|Synonyms||Macropodus signatus, Polyacanthus signatus|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Mature males are larger with elongated unpaired fins and extensions on the caudal fin.|
|Maximum Size||15cm (5.9")|
|Temperature||24-28 deg C (75-82 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||Soft & acidic. pH: 6.0-7.0, dH: up to 12 degrees.|
|Lighting||Dim-medium (can be brighter if diffused by plants)|
The Combtail is known from slow-flowing, shallow, clearwater streams with a pebbly or sandy substrate. Here they are found amongst the marginal vegetation, feeding on terrestrial insects and detritus. Juvenile fish form small shoals of 3-5 individuals, whereas the adults are territorial and solitary. The aquarium housing this species should be spacious and mature, with a substrate of soft sand or fine rounded gravel. Provide a multitude of hiding places amongst dense planting and tangles of driftwood. Filtration should be efficient, but water movement gentle, and small frequent water changes will help keep nitrate to a minimum. Combtails have the ability to take in warm air from above the water’s surface, so a small gap must be left between the surface of the water and the cover slides in order for the fish to accomplish this. These fish are not suitable for the general community aquarium on account of their territorial nature and propensity to eat small fish. As the adults (particularly the males) can be rather aggressive with one another, it is best to maintain just one compatible male-female pair, introduced simultaneously. Tankmates, if desired, should be of similar size and enjoy the same conditions. However, do not house with other anabantids, as they will likely not be tolerated. May also be seen on sale as Ceylonese Combtail or Ceylonese Fighting Fish.
Small live or (defrosted) frozen foods are best for younger fish e.g. bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, daphnia, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp etc. Larger specimens will take bigger foodstuffs such as Mysis shrimp, chopped prawns and chopped earthworms (make sure these are clean and free of any pesticides). May eventually take some dried foods, but this should not be relied upon.
This species has not been bred in the home aquarium. In the wild, the male builds a bubble nest under a leaf at the surface of the water. Some 500 eggs are deposited/fertilised and the male guards the nest. Eggs hatch 2-3 days after spawning.