marbled Headstander - Abramites hypselonotus

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Abramites_hypselonotus_1.jpg (22kb)
Photo Credit: Luís Mühlen

Name: Abramites hypselonotus
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: South America
14 cm 100 L 6.8 25°C


I own four of the marbled headstanders or abramites headstanders. They are peaceful, but as adults they become nippy. They will pick at other fish or just at each others fins. Other than that they are good fish and can be mixed with a variety of fish.

Contributed by Jordan

I have a Marbled Headstander, he's a definte conversation piece! He swims standing on his head (straight up and down). Sometimes shy, he can be semi-aggressive, especially with smaller fish.

Contributed by Aunrie Colwell

Abramites are peaceful coomunity fish, I've found. Provide driftwood for shelter, as they like to hover under cover for short periods. In my tank they were almost as destructive to plants as silver dollars are. Eat anthing but go burko over raw lettuce and zucchini.

Contributed by Alex Koklas

I've recently had one of these Headstanders in my 200 L tank with Angels, Bala Sharks, and Rainbow Fish. I was told that he would get along fine with everything in there, but low and behold my Angel's tail was getting shorter and shorter every day, all thanks to my headstander. I decided to get rid of him thanks to this, and he is now living happily in my friend's cichlid tank (probably the only fish in there that is happy) My experience with this fish has proven that it is very nippy and shouldn't be kept with fish with nice long fins.

Contributed by Ryan Mahe

I have one marble headstander fish in my community tank with all types of fish and they are peaceful towards other fish. I have no problems with marbled headstander fin nipping other fish except towards my other headstander (striped headstander - Anostomus anostomus). They do chew my plants quite a bit.

Contributed by Josh Hansen

Marbled headstander is a peaceful community fish to a wide range of fish. However it's not too peaceful to other headstanders, e.g. it chases the Anostomus anostomus over space. The marbled headstander tends to swim facing downwards. However the drawback of this fish is the little nibbling of the plants on java ferns and swords, but they do not destroy the plant completely. They will destroy the really soft plants.

Contributed by Josh Hansen

I have had 2 of these fish in a 75 L tank for almost 14 years. At first they were in there with some Apistogramma cichlids and Corydoras sp. catfish, but these eventually died. The headstanders used to be nippy but seem to have outgrown this habit. They were only aggressive towards the dominant male cichlid, which competed with them for cave space under the prime piece of driftwood. They pretty much ignored the catfish. Nowadays the headstanders frequently ram each other in the flanks but don't take chunks out of each other's fins anymore. That said, they are very destructive to all aquatic plants, especially Echinodorus. They even bruised their mouths trying to bite plastic plants when I tried them in the tank. I have been feeding the headstanders mostly lettuce, broccoli leaves, dandelions, rocket (arugula), kale, etc., all of which they love. They also really like blueberries (broken in half so that they can bite them properly) and sinking catfish pellets. If I were going to start out with headstanders again, I would choose a bigger tank (my fish are nearly 20 cm long now) and try to assemble a school of them. They are schooling fish in the wild, and a school would have increased the chances of them breeding. I have not seen any report of them being bred in captivity, despite having kept an eye on literature about them for some time now. After such a long time together under varied aquarium conditions (12 years of rainwater/melted snow, 1.5 years of relatively soft tap water) I would have expected to see more than just what seem like sexual/aggressive displays (parallel swimming, all fins extended, gaping mouths, shaking) at water changes, but then again I could have two of one sex or just not have found the right breeding trigger yet. . .

Contributed by S. Scharf

I had 4 of them for about 2 weeks. They attacked my 10 Gouramies with a vengeance. Continually harrassing them and nipping at their fins. I had 4 gouramies die in the first week, so I had to get rid of the headstanders before they could attack again. Mine were very aggressive. They were also voracious plant eaters.

Contributed by Steve Johnson

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