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Macropodus opercularis
Paradise Fish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Paradise Fish - Macropodus opercularis

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Macropodus_opercularis_4.jpg.jpg (33kb)
Photo Credit: Martina Cizkova

Name: Macropodus opercularis
Size TankpHTemp
Origin: Eastern Asia
10 cm 80 L 7.0 23C


This fish is hardy, colorful and of good size. They are my favorite tropical fish. The paradise fish was named by Linnaeus during the beginning of aquarium keeping. It was the FIRST tropical fish to be imported from other countries and kept. Its radiant coloration and interesting habits put to shame everyting that had been in the aquarium until then, and encouraged more exotic fish imports. This fish should have at least a 75 liter tank to reside in. It can bred in a 40 liter. This fish is actually sub-tropical and can take very cold temperatures and can live for at least part of the year in an outdoor pond. They enjoy eating betta food and ghost shrimp. They also enjoy baby fish. Paradise fish are rather aggressive and two males will fight it out to see who is stronger. Soon they will develop a pecking order. Paradise fish fight by locking jaws and biting at the opponent's sides. Breeding is easily done by placing male and female in a 40 liter tank. Add a floating plastic lid for the male to build his nest in. Usually the nest is on the side of the tank or under the lid. The fish then court each other. The male flares at the female and the female either runs or wiggles her body. If she wiggles her body, the male doesn't attack her. The female will come over to the bubblenest after a while to meet the male and they will embrace like bettas. Eggs number around 50 to 300. The eggs hatch into tiny black colored fish. The male tends them, catching them in his mouth and blowing them towards the bubblenest. When the young begin to wander and the male starts to have a very hard time, it is time to remove him. This is usually 3 days later. Feed the young infusoria and later baby brine shrimp. After one month you can introduce them to flake food. After one and a half months they should be the size of pinto beans and you can move them to the main tank. The smaller ones may be harassed or eaten, but the lucky few will grow to adulthood if provided with good care.

Contributed by Joseph (Nonamethefish)

The paradise is a wonderful fish. Very colorful and personable. I have one with two false giant gouramis, a three spot gourami, a marbled gourami, a croaking/licorice gourami, a pygmy gourami, and 5 long fin golden danios. Although he is very aggressive at times, he does not seem to scare the others into hiding. He will chase them from his space (middle center of tank) and they will swim around the corner and come up on the other side. He is the first one to react when someone walks into the room. He will franticly swim back in forth in front of the tank, hoping to attract attention that will turn into "feeding time". The Paradise is a great addition to any gourami or Asian theme tank.

Contributed by Judson Hughey

I have a Black Paradise Fish. I had him in a community tank with Danios, otos, cory cats and a Saimese Algae Eater. He attacked one of the danios and killed him. He also sucked the eye out of the SAE. He is a beautiful fish, but is aggressive.

Contributed by Kianna Cole

This fish is very hardy and colorful. Females and males are differed by color. Males are much more colorful, and the females are kind of a duller shade in color. They should be fed food with spirulina in it. They also like shrimp pellets, and regular flake food. I give mine frozen brine shrimp a few times a week, a couple shrimp pellets and color enhancer flake foods. The females are more likely to hide, or claim a cave. The males may show a little aggression to other males. If they're in a big enough tank, it's not a worry. They should max out at about 10 cm.

Contributed by a visitor

Males should not be kept together unless the tank is larger than about 180 L, but a male/female pair will be fine in a 75 L tank with a few small fish such as tetras or some of the smaller barbs. Don't include fish smaller than 3 cm though, the Paradise fish are very crafty hunters and will catch even the fastest little fish. Paradise fish alter their colors at will, usually when courting a female or facing off against another male. The colors will often triple in intensity within ten seconds. This is amazing to witness. Therefore, keep in mind that a beautiful paradise fish that is in with a bunch of males at the store may actually lose some color when you get it home and it relaxes. Paradise fish are remarkably intelligent, and will systematically explore every nook of the tank, especially if it is rearranged. They will always follow a new addition to the tank around for the first day - not to attack it, but simply because they are so curious. Paradise are also very hardy, and although I don't recommend them to cycle a tank, you could definitely get away with it. They do well on a varied diet. I feed mine tropical flake food, dried red grubs, spirulina, and Betta Bites in different combinations. I highly recommend feeding spirulina to all your tropical fish as it improves coloration and keeps them regular (regulates bowl movements). Keep Paradise fish in an intricately aquascaped tank. If they don't have things to explore they will become agitated and pace back and forth all day. Things like caves, rocks, and intricate pieces of driftwood are a great idea. If you have a younger Paradise, include live plants to hide in, and don't worry about snails, these things massacre them (as long as they're small). One warning - Paradise fish eat ridiculously slowly. They have to examine everything before they touch it and will often take two minutes to consume eight Betta Bites. If you keep them with voracious eaters like Danios, the Paradise won't get any food.

Contributed by Pablo

This fish was the first tropical fish introduced into the hobby. I have kept an albino one which was very beautiful. It was white with metallic blue fins. This fish is, in a way, like the tiger barb. It pecks other fish for no reason. It pecked my angelfish one too many times and learned the lesson the hard way. I recommend this fish for any asian tank (good with gouramis).

Contributed by Barry Lee

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