Common Name: Ornate Bushfish
Scientific Name: Microctenopoma ansorgii
Other Names: Ornate Ctenopoma, African Betta
The Ornate Bushfish is a captivating species known for its unique striped patterns and extended dorsal fin rays. It features a variety of earth-toned colors, including reds, greens, and yellows, combined with attractive speckled markings. Its peaceful demeanor, combined with its intriguing appearance, makes it a desirable addition to many freshwater aquariums.
Habitat and Distribution:
Native to the freshwater systems of West and Central Africa, particularly in Angola and Congo. In their natural habitat, they prefer slow-moving waters with dense vegetation, such as swamps, marshes, and riverbanks.
Size and Lifespan:
Typically, they grow up to 3.5 inches (9 cm) in length. With proper care, they can live up to 8 years in captivity.
Diet and Behavior:
Ornate Bushfish are carnivorous and prefer live or frozen prey such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and small insects. While they are generally peaceful, they might attempt to eat very small fish or invertebrates. They are known for their docile nature but can be shy and often use plants or decorations to hide.
Breeding and Reproduction:
Breeding in captivity is moderately challenging. They are bubble nest builders. The male builds a bubble nest amongst plants, and after spawning, he will guard the eggs.
Aquarium Care and Tank Requirements:
A tank of at least 20 gallons is suitable for a pair. They prefer densely planted aquariums with plenty of hiding spots, as this mimics their natural environment. Floating plants can be added to dim the light and make them feel more secure.
Ideal Tank Mates:
While generally peaceful, they do best with species of similar size or larger to ensure they don’t mistake smaller fish for food. Suitable tank mates include larger tetras, barbs, and non-aggressive cichlids. Avoid very small fish and invertebrates.
Intermediate. While they aren’t particularly demanding in terms of care, their shy nature and dietary needs may pose a challenge for beginners.
• Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
• pH: 6.0-7.5
• General Hardness (GH): 5-15 dGH
• Carbonate Hardness (KH): 3-10 dKH
• Ammonia: 0 ppm
• Nitrite: 0 ppm
• Nitrate: <20 ppm
• They have a labyrinth organ, allowing them to breathe atmospheric oxygen, so a small gap between the water surface and the tank lid is beneficial.
• Regular water changes and a well-maintained filter are crucial to keep them healthy.
• Their calm demeanor and striking appearance make them a favorite among aquarists seeking unique freshwater species.
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