African Butterfly Fish: A Complete Guide

African butterfly fish require a tightly covered aquarium and peaceful tank mates. They can grow up to 5 inches in size.

African butterfly fish are unique and fascinating fish that can add a touch of exoticism to your aquarium. However, if you plan on keeping them, you need to be mindful of their tank requirements and the kind of tank mates they can coexist with. Also known as the freshwater butterflyfish, these fish are known for their ability to “fly” above the water and capture prey. In this article, we will discuss everything from the african butterfly fish’s ideal tank conditions to their diet and compatible tank mates. By the end, you should have a better understanding of these beautiful fish and whether or not they’re the right addition to your aquarium.


African butterfly fish are stunning freshwater creatures known for their unique appearance and tranquil behavior. If you’re planning to take care of one of these fascinating creatures, you need to make sure that you provide them with the right care and environment.

Water Parameters And Temperature Requirements

Maintaining the perfect water conditions is crucial for the health and well-being of an african butterfly fish.

  • Water ph: 6. 5-7.
  • Water hardness: 5-15 dgh
  • Water temperature: 75-82°f
  • Tank size requirement: at least 30 gallons for adult butterfly fish

Feeding Requirements And Frequency

Like any other fish, african butterfly fish require a well-balanced diet that meets their nutritional needs.

  • Feed them high-quality pellets, flakes, or live/frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia.
  • Offer a small amount of food twice daily, but do not overfeed as it can lead to bloating and other health issues.

Tank Maintenance And Cleaning Tips

Regular tank maintenance is essential to keep the tank environment healthy and clean.

  • Conduct a 25% water change every two weeks or a 50% water change each month.
  • Use a siphon to clean the substrate and remove uneaten food and waste.
  • Clean the filter monthly to ensure proper functioning.

Common Health Issues And Their Treatments

African butterfly fish are generally healthy and robust, but they can also be vulnerable to some common health conditions.

  • Fin rot: treat with an antibacterial medication and improve water quality.
  • Ich: treat with an anti-parasitic medication, and ensure good water quality.
  • Bacterial infections: treat with antibiotics and improve water quality.

Suitable Tank Decoration And Hiding Spots

Creating a natural and comfortable environment for your butterfly fish is important for their overall well-being.

  • Use live plants such as amazon sword, java moss, and water wisteria.
  • Add rocks, caves, and driftwoods to offer hiding spots for the fish.
  • Avoid adding sharp objects or decorations that could injure the fish.

If you provide them with the right environment and care, african butterfly fish make for a fantastic addition to your aquarium. Follow the above tips, and you’ll be on your way to providing a healthy and happy life for your butterfly fish.

Tank Mates

African butterfly fish make for an outstanding addition to any aquarium, thanks to their unique appearance and playful personality. When it comes to keeping these exotic fish, one must be mindful of their compatibility with other tank mates. In this section, we will cover everything you need to know about african butterfly fish’s tank mates.

Compatible Fish Species

Here are some fish species that can live harmoniously with african butterfly fish:

  • Angelfish
  • Gouramis
  • Corydoras catfish
  • Tetras
  • Swordtails
  • Mollies

Compatibility With Invertebrates

Invertebrates are not recommended as tank mates for african butterfly fish since they consider them as a meal. These fish have a keen hunting instinct that can result in their invertebrate tank mate’s demise.

Unsuitable Tank Mates And Why

The african butterfly fish are not compatible with all fish species due to their territorial nature.

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  • Bettas, as they are also very territorial and aggressive, causing conflict and stress in the aquarium
  • Small fish and fry, as african butterfly fish view them as prey
  • Shrimp, snails, and other invertebrates, as mentioned earlier

Tips For Introducing New Tank Mates

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind when introducing new tank mates to your african butterfly fish:

  • Always quarantine new fish for a few weeks before adding them to the main aquarium to prevent introducing diseases
  • Add new fish during feeding time when the african butterfly fish is focused on eating, making them less aggressive towards newcomer
  • Add a new hiding spot or two to the aquarium to provide both old and new fish with a refuge to feel safer.
  • Observe the fish for the first few days to watch out for any aggressive behavior. If any conflict arises, remove the newcomer immediately.

Selecting the right tank mates is crucial for successful african butterfly fish care. Keeping these guidelines in mind will help maintain a peaceful environment in your aquarium, ensuring a happy home for all your aquatic creatures.

Size And Lifespan

African butterfly fish, also known as freshwater butterfly fish or butterfly fish, are popular pets due to their unique appearance and fascinating behavior. These fish are native to africa and are a part of the family of fish known as anabantidae.

If you are considering getting an african butterfly fish, it is essential to understand the size, growth timeline, and lifespan of the fish to provide them with the appropriate care.

Average Size And Lifespan Of African Butterfly Fish

  • African butterfly fish’s average size ranges from 3-5 inches in length.
  • Their lifespan is 4-5 years in captivity.
  • With proper care, some fish may live up to seven years.

Factors Affecting Growth And Lifespan

  • Water temperature, quality, and ph levels can affect the growth and lifespan of african butterfly fish.
  • Overcrowding, poor nutrition, and stressful living conditions can lead to stunted growth and shorter lifespan.

How To Determine The Fish’S Gender

  • African butterfly fish are tricky to determine their gender.
  • Males may have a dark spot or vertical line on their anal fin, while females do not.
  • The male also tends to be larger than the female.

Growth Timeline And Milestones

  • At six weeks, fry are starting to grow and develop their pectoral fins.
  • At three months, their dorsal and anal fins develop.
  • At six months, they fully mature.

Knowing the essential information about african butterfly fish’s size and lifespan is crucial before getting them as pets. Factors that affect their growth and gender identification are also important to learn to provide them with the proper care. Following these guidelines will help ensure a healthy, happy fish, and a happy fish owner.

What Are the Key Elements of an African Butterfly Fish Habitat?

A developing axolotl habitat has several key elements crucial for an African butterfly fish’s living conditions. These include a warm water temperature ranging from 75-82°F, plenty of vegetation for hiding and spawning, ample space for swimming and exploring, and a well-maintained water quality with balanced pH levels. These elements create an ideal habitat for the African butterfly fish to thrive and flourish.


African butterfly fish are fascinating creatures that are known for their unique appearance and behavior in an aquarium. For those looking to breed these fish, there are a few requirements and considerations to keep in mind. In this section, we will cover everything you need to know about breeding african butterfly fish.

Requirements For Breeding African Butterfly Fish:

  • A separate breeding tank should be set up, as the male can become territorial during the mating process.
  • The water in the breeding tank should be kept at a temperature between 75-82°f and have a ph level between 6. 0-7. 5.
  • Dense vegetation, such as floating plants, should be present in the tank to provide hiding places for the female during the mating process.
  • A flat surface, such as a leaf or a sponge, should be available for the female to lay her eggs on.
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Mating Behavior And Courtship Rituals:

  • The male african butterfly fish will begin to show an interest in mating by chasing and circling the female fish.
  • Once the female is ready to mate, the male will lead her to the chosen site where she can lay her eggs.
  • The male fish will fertilize the eggs as they are being laid, and the female will collect them on the flat surface provided.
  • The entire mating process can take up to several hours.

Incubation Period Of The Eggs:

  • The eggs will typically hatch after 2-3 days, depending on the temperature of the water.
  • Once the eggs are hatched, the fry will cling to the vegetation in the tank for several days until they are able to swim freely.
  • It is important to remove the female from the breeding tank once the eggs are laid to prevent her from eating the eggs or the fry.

Caring For The Fry After Hatching:

  • The fry should be fed small amounts of food, such as brine shrimp or finely crushed fish flakes, several times a day.
  • Water changes should be conducted frequently to maintain the cleanliness of the tank and ensure the health of the fry.
  • Once the fry are able to swim on their own, they should be moved to a separate tank to prevent them from being eaten by other mature fish in the main aquarium.

Breeding african butterfly fish can be a rewarding experience for aquarium enthusiasts. By providing the right environment and care, you can successfully breed these unique and beautiful fish.

Frequently Asked Questions On African Butterfly Fish: Care, Tank Mates, Size & More

What Is An African Butterfly Fish And How Big Do They Get?

African butterfly fish is a freshwater fish with distinct large pectoral fins. They usually grow up to 5 inches in length.

How Do I Take Care Of An African Butterfly Fish?

African butterfly fish requires a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spaces. They prefer still water and require a warm temperature between 75-80°f.

What Should I Feed My African Butterfly Fish?

African butterfly fish is a carnivorous fish that feeds on insects, small crustaceans, and small fish. Provide them with live or frozen food such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Can African Butterfly Fish Coexist With Other Fish Species?

African butterfly fish is not aggressive, but they are predatory and may prey on small fish. They are best kept in a species-only tank or with large, peaceful fish.

How Do I Breed African Butterfly Fish?

Breeding african butterfly fish in an aquarium is challenging. They require specialized conditions, such as low water level and a temperature increase. It is best left to experienced aquarists.


African butterfly fish can make for excellent and unique additions to your aquarium. However, they require a bit more attention and specialized care than some other more common fish species. Keeping their tank clean, providing a varied and appropriate diet, and ensuring they have an appropriate tank and tank mates are all key factors in their overall health and wellbeing.

With some attention and care, african butterfly fish can provide a lot of joy and entertainment in your aquarium. Just remember to always do your research and consult with a professional if needed to ensure the best possible care for your aquatic friends.

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