Wrestling halfbeak

Aquarium fish: Wrestling halfbeak (Dermogenys pusilla)
Size: 7 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 24-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 70 l

Wrestling halfbeak (Dermogenys pusilla ) -Puck, Half-Pusilla (Dermogenys pusilla) – a small, freshwater aquarium fish with an interesting appearance and behavior, belonging to the Zenarchopteridae family .


Southeast Asia. Widely distributed species. It is found in India, Brima, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia. They usually inhabit slow-flowing or standing waters, rivers, canals, watercourses, flooded fields, lakes and ponds.

Occasionally, in the rainy season, it can be seen in slightly saline water around flooded mangroves. Usually found in places with a lot of aquatic vegetation.

Characteristics and disposition

An adult female can reach 7 cm in length, a smaller male up to 5.5 cm. Half-pips are characterized by a slender, long, moderately laterally flattened body. Most notable is their long lower jaw which is locked and unable to move.

The upper jaw is short and moves in conjunction with the skull. This is very unusual for vertebrates. The dorsal and anal fins are far away, close to the tail. Tail fin oval. The lower front part of the anal fin forms the andropodium, which makes the half-beaks livebear.

The first dorsal fin is small and lies in the line of the pelvic fins, the larger one is in the anal fin line. In young fish and females, the second dorsal and anal fins are round, while in adult males they are slightly elongated and sharper, and colored red. They live mainly in the upper parts of the reservoir. They are considered to be calm and timid fish. Males show aggression towards rivals , often fighting with each other, grasping their jaws.

In the catchment areas, similarly to the fighters, they are used by the local population for gambling purposes. In natural conditions or in a larger reservoir, the weaker male will quickly detach and run away. To minimize aggression, it is recommended to keep one male with several females in the aquarium.

Nutrition and feeding

They take their food only from the surface of the water. Fruit flies seem to be the best food for them, but they will also not despise the brine shrimp or bloodworm.

Sometimes they may not eat dry food at first.


When choosing an aquarium for a Dwarf Semiprecious, the size of its surface is more important than its depth. Vegetation is also of great importance. The tank should contain a lot of plants growing close to the water surface. This is where the fish feed and swim most often.

It is worth planting the side walls of the aquarium densely, which will slightly minimize the risk of damaging their delicate mouths. Half-pips are excellent jumpers, so it’s a good idea to use a lid. The decoration below the top of the aquarium is less important to them. The water should be moderately hard and alkaline. Acceptable slight salinity up to approx.

1.005 SG. Frequent but small changes are recommended as they are sensitive to sudden changes in water temperature and chemistry. They can be kept with similar-sized, gentle fish. In a freshwater aquarium, live fish, small rainbow fish and plantain will be good company. On the other hand, in brackish water with the Inia porthole , golden plantain and mollies .

Avoid much larger and aggressive species, where they will be shy and will lose the competition for food.


Breeding is not as easy as with other livebugs , but it is possible. The difficulty, however, is not in encouraging fish to reproduce, but in the fact that females often give birth to dead offspring. This is probably nutrition related, so they should be provided with the best quality food. For spawning of the fish, it is recommended to keep the group in a species aquarium, equipped as described above, with plenty of floating plants and abundant feeding.

The length of pregnancy largely depends on the water temperature and is between 3-6 weeks. Usually 10-20 fry are born from one litter. Adults will hunt for fry, which should be separated from their parents as soon as possible. The young are quite easy to feed and raise. From birth, they consume both brine shrimp larvae and powdered dry food.


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