Nannocharax fasciatus is a highly unusual characin from Africa. Known as The African darter tetra it was described by the German born ichthyologist Albert Günther in 1867. It is notable for its engaging habit of sand-hopping.
Distribution & Availability
N. fasciatus is found across a wide area of West Africa from Senegal, Niger and Chad in the north to Cameroon in the South and includes all the countries along The Gulf of Guinea. Although N. fasciatus is the most likely member of the genus to be encountered in the hobby it is still a rarity. Specialist African importers may be able to order it in and it can turn up from time to time in imports of West African cichlids. When they do turn up they are not particularly expensive fish being rather plain and usually small. Expect to pay only 3 or 4 pounds per specimen
N. fasciatus is a fairly typical characin having a torpedo-shaped, elongated body. A broad black horizontal stripe extends the full length of the fish from the tip of its nose to the caudal peduncle. The back is olive and the belly cream coloured. A series of sometimes faint vertical bars can be seen over the whole body. The scales are obvious and large, as is the eye and an adipose fin is present. All fins except the pectorals have one or two dark bands. Sexual differences are not known.
N. fasciatus uses its stiff pelvic and anal fins to rest on the bottom and will hop along in a comical manner on horizontal and vertical surfaces. When it swims it does so in a heads up attitude.
Unlike most other characins N. fasciatus is not found in shoals. In fact in a small tank larger specimens may bully their smaller tank mates so make sure they are not too crowded and provide plenty hiding places. This is not a shy fish and will be one of the first in the tank to come to the front at feeding time.
There is a similar genus of characins found in South America – Characidium. A wonderful example of convergent evolution these fish look identical at first glance although they are only distantly related.
Needs well oxygenated water of good quality. Avoid extremes of pH and temperature.
- Tank size: 60cm minimum
- Decoration: hiding places constructed from slate, bogwood and plants. Provide a thin covering of river sand.
- Temperature: 23 – 27oC
- pH: 6 – 7.5
- Hardness: not too hard, 2 – 15odH
Prefers live food such as small worms and daphnia. Newly hatched brine shrimp is readily taken. Will eat frozen worms and after a while will eat flake in moving water.
As far as I know there are no breeding records of this species.
USA Show standards
- Size: 6cm
- Breeding category: A
- Show class: CB
Nannocharax fasciatus is a delightful and interesting little fish that is fairly easy to keep in a community tank of other peaceful fishes. It’s a real shame it isn’t found more often but it’s one that is well worth seeking out.