Max Size: 75cm

Six Banded Distichodus (Distichodus sexfasciatus)

Although the Six-banded Distichodus is a potentially colossal fish, most aquarium specimens will not grow much above 35cm. Therefore, you can easily house these fish in aquariums as small as 120 litres; however, fully grown individuals will need a minimum of a 560-litre aquarium.

While some individuals remain peaceful, others can become increasingly aggressive as they mature—much larger and more robust fish such as adult Oscars and Cyprinids. Characins, Catfish and Loricariids may be ok with them; however, they will bully smaller fish.

They swim in shoals in the wild, but again, most will fight among their kind within the confines of an aquarium. Ideally, it would be best to keep this fish alone in a tank with basic decor and no plants, as they will eradicate the plants. If you would like to save more than one of these fish, you would require an enormous tank to maintain a group of adults.

Regular significant water changes are required to keep this fish healthy. Unfortunately, these fish are prone to the body and eye fungus if nitrate levels get too high. In addition, this fish is inclined to jump; therefore, a strong, tight-fitting lid is recommended.

The Six-banded Distichodus is the most popular of the few Distichodus species regularly seen in the hobby. Sadly, they are often sold as being suitable for the general community aquarium. However, this is not the case in terms of both its potential size and temperament.

The body is high-backed, and the body colour varies from reddish-brown to reddish-yellow. These fish have an elongated, laterally flattened head, six dark vertical bands, bright red fins, and their nose has a distinctive conical shape. Unfortunately, much of this colour and patterning fade as it matures.


Six-banded Distichodus
Six Banded Distichodus
Six Banded Distichodus
Six Banded Distichodus
Six Banded Distichodus
Quick Facts
Scientific NameDistichodus sexfasciatus
Other NamesSix-Barred Distichodus
OriginsAngola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, Zambia
Aquarium LevelMiddle
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asLoners
Lifespanup to 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
72 - 79℉
22.2 - 26.1℃

Natural Habitat

Lake Tanganyika


In the home aquarium, the Six Banded Distichodus will readily accept most good quality dried foods such as granules, flakes and sinking pellets. These modern food products have been developed to provide all adequate nutrition to maintain your fish's health and dietary requirements.

Providing additional foodstuffs such as live, frozen, and freeze-dried meals such as bloodworm, daphnia, and tubifex once or twice a week will provide additional benefits to your fish's health and well-being but is not a must for this fish.

It should be noted that bloodworms should only be given as an occasional treat and should not be used as the staple diet as they are difficult for fish to digest and can potentially cause blockages.

This fish is an omnivore in the wild, meaning it will consume some vegetable matter. Although most modern fish foods take this into account and include them in their products, you can still supplement your fish's diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and zucchini. Ensure you do not overfeed your fish and remove any leftovers the following day.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is impossible to differentiate between a male and female Six-banded Distichodus as there are no external differences between them.

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Date Added: 14/04/2021 16:10:40 - Updated: 10/08/2022 14:40:03