This week’s Fish of the Week is an unusual fish for the larger aquarium, so good they named it twice! The striped headstander (Anostomus anostomus) is a striking fish with an unusual swimming stance. Headstanders are named for the head-down swimming stance and this particular species can even swim upside down!
Anostomus comes from the Greek words ana for “up”, and stoma meaning mouth. This references the upturned mouth the fish possesses.
There is a theory the peculiar swimming style is to correct for this unusual mouth position. In the wild this species lives throughout the Amazon and Orinoco river systems. They congregate in vast shoals, grazing algae in areas of high flow. Their torpedo body shape helps combat the strong flow, giving them a feeding advantage over other species. In the aquarium, feed them a varied diet but be sure to add our Pro-f Algae Wafers regularly to recreate natural feeding behaviours.
In the aquarium the striped headstander will quarrel amongst each other, unless maintained in large numbers. Due to their potential adult size (up to 20cm), it is advised to only keep one unless a group can be kept in a very large aquarium. They should also not be kept with other species that are particularly slow moving or long finned as they can be nippy. In a large community setup, with robust fish (cichlids, catfish etc), they could make a great addition.