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Fish of the Month
Issue: December 2006

Distichodus lusosso

SCHILTHUIS, 1891


Aaron Norman

Common Names: Longnose distichodus, longsnout distichodus.

Type Locality: Bayari-sea, Lusosso, Zaire.

Range: Widespread in the Congo Basin.

Taxonomic Troubles: NA

Size: 38 cm TL (15 inches).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical, very adaptable to different water chemistries.

Difficulty: Easy, as long as the aquarium is large enough.

Tank Setup: Needs plenty of open swimming space and heavy filtration. Individuals can get quite aggressive and will hold their own against pretty much any other fish. Although a schooling fish in the wild, in the confines of an aquarium they may fight with conspecifi

Feeding: A true omnivore that must have vegetable matter in its diet; a greedy feeder that will accept any food. A good algae-based pellet is a perfect staple diet, supplemented with meaty and plant foods. Earthworms make a great treat.

Breeding: Aquarium breeding is unknown.

Description: This is a large genus with a few dozen species, but only three make it into the trade with any frequency: a silver species Distichodus affinis, and two striped fishes, D.lusosso and D. sexfasciatus. Although D. sexfasciatus is perhaps better known, D.lusosso is often a wiser choice. It is quite similar, with a more slender profile and longer snout, but it only grows to half as large as D. sexfasciatus—though this is still a big fish! Distichodus are prized specimens and bring color and movement to large aquaria. Unlike most characiforms, thse large fish have a personality much like a cichlid or puffer. They definitely interact with you through the glass.
Adults can be quite nasty and will harass and often kill tankmates. Don't let its relatively small mouth fool you! It can only swallow the smallest fish, but it can beat its tankmates with its powerful bite. A group raised together may get along, but there is no guarantee, and the aquarium would have to be immense. A 50-gallon tank is really too small for one of these fish by itself, and a 6-foot tank is probably a good minimum to target; in a community of tough characters, or alone, this fish can make a formidable display. It is, however, only for those aquarists with the commitment and means to provide a sufficiently large aquarium for this majestic animal.

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