Six Banded Distichodus (Distichodus sexfasciatus)
Although the Six-banded Distichodus is a potentially colossal fish, most aquarium specimens will not grow much above 35cm. 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 if kept alone and a much more extensive aquarium if you are going to house them as part of a community tank.
These fish are somewhat unpredictable. While some individuals remain peaceful with similarly-sized species, others can become increasingly aggressive as they mature. Much larger and more robust fish such as adult Oscars, Cyprinids. Characins, Catfish and Loricariids may be ok with them; however, they will most definitely bully smaller fish.
They swim in shoals in the wild, but again, the majority will fight among their own 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 keep more than one of these fish, you would require an enormous tank in order to maintain a group of adults.
Regular significant water changes are required to keep this fish healthy. Unfortunately, these fish are prone to body and eye fungus if nitrate levels get too high. 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 a reddish-brown to a reddish-yellow colour. 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 fades as it matures.
|Scientific Name||Distichodus sexfasciatus|
|Other Names||Six-Barred Distichodus|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Loners|
|Lifespan||up to 10 years|
|Temperature||72 - 79 ℉ (22.2 - 26.1 ℃)|
|PH||6.0 - 7.5|
The Six-banded Distichodus can be found in Lake Tanganyika, the Congo River Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cameroon, Tanzania, Zambia and Angola in the Central African Republic in Africa. These freshwater fish occur in swarms and schools where they inhabit rocky lakes and rivers and the occasional swampy area.
Other Oddballs of interest
Diet & Feeding
In the wild, Distichodus sexfasciatus feed on crustaceans, worms, insects and plant matter. They will readily accept suitably sized pellets and Spirulina flakes supplemented with live or frozen food such as shellfish, earthworms, mussels and prawns in captivity. It would also be beneficial to feed these fish a decent proportion of vegetable matter to keep it in the best of health; these can include processed peas, blanched spinach, blanched zucchini and lettuce. They are all excellent choices for this fish.
It is impossible to differentiate between a male and female Six-banded Distichodus as there are no external differences between them.
Unfortunately, the Six-banded Distichodus is not known to have been bred in captivity as far as we know. This is probably due to their size and compatibility and the fact that they do not get along that great as youngsters and certainly not as adults. There is also the dilemma that, like other large Characins, they go through migration before spawning that can’t be replicated in captivity.