Nandus nandus – Gangetic leaffish

Nandus nadus or Gangetic leaffish is a continuous predator. This fish will hover and then swim along scanning every inch of the tank for any movement being potential food.


Nandus nandus – Gangetic leaffish

Nandus nandus or Gangetic leaffish is a latterly compressed, oval shaped fish with a curved backside. The first 12 dorsal rays are spiked. The remaining rays are normal. The colour of the fish varies and is determined by the habitat and geographical location of the animal. In general the color will be greyish to olive with irregular dark spots. This fish has a metallic shine. The mouth is laciniated and can be extended. The maximum size of this fish is 20 centimetres however most fish don’t get bigger then 8 centimetres. Gender determination is visually difficult. According to some keepers males are having larger fins and are more darkly coloured.


The Gangetic leaffish is a common fish throughout South-East Asia, in the area between Pakistan (Indus Valley), India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand. Nandus nandus will be found in river, lakes, streams, swamps and irrigated rice fields. Despite their size they are an important source of food for the locals.


Nandus Nandus will only eat live, moving food. Attempts to feed the fish dry foods; flakes or frozen foods are useless. If the food is not alive the fish won’t eat it. Mosquito larvae, crustaceans or earthworms are fine foods for this fish. The Nandus nadus or Gangetic leaffish is a continuous predator. This fish will hover and then swim along scanning every inch of the tank for any movement being potential food. With it’s mouth that can be stretched, the prey is being sucked in and if necessary swallowed in several turns. These fish can consume a huge portion of food. Earthworms tripling their size are no problem for this fish.

The tank

The fish like a rocky or planted tank to stimulate their natural behaviour to forage. They can be shy, only appearing at dusk. I have the experience myself that is they are kept with other fish and with the necessary hideout spots these fish are very active and will swim through the entire tank imperturbable. Any commotion in the tank will draw them in, hoping to find startled prey. Too much current in the tank is not recommended. Soft acidic water is not appreciated. A lot of websites advise to add a pinch of salt to the water however this is not correct and should not be done. pH is to kept between 6.9 and 8; dH 8 to 15. The temperature can be between 23 and 27°C.


The Gangetic leaffish is a docile but active and curious fish. Contrary to other leaffish, nandus nandus is always active with foraging the tank. Nandus nandus is a solitary fish but can be kept in a small group. As the fish is not a regular swimmer, a smaller tank can suffice. Nandus is never aggressive against other fish. Smaller fish however due run the change of being seen by Nandus nandus as prey.


Not much is know in regards to breeding this fish in captivity.



Patrick de Pijper

Copyright images

Patrick de Pijper

Additional information





Social Behaviour

Breeding behaviour




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