Feeding African Butterfly Fish

I am working on trying to spawn the African butterfly fish (Pantodon buccholzi) again.  This is one of my favorite oddball fish.  Obtaining a good pair has been a challenge.  Most of the fish that are imported are half starved to death.  Their bodies are very bony, however, so it is not easy to tell if they are thin or not.  Feeding them is pretty easy to do, however, unless the fish are so starved that they will not longer eat at all.  If wholesalers would do nothing more than toss a handful of small crickets on top of the water the morning after the fish arrive, then we would see a lot healthier butterflies in the stores.

The male in this video I have had for about a year, but the female is a new arrival.  This is the first healthy female I have found in a store since getting the male.  I have seen lots of males, and a few dying females.  The way to determine gender it to look at the anal fin.  A male looks like it has two of them, a long one under a short one.  A female looks like it has only one anal fin.  Mature females are also larger and heavier than males.  I condition the pair by feeding them live crickets, about a dozen small crickets in a week.  I usually feed them very heavily twice a week.  I have not found a limit to the number of crickets they will eat in a meal!  Here is a video of them being fed.  Enjoy!

5 Replies to “Feeding African Butterfly Fish”

  1. I had a pair in the mid 80’s that laid large floating eggs. THe males have a notched anal fin while the females do not. I fed them crickets that I gut fed carrots etc to boost the crickets nutritional value. Unfortunately I had no way to separate and care for the spawn.

    Just an FYI – wingless fruitflies are also a great food item (less chitin) for many fishes (bettas etc).


  2. ..sorry to continue- mealworms are probably too much chitin and you should stick to something more relateable to their diet (homepterans) or if needbe crickets.

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