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Title Marbled Headstander (Abramites hypselonotus )

Sara Waller

Last Updated



A brief description of the marbled headstander.

Image result for Abramites hypselonotus

The marbled headstander is a medium sized fish found throughout South America where it has an enormous natural range, occurring throughout much of the Amazon and Orinoco river basins in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela plus the Paraguay-Paraná system in southern Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina.  This species is an ecological generalist and is found in many habitat types from main river channels with turbid, flowing water to minor tributaries and backwaters.  It also enters temporarily inundated zones during annual flooding.  These fish grow to an adult length of about 4.5 to 5.5  inches long.  Marbled headstanders have a pointed snout, diamond-shaped body, brown markings on pelvic fin, wavy dark brown bands, and a dark line at the base of the caudal peduncle.  Sexually mature females are plumper than males.  

The marbled headstander should be kept in an aquarium of 55 gallons or larger as it should be kept in groups and even a single specimen needs a good amount of space.  The aquarium may be heavily planted, although the marbled headstander may eat soft leaved plants.  Provide plenty of plenty of hiding spaces such as driftwood pieces (ZM2001) and a sandy substrate (CS7581).

The marbled headstander prefers a water temperature of 68° to 86°F, a pH range of 5.5 to 7.5, and soft to moderately hard water of 1 to 15°H.  

The marbled headstander is an  opportunistic omnivore feeding primarily on benthic items including freshwater sponges, insect larvae, organic detritus, seeds, leaves and filamentous algae in the wild.  In the aquarium, marbled headstanders are generally adaptable and will accept most good quality prepared foods as well as live or frozen blood worms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and black worms, but should be offered a varied diet ideally including some greenery in the form of fresh algae, fruit, vegetables or a dried product containing a high proportion of Spirulina.  It may be beneficial to soak live or frozen foods in a food supplement such as Vita Chem (BE2450) to enhance the nutritional profile of the food and ensure good health.  An appetite stimulant such as Hyper Garlic (SIC542) may also be beneficial.


Marbled headstanders have the potential to be slightly aggressive and may nip at long or trailing fins.  For this reason they should be maintained with larger species of characins such as silver dollars, or bleeding heart tetras, many varieties of barbs and sharks, larger but peaceful cichlids, rainbow fish, and catfishes.

Image result for silver dollar fishImage result for roseline sharkImage result for south american bumblebee catfishImage result for freshwater rainbow fishRelated image

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