Name: Pantodon buchholzi
Origin: West Africa
The butterfly fish has been known in the hobby for over 90 years, but has never been available in large numbers. Tankmates should be chosen carefully as the Butterfly fish is a predator with a reasonably sized mouth. This fish may accept pellets and flake food, but is mainly carnivorous so prefers live food, freeze-dried or frozen foods. The Butterfly fish is a surface dweller which should be provided with open areas free of vegetation, although some floating plants can be used. Also a tight fitting cover is required to stop these fish from jumping out. This species is aggressive towards other surface dwelling creatures, but mid-water and bottom dwellers are usually ignored. The water in the tank should be soft and slightly acid with tannin-stained water by the means of a 'peat sandwich' in a cannister or box filter. Similar results can be obtained by using 'blackwater' preparations.
I was introduced to these striking fish some three years ago and imediately added a pair to one of my aquariums. Just looking at them, you can tell that they are jumpers so I made extra sure that all open areas were covered to prevent them jumping out. I ran out of crickets one evening and decided that I would collect several moths from under the light on my front porch. After collecting a couple of juicy moths, I returned to find that they BOTH jumped from the tank! I returned them into the water and it didn't look good. So the pair ended up in my heated pond in the basement of my house. To make a long story short, where most fish would have expired, these tough old birds made a full recovery. I now keep a dozen in that pond, and one in each of my angel fish breeding tanks. (another benefit!) I had a young pair of blue veils start to eat the eggs of their second spawn. When I introduced the butterfly fish, They imediately began to guard the eggs and actually hatched out and raised a fair spawn. I usually raise the spawn myself but at that particular time, all of my brooding tanks were full, but I wanted some young from this splendid pair. If you keep the butterfly fish well fed, they are no problem at all (They don't eat eggs, but they WILL eat anything else that will fit in their mouths). The group I keep in my pond are over 4 inches now. You suggest water conditions fit for discus but my group does well in the pond which, believe it or not, has a more basic pH of 7.2 and water that is just slightly hard.
I noticed that they are very active...I nave danios/neons...he does not bother the other fish. They are picky...only found crickets he likes...and very active at night and a cover is required they will glide out.
With my very first tank - a small 2 footer - I decided to get a butterfly fish. Let me say that this fish has personality, a huge appetite and a penchant to jump/fly straight out of the tank. I named him "Hannibal" because he cleaned out my collection of tetras in the space of a week - all except for a happy neon named Joe. Unfortunately he flew out of the tank and Hannibal went the way of all dead fish, straight to the toilet. However let me at least say that aside from my Bristlenose, he was by far my favourite fish. A warning however, they have a mouth like a trapdoor and will attempt to put most objects in the tank into it. As well, please make sure your tank is completely covered, these guys will try and fly a few missions every day and statistics will tell you that even the smallest hole will eventually be found. In any case, an absolutely fantastic pet.
My butterfly fish is way cool. It's in with discus and an angel fish, also a biker eel and some other nice fish. What a lovely fish it is, the high light of my tank. Mean while it has grown well in my pH of 7.2 or so. Good friends with my kribs.
I got my first African Butterfly fish about 2 years ago and it was the nicest fish in my tank. It never got close to touching any of the other fish in there. It seemed to like flake food to me. I would recommend this fish to anybody that likes change in the tank...very elegant fish.