Fun Spotted Headstander Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 20, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Nov 08, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
These spotted headstander facts are interesting and enjoyed by kids.

The spotted headstander is a community fish that is commonly found in aquariums all around the world. Headstanders get their common name from the unusual posture in which they rest with their heads pointing down. These fishes show a head down and tail up position and therefore are referred to as headstanders.

The scientific name of the spotted headstander is Chilodus punctatus. The generic name, Chilodus is a combination of two Greek words, 'cheilos' meaning 'lips', and 'odous' which means 'tooth'.

The term 'punctatus' of the scientific name is a Latin word meaning 'spotted'. It refers to the body pattern of the fish. Spotted headstanders are also known by the name checkered headstander.

The species naturally occurs in the freshwater habitats of tropical regions in South America. They are peaceful in nature and are collected from the river system of Peru and Guyana.

This peaceful fish has become a favorite choice for many aquarists around the world. If kept in an aquarium, they should be kept in groups with similar peaceful fish species.

They fail to survive with aggressive tankmates. Dwarf cichlids and tetras are suitable tankmates for this fish. The fish is a highly schooling fish, they must be kept in a group of six or more in an aquarium.

It is a very hardy fish and caring for them is comparatively easy in an aquarium. To know more about this community fish, keep on reading these amazing facts.

 For similar content check out African glass catfish and African catfish facts too.

Spotted Headstander Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a spotted headstander?

The spotted headstander is a type of New World freshwater fish that is found in tropical regions. They inhabit slow-moving streams and rivers and are popular as aquarium fish.

What class of animal does a spotted headstander belong to?

Spotted headstanders of Characiformes order and Chilodontidae family belong to the class Actinopterygii, the common class for all ray-finned bony fishes.

How many spotted headstanders are there in the world?

The global population of spotted headstanders has not been estimated as of yet. It is a fairly common freshwater fish species and they are encountered frequently in their native range.

They live in small groups in tropical waters and are resistant to diseases. The hardy nature of this species suggests that they can really adapt to human modifications in their natural habitat.

Feeding a headstander is not a difficult task. They eat almost any quality food ranging from plants to small aquatic animals.

They have a wide variety of food sources. As a result, it is unlikely that they will face a shortage of food in the near future.

There is no information regarding the presence of any substantial threat throughout the distribution of these community fishes. Therefore, abundant availability of quality food and the absence of major threats might have resulted in large populations of the spotted headstander.

Apart from that, they are also found commonly in groups as aquarium fish. Even though the original population size cannot be determined easily because of the captive-bred individuals, it is clear that they have a large population.

Where does a spotted headstander live?

Originally, the spotted headstander came from the northeastern parts of South America. The distribution of the fish was described from the upper Essequibo River in Guyana in the past.

Currently, the fish commonly extends throughout the Amazon river system of Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. They are also found in the western Orinoco in Colombia and the river systems of Guyana and Suriname. In some of the species, the fin and the body color may vary due to changes in location.

What is a spotted headstander's habitat?

In the wild, spotted headstanders inhabit slow-moving freshwater habitats. They are found in slow to moderate flowing water bodies like rivers, floodplains, tributaries, and oxbow lakes.

The fish essentially needs clean and clear water. In captivity, the species requires a minimum 30 gal (113.56 l) tank for holding a group of six fish.

A sandy substrate in the tank with plenty of submerged driftwood, floating plants, and leaf litter provides a suitable captive environment for a headstander. Organic waste dissolved in the tank water should be cleaned regularly as the fish is sensitive to them. There are some specific water conditions that need to be followed in the tank.

One of the most important water conditions is that the temperature of the water must range between 68-82.4 F (20-28 C) . They ideally prefer soft and slightly acidic water in the tank.

Who does the spotted headstander live with?

The first thing that comes to mind when talking about the spotted headstander is that it is a community fish that can live in a group of six individuals. These community fishes fail to survive in an aquarium if they are not kept in groups with the same species.

They can also live with several other peaceful tank mates in the aquarium, like tetras and cichlids. However, because of their peaceful nature, these community fish cannot live with large-sized and aggressive fish species.

They also require many plants in their aquarium. Sufficient plant cover like algae in the aquarium reduces the chances of physical damage to the individuals.

How long does a spotted headstander live?

The lifespan of the species of headstanders differs from each other but the average longevity estimate is up to 10 years. The exact lifespan of the spotted headstander is unfortunately unknown.

How do they reproduce?

There is very little information regarding the breeding process of the spotted headstander. They do not have any particular breeding season in the wild and it generally takes place throughout the year.

If you are breeding the fish in captivity, the water temperature and the water quality of their spawning tank must be checked.

Keeping aquatic vegetation in the aquarium is important since they breed amongst the roots of submerged vegetation. Although headstanders are peaceful and community fish in nature, they practice cannibalism.

The adults will feed on the eggs as soon as the females lay them if the adults are not removed immediately from the tank.

On hatching, the fry comes out of the eggs and they rest in the head-down position of headstanders immediately. The fish are believed to be egg scattered, they lay their eggs by scattering them in water and take no responsibility for the fry.

What is their conservation status?

 The species of spotted headstander are not listed in the Red List published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature or the IUCN. They have a Not Evaluated conservation status.

Even though the population size of the species is unknown, there is no evidence that their population size is actually decreasing so the fish cannot be considered to be endangered currently. They also do not face any substantial threat in their native range.

A large stock of fish takes part in aquarium trade each year which increases the captive populations. On breeding the captive individuals, many juveniles are born.

This ensures a flowing population stock of headstander fish in captivity. Therefore, even if the numbers from the wild start to decline the captive stock is unlikely to fall.

Feeding them with the right foods and providing a healthy environment to captive fishes increases the lifespan. The population of these fishes of the Chilodontidae family is predicted to stay stable for the near future.

Spotted Headstander Fun Facts

What does the spotted headstander look like?

The spotted headstander of the Chilodontidae family is a slightly elongated fish with a pointed mouth. Their back always appears to be raised relative to the head. The mouth is small and pointed with a thick upper lip.

It seems to be raised in an upward direction. The throat and the belly are silver-colored while the upper parts are gray-brown in color. A black longitudinal band is observed to run across the body extending from the eye to the caudal fin.

We've been unable to source an image of the spotted headstander and have used an image of stripped headstander instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of the spotted headstander, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at

How cute are they?

The iridescent silver sheen of the spotted headstander makes them look beautiful in an aquarium.

How do they communicate?

There is no information about their communication. They probably communicate by chemical cues like all fish species.

How big is a spotted headstander?

The spotted headstander fish size ranges between 2.7-3.1 in (7-8 cm). They are similar in size to Congo tetras.

How fast can a spotted headstander move?

Spotted headstanders cannot be kept with swift swimmers, which suggests that they swim at a moderate speed. However, their speed has not been determined.

How much does a spotted headstander weigh?

The highest weight recorded for a spotted headstander is 2.5 oz (70.87 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female spotter headstanders do not have specific names.

What would you call a baby spotted headstander?

A baby spotted headstander is referred to as fry.

What do they eat?

The spotted headstand feeds on both plants and aquatic animals and has an omnivorous diet. Their diet includes both fresh foods and frozen foods. They also feed on dried foods, algae, plant matter, fruits, and vegetables. The animal-based diet includes insects and insect eggs. As juveniles, they can be served frozen shrimp.

Are they poisonous?

No, they are assumed to be non-poisonous. This fish is rarely eaten so their poison content is unknown.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, the spotted headstander makes a wonderful pet. They are very popular as pet fish around the world.

Did you know...

The fish is sexually dimorphic. The males have a longer dorsal fin while the females have a rounder shape than the males.

What are other names of spotted headstander?

Spotted headstanders, with the scientific name Chilodus punctatus, are also known by the name checkered headstander. This name is in correspondence to the checkered pattern that the fish has on its back.

Spotted Headstander Tank Mates

The tank mates play a very important role in the survival of headstanders in an aquarium. Spotted headstander fish tank mates include some peaceful and small fishes like tetras and cichlids. Some common tank mates that can be kept in the aquarium with them are corydoras and dwarf cichlids.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Atlantic whitefish facts and Atlantic spadefish facts for kids.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable tropical fish coloring pages.

Second image by Brian Gratwicke

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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