How to Care for Your New Leopard Ctenopoma

Aqualand's inside scoop on Ctenopoma acutirostre

 

 Leopard Ctenopoma Factoids

Origin

Africa -- Congo River basin

Temperature

Tropical
Temperament Predator. Lurker. Likes hiding places. Anabantid.
Size 6 to 8 inches.  Never saw one over 4-inches myself.
Longevity. 15 years

Substrate

Darker shows them best.
Sexing Spines on male's operculum
Breeding Bubble nester.  Anabantid. Never seen it myself.

Security

Caves, driftwood, plants

Foods

Picky at first then worms, shrimp, crickets, pellets.

LA
3-inch leopard ctenopoma.  They originally came from the Congo River in Africa.

LA
One-inch Leopard ctenopoma.  Likely raised in commercial operations these days.

Prologue:  I started rounding up these intriguing little critters seven years ago.  Then I got distracted several times.  Recently, I was about half-way thru building this page when the power went off and wiped the slate.  Lots of wind and rain yesterday, August 9.  So here I am starting over.  Lots of lightning again last night.  Had to re-boot August 16.

Introduction:  You can find leopard ctenomas under a variety of names.  The least logical has to be spotted climbing perch.  All the anabas I've run across are nasty little critters.  Ctenopomas (spotted and otherwise) are more on the friendly side.  Other names include bush fish, bush master, leopard bush fish, African spotted fish, African spotted gourami, leopard gourami, Congo gourami, Congo perch, and often African leaf fish.  They do resemble leaf fish in shape and attitude.

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Leopard ctenopomas tend to bleach out over white substrates.

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Adults as well as youngsters.

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They darken over darker substrates and as they mature,

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Leopard ctenopomas mix well with similar sized fish.

Physical Description:  Leopard ctenopomas resemble cichlids in shape and in attitude.  You can't trust them with smaller fish -- especially tetras.  They might argue with their tank mate but get along fine with those of equal size.  Not good mixers with most cichlids.  They love tetras.

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They get along with equal-sized datnioides, but they're better eaters.

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Mouth not nearly as large as a leaf fish mouth, but it works great.

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Leaf fish easily take the mouth gold medal.

Temperament:  Leopard ctenopomas are definite predators.  They like small  goldfish and any other bite-size prey.  Like datnioides and leaf fish, they will stalk their prey, sidling up on it with their pectoral fins at work.  But if they're hungry, they're just as likely to chase down their lunch and gulp it in a flash.

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Some young leopard ctenopomas.  Good-looking even while young.

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Ditto.

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2-inch leopard ctenopoma.

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Three incher.

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Another three incher.

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Same guy.

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Leopard ctenopomas like anubias plants which also come from Africa.

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Leopard ctenopomas also like Indian plants.

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Male leopard ctenopoma.

Sexing:  Leopard ctenopoma males sport spines on their gill covers.  (They sorta look like eyelashes.)  However, even if you can tell the males from the females, you are not likely to see them spawn.

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4-inch Ctenopoma
acutirostre.

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3-inch leopard ctenopoma.

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You can see how they resemble leaf fish.  Gives you some idea of the size of a leaf fish.

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Healthy plants help darken the tank.

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Leopard ctenopoma checking out a small crayfish.  The crayfish try to grab on for a ride.

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1.5-inch scavenger crayfish also grab their feeder fish.

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Enjoys 1-inch sections of nightcrawlers.

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Sorting thru the gravel for California blackworms.

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Checking out a piece of nightcrawler.

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Still checking.

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Yum.

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Another day another chunk of nightcrawler.

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Rosey red for lunch.

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Goldfish today.

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Finally took one head first.

Preferred Foods:  Leopard ctenopomas like frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, and mysis shrimp.  They also like live California black worms, earthworms, nightcrawlers (trimmed to size), crickets, houseflies, and of course, bite-size feeder fish.  Most will learn to eat pelleted foods.  Flakes not so much.  Make sure to feed them a variety of foods.

LA
Three inch leopard ctenopoma.

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Same guy displays better in a planted tank.

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Both love California blackworms.

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Six new 1.5 inchers fresh out of the bag.  They like California blackworms.

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Could not get them to line up for a family photo.

Last Words:  Leopard ctenopomas fit in the unusual or oddball category.  Unlike most unusual fish, they are not hard to keep and they like most fish foods you offer them (except flakes).  LA

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