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September 07, 2012

I’ve been working for The Wet Spot for almost seven years now. I’ve seen all sorts of what some would consider unusual or odd is something that I probably get to see on a daily basis. We receive several orders that usually come in throughout the week. For something to show up in the order that truly gets my attention must certainly be something highly unusual, and more than likely brown…

Up until 1995, the Anabontoids commonly known as “bushfish” were all in the genus Ctenopoma. This changed when Norris described a new species and placed it in the genus Microctenopoma. He had discovered a distinct trait between this fish and the others consisting in the genus – therefore breaking up the some 20 different species once placed in the family. But there is often much confusion among hobbyists as what the term “micro” means. They often believe that it is due to the small adult size of the fish. This is not the case however. Instead, it refers to “micro” structures on the fish.

Bushfish can be found in slow moving oxygen deprived waters of east, west, and central Africa. Here they spend time hiding in plants and sunken wood waiting for small fish or invertebrates to pass by. Setting up an aquarium to mimic these conditions is best for the overall health of the fish. I would, however, recommend planting the aquarium very heavily. This will help bring out the best colors of the species you wish to keep, well making the fish feel more comfortable. Ideally, fish like Congo Tetras (Phenacogrammus interruptus) or similar size are the best choices for tankmates as they occur in nature together.

Much like the Leaf fish of South America, the fish shoot out protrusible jaws with lightning fast speed. Any prey within range quickly becomes a meal. It’s because of this predatory behavior that all bushfish should not be housed with animals that are small enough to fit in their mouths. The diet of bushfish should be well rounded. Meaning they should be offered a variety of frozen or live brine shrimp. Bloodworms will be greedily eaten up by those acclimated into an aquarium. Flake foods will most likely be ignored and should be avoided. Personally, I do not recommend a live fish diet as this can lead to parasite problems, but if you insist on feeding other fish I would recommend you start your own guppy colony. This way you can be assured your feeder fish are problem free.

The first species I would like to mention is Microctenopoma ansorgii “Ornate Bushfish”. According to Robert Goldstein, this fish is mistakenly called “Microctenopoma”, but instead belongs in the genus Ctenopoma. This is most likely because of the fish’s 2.5” adult size. Seriouslyfish.com and the literature are found still has them listed as a Microctenopoma species, so that is what we are going to refer to them as. The Ornate Bushfish is un-doubtfully the best looking fish within the family with the strikingly red and black bars the fish possess, but is also one of the shyest. I would recommend a densely planted aquarium with slower moving fish to bring this beauty.

Microctenopoma ansorgii

The other two species we have brought in can be found inhabiting the same rivers and lakes of the Congo rainforest that the Ornate Bushfish can be found. Microctenopoma fasciolatum “Banded Bushfish” and Ctenopoma weeksii “Mottled Bushfish” should be house much like I’ve already mentioned in this article. The Banded Bushfish will reach around 3.5” with males growing slightly larger and exhibiting extensions in the dorsal and caudal fin. The Mottled Bushfish will grow to around 4” and our not easy to tell between the two sexes. Both of these species are seldomly seen in the hobby, so if you’ve been looking to collect as many Ctenopoma that you can get your hands on than I wouldn’t let these sneak past!

Microctenopoma fasciolatum

Ctenopoma weeksii

Once again I would like to thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter. I’ve certainly come a long way these past years, and I hope that I have many more years to come in the hobby. Like always you’ll find our current list under the products link, or by visiting www.wetspottropicalfish.com. Please feel free to email or call me with your questions. Thanks again!

Anthony Perry
Sales Manager