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Hepsetus odoe – African Pike Characin



Hepsetus Odoe Introduction


If you have a larger aquarium and you want to add something robust and sturdy, then the hepsetus odoe could be the right choice for you.

This medium to large-sized fish will really accentuate your larger aquascape with its natural beauty and uniqueness.

The predatory appearance of the African pike character gives such a terrifying experience for your aquascape environment.

The addition of the fish to your tank will really nail your aquarist experience. We are going to discuss this unique breed more deeply.


Hepsetus Odoe Overview


The other name for this fish is the African pike character. The H.odoe is one of the most popular fish to be domesticated by avid aquarists and local breeders. Here are the details you need to know first about the fish species.




The character is unique since it has a pike-like shape. Scientists found it throughout tropical areas in Africa.

In the wild, they are the natural dwellers of small rivers and lakes. They are predators who prey on smaller fish.


Despite the slightly larger size, they can move much faster. They tend to survive in clean, well-oxygenated water. In their natural habitat, they prefer areas with a lot of vegetation and plants. Therefore, it is recommended to keep the aquarium similar to its natural habitat.


The size


It is the big-sized fish that will come to your aquarium, so you will need to be prepared with the estimation.

The adult odoe pike can reach a size of 26 inches in the wild. But being in captivity, the maximum size can be between 12 to 14 inches.

With the proper diet and care, they can grow faster to 9 inches at first, then grow slower than in the wild habitat.

But still, even with a 14-inch size, it looks so big when you add it to a mid-sized aquarium.


Category Rating
Level of care Easy to moderate
Temperament Can be aggressive to the one-kind
Appearance Head broad but shallow, with a bit long but broad snout; body is elongated and broad, which gives it chubby appearance. 
Life expectancy about five years
Size 50cm+ (19.7″+)
Diet Live smaller fish, live foods 
Family Hepsetidae
Tank size 150 gallons
Tank environment Moderate flow of water with alot of vegetation, long dense plants. 3D aquarium background
Tank Mates Non-aggressive fish with similar size. 



Hepsetus Odoe Tank Requirements & SetUp/Tank Guides


The ideal size of the tank is 150cm x 60cm x 60 cm or 680 liters for caring for this fish.


Keep in mind that the sizes of the fish that I mentioned before are average. We won’t know for sure if the fish can grow larger than they’re supposed to be.

Although the maximum records can be debatable, it is safe to assume that your fish can grow larger if you feed and care for them well. And some specimens might outgrow you beyond your control. Therefore, it is much safer to prepare a budget to upgrade your tank.





With the measurements above, there are at least 150 gallons are needed. In some reports from the owners of the fish, many specimens ram into the corners or walls of the aquarium. The reason was obvious. These poor fish were swimming in a small aquarium.


The hepsetus odoe fish need deeper and well-oxygenated waters. But the current must be slow-moving in order to make them comfortable and motivated all the time.

You will also want to make sure to install a fitting lid on top of your aquarium to prevent the fish from jumping and escaping from your tank.


The decoration and replicating its habitat


The successful key to making your African pike characin fish survive for a longer time is to setup the aquascape as close as possible to the real habitat.

So, when you add them to your aquarium for the first time, they won’t feel intimidated. Instead, they will feel very familiar with the ambiance and nuance.


The number one rule for décorating the aquarium for your hepsetus odoe is not to add the hardscape. As mentioned, this fish is fast-moving. They will often dash from one point to another. And when they do, the friction with the other object could hurt them.


Hardscape is really banned for the sake of people’s safety. Instead, you could equip the tank with 1/4 bogwood. Let the open space be more spacious so that they can dash without any problem.


The pike-like character specimens that you get from your local breeders are juveniles. It won’t be surprising if they come with a bit of shyness.

At this stage, it is very important to persuade them to make it convenient to live in your aquarium. One of the best methods is to plant dense plants in the aquarium to provide them with more shade.


The light should be dimmer so that they won’t get intimidated. I think dimmer light is necessary for almost all pets.

It will also be favorable for other tank mates in your aquarium too. Besides long-standing plants with strong roots, you can also add floating plants like water lettuce to help give more shade to your aquarium.


In their wild habitat, they often reside in the marginal vegetation, including the river courses, small lakes, and lagoons.


They are ambush predators. So, you will rarely see them chasing their prey in your aquarium. This species requires at least 8ft long aquarium to give them plenty of space for dashing and swimming around.


Since they need clear and high-oxygenated water, you might need to invest more in the highest quality filtration system you can find. A good filter quality will ensure that the environment in your tank stays relevant to your fish’s demands.


Before adding your fish to your aquarium, you will want to make sure that the tank has matured first.


Pour the tap water, decorate it well, add the driftwood and dense tall plants to provide shade and cover for them.



The floating vegetation must be provided well so that it will deliver calmer light to help the fish to grow and survive.


Your elongated buddies tend to grab their prey with lightning speed. Well, they can’t do it well without enough space in your aquarium.


You could also get some 3D aquarium backgrounds. Install it inside the glass. No, it is not to appeal to your guests or whatsoever. It will give the right demonstration of your fish’s natural habitat, tricking them not to hit the walls of the aquarium.


As I mentioned before, there have been reports that the fish jaws crash into the walls of the aquarium. It is because they can not measure the limit of space.


The 3D aquarium-safe background will help them to prevent them from hitting the walls of the tank.





The filtration system must provide a good level of water flow and quality oxygenation. The water flow is moderate. Avoid overpowering water flow to save the fish from hassles.


Make sure to maintain the nitrate level at zero. The changes in partial portions of water are necessary to get rid of the waste and keep the conditions friendly for your fish.


In a larger aquarium, it is cool to add the juveniles in groups. However, you need to consider putting them into different tanks since they can be aggressive towards each other.


When they become larger, they usually do all of their activities in solo mode. Therefore, it is recommended to house just one adult-sized African pike saccharin in one tank.



Hepsetus Odoe Tank Mates


The adult hepsetus odoe can be aggressive towards other members of the same species. However, they might be able to live with the other tank mates in the same environment.


You can keep one adult pike character fish in your tank. But then, adding the tank mates is also possible. The potential tank mates are large characters, cyprinids, larger catfish, and alike. Consider not including aggressive tank mates since it won’t be good for both fish.

The odoe pikes are aggressive towards some other fish, like Bala sharks, tarpon, apollo sharks, etc. It is rare to see multiple odoe housed in one tank. Avoid the aggressive tank mates as well, to prevent the death of one of them.

 You must keep the fish as individuals. Focus on tank mates that are similar in size to them and are not aggressive. The smaller fish tend to get harassed or bullied.


Hepsetus Odoe Diets/Food/Feeding


The odoe pikes are carnivorous and focus on piscivorous foods. In their natural habitat, they tend to eat fish for daily nutrient intake.



But in captivity, you can give them pellets, fish fillets, prawns, and live foods.


It might be challenging to give them live foods like prawns, earthworms, etc. But you can be sure that they can take frozen foods much more easily. For their protein intake, offer to feed them prawns, cockles, mussels, earthworms, and so on.


Your hepsetus odoe pets will be happier and healthier with the variety of foods in their tank.



Hepsetus Odoe Breeding guidelines


In its natural habitat, it reaches sexual maturity at a height of around 6 inches.

To defend themselves before reproducing, these aquatic species establish territorial boundaries and constructs massive bubble nests among surface plants.

The eggs are placed in the nest, and after hatching, the fry migrates there, attaching themselves to the nest with the help of an oviduct (a gland on the top of their heads). Until this point in the growth process, it is the parents’ responsibility to guard the nest.

It takes them four days to get free from the nest, after which they disperse while the nest decomposes, releasing the eggs. For a short time, these insects continue to rely on their sticky glands, which they use to adhere themselves to plants and other surfaces.

Adults keep vigil over the nest during this stage, picking up flies that fall away from it and restoring them to the nest’s bottom. As soon as they are able to walk away from the nest, they will attach themselves to nearby plants. They become more independent of their cement glands as they grow, and after about a week, they can swim without assistance.