Black Banded Leporinus

Black Banded Leporinus - Leporinus fasciatus
Rusty Clark
  • Scientific Name: Leporinus fasciatus
  • Common Name: Black Banded Leporinus
  • Family: Anostomidae
  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Adult Size: 12 inches (30 cm)
  • Social: Grows large and can be aggressive
  • Lifespan: 5+ years
  • Tank Level: Mid to Bottom dweller
  • Minimum Tank Size: 55 gallons
  • Diet: Herbivore, prefers fresh food
  • Breeding: Egglayer
  • Care: Difficult
  • pH: 5.5 - 7.5
  • Hardness: to 20 dGH
  • Temperature: 72-79 F (22-26 C)


Not all Leporinus carry the distinctive yellow and black stripes seen in the species most fish owners are familiar with. Only the striped varieties, Leporinus fasciatus and Leporinus affinis, are usually offered for sale. Closely resembling each other, the primary difference is the shape of the caudal fin and the number of stripes. L. affinis has rounded caudal fins and displays nine stripes. L. fasciatus has pointed caudal fins and ten vertical stripes. Some specimens of L. fasicatus will display a dusty red color on their throat, which is specific to that species.

Leporinus Fasciatus
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Although a few members of this family are regularly seen for sale in the aquarium market, there is little information available in print about the various Leporinus species. Part of the larger group known collectively as Characins, all Leporinus are members of the smaller Anostomidae family. Anostomaide are predominately herbivores, originating in the swiftly moving rivers of South America. Also in this family are the headstanders, which bare a similar body shape and food preferences.

The name Leporinus is of French origin, meaning "little hare". Close examination of the fish will explain why they were given this name, as they have two prominent front teeth much like a hare. Tolerant of other fish, most live in schools but are known to quarrel among themselves from time to time. This is particularly true when kept in small groups rather than large schools.

In nature, they live in rocky river beds and are accustomed to strong currents. Since a strong current is important, the use of a power head is recommended. Like other Anostomidae, they position themselves head down in rocky clefts and fissures and should be provided with similar conditions when kept in an aquarium. Sand or fine gravel can be used for a substrate.​

Care should be taken to use a tight-fitting cover to prevent the fish from jumping out of the tank. Live plants will be eaten with zeal, so use plastic plants or keep to the sturdier live plants such as Java fern. The water should be kept on the soft and acidic side. Keep in mind that when fully grown this fish reaches a foot in length, which means it requires a large aquarium (55 gallons or larger).


Their preferred diet consists of plant material, such as leaves and algae. Small larvae, small worms, and even fruits are eaten in nature and may be used as an augment to their regular diet. Chickweed, lettuce, watercress, and even cooked peas, are good food sources. Vegetable flakes are also suitable if the fish will accept them.


Rumors circulate that this fish has been successfully bred in captivity, but there is very little, if any, documentation of such reports. No sexual differences are discernible.