Paradise fish

Aquarium fish: Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis)
Size: 7 – 10 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 16-27 ° C
Aquarium volume: 90 l

Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis ) – probably one of the oldest freshwater aquarium fish from the Gurami family. It was brought to Europe in 1869. Due to its militant nature in Thailand, it was also used for gambling.


Asia . Widely distributed species found in parts of China, Vietnam, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Ryukyu Islands and Korea.

Artificially introduced populations also exist in Madagascar and the United States. Very hardy fish that can survive in difficult conditions. They live in oxygen-poor waters – irrigation canals, rice fields, ponds, wetlands, streams and backwaters of major rivers.

Characteristics and disposition

In aquariums, a male can reach up to 10 cm in length. In the wild, 8 cm individuals are considered fully adults.

The body is elongated, slender with characteristic large fins. The soft parts of the anal and dorsal fins stretch to form a uniform string of fibers. The caudal fin is concave and its upper and lower parts are significantly elongated. Males are more pigmented, with thick lips and more elongated fins . On the sides of the male’s body there are dark, blue-green vertical stripes separated by vivid red.

Head area brown. Gill covers are covered with black stripes with red or orange edging. The caudal fin is completely red. Dorsal and anal fins dark, turning red, near the caudal fin. The pelvic fins also have a red tinge with the tips tinged with white.

Females are much less colorful, darker and their fins are shorter, rounded, only the side stripes remain visible. There are also commercially available varieties resulting from artificial selection: blue, red, gold and albino. Unfortunately, the species is also subjected to artificial coloring by injecting dyes. Like other labyrinths , they can breathe atmospheric air . A species characterized by high intraspecific aggression.

Found singly in nature. After reaching sexual maturity, males become very aggressive and, like fighters, they fight with each other. It is best to keep one male and several females in the aquarium.

Nutrition and feeding

Omnivorous in nature, but with a predominance of animal foods over plant foods. Gastrointestinal analysis revealed mostly ingested plankton, invertebrates, smaller fish, and other animal organisms.

All commercially available fish have been bred in captivity and reared dry, so most will not be picky. In the aquarium, dry food in flakes or granules can be used as a nutritional basis, regularly supplemented with frozen daphnia, bloodworm or artemia as well as foods containing spirulina.


The harem can be kept in an aquarium of about 90 liters, preferably a plant one, with plenty of quiet, shaded places. You can also use twisted roots, stones and dry Oak or Ketapang leaves for decoration. They prefer still water, so the water current should not be too strong.

These fish are good jumpers, so it is worth using a cover or lowering the water level a bit. Great fins are very hardy fish and can tolerate a wide range of temperatures. The most commonly quoted values ​​are 16-27 ° C, but they can survive also at temperatures outside this range. The optimal temperature is 21-24 ° C. They feel good in both slightly acidic and slightly alkaline water.

They are not suitable for a social aquarium. Smaller fish will be eaten and their long fins will be nibbled. They should not be kept with goldfish and similar species. It is best to keep them in a harem in a species aquarium. You can try to combine with a shoal of fast-swimming carp.


They belong to the species that build foamy nests among plants. Breeding is not difficult, but males are sometimes unpredictable. For reproduction, a spawning tank of at least 60 cm in length is required, without any substrate, with a few clumps of small-leaved and floating plants. A small sponge filter is sufficient for filtration. Fish for spawning may be encouraged by increasing the water temperature to 27-29 ° C and lowering the water level to about 20 cm.

Other parameters are not so significant. However, it is necessary to use a cover to ensure a constant, warm temperature above the water surface. This is very important for the proper development of the maze in young fish. We feed an adult couple with frozen or live food. It should be ready for spawning in a short time.

When the female is clearly fat, move the fish to the previously prepared tank. Soon the male starts working on a foamy nest. For this purpose, it most often chooses a large leaf near the water surface or floating plants, possibly in the open space if there are no such gaps. From time to time, it adds leaves and plant debris to the released air bubbles to strengthen the structure. During the construction of the nest, the female is not welcome nearby, therefore numerous hiding places are necessary, e.g.

made of dense vegetation. When the nest is finished, you can observe the change in the behavior of the fish. The male stops being aggressive. Spawning takes place under the nest, in a typical embrace – the male wraps his body around the female. At this point, eggs and milk are released simultaneously and they are fertilized.

The male releases the hug and the fish separate from each other. The released eggs are very light and float up on their own. Those that fall to the bottom are collected by the male and transferred to the nest. This sequence can be repeated several times with breaks between each act until the female releases all eggs – up to 500 pieces. After spawning is complete, the male takes responsibility for the protection and care of the eggs.

During this period, the female is indifferent to him and, for her safety, she should be moved to another aquarium. Hatching, depending on the temperature, may last from 48 to 96 hours. The moment of hatching is easy to recognize by the damaged, divided nest. Most males in the first days can stay with the larvae until they are free to swim, but it happens that they start eating their offspring earlier. Great fin larvae are small in size and require micro foods until they can ingest the micro nematodes and brine shrimp larvae.

Additional aquariums will be required to raise more. The young grow unevenly and the larger ones usually eat or kill the younger siblings.


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