Synonyms: Polycentrus tricolor
Physical description: A stocky, high-backed fish with lateral compression. The body is oval-shaped and the caudal fin is fan-shaped. The anal and dorsal fins have long bases with short, spiny rays. The coloration is variable depending on mood, conditions, and surroundings. Generally the body is dark brown with random dark and light markings. Three lines runs from the eye. The fins are brownish.
Size/Length: To 4" (10 cm)
Similar species: Other Leaf fish
Habitat: Inhabits shore areas slow-moving or still water having heavy vegetation in South America; Trinidad, Guyana, and Venezuela
S: bottom, middle
Aquarium: A tank measuring 20" (51 cm) with the capacity of 10 gallons (39 L) is sufficient. A tank arranged in dark colors with a cover of floating plants is particularly important to this species. Follow other recommendations under M. polyacanthus.
Water chemistry: pH 6.3-7.2 (7.0), 8-20 dH (10), 72-79°F (22-26°C)
FOOD: Live; small fish, mosquito larvae, earthworms, aquatic insects, crustaceans, Tubifex
Social behavior: This solitary species is peaceful towards equal and larger sized species. This species is predatory towards smaller companions. This Leaf fish is nocturnal.
Suggested companions: Armored Catfish, Leporinus, Anostomus, Angelfish, Doradids, Loricarids, Loaches.
Sexual differences: The females are rounder during spawning season and generally lighter in color.
Breeding techniques: Use water with the following valueS: a pH of 6.0-7.0, a water hardness of 18-20 dH, and a temperature of 82-86°F (28-30°C). They spawn in a rocky cave, and the eggs are attached to the underside of large-leafed leaves. About 600 eggs are laid. After spawning, the male drives off the female, and she should be removed. The father watches and cares for the eggs. The fry hatch in three days and are free-swimming after 7 or 8 days. The fry are voracious eaters and will consume their body weight in food daily.
Breeding potential: 8. Breeding is difficult.
Remarks: This species is less aggressive than M. polyacanthus.
Difficulty of care: 6. This predatory species requires a diet of live foods.
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