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Ctenopoma acutirostre




    This is one of the most unique fish I have ever kept as far as behavior is concerned. They will stake out a territory so caves and plenty of hiding places should be provided. They are active during both day and night and tend to be peaceful toward most other species of similar size. They do not get along well with one other unless there is lots of space and lots of different territory to claim. Also, species that look somewhat similar in color should be avoided as the leopard ctenopoma may see them as competition (i.e. certain species of cichlids that may have dark spots like keyhole cichlids). This fish will often “yawn” and the keeper can see the enormous mouth that this species possesses. It is no wonder that most small fish end up as snacks! They are very personable and will often swim to the front of the tank when there is activity in the room and they can be trained to feed from your hand with blood worms or pieces of earthworm.

Quick stats:

Listed tank sizes are the minimum
Size: Up to 6 inches (15cm)
Tank: 48 inches (55 gallon)
Strata: All
PH: 6.0 to 8.0
Hardness: Soft to medium. dh Range 5.0-12.0
Temperature: 68° to 77°F (20° – 25°C)
Lifespan: 5 – 8 years


Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
Family: Anabantidae
Genera: Ctenopoma
Species: acutirostre

Common name:


Spotted Climbing Perch, 

    Leopard Bushfish, Leopard Ctenopoma


    Africa: Congo basin

General Body Form:This is a very beautiful fish that has a rounded or elliptical body that is laterally compressed. The body is a golden/yellowish color with many round or oddly shaped brown spots that create the “leopard” look. They have an elongated snout, large mouth, large eyes and many short spines on the dorsal fin.


    Minimum of 50 gallons as this fish can grow to 6 inches or so. The leopard ctenopoma can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions, but regular tank maintenance is required to keep nitrates in check to avoid unneeded stress or disease. Temperature range: 68 to 77 degrees F is recommended.


    This fish will eat anything that fits into its mouth and loves to stalk prey. The leopard ctenopoma can swallow fish up to nearly 1/3 of its size so tank mates should be chosen carefully. To take in food, this fish opens its mouth and sucks in swallowing the food whole. While hunting, it turns its body completely vertical and bends it caudal tail to resemble a leaf shape and to wait for an unsuspecting small fish to swim by. The ctenopoma will eat tropical flakes and small pieces of vegetables, but live or frozen foods should be provided as well as this fish prefers “meatier” foods. Mine eats brine shrimp, blood worms, tropical flakes, peas, tubifex worms, shrimp pellets, small feeder fish, etc.


    Sluggish streams Central Africa full of vegetation along its home range.


    These fish are difficult to sex, but the major difference between males and females is that males have short spines on the gill covers while females do not.


    There has been little reported success in breeding this fish in captivity, but they do not tend to their young so parents should be removed after spawning. They are reported as egg scatterers or bubble nest builders, but captive breeding is rare and not well documented.



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