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Labyrinth Fish / Anabantidae / Climbing Perch

Climbing Perch, Climbing Bass
Anabas testudineus

Synonyms: Amphiprion scansor, A. testudineus, Anabas elongatus, A macrocephalus, A. microcephalus, A. scandens, A. spinosus, A. variegatus, Antias testudineus, Lutjanus scandens, Perca scandens, Sparus scandens, S. testudineus
Physical description: This oval-shaped species has large scales, and spiny rays on the dorsal fin. The body color is generally gray to brown, and occasionally a greenish iridescence is present. The iris of the eye may be orange.
Size/Length: To 10" (25 cm)
Similar species: None
Habitat: Widespread from India to Southern China and Indonesia. This species inhabits a wide range of habitats including fresh and brackish water.
S: all
Aquarium: A tank measuring 32" (81 cm) with a capacity of 30 gallons (115 L) is sufficient for fish up to 6" (15 cm) in length. This species prefers shallow tanks with a cover of floating plants. Provide hiding places among rocks and wood. Most importantly, use a tight-fitting cover so this fish is not to go for a "walk" around your home.
Water chemistry: pH 5.5-8 (7.0), 2-18 dH (8), 73-88°F (23-31°C)
Social behavior: An aggressive species that should only be combined with other large, robust species. Smaller fish will serve as prey to this interesting fish.
Suggested companions: Possibly Ctenopoma species in a large tank, large Cyprinds, Knifefish, Mastacembelus, Polypterus, Giant Danios.
FOOD: Live; small fish, Tubifex, insects, insect larvae, small amphibians, crustaceans, chopped earthworms; lettuce; spinach; tablets; pellets; flakes; chopped meat; oatmeal; peas
SEX: Males have slightly longer anal and dorsal fins.
Breeding techniques: A spacious tank is needed for breeding. The pair should be fed with varied live foods in order to get them into spawning condition. The floating eggs are laid randomly. These should be removed, and usually hatch after 24-30 hours. Start feeding with Infusoria.
Breeding potential: 7. Breeding is moderately difficult, in part due to the large tank requirement.
Remarks: This species is famous for its survival capabilities and durability. At times of little food or water, this species will move overland, utilizing its labyrinth organ for breathing purposes. Many have reported that this species climbs small shrubs and fallen limbs at times. Often during the dry season, this species will burrow into the mud and remain dormant for extended periods. This species is considered a fine food fish in several countries.
Difficulty of care: 4. This robust, omnivorous fish is tolerant to many aquarium conditions. The drawbacks to this species include its quarrelsome, predatory nature, and the size that it can attain.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com