- Scientific name: Epalzeorhynchus kallopterus, barbus kallopterus
- Common name: Flying fox fish
- Aquarium size: 200 liters
- Temperament: Territorial and aggressive with the same species
- Temperature: Between 20º and 26ºC
- pH: Between 6 and 7.5
- Diet: Omnivores
- Length: 15 cms
The flying foxfish (Epalzeorhynchus) is a warm-water aquarium fish from the cyprinid family.
It is a very active fish, which is usually indifferent towards other species , although it is quite territorial with others of the same species, becoming aggressive in adulthood.
It is a very elongated fish (fusiform), it can measure 15 centimeters in length . On the belly part it is a bit flattened, although the general appearance is that it is quite cylindrical.
On its head, the most characteristic thing is the mouth is slightly forward, and two pairs of small barbels hang from it. His eyes are located on the sides.
Its most outstanding characteristic, and the one that makes this fish very attractive to the aquarium, is the black band that runs through its entire body , which goes from the eye to the end of its tail fin.
Above the band, the flying foxfish has another golden line that delimits the previous one.
There is some confusion with similar-looking fish, in part attributed to misleading trade names such as «false flying fox» or «Siamese flying fox».
Compared with other species, this fish is easy to differentiate, because its fins have white, red and black borders, in addition to having two pairs of barbels.
Types of Flying Fox fish
As I have commented before, identification errors can occur, because there are three fish that belong to the same genus, with similar morphological characteristics, but which are basically different. It is important that we learn to distinguish between them, because in stores they can be mislabeled.
Siamese flying fox fish
The Siamese flying fox fish is the least sociable of these “fox” fish, it likes to swim alone and is much more aggressive and territorial, and it does not like the consumption of algae, especially red bearded and filamentous ones.
Morphologically, it is distinguished from the flying foxfish, because the black strip that runs through it decreases in thickness when it reaches the tail fin, while in the flying foxfish, the thickness does not decrease.
False Flying Fox fish. Claw fish
The false flying fox, if it eats algae, but not the red ones. Territorial and aggressive, like the rest of the flying fox fish, it is also aggressive even with the females, except during the mating season.
It is distinguished morphologically, because it lacks a black longitudinal band on its fin , while in the other two, it reaches the end of the fish.
If we get to mix them in the aquarium, they could fight to the death.
Distribution and habitat
They are fish native to southern Thailand and the Greater Sunda Islands (Malaysia): Borneo, Java and Sumatra.
In their natural state, they are found in streams and rivers with rocky or sandy substrates, with high amounts of oxygen. They have certain migratory habits, moving to flooded areas in the rainy season.
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Flying Foxes are very hardy, but what they can’t stand is a small aquarium.
They need an aquarium that has at least 200 liters of water , in which we will keep a temperature between 20º and 26ºC, with a pH between 6 and 7.5 (value close to neutral), a water hardness and water hardness between 5 and 12 ° GH. The size of the aquarium is indicative. A larger size may be needed in a community aquarium, where several different fish species coexist. An advice. When we buy a new specimen, we must introduce it with the bag into the aquarium, so that the temperature of the water acclimatizes.
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The aquarium must mimic its natural habitat, a river current. The substrate of the aquarium should be composed of gravel, some sand and larger stones, which can serve as shelter and as markers of their territory.
It should be supplemented with the addition of floating roots and plants. It is a fish that usually feeds on algae, so a bright lighting will be ideal, so that it favors the appearance of algae.
They do not tolerate the accumulation of organic waste well, so it is necessary to ensure a good cleaning of the aquarium, together with a high level of oxygen and a moderate movement of the water, which somewhat imitates the current from which they come.
The flying foxfish is omnivorous, meaning that it can basically consume all kinds of foods , proteins, vegetables and dry foods.
Still, it is recommended to maintain a specific diet, to maintain the general health of the specimens.
What does the Flying Fox fish eat?
In the aquarium they can offer them everything, although their diet must revolve around algae, which is their main food in their natural state.
In the diet that is provided in the aquarium, small crustaceans, insects and larvae should be added.
In order to maintain its best coloration and in order to extend its life, live foods should be offered regularly and if not possible frozen, such as worms, Daphnia and Artemia. We can also accompany it with specific dry food, flakes and granules.
As they like plant foods, it is a good idea to accompany their diet with fresh shelled peas, spinach, lettuce leaves, even chopped fruit , always in small pieces.
They are sensitive to infections, so the vegetables that we offer them must have been previously blanched.
How to feed them
Once the diet is established, a schedule should be planned in which you provide the food , it is advisable to do it twice a day.
When we add the food to the fish tank, the fish will go up to consume it. At this time they can be more aggressive, fighting each specimen to appropriate the largest amount of food, to avoid this it is recommended to spread the food on the surface, removing the one that has not been consumed.
During mating season, protein consumption should be increased, adding more worms and Daphnias. Once the mating season is over, we must progressively reduce the consumption of proteins, which are intended to promote spawning.
It’s known thatThe life expectancy of the Flying Fox fish is directly related to its diet, living up to 6 years with a diet rich in vegetables.
They are sensitive fish to aquarium conditions. If we observe that they stop eating, or that they eat less, something is happening, the aquarium conditions are not correct and they notice it.
Behavior and compatibility
When they are young, the flying foxfish is a bit shy . It is common for it to hide among the rocks.
As it becomes an adult, it becomes more aggressive and territorial , especially with similar-looking species and in confined spaces.
The females in the spawning season can come to clash with the males, since they are significantly larger.
As it is a fish that usually swims at the bottom of the aquarium, if we want it to share space with other species, the ideal is to avoid fish that have a similar behavior.
It is a very active swimmer, so it can disturb other varieties that are calmer. For the upper part of the aquarium, we can choose cyprinidsThey are active and strong.
Their life expectancy under normal conditions is between 4 to 6 years.
Although commercially, if it is a fish that can be reproduced, its reproduction has not yet been successfully reproduced in the aquarium.
Although it is a very popular fish for aquariums, it is not easy to maintain its ideal conditions, not to mention its somewhat aggressive temperament.
They are usually sold well, on the grounds that they feed on algae, keeping the aquarium clean of them.
Flying foxfish diseases
It is a fish that does not get sick easily, although as with all living species, under certain circumstances it can suffer physiological alterations.
If it has been detected that it is a species, it can suffer different degrees of stress, if the conditions of the aquarium are not adequate.
For example, if you do not have a partner, have an inadequate diet, the temperature is not correct, or you share the aquarium space with too many fish, you can become ill.
It can be detected that something is happening to them, when the characteristic black band begins to lose color and becomes paler, although it can also change color if they are scared, although in these cases it is not necessary to give more importance.
In any case, it is best to keep enough space and monitor the pH conditions ( use a good pH meter ) and the appropriate temperature, in this way we prevent the appearance of any type of disease.