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Family: Anostomidae

Common Names: Banded Headstander, Banded Leporinus

Origin and Habitat: Amazon River basin (Brazil, Peru, Guyana, Suriname). Occurs in rocky fast-flowing streams and rivers, migrating into the flooded forest during the rainy season.

Compatibility/Temperament: Generally peaceful with fish its size or larger but will eat smaller fish; aggressive to its own species but less so in a group of 6 or more. Prone to fin nip. Eats plants. Not suitable for the average home aquarium.

Banded Leporinus Diet

Omnivorous but primarily a herbivore feeding on algae and plant matter, worms, insects, crustaceans, small fish. Offer live and frozen foods, vegetable matter such as blanched spinach, lettuce, zucchini, cucumber; sinking algae/spirulina prepared foods.


Attains 12 inches.

Minimum Tank Suggestion

48 inches (90 gallon) for one fish, larger for a group.

Water parameters for Banded Leporinus

Soft to medium hard (< 20 dGH), acidic to slightly basic (pH 5.5 to 7.5) water, temperature 22-26C/72-79F.


An interesting and quite attractive fish but one that is not recommended for any but the largest home aquaria. It will be best in a group of six or more, which requires a 7-foot tank or larger. This species is becoming frequently available in stores, and usually with mis-information as to its eventual size and its requirements and traits.

The aquarium requires a rocky substrate with fast water flow from the filter. This fish spends much of its time in the lower third of the aquarium, but a good cover is needed as this fish will readily jump. Live plants should be provided as food, but plants such as Anubias and Java Fern will not be eaten and may be included as decor. There are no external gender differences, although females are generally rounder than males. There are no documented reports of spawnings in aquaria.

The family Anostomidae, the name from the Greek ana (up) and stoma (mouth), contains 12 genera and is widespread over most of South America. Many of the species swim in an oblique head-down position (giving rise to their common name headstanders), and most are herbivores or detritivores. All species possess an adipose fin.

The subject species shares a very close resemblance to L. affinis, with which it is frequently confused. The caudal fin is pointed on L. fasciatus, but rounded on L. affinis. The latter has 9 vertical black bars, whereas L. fasciatus has 10, but this is only reliable on mature fish; the young start out with five bars that divide approximately twice yearly starting at age one until the fish at age 3 has 10 bars; the fish can live to 10 years in the proper environment. The subject species also sometimes has a dusky-red colour to the throat.

Several slight variations in pattern are known in this species which has a wide distribution. Some writers refer to named subspecies, but the names have no validity scientifically. The species L. novemfasciatus described by Spix & Agassiz (1829) is now known to have been L. fasciatus. And L. fasciatus altipinnis, described by Borodin in 1929, was also the same species. Both these names are invalid synonyms for L. fasciatus.

Originally described as Salmo fasciatus by M.E. Bloch in 1794, this species was subsequently moved to the Leporinus genus that was erected by L. Agassiz in 1829. Leporinus comes from the Latin for little hare (rabbit), a reference to the two prominent teeth on the upper lip. The species epithet fasciatus is Latin for banded. This is a large genus, with 94 currently valid species [source: Fishbase].

Contributing Members

The following members have contributed to this profile: Byron


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