Your New African Butterflyfish
Inside scoop from Aqualand on Pantodon buchholtzi
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Origin. As the name implies, these guys come from Africa -- Nigeria, Zaire, and the Cameroon (All with excellent soccer teams, coincidence? The jury is still out). In spite of the name, we saw one source on the web that says the African butterflyfish comes from South America. Well, they are close but not quite the same continent.
Breeding. Nobody breeds Pantodon buchholtzis around here, but it does not sound that hard. Betcha you could do it in a thirty with floating watersprite. The Italians say molto difficile, but we doubt that. First you need a male and a female butterflyfish. Condition (fatten) them in separate tanks. Many references say they dont get along together very well. So separate yours. They mix well with most other community fishes. You sex them by the difference in their anal fins. Put your male and female together once they plump up, then raise the water level and the temp about five degrees. The pair can probably figure it out from there. Remove them after they spawn. It would likely help to lower the water at this time. Use sponge filtration.
Feeding the Fry. Adult butterflyfish and their babies spend 99% of their time at the surface. Start the larvae on live newly hatched brine shrimp. Put a light bulb at one end to attract the phototropic shrimp to the surface. Add large snails to keep their tank clean.
Butterflyfish Colors. You gotcher basic brown and variations thereto. Sort of like Whistlers mother. Darker gravel darkens them right up.
Foods. Neon tetras rank at the fore of their fave food folio. As you might expect by looking at their mouths, these guys dine at the waters surface. Fishes that swim midstream or at the bottom need not worry. Also, fishes larger than neon tetras need not worry. On the other hand, butterflyfish could quickly clean out a heavy infestation of sub-adult zebra danios.
Good Eye Action. Seems that butterflyfish can see stuff above, below, and at the surface of the water. Theoretically, they can leap up and snag flying insects. Weve never seen this or had one eat out of our fingers. They do like occasional crickets, mealworms, and other floating insects. And, they do like freeze-dried foods that float -- especially plankton. They accept flake foods as well. They love wax worms also.
Keep Covered. Any fish that lives at the surface is obviously spending a great deal of time thinking about jumping out. Some reports say butterflyfish can jump six feet. That sounds like another fish story, but they do need a good cover.
Last Word. Like many fishes, butterflyfish seem to do better when you add salt to their water -- one teaspoon per gallon. And, contrary to the old clichι, butterflies are not free.
Laura Eagle, Brooklyn, NY, April 7, 2011
A: I'm surprised she didn'y snack on all your little galay pasboras and shrimp. Sounds like you're keeping her very well fed now. I'll add your report to my butterfly page. LA
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