Malabar Leaf Fish (Pristolepis marginatus)


The Malabar Leaf Fish is a cryptic and rarely seen member of the Nandid family native to the freshwater streams and rivers of India’s Western Ghats range. Their body shape, coloration, and behavior allow them to mimic dead leaves and get close to unsuspecting prey items like small fish. In the aquarium, they are generally peaceful with tankmates too large to be eaten but due to their shy nature should not be kept with overly fast-moving or aggressive species. In the wild, this species is often found in mixed shoals with similarly-sized barbs and endemic cichlids like the Canara Pearlspot.


Malabar Leaf Fish (Pristolepis marginatus)

Origin: Wild India
Locale: Western Ghats; Kerala and Karnataka
Diet: Micropredator and insect eater. Will accept most frozen and prepared foods in the aquarium.
Adult Size: 6″
Recommended Tank Size: 40 gallon
Compatibility: A somewhat shy but predatory fish, compatible with most similarly sized species but small fish are at risk of being eaten.

Preferred Water Parameters
pH:                          6.0 – 7.5
Temp:                     76-82F
Ammonia:              0ppm
Nitrite:                    0ppm
Nitrate:                  <30ppm