african spotted leaf fish?
I saw this adorable little spotted fish cowering in a bala shark tank at petsmart today, and it saw me, and it was love at first sight - it swam toward me and seemed to beg me to take it home.
But I was good and resisted my overwhelming desire to own this fish. I went home and googled it and learned nothing, except that it's an unknown quantity in mainstream fishlore.
Petsmart says they rarely come through the store - they say they get to 4" and are semi-aggressive but I don't really trust corporate petstore employees about anything...
I *really* want to buy this fish tomorrow. Does anybody know anything about it??
I've done a bunch of research on this fish, as I eventually want one or more of them myself. The scientific name is Ctenopoma acutirostre. They're an anabantid related to gouramis. They get to about 6" in length. They prefer softer water with a slightly acidic pH, although I'm sure it would easily adapt to most conditions. Generally they're supposed to be pretty hardy.
As for behavior and care: they get to about 6" and are *very* predatory. Some people feed them flake and pellet but many others devote a tank full of breeding livebearers to provide a steady source of live food. Their mouths are much, much bigger than they look and as such they shouldn't be housed with any fish smaller than they are. However, they're fairly timid so you also can't house them with big boisterous cichlids. They do best in heavily planted tanks with subdued lighting. I think a single fish would do ok in a 29g tank, with bigger tanks being needed for more fish. Some people report that they get along well together, but it seems like they spend more time together when young and can get territorial when they're older. Young fish introduced to a tank at the same time will have a better chance of getting along as they age, though.
Thanks imantbatman, that's enough to make the purchase. This fish I'm in love with is only 1" at the moment, so I'll add it to my community tank and monitor it closely. I am planning on keeping breeding live bearers. If it grows belligerent with size/age I'll look into moving it into a different tank...
I'll let you know how it goes.
So I bought the fish and it's acclimating right now. Pretty feisty little guy - a lot quicker than it looks.
You mention live food is better - I'm new to live fish food. What kind of live food is small enough for a 1" fish to eat?
The fish has a huge mouth for its size, so it should be able to handle smaller sized feeder guppies. If not, I'm sure it would love live blackworms.
This fish is awesome! I have it in a temporary 8 gallon tub with a baby upside-down catfish (I'm house-sitting in Pasadena, I'll get them into my 30g in Hollywood on Wednesday.)
It gave me a scare by playing dead when I first got it, but actually it seems quite healthy, and glad to be out of the bala shark tank. It's not wild about the catfish coming into it's space, but it hasn't nipped yet - I added a second small "cave" in case it wants more privacy. I think this one will be my favorite...
Just an update on adding this fish -
I had to run to hollywood for an errand yesterday and so was able to introduce my leaf fish to the 30g then.
I'd heard a lot about how this fish is shy and territorial and will spend all it's time hiding - but once it got into the bigger tank, it spent the next few hours buzzing slowly around and exploring - didn't hide at all. It's really little - even the guppies are big enough to bully it (I know in the end the guppies could wind up snacks) - and there's a dwarf gourami in the tank 3 times it's size - still it hasn't seemed particularly intimidated or territorial - I'm thrilled that it's so active.
And it loves the blackworms, thanks for the rec!
I bought two of these fish a while back. I have a 90 gal. with about 20 fish including pacu, clown loaches, silver dollars, angels, botias, but the leaf fishes are by far my favorite fish of all. I hand feed them frozen blood worms and they actually wait for me at the tank like dogs. They don't bother any of the other fish, but are curious. Definately a good choice. If you have any tetras of guppies in there, they will be eaten within a few minutes. I buy feeder fish for them every week. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!
I would think twice about that pacu as it can grow huge
I plan on either getting a larger tank for it or selling when the time comes.
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