|Synonyms||Anabas ansorgii, A. davidae, Ctenopoma ansorgii, C. davidae|
|Distribution||Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo. Introduced to Madagascar.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Mature males are larger and more colourful, with white edging and longer tips to the anal and dorsal fins.|
|Maximum Size||8cm (3.2")|
|Temperature||25-28 deg C (77-82 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||pH: 6.0-8.0, dH: up to 20 degrees.|
|Lighting||Dim (brighter lighting can be used if diffused by plants)|
The Ornate Climbing Perch is known from the Chiloango River in Angola, and the Aruwimi River, middle Congo River, Lake Mai Ndombe, Luilaka River, Stanley Pool (Pool Malebo) and the Ubangi River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here they tend to inhabit the slower reaches and lurk amongst dense marginal vegetation. The aquarium should be mature with a dark substrate and an abundance of hiding places amongst tangles of driftwood and dense planting. In addition to rooted varieties, floating species can be useful to help diffuse the light and make these shy fish feel more secure. Filtration should be efficient, but water movement fairly gentle, and small, frequent partial water changes will help keep nitrate to a minimum. Ornate Climbing Perches will adapt to a range of water conditions provided that extremes are avoided, but will always show their best colours in soft, slightly acidic water. RO water may be needed in hardwater areas, and you may also like to filter the water through a medium of aquatic peat to help emulate the natural conditions. The addition of leaf litter would further help in this respect - dried Indian Almond leaves (Terminalia catappa) are ideal and are readily available. Although this is generally a timid and peaceful fish, males will show some territorial aggression towards one another, particularly when spawning. However, in spacious tanks with a plethora of visual barriers, this should not normally cause any real issues, and so small groups can usually be maintained together successfully in the same aquarium. If tankmates are desired, they should be small and peaceful and ideally occupy the upper levels of the water column. Good companions could include hatchetfish, killifish, rasboras, and tetras, and the presence of these fish may encourage the Ornate Climbing Perches out into the open a bit more. Avoid really tiny fish or fry, and do not house with any boisterous or nippy species. Young specimens in the shop may be overlooked as they are likely to be very pale, but these fish will show more colour as they settle in and mature. However, the really spectacular colour pattern of vivid dark vertical bars on the flanks interspersed with red on the fins will not be apparent until the fish are in breeding dress, and really is a sight to behold. Acclimatise very carefully and ensure the tank has tight fitting coverslides as these fish will jump. May also be seen on sale as Ornate Ctenopoma.
Small live or frozen foods such as bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, daphnia etc. Unlikely to take dried foods.
This species has been bred in the home aquarium, but is moderately difficult. Soft, acidic water is requisite. The male fish will construct a small bubble-nest amongst vegetation at the water's surface. With heightened colouration, he will then display to passing females to try and entice them into spawning. If a female is receptive, the pair will embrace under the bubble-nest with the male wrapping its body around the female, with eggs and milt released simultaneously. The eggs should hatch within 24-36 hours and the fry will become free-swimming after a further 48-72 hours. The parents may predate on the young so it is best to remove them once the eggs hatch. The miniscule fry should be offered infusoria as a first food, followed by baby brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii) as they grow. It is of extreme importance to maintain a warm layer of air between the surface of the water and the coverslides at all times whilst the fry are developing their labyrinth organ, critical during the first few weeks of their life.