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Flying Fox Fish

By | Last Updated : 5th July 2020

Flying fox fish is a freshwater variety belonging to the Cyprinidae family indigenous to the eastern and southeastern parts of Asia. Though similar to the false flying fox and Siamese algae eater, it is different from both the species in many ways. Their appealing appearance and peaceful demeanor make them a perfect aquarium fish.

Flying Fox Fish

Quick Information

Scientific NameEpalzeorhynchos kalopterus
OriginThai-Malay peninsula, Sumatra, Java, and Borneo,
TypeFreshwater fish
Conservation StatusLeast Concern by the IUCN
Behavioral CharacteristicsPeaceful, and cooperative when kept all by itself but could get possessive of its domain when dwelling with other species of its kind   
School Size4 – 6
Physical TraitsLong body with flat abdomen; sleek appearance; transparent front on the ventral, dorsal, and anal fins; a fleshy flap situated in one corner of its mouth
ColorsOlive or dark brown in the dorsal part; yellowish-white coloration on the upper region; brownish-black line from the mouth to the caudal fin; reddish iris in the eyes; thick black band on the edge of its dorsal, ventral, and anal fins
Size (How big do they get)Small; 4.7 inches (11.9 cm)
Lifespan (How long do they live)8 – 10 years
Sexual DimorphismPresent, but barely visible and hardly identifiable in juveniles; females attaining sexual maturity have a thicker body than the males
Probable Diseases Ich
Approximate Price (How much is it for)$ 5 – 10
Flying Fox Fish Size

Tank Setup & Care Sheet Details

Care LevelIntermediate
Tank Size30 gallons (113.5 liters) for a single fish

Water Parameters

pH Level6.0 –  7.5
Temperature73 – 81°F (23 – 27°C)
Hardness2 – 12 dGH
Aquarium  Water FlowStrong

Tank Ambience

Substrate TypeFine gravel, sand, as well as rocks, driftwood and broad-leaved plants for it to hide
Tank MatesCompatible with:  Barbs, loaches, rasboras, gouramis, tetras, danios, discus, knifefish, eartheaters, and acaras

Incompatible with: Other flying fox species especially if kept in a large group as this would trigger territorial behavior; crustaceans like shrimps, as well as snails since they form the flying fox’s food
Suitable Position in the TankBottom


DietAlgae wafers, fresh and frozen tubifex worms as well as planarians, flakes, pellets, and crustaceans such as shrimps, lobsters, krills and crabs; vegetables like lettuce, zucchini, and spinach
Frequency 2 – 3 times a day

Important Things to Know for Fish Keepers

  • The flying fox fish is often a victim of stunting within an aquarium setup that would result in impaired growth. Ensure to give it sufficient space to grow, and also make provision for adequate nutrition supply.


Q. What is the difference between the flying fox fish and the Siamese algae eater?

The flying fox fish and Siamese algae eater are often mistaken for each other, yet both possess visible differences.  The black strip or band running along the body has a smooth edge for the flying fox and a rougher edge for the Siamese algae eater.  The latter also have clearer fins than the former in which the fins appear more colored.

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