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Macropodus spechti

Black Paradise Fish

Classification

Osphronemidae. Subfamily: Macropodusinae

Distribution

Schreitmüller (1936) gave the type locality as “Indonesia” but this was in error and to date no Macropodus species is known from that region. M. spechti is probably endemic to Vietnam with Quang Ninh province likely to represent the northern limit of its distribution and Quang Nam province marking the southern boundary. The full extent of its range is unclear due to ongoing confusion regarding the nomenclature and number of species included in the genus, however.

Habitat

Tends to be found in lowland habitats including irrigation ditches, rice paddies, streams, pools, marshes, slower-moving sections of foothill streams and backwaters of larger rivers.

Maximum Standard Length

100 – 120 mm.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

Base dimensions of 80 cm x 30 cm are required for an adult pair with larger aquaria required should you wish to maintain a group.

Maintenance

Heavily-planted, shady set-up with low water movement.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 65 – 80°F/18.3 – 26.7°C

pH: 6.0 – 8.0

Hardness: 5 – 20°H

Diet

Likely to feed mostly on invertebrates and smaller fishes in nature. It will accept good quality dried products in the aquarium but also offer small live and frozen foods such as bloodworm, Daphnia and Artemia regularly to see the fish develop the best colour and condition.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Unsuitable for the general community and best kept alone or with a group of some pelagic, schooling cyprinid from genera such as Danio or Rasbora.

Sexual Dimorphism

Adult males are larger, more intensely-coloured and develop more-extended pelvic, dorsal, anal and caudal fins than females.

Reproduction

Bubble nest spawner.

NotesTop ↑

This species is sometimes referred to as M. concolor in older literature but conservation of that name was rejected by the ICZN in 2006, and for a time it was also considered to represent a form of M. opercularis.

Like others in the suborder Anabantoidei this species possesses an accessory breathing organ known as the labyrinth. So-called due to its maze-like structure this organ allows the fish to breathe atmospheric air to a certain extent. It comprises paired suprabranchial organs which are formed from the expansion of the epìbranchial (upper) section of the first gill arch and housed in a chamber above the gills. It consists of many highly vascularised, folded flaps of skin the form of which greatly increases the available respiratory surface area. The structure of the organ varies in complexity between species tending to be more well-developed in those inhabiting particularly oxygen-deprived conditions.

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