Leopard bush fish

Aquarium fish: Leopard bush fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)
Size: 15 – 20 cm
Origin: Africa
Water temperature: 23-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 200 l

Leopard bush fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre ) – an original and rarely found in aquariums freshwater fish from the labyrinthine family.


Africa . The Ostropus bush is found in rivers, streams, lakes, and wetlands of the Congo river basin. It can live in fast flowing waters but seems to prefer quieter places.

Characteristics and disposition

Reaches up to 20 cm in length, but grows relatively slowly.

In an aquarium it usually grows up to 15 cm. The body is rounded, laterally flattened with large protruding eyes and a long, pointed muzzle. Unlike other related species, it has a large mouth that emphasizes its predatory nature. Visible spines on the dorsal fin. Basic coloration from reddish brown to golden yellow, with many irregular brown or black spots.

One of the darkest points at the base of the tail often resembles an eyelet. This pattern fades with age. Gender difficult to distinguish. Requires a skilled eye and magnifying glass. Males have more spines on the gill covers and the base of the tail.

The Greater Spotted Bush bird is an experienced hunter , usually lying motionless on the edge of the plant and attacking its prey by surprise. If we provide the fish with live food, this fascinating behavior can also be observed in the aquarium. The hunting bushman sometimes resembles a leaf floating in the water, hence its common name “leaf fish”. Like other labyrinthine fish, it has an auxiliary respiratory organ called the labyrinth . It allows the fish to breathe atmospheric air and thus survive in oxygen-poor waters.

In the aquarium, it is recommended to keep in a larger group and to let the whole group together. Otherwise, territories and fights may be designated, usually only harmless flippers, or sometimes head bangs. They show no aggression towards other species, but smaller fish will be treated as food. With proper conditions, it can live up to 15 years.

Nutrition and feeding

They don’t usually eat dry foods , but sometimes they get used to it.

On the other hand, they eagerly eat any food of animal origin, frozen and live, e.g. bloodworm, artemia, shrimps, pieces of earthworm or smaller fish.


The recommended minimum for a group is about a 200-liter aquarium, preferably larger, in places densely planted with plants, with a dark substrate and a decoration made of roots. Fish are active after dark, they do not like bright lighting, so you should choose shade-loving plants such as Anubias or Bolbitis. The aquarium should be covered.

The cover will protect the fish from jumping out of the tank, and also provide them with access to warm air taken from above the water surface. Although they are not aggressive fish, they will eat smaller fish. They can be successfully kept with other larger species from Africa, e.g. shoals of candlesticks ( Congo Candle ), barbs, opaczkach and less common fish of the genus Polypterus or butterflies . By nature, bushbirds are calm and shy, so they should not be combined with aggressive and too large species.


It is rarely reproduced in an aquarium . The chance of getting a matched pair increases with the purchase of more fish. The spawning tank should be large, with lots of floating plants, and it is necessary to cover it well so that the fry have access to warm air from above the water. Lack of a cover may adversely affect the proper development of the labyrinth in the fry. It multiplies, probably among plants, in a hug typical of labyrinths, during which eggs and dandelion are released simultaneously.

Roe floats freely to the surface. An adult female can lay several thousand eggs. Parents do not show parental care and should be removed from the aquarium. Hatching takes place after about 48 hours and the larvae quickly begin their independent migration around the aquarium. In the first 2 days, it is recommended to feed the smallest micro-foods.

After this time, brine shrimp larvae can be introduced. Despite the abundant litter, the survival rate of the fry in aquarium conditions is not high. Bushmen and other scattering fish of the genus Ctenopoma are believed to reproduce seasonally. Probably also, they mature quite late, at the age of 5-10.


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