The Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis) is a strikingly colorful and versatile labyrinth fish that happens to be the fish that started the indoor home aquarium hobby in the 19th century. It is widespread across both lowland and highland streams, swamps, and rice fields throughout much of Southeast Asia, China, and Taiwan and it has been introduced to waterways of several other countries as well. Like all labyrinth fish, it possesses an air-breathing organ that supplements its gills and allows it to live in aquatic areas that are stagnant and low in oxygen content. Both sexes display brilliant blue and red coloration, but mature males display extended rays in the caudal, anal, and dorsal fins.
The Paradise Fish is highly adaptable, but it prefers an aquarium with dense vegetation and plenty of cover, including floating plants. Darker substrate will result in the most vivid coloration for this fish. Slow to moderate water movement is preferred, so turbulent conditions should be avoided. This fish is typically peaceful with other non-similar fish, but adult males can be territorial with one another and may be relentless in their pursuit of females during breeding. This is much less of an issue in larger aquariums with plenty of cover. While it is possible to keep this fish with most peaceful invertebrates of appropriate size, it is likely to prey on dwarf shrimp and other invertebrates small enough to be considered prey. The Paradise Fish should not be kept with other gouramis, bettas, or any other fish that are similar in appearance unless the aquarium is particularly large with ample hiding spaces. This fish will tolerate a wide temperature range, but it will thrive in subtropical conditions and is widely believed to benefit from even cooler temperatures during the winter.
The Paradise Fish is not a picky eater and it will accept most dry, frozen, and live foods. However, it should be fed a varied diet to maintain optimal health and coloration.
What We Like About This Fish:
- Bold, elegant coloration and finnage
- Generally peaceful disposition with non-similar fish
- An excellent, graceful addition to planted subtropical aquariums
- Accepts a variety of dry, frozen, and live foods
- Very adaptable and easy to breed in the home aquarium
RECOMMENDED TANK PARAMETERS:
Temperature: 50° - 72° F (10° - 22° C)
pH: 6.0 - 8.0
KH: 3 - 18 dKH
Minimum tank size: 30 gallons for a pair or trio
Diet: Mostly carnivorous. Not picky, but requires a varied diet of dry, frozen, and live foods for optimal health and coloration.
Social behaviour: Generally peaceful. Can be kept in groups, but males can be very territorial with one another or other similar fish.