Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis)

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Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish

Macropodus opercularis

76 Litres (20 US G.)

7-10 cm (2.8-3.9")




6.0 - 8.0

16 -26 °C (60.8-78.8°F)

6-10 °d

1:1-3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

3-5 years



This animal is available captive bred

Additional names

Paradise Gourami, Paradise Fish, Blue Paradise Fish

Additional scientific names

Chaetodon chinensis, Labrus opercularis, Macropodus chinensis, Macropodus ctenopsoides

Origin[edit | edit source]

The Paradise Fish originates in Asia and is found almost anywhere with low current, such as rice paddies or calm pools on the side of flowing streams.

Sexing[edit | edit source]

Males typically have longer fins and brighter reds than females of the same age: they also tend to be larger than the females.

Tank compatibility[edit | edit source]

Whether Paradise fish can go with tank mates depends on the number of Macropods being kept. Lone male paradise fish are just as unpredictable as the domesticated Betta splendens are with tank mates, and are best kept alone in 30 inch long tanks due to their relatively large (potentially 4 inch standard length) size. However, paradise fish can also be kept in pairs, harems, and even mixed sex groups, and in these cases paradise fish are normally community safe as long as they do not breed. Fish smaller than about 1.5 inches may be eaten by a large paradise fish irregardless of numbers, and other species of anabantoids or long-finned fish should be added with care. Finally, fin-nipping fish must be avoided.
Paradise fish, like many anabantoids, can be fairly aggressive to their own kind, so a 30 inch long tank is advised if more than one is to be kept. 1M 1F pairs will usually work, but harems are advised for particularly aggressive male Paradise fish, and multiple males should not be kept together unless a 48 inch long tank is available. If they are kept in pairs or groups, the paradise fish will be more active and display more complex behaviors than they would if kept alone, including a variety or argumentive and submissive behaviors.

Diet[edit | edit source]

Paradise fish are definite carnivores in the wild, so they require a meaty diet. A high protein food must be used (eg. Tropical Flake Food, gel or pellet as opposed to most goldfish food). It will eat small tetra fish, fry and shrimp, so they could be a solution to livebearer overpopulation problems. In any case, supplimenting a dry diet with live or frozen foods, such as bloodworm and daphnia, is advised for the best color and condition in the fish.

Feeding regime[edit | edit source]

Not particularly unusual in feeding habits, the normal once or twice a day feeding regime will work for paradise fish.

Environment specifics[edit | edit source]

Typically lives in overgrown, slow-moving waters in the wild. In the aquarium, similar conditions should be used, although it is advised to keep the current slightly higher to prevent unintended spawns from occurring. Can take lower temperatures than many tropical fish.

Behaviour[edit | edit source]

Lone male paradise fish are infamously hostile in community settings, but pairs or groups are far less malicious to other species and can be kept in most communities. Do not let them spawn in communities, as spawning males become much more aggressive and will likely evict all tank mates from his half of the tank!
Paradise fish show interesting social behaviors when kept in groups or pairs. Paradise fish may charge other paradise fish who irritate them; the target fish will lean on its side and show its stomach to the aggressor, who will either 'forgive' the target or chase it until it is sufficiently far away. If two males meet, they will flare at each other by extending their fins, darkening their colors, opening their operculum a (which have eye spots) and circling each other, occasionally jaw locking for a few seconds if this flaring match does not settle the argument. The defeated male will then flee his rival's territory, which is why a large tank is needed for multiple paradise fish males - otherwise, the defeated male may be beaten on by the victor, who thinks that the defeated male is still deliberately intruding on his territory, and may be killed.
Paradise fish use a bubble nest to breed, like most anabantoids. After building the bubble nest, the male will flare at the female to try and entice her under the bubble nest to mate. The act of spawning itself is an 'embrace' typical of anabantoids, with the male placing the resulting eggs in the bubble nest after spawning; he will then fiercely guard the nest from all comers until the fry are free swimming in about a week. The fry need infusoria at first, but can take microworms and bbs within a few days; the father should be removed after they become free swimming.

Identification[edit | edit source]

A somewhat elongated anabantoid with a iridescent blue base color, orange or red stripes along its body, and a long, forked tail fin with those same red or orange stripes. Several captive variations exist, including an albino form. The elongated shape makes it highly unlikely to be confused with the similarly-colored Colisa gouramis, and its coloring rules out confusion with any other members of its genus.

Pictures[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]