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Pantodon buchholzi
African Butterfly Fish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > African Butterfly Fish - Pantodon buchholzi

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Pantodon_buchholzi_1.jpg (8kb)
Photo Credit: Phil

I love this fish. Although you won't see this guy winning any beauty pageants, he is by far my favorite fish in the tank. He looks mean, with an attitude to match. A predator of the upper realm of the tank, he usually doesn't bother any of the other fishes that inhabit the waters below him. Feeding time is a different story. When I put flake food into the tank, he is the first one at it, and attempts to put as much as possible at one time into his gargantuan mouth. Any other fish attempting to feed from the top of the tank at this time becomes a potential meal. He will try to fit other tank mates into his mouth, regardless of size. He has been trying to make a meal out of my three danios for quite some time now. He loves insects as well, and usually consumes any type of insect that I drop into the tank, although care should be taken as to what you feed your little guy. I would definitely recommend this fish to anyone looking for something "different" to add to the community.

Contributed by Roberto Diaz

I have an African Butterfly Fish who resides in my cichlid tank. He is always at the front of the tank as soon as I open the lid :). When feeding him I have noticed that the food must float right past his eyes or he dosen't get it, any food in front of his mouth goes unnoticed. I feed my fish a wide variety of foods, but unless it floats right past his eyes he loses out. Then I thought I would try to hand feed him the goodies that everyone else he is my best buddy! I hold earthworms, feeder fish, small krill, pieces of cocktail shrimp...he readily accepts anything I offer him...cichlid gold pellets are also served and readily accepted as a staple. So to anyone who has trouble feeding this guy...just remember that the food should be on either side of his head. (Especially in a tank like mine where there is MUCH competition for food).

Contributed by Richard Serwood

I have had an African Butterfly fish for about 10 months now. I saw it and fell in love with it and had to have it. Not knowing anything about the fish, I took the store owner´s advise and bought some quite expensive "special" food. I have since found that it will eat anything that floats past it and it now gets the same food as the rest of the tank. Unlike the other entries, mine has never tried to jump out, even though it has open areas to do so. Maybe this is because it has both live and plastic plants, long enough to float on the surface, in which to hide in. I have also never had a problem with it bothering any of my other fish. Overall a fun fish to watch and an easy one to keep.

Contributed by Barbara D'Amico

I've got an 8 cm Butterfly fish who shares a 250 liter corner tank with a Tetra based community. I've seen no fact he hangs with his buds - the Silver and Marble Hatchetfish - in fact he's their big brother. Voracious yes, grumpy yes, aggressive no. Quite happy with everyone else in the tank. One thing I can recommend is Duck Weed. It seems to prevent aerial fish like Butterflies and Hatchets from taking soujourns through the air. I have a hood on my tank but I think it's the weed that prevents them from getting right up to the top of the water and getting into a "launch" position. It offers some security to them too. Salvinia or something similar may do just as well. My guess is they treat your tank like a hotel if they aren't happy. The weed occupies only about 6 mm or about a 1/4" on the surface but I've yet to have any swan dives out of my tank. I guess Butterflies are just like people...there are bad Butterflies and there are good Butterflies :D

Contributed by Craeg Bennett

I think I may have a reason why Butterflies find it hard to locate prey items on the water surface. I thought about their apparent lack of awareness and I think they rely on their very flat dorsal region and the water's suface to transmit the ripples of a struggling victim. I'm guessing they are a still water fish. How did I work this out? Well, my airpump died and I don't run my spray bar on the surface, so the water in my tank was glassy on top when I dropped dinner in, (a cricket). Can you say Jaws? :D When I resucitated my air pump suddenly my Butterfly went back into dormancy when it was tucker time. I know this creates some hassles O2 and circulation wise if you have a still tank, but if you want to pander to your drawbridge mouthed terror...find a way. You don't see the real predator they are when you deny them one of their primary senses.

Contributed by Craeg Bennett

One of the best, most fun fish I have ever been lucky enough to keep. I had five in an African River setup. I was quite lucky in that I had the tank (a 1.5 meter) near an outside window next to the porch. The outside light ensured there were always numbers of moths and the like in the area and the light of the tank proved irresistible to many insects, especially moths. I have to admit it was a little macabre when something fell into the tank and they went after it - lots of flapping and splashing sounds (try explaining this to dinner-guests). I left the water level a few cm shy of the top so that one could watch them in action. I had several clumps of water lettuce that acted as cover. I am always reminded of the Lost World scene of the Raptors hunting in the grass ;-). When there were no insects (surprising here in Africa) around, packaged meal worms worked very well.

Contributed by Hammond C.

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