Max Size: 20cm

Striped Headstander (Anostomus anostomus)

When first introduced to the tank, Striped Headstanders tend to be somewhat shy. Therefore, make sure your tank is spacious, well-planted, and has plenty of hiding places. With appropriate hiding places, the fish will lose their shyness once they have been acclimated.

A biotype aquarium setup is ideal for these fish, so the substrate should be soft river sand, and the aquarium must be well planted. Driftwood and piles of rocks will also provide shelter for your fish if you place them at mid-height. Provide many surfaces for algae to grow on, which will provide supplemental nutrition. Algae will also grow better under a bright light.

As a final note, bear in mind that these fish may eat certain types of plants, especially the new tender shoots and leaves, so choose robust species such as Java Fern and Anubias that will not be eaten.

While Striped Headstanders are generally peaceful schooling fish, they can quarrel if kept in small numbers. Therefore, it is recommended to keep these fish in groups of at least eight individuals so that any aggressive behaviour will be distributed throughout the shoal, and no one individual will be subjected to continuous aggression. Nevertheless, unless you have a massive aquarium in which to keep a group, it is recommended to keep one only.

You should also refrain from keeping these fish with slow-moving or long-finned fish as they can be nippy, and avoid fish that demand the same foods as the Striped Headstander as they may not appreciate the competition. In addition, fish like these will not do well with freshwater sharks such as Epalzeorhynchos or Hemiancistrus or Chinese Algae Eaters like Gyrinocheilus, among others.

With Striped Headstanders, you could have medium- to large-sized peaceful Cichlids, medium-to-large-sized Characins, medium to large-sized Barbs, Loaches, talking Catfish, and suckermouth Catfish as tankmates in a large community arrangement.

The Striped Headstander has an elongated body that resembles the shape of a pike. With its upward-pointing mouth and small, tapered head, this fish stands out from others. True to their name, these fish will spend most of their time in a "head-down" position.

There are some individuals that can reach 20 cm in length, but most are about 16 cm long.

There are three dark, horizontal bands running along the length of the fish's body, from the nose to the caudal peduncle. A pale pinky-peach stripe separates each bar. There are jagged borders on the lower and middle bands. The dorsal fin is red, and the tail fin gradually loses its solid red arc shape until it becomes transparent at the end. In addition, the pelvic and anal fins are transparent with red striping.


Striped Headstander
Striped Headstander
Striped Headstander
Quick Facts
Scientific NameAnostomus anostomus
Year Described1758
Other NamesStriped Anostomus, Anostomus Cigar Fish
Aquarium LevelMiddle
Best kept asGroups 8+
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH3 - 18
73 - 82℉
22.8 - 27.8℃


In the home aquarium, the Striped Headstander 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 somewhat challenging to differentiate between male and female Striped Headstanders, especially when they are young. However, mature females usually grow slightly larger than males and tend to be fuller-bodied.

Frequently asked questions

Are Striped Headstanders a shoaling fish?

Yes, the Striped Headstander is a shoaling fish that you should keep together in groups of 6 or more individuals. However, you will require a very large tank for that many fish. If you were to keep them in smaller groups, you would find a lot of aggressive behaviour, so if you cannot buy or don't have a huge aquarium, you should only keep one of these species.

Are Striped Headstanders aggressive?

The striped Headstander will only become aggressive if kept with more aggressive species or housed in cramp conditions. If kept with the correct tankmates, then these fish are relatively peaceful.

How big do Striped Headstanders get?

Striped Headstanders can grow to the maximum of 20 cm in length; however, most aquarists that own these fish say they usually only grow to around 16 cm on average.

What are the best tankmates for the Striped Headstander?

The ideal tankmates for Striped Headstanders could include medium to large-sized peaceful Cichlids, medium-sized Characins, Catfish, medium to large-sized Barbs and Loaches. Unfortunately, small fish will be eaten, and they will nip long-finned species, so make sure you choose their tankmates with care.

What does the Striped Headstanders eat?

Striped Headstanders are not fussy when it comes to feeding time. They will eat anything from flakes to vegetables to live and frozen foods. As long as you keep their diet balanced and do not overfeed them, there should be no problems.

Where does the Striped Headstander originate?

The Striped Headstander can be found widely throughout South America, specifically in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia and Venezuela, where they inhabit the rocky waters of the Amazon and Orinoco rivers.

Other Headstanders of interest

Spotted Headstander(Chilodus punctatus)
Date Added: 09/06/2021 14:44:13 - Updated: 06/12/2022 15:03:51