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Ornate Ctenopoma

Ornate Ctenopoma

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Microctenopoma ansorgii

Note: Due
to variations within species, your item may not look identical to the image


Anabas ansorgii, A. davidae, Ctenopoma ansorgii,
C. davidae


Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Introduced to Madagascar.

Sexual Dimorphism

Mature males are larger and more colourful, with
white edging and longer tips to the anal and dorsal fins.

Maximum Size

8cm (3.2")


25-28 deg C (77-82 deg F)

Water Parameters

pH: 6.0-8.0, dH: up to 20 degrees.


Specialist community


Dim (brighter lighting can be used if diffused by




The Ornate Climbing Perch is known from the Chiloango River
in Angola, and the Aruwimi River, middle Congo River, Lake Mai Ndombe, Luilaka
River, Stanley Pool (Pool Malebo) and the Ubangi River in the Democratic
Republic of Congo. Here they tend to inhabit the slower reaches and lurk
amongst dense marginal vegetation. The aquarium should be mature with a dark
substrate and an abundance of hiding places amongst tangles of driftwood and
dense planting. In addition to rooted varieties, floating species can be useful
to help diffuse the light and make these shy fish feel more secure. Filtration
should be efficient, but water movement fairly gentle, and small, frequent
partial water changes will help keep nitrate to a minimum. Ornate Climbing
Perches will adapt to a range of water conditions provided that extremes are
avoided, but will always show their best colours in soft, slightly acidic
water. RO water may be needed in hardwater areas, and you may also like to
filter the water through a medium of aquatic peat to help emulate the natural
conditions. The addition of leaf litter would further help in this respect -
dried Indian Almond leaves (Terminalia catappa) are ideal and are readily
available. Although this is generally a timid and peaceful fish, males will show
some territorial aggression towards one another, particularly when spawning.
However, in spacious tanks with a plethora of visual barriers, this should not
normally cause any real issues, and so small groups can usually be maintained
together successfully in the same aquarium. If tankmates are desired, they
should be small and peaceful and ideally occupy the upper levels of the water
column. Good companions could include hatchetfish, killifish, rasboras, and
tetras, and the presence of these fish may encourage the Ornate Climbing
Perches out into the open a bit more. Avoid really tiny fish or fry, and do not
house with any boisterous or nippy species. Young specimens in the shop may be
overlooked as they are likely to be very pale, but these fish will show more
colour as they settle in and mature. However, the really spectacular colour
pattern of vivid dark vertical bars on the flanks interspersed with red on the
fins will not be apparent until the fish are in breeding dress, and really is a
sight to behold. Acclimatise very carefully and ensure the tank has tight
fitting coverslides as these fish will jump. May also be seen on sale as Ornate




Small live or frozen foods such as bloodworm, white
mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, daphnia etc. Unlikely to take
dried foods.




This species has been bred in the home aquarium, but is
moderately difficult. Soft, acidic water is requisite. The male fish will
construct a small bubble-nest amongst vegetation at the water's surface. With
heightened colouration, he will then display to passing females to try and
entice them into spawning. If a female is receptive, the pair will embrace
under the bubble-nest with the male wrapping its body around the female, with
eggs and milt released simultaneously. The eggs should hatch within 24-36 hours
and the fry will become free-swimming after a further 48-72 hours. The parents
may predate on the young so it is best to remove them once the eggs hatch. The
miniscule fry should be offered infusoria as a first food, followed by baby
brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii) as they grow. It is of extreme importance to
maintain a warm layer of air between the surface of the water and the
coverslides at all times whilst the fry are developing their labyrinth organ,
critical during the first few weeks of their life.