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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > The Tetras > Banded Leporinus
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South America


Leporinus fasciatus

Leporinus fasciatus


    Seen frequently at shops when small the Banded Leporinus is not a fish for the beginner. Stunning in color, it is a fast grower that has a mean streak to smaller fishes. They are fin nippers that sneaks up on its' prey no matter what size. A super jumper the aquarium must be tightly covered.

Quick stats:


    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 12" (30cm)
    Tank: 48 inches
    Strata: Bottom, middle
    PH: 5.5 to 7.5
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dH range: 2.0 - 20.0
    Temperature: 73°F to 84°F (23-29°C)

Classification :


    Order: Crypriniformes.
    Suborder: Characoidei.
    Family: Anostomidae.
    Genera: Leporinus.

Common name

    Banded Leporinus or just Leporinus.

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Fairly widespread throughout South America, mostly from the Rio de la Plata to the Orinoco river basins.

General Body Form
    Bullet shaped and elongated and somewhat compressed laterally. Dorsal profile is more convex than the ventral profile. The name Leporinus comes from Latin and roughly means "of a hare " this is because the shape of the upper lip is very similar to that of a hare, hence its name. These fish can reach a length of twelve inches.

    Mustard-yellow to golden-yellow with nine fairly thick black bars that run from top to bottom that sometimes split at the belly area and fade out on the underside. The nose has a dark spot. The first bar covers the forehead joining the eyes the second bar covers the gill edges. The last bar flares out in front of the Caudal fin into a crescent shape. There are no visible differences between the male and female. Some subspecies have been named due to variations of color and bar patterns. I do not know if they are valid.
Leporinus fasciatus


    A somewhat peaceful species that benefits from a large aquaria. Its tank-mates should be of the same size and temperament, no long finned slower moving fish such as Angels as they are notoriously sneaky about fin-nipping. The tank bottom should be gravel covered with plants and decorations. Feeding is not a problem as they take prepared staple food along with supplements of live and frozen food.
    Their pH should be neutral [7.0], GH of around 10, temperature range of mid seventies to low eighties. They dwell in the middle areas of the tank. They are egg layers and to my knowledge have not been bred in captivity. Keep the tank well covered as they are great jumpers and can travel many feet. The Leporinus is a fine addition to any tank and Badman recommends them to anyone willing to meet their requirements.


    Widespread throughout South America, Usually occurs in rocky areas of rapidly flowing waters.


    No reports of successful breeding in captivity have been reported

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Barbra
It seems to greatly differ with these guys, my personal experience as well as what I read here. I had one banded leporinus for several years, it had a great temperament, not once did I have any issues with killing it's tankmates. Then my 90 gal. tank had a disaster, never in ten years have I seen complete destruction, all my fish, some nearly ten years old, they all died one by one, it was horrible. Nevertheless I decided to start over once my tank was back to health, I got a decent sized leporinus because of how much I enjoyed my late one. Well, he is an Angelfish killer, 6 of my 7 all killed, the only one left is one I managed to save and bring to my boyfriends 55 gal. I'm sad. Not sure what to far my cories, catfish, flying foxes, Ram & loach have not been targeted, but I am concerned
From: Cheryel
I have two of these fish eight or nine inches long and they are very aggressive. They have ate all my other fish. I had two plecostomus 3 to 5 inches long and the leporinus sucked the eyeballs right out of them, and then ate the remainder of the fish.
From: Jordan Hirsch
I inherited a tank with 2 leporinus who mostly just played/fought/play-fought with each other. They eventually died during a move, so I got 2 new ones at the same time as several other fish. That turned out to be a mistake. The lepo's grew faster than anybody, one more so than the other, and eventually they ate a lot of the other fish. And then I'm pretty sure the big lepo ate the smaller one. I now have 1 big one (7" or so) and 2 small black tetras in a 55g tank. I want to add some more fish but I've been cautioned that the big guy will eat any open swimmers I put in there since he's already established. I added a featherfin catfish and so far the lepo is ignoring it, but I'm nervous to add anybody else for a while. I don't want to get rid of my lepo, he's beautiful, but I do wish I could add some more fish to my tank.
From: Alex
I have had two one about 10in and the other about 8in in a 75 gallon tank for two years. Mine seem to be peaceful compared to their description. They are tank mates with tetras sharks, upside down cats,sun cats,Cory cats, and plecos. Yea I have seen them chasing some other fish but they all seem to hold their own. Really good fish never had a problem looking to get another soon.
From: Signe
I think the aggression towards tank mates is often caused by too small tank size. Footprint of the tank is important. Leporinus has to be kept at least in 120 cm, preferably 150 cm long tank, where this fish has lot of space. In that case he/she don't bother other fish.
From: Nancy
I have had two leps for several years. They live in a 125 gal. tank with three mollies. They all get along fine. On the larger leps, the color will come back beautifully if you feed them cooked, frozen shrimp. I just occasionally put in one shrimp per lep. The orangish-red on their throats makes them so beautiful.
From: Toni
I have 2 lepornis that are about 7 inches .. They live peacefully with 6 neon tetras,2 other tetras,2 glass catfish,2 wildfin mollies and their fry,fancy guppies and their fry,black knifefish,pleco ,ghost shrimp and a number of bottom dwelling catfish. They do not eat or nip at any of the fish .They maybe eating baby shrimp. Sometimes they quibble with each other but are really best of friends. My water is hard and ph 7.8-8.0..(Although that is not the recommended they are thriving) . I do not have a lid on my tank but I do lots of live plants so if startled they run for cover instead of jumping . They do grow very fast so I would not recommend them for less then 100 gallon tank . When young they had tons of personality and very pretty but not as much now. The ones in the display tank at the lps are about 12" are no longer attractive.(My opinion)
From: Collin
When I first purchased my 250 gallon aquarium the leporinus was my first selection not only for its nice coloration but just to see how large this fish could get. After 2 years my lep has reached 10 inches and seems to still be growing. This fish has an odd temper, in reading many biographies of this species I saw it is a fin nipper that targets slow moving small fish. That is the exact opposite for my lep, the fish targets my 10 inch bala sharks and that's it. I have three 6 inch gourami, a 1 foot black ghost knife, and an assortment of barbs and the fish has no problem with any of them besides the sharks. In the past my lep has taken down two bala sharks that were nearing 1 foot in length. I really enjoy the leporinus and it has proven to be a very hearty fish just has a temper toward large fast moving fish, hope this helps
From: Cathy
I want to comment on my leporinus. I bought him small (about 3") and over 1 year he has grown to 8". Anyway, I had him in an aquarium with African cichlids. Recently I added two new Africans. He nipped the cichlids fins and picked him to death (yes, my cichlid!) Then I noticed him chasing and starting to be very aggressive with my other African cichlid. I had to take the leporinus out of my aquarium for fear he would kill my other cichlids. A beautiful fish, but gets very aggressive as he gets bigger. Not to be trusted.
From: Rose
I do not recommend this fish to a beginner! I have had him for 1 1/2 years. He has managed to kill mollies, tetras(neon,cardinal, black, jumbo) upside-down cats and this week he killed my crayfish. He got the crayfish just after the crayfish molted, but still... He does tolerate (only chases) the 2 pink gourami that were in the tank when I got him. I also have 3 giant danios and 2 green corys, 1 panda cory, 2 leftover jumbo neons and 4 serpae in a 55 with him.
From: Lorin
I've had my leporinus for a number of months now in my 55g tank. When I bought him he was about the size of a large guppy. Now he is approaching 7 inches in length. Everyone I speak to says they are very aggressive, but mine has truly been a great fish to have in my community tank (have cichlids and a couple bottom feeders). He has his own log that he spends most of his time (lurking) in, but when he's out and about he is swimming with my other fish and not causing any problems, although occasionally I will catch him trailing my angel nibbling at his long fins. He absolutely loves algae wafers and will grab them in midair and hurry back to his log to eat them. Overall a really cool fish, very interesting and beautiful to look at. I believe tank size is important, as these guys grow quite large and too small a tank will stress them out and cause them to act more aggressively than when they are kept in the appropriate sized tank.
From: Larry
I just lost one of my two Banded Leporinus due to an ornamental cave I bought when these fish were much smaller. The cave holes are around two inches wide and today I found one of the fish stuck in the cave hole. I`m writing this because I never even considered the possibility that this could happen. These fish grow very fast,this has been a very bad lesson learned for me. I don`t know if anyone has heard of this happening or forgetting about cave opening sizes with fast growing fish, but if I can help save or remind someone about what happened to me today and save somebody a fish than this post was worth it. Larry 90 gallon tank.
From: Kit
I got a Leporinus at the same time as two clown loaches. The Leporinus seems to school with the loaches quite frequently. At only 4", he will pick on my gourami if he feels they are bothering him. I lost a black ghost knife mysteriously, and believe the Leporinus aggressively picked the food I was placing in front of the knife fish. Overall, a beautiful fish and only semi-aggressive on occasion, but a big eater! He'll eat the loach pellets, the gourami pellets, the occasional flake, blood worms and brine shrimp. They are no picky eater!
From: Carole
I have two leporinus in a 55gal with 4 silver dollars. I have had them for them 1 1/2 years. They are great fish. They love lettuce, as do the silver dollars, so I have to put 3 or 4 pieces in different places around the tank so the leporinus can't hog it all. There is a big sunken ship that they "live" in and guard it very well. They are very peaceful but do have their territory.
From: Rob Baseel
I have had my leporinus for about four years or so now and he is just under 1 foot in length. He was always an aggressive and sneaky character, even as a cute little 2" youngster fresh from the LFS. I originally had him in a tank with semi-agressive tropicals (TIger Barbs, Pictus Cats, etc...) but the bigger he grew, the more of my other fish he killed off. I came so close to finding him a new home on many different occasions but I just couldn't do it... I found I had grown quite attached to him. Instead I just kept getting bigger fish for him to live with. I now have him in a tank with a Green Severum, A Blue Acara, a common Pleco and a handful of Silver Dollars. Everyone gets along amazingly well with only some occasional half hearted squabbling.
From: John
I stumbled across these wonderful fish at a local pet store. They were not identified on any price tag and I was told they were Bumblebee Catfish. I bought 2 of them on their beauty alone. They were each about 2 inches long and appeared small in my 125 gallon tank. Because of their beautiful color and playful behavior, I went back and purchased another. Within a few months they doubled in length to over 4 inches and now really look like showfish. I love to watch them twist and turn, play hide and seek, and search for food. They usually stay together and I have noticed they appear to "hunt" for food in groups. One will come in from the back and one from the front to try and flush out any babies that may be in the grasses. I feed my fish dried shrimp, flaked food, cichlid pellets, and algae tablets - as well as keep live plants in the tank. They have not once shown aggression to my other fish - guppies, platys, swords, gouramis, rainbows, iridescent catfish, or cory catfish. A previous poster called them "sly" and I certainly agree. A+
From: kayleigh
The first leporinus I had ever bought was almost four years ago and I added a second one two years ago. They have been very peaceful in my 55gal with a large angel, Parrot fish, red bellied pacu, Gold nugget pleco, common pleco, 3 tiger barbs, giant danios, red eye tetras, two gouramis, red tail shark and two gold fish. One is about 12" (maybe a little larger) the other is smaller about 7". They both seem to eat what ever I put in the tank as far as flake food, pellets, veggie rounds, bloodworms, frozen food, live guppies and they do have a liking to live plants that I put in the aquarium. The larger one likes to pick off a large piece of Malaysian drift wood and spends most of his time in a cave built out of pieces of lace rock. The smaller leporinus follows the larger one around and hides in the top part of the cave or under the drift wood. The leporinus is an amazing fish for those who have the right size environment to keep them and recommended to those who do! ! I would not trade my leporinus for anything and will always have at least one in my aquarium.
From: Shawn
I've had two of these fish in my FW tank for over a year, and while occasionally a small tetra goes missing, I've not seen any overt aggression. They're lovely fish, and seem to be quite hardy.

From: Shawn
I have 3 banded leporinus and found them to only somewhat suitable tankmates. There are in a 75 gallon tank with a 14" ghost knife, a eel, a large pleco, 4 kuhli loaches and just recently 3 pike cichlids. Before I bought the pleco I had a tiger shovelnose catfish and in one night they destroyed him. They bit his fins, his whiskers and actually took half his face including an eye. The largest leporinus tries to hide with the ghostknife mostly only coming out to chase the other to from the cave. I've decided to sell the largest and smallest and keep the mid-sized one as he swims the most and seems to follow the pike cichlids.

From: Dave Taylor
My lep aquarium, a 55 gallon high-flo is a high and and tall, densely planted base, particularly toward the rear of the tank. I have owned Leo, a leporinus fasciatus, for almost three years, who is almost 10”, and added two others a year ago, both of which are approaching 7”. These beautiful fish inhabit the aquarium with a 16” silver arowana, as well as two common plecos, and two raphael catfishes, and more importantly, my medium silver gourami (G-Fish). All three of these leps have been nothing but peaceful and wonderful. At one point I had three medium barbs, but as I expected, the arowana made short work of them, yet the leps never bothered any of the other fish. Indeed they are jumpers, yet when I do weekly maintenance on the tank, they shift from side to side with no trouble. I highly recommend then, but as they are sly animals, watch ‘em. Rock on, Dave.







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