Flying fox fish:How to care for these minnow species.

We will talk about Flying fox fish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat, types,lifespan,tank set-up, water parameters and healthcare, etc.Everything you need to know about Flying fox fish care will be briefly discussed.


In this blog post we will discuss
Key specifications of flying fox fishWhy is flying fox fish care important?How many flying fox fish should you start with as a newcomer?Habitat of flying fox fishTypes of flying fox fishDifferent strains or colours of flying fox fishGeneral and physical attributes of flying fox fishFlying fox fish lifespanFlying fox fish tank set-upFlying fox fish diet and feeding requirementsFlying fox fish healthcare and health conditionsFlying fox fish daily care and Bi-weekly careSummary

Key specifications of flying fox fish

Scientific nameSynonymEpalzeorhynchos kalopterusBarbus kalopterus
FamilyCyprinidae (carp family)
Conservation status
Southeast AsiaFreshwater fishLeast concern
Lifespan8-10 years
Body sizeBody shape
ColourSpecial traitSexual dimorphism
6 inches in length (Small)Long elongated body and a flat abdominal areaDark brown and oliveMouth shapeDuring breeding time it is more prominent.
Another namesTrue Flying fox fish
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHWater hardness73F-81F6.0-7.55-12 dH
TemperamentBeginner or experienced TerritorialIntermediate fish keepers
Care levelEasy to moderate
Tank size and set-upTank type (Prefered)40-100 gallons(min-max)Community and Planted tanks
Preferred plants/decorationsfresh/broad leaves
CompatibilityAggressive to their own kind and similar shaped species.
Number of flowerhorn fish species found There are similar looking flying fox species but are not true flying foxes
BreedingThey don’t breed in aquarium setting (only in hatcheries)

Why is flying fox fish care important?

Flying foxes are freshwater and hardy species.They make your aquarium look beautiful just by their presence in it.They come from tropical regions and need an optimum temperature of 73 F-81F to survive in artificial conditions.a drop in the temperature due to excessive algal growth and other tank pollutants can kill them.So you have to be careful with the temperature parameters in the tank. Temperature plays a vital role in organisms metabolism and overall health.Hope you maintain the water parameters and diets properly for their sound health and longevity.

How many flying fox fish should you start with as a newcomer?

Flying foxes are usually kept in a group of 5-6 together, but As a new hobbyist I would suggest you get 1 or 2 pairs flying foxes,because they are peaceful when young but gets aggressive as they grow with their own species.And if you are adding them in a community tank then make sure you’re adding them in the last, as they are very dominating in nature.

Habitat of flying fox fish

Flying Fox fishes come from Freshwater streams and lakes of Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.They are active swimmers and are found in fast moving water currents.

Types of flying fox fish

There are similar looking flying fox species but are not true flying foxes

  • Silver flying fox -Crossocheilus reticulatus
  • Siamese algae eater- Crossocheilus oblongus
  • False flying fox- Garra cambodgiensis
  • Siamese flying fox- Crossocheilus siamese

Different strains or colours of flying fox fish

  • Dark brown and olive colours

General and physical attributes of flying fox fish

  • Flying Foxes are 6 inches in length (fully grown)
  • Long elongated fusiform body and a flat stomach.
  • Flying Fox have a pair of small barbels or flaps around their mouth.
  • Mouth is in a more forward position. 
  • High dorsal fin

Flying fox fish lifespan

Flying foxes are tropical fish and tropical fish can live for a longer time in aquarium settings, if they are maintained well and given all the suitable conditions for their survival.

Lifespan- 8 to 10 years

Flying fox fish tank set-up-

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrateWater parametersTemperatureTank plantsTank mates

Tank size

Tank size and tank shapes are very important for your fish, this will decide their swimming space and hiding space.Always use a right shaped tank to avoid overcrowding in the tank.Overcrowding can stress your fish. 

They are active swimmers so a spacious tank is needed to house them.55 gallon tanks – Single flying fox (adult)100 gallon tanks- Group of flying fox (adults)Shape of the tank- A rectangular shaped tank would be good for them, because they swim from bottom to the middle of the tank.They need hiding space in their tank.Flying Fox are active swimmers, so make sure their tank is covered with a lidBigger the tank, lesser will be the aggression.

Light intensity

Sufficient lighting is preferred for flying foxes tanks.Bright lighting will induce algal growth for them to nibble.Make sure the algal growth in the tanks is not too much, because this could increase ammonia levels,pH level in the tank.Excessive algal growth can exhaust oxygen levels in the tank which is dangerous for your flying fox.


Substrate and decoration

Flying foxes are bottom dwellers and they need a good nutrient rich substrate.Fine rounded gravel or soft sand can be used as a substrate for your flying fox fish tanks.Water-worn rocks,driftwoods,driftwood roots,bog wood,cobbles and large  pebbles can be added.Surface of the rocks will develop algal biofilm for them to eat.

Water parameters 

Flying Fox fish thrives well in clean water conditions.Proper Water circulation should be there in their tanks because they survive well in fast moving oxygenated water conditions.A good quality filter is a must for proper circulation.Water pollutants like ammonia, nitrate,nitrite and chlorine levels should be very low in the tank as they cannot tolerate them.You are advised to change 25 % water once a week.Optimum pH- 6.0-7.5Water hardness- 5-12 dH


Maintaining the right temperature for your flying foxes is really crucial.Temperature plays a key role in maintaining the metabolism of your fish and if it’s not monitored well then definitely it will become tough for a tropical fish for flying foxes in aquarium settings.

Optimum temperature- 73F-81FThey are tropical fish and won’t survive in lower temperatures.Heating rods or thermometers can be used.

Tank plants

Dense vegetation is suitable for flying foxes.Fresh leaves can be included in their tanks. Broad-leaved plants provide them with great hiding spots.Carpet plants are a good choice for them.Ornamental plants can be added in their tank and the good thing is they don’t eat these plants. 

Tank mates

When fish are kept in overcrowded tanks with not so compatible tank mates,it becomes really tough for your aquarium pet to survive in such stressful environments.So in order to avoid such situations a suitable tank mate should be chosen wisely for your fish.In case of flying foxes try to avoid bottom dwellers, because they spend most of their time in the bottom region of the tank and won’t accept others invading their space.They might end up fighting with them and can even kill them.Young flying foxes likes to shoal together but gets aggressive when they mature and becomes solitary and aggressive towards their own species.

List of some of the suitable tankmates:

TetrasBarbsAcarasDaniosAngelfishGouramisEartheatersLoaches Rosborasknifefish

Flying fox fish diet and feeding requirements

Diet of a fish is another important factor in aquarium setting.Their health is extremely important, so a high nutritional value food should be fed to your flying fox fish.Never compromise with the quality of food.Rotate their diet for better results.Feeding should be done 2-3 times a day, juveniles 3 times and adults 2 times a day.

List of their favourite food:

Green algae eaterLive food- insects, tubifex worms,white worms,planarians and crustaceansFrozen food- Artemia and daphniaPlant based food-zucchini, spinach,lettuce,cucumber and peeled peasFreeze dried foodHigh quality FlakesAlgae WafersFluval bug bitesTablets

Flying fox fish healthcare and health conditions

Like any other aquarium fish, even flying foxes can get a range of health issues if not given proper water conditions, stable temperature and balanced diet.They are tropical species so temperature is vital to them and tank pollution can actually worsen their health if the optimum temperature is not maintained in their tank.

Sign of illness- 

  • Their black stripes turn pale in colour
  • They become less active
  • Irregular swimming patterns
  • They won’t eat 

List of some common disease:

Bacterial infectionFungal infectionParasitic infection- Ichthyophthirius multifiliis

Flying fox fish daily care and Bi-weekly care

Daily care tipsBi-weekly care tips
Aquarium walls should be cleaned.Feeding should be done 2-3 times a day.Live food should be carefully given as they can cause infection if they are not picked from good quality shops.Never over feed you fish.Make sure all the equipment is in working conditions.Watch their swimming pattern regularly and if they are not looking normal, inactive or dull then consult a vet or just separate them in another tank until they recover well.20-25 % water changes should be done weekly.Dechlorinator should be added before pouring fresh water in the tank.Filters should be washed monthly twice to remove clogged particles with a scrubber gently.Excessive algal growth should be removed from the tanks from time to time to avoid tank pollution.By using testing kits weekly you can monitor the condition of the tank.Vital parameters temperature,Water hardness,pH,ammonia, nitrate,nitrite should be monitored weekly or if possible once in 3 days.


  • Hardy in nature and can survive in any water conditions.
  • Solitary, not a schooling fish, only juveniles shoal together.
  • Highly aggressive, and gets more aggressive with their own species.
  • Active swimmers need a spacious tank to swim.
  • Provide them with more hiding space.
  • They require a good amount of oxygen so provide good water circulation in the tank.
  • Bottom dweller, make sure the substrate is fine as they nibble the algaes on the rock surface, so use smooth rocks for their aquarium.
  • Tank size, water parameters, Temperature, pH are important factors.
  • They are best kept as a single fish in an aquarium.
  • Recommended for both beginners and experienced fishkeeper enthusiasts.

Frequently asked questions on flying fox fish care

How to differentiate true flying fox fish from other flying fox fish varieties?

True flying fox has a long elongated fusiform body and a flat stomach.The lower area is yellowish white in colour and dorsal area is either olive coloured or dark brown.The iris is red in colour.Black thick band can be seen over their body.

How to maintain their Colouration?

Their color can be maintained by regularly offering them live and frozen food.