Tag Archives: Ctenopoma

Ctenopoma breviventrale

3. December 2018

Why should one keep grey fish? Some may ask themselves this question when looking at the pictures of this bushfish from the Congo. The answer is: the urge to explore! Unfortunately, many animal and plant species die out every day. Also many freshwater fish are strongly threatened by environmental changes – other factors such as catch or diseases play according to all available research results no appreciable role in this drama. The recording of species diversity, biodiversity, is the first and most important step in stopping the extinction of species, because you can only protect what you know.

The “Grey Ocellatum”, as the Labyrinth fish lovers call this species, is a good example of knowledge gained through aquaristics. This species was described in 1938 using a single specimen from the Congo under the name Anabas breviventralis. With regard to body proportions, fin ray numbers, scale formula, etc., many bushfish species cannot be reliably distinguished from each other. Therefore, one can do little with in alcohol preserved, old and discolored specimens in this regard. And so Ctenopoma breviventrale (the species name, breviventralis, is an adjective and must be adapted in sex to the genus name if the species is grouped into a new genus; Anabas is masculine, therefore breviventralis, Ctenopoma neutrum, therefore breviventrale) is today synonymous with C. kingsleyae, the Tailspot bushfish, to many scientists who have never seen the living animals. However, C. kingsleyae has never been imported alive from the Congo, and all animals sent from there as C. kingsleyae have always been “Grey Ocellatum”. The “Grey Ocellatum” differs from C. kingsleyae certainly and simply in that only C. kingsleyae has a conspicuously enlarged silver scales below the eye.

The “Grey Ocellatum” undoubtedly differs from the “real” Ctenopoma ocellatum which occurs together with it by the complete absence of vertical bands. Due to the follow-up study of the type specimen of Anabas breviventralis carried out by the author of these lines himself in the Natural History Museum of Paris, there are currently no serious doubts that the “Grey Ocellatum” from the Congo is actually the species Ctenopoma breviventrale.

The Grey Ocellatum belongs to the smaller bushfish species that do not care for their spawn. The largest specimen we have seen so far was less than 10 cm long.  However, the fish matures earlier, with a length of about 5-6 cm, as you can easily see from the spiny field behind the eye, which the males develop when they reach sexual maturity. C. breviventrale is peaceful opposite conspecifics and fish, that do not serve as feed, plants are not bothered and the chemical water-composition is irrelevant for the care. The water temperature should be 24-28°C.

For our customers: the animals have code 115553 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesalers. Only a few specimens available!

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Ctenopoma acutirostre

6. June 2018

Among the most beautiful anabantoids or labyrinth fish from Africa is Ctenopoma acutirostre, the Leopard bushfish. It can become 15-20 cm long. Its natural habitat is the Congo. It is collected there for the ornamental fish trade in the Stanley Pool region. Here the fish live under the swimming meadows of the water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes). At dawn  they start hunting. Like a dead fish they slowly thrive through the water column. The special leopard pattern suggests a rotting carrion. Small fish are attracted by the obvious easy food and find themselves eaten as soon as they try to taste it.

Luckily enough it is not necessary to feed live fish. C. acutirostre can easily be adopted to frozen food (bloodworm etc.). They also can be kept in community tanks given the fact that possible tankmates are at least as half as long the Leopard bushfish. So they cannot be swallowed anymore and become not attacked. Leopard bushfish are totally peaceful as well against conspecifics as against other fish. But one has to choose calm species as tankmates, for the Leopard bushfish does not like hectic atmosphere at all!

For our customers: the depicted wild collected fish have code 115003 opn our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer