Etroplus maculatus , Bloch, 1795
Origin: Coastal waters from India and Sri Lanka, only Etroplus species that occurs in pure freshwater.
Etymology: maculatus; refers to the large spot on the body of the fish.
Synonyms: Chaetodon maculatus, Etroplus coruchi, Glyphisodon kakaitsel
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) Order: Siluriformes Family: Loricariidae (Armored catfishes), subfamily: Ancistrinae
First European import: Germany, 1905, by J. Reichelt
Description: In the breeding season these fish are shiny yellow, otherwise greyish with a reddish region in the belly.
Care: Depending on the origin salt addition to the tank may be necessary. Keep Etroplus maculatus in a large tank, which can be planted. The fish don't dig, and don't eat plants, provided enough plant matter is present in their diet. Still, planting the tank with harder plants may be necessary(Cryptocoryne species, Javafern). The fish are in general peaceful, and can be kept in community tanks if enough suitable hiding places are present. The fish are highly sensitive to sudden changes in the waterchemistry, especially juveniles often die if large waterchanges are carried out. Frequent small waterchanges are recommended.
Temperature: 24-26 °C
Feeding: Flake food in combination with spirulina wafers, but all other suitable food is accepted.
Size: Up to 8 cm.
Breeding: Higher temperatures up to 30 °C will induce a couple to breed. It's important to have a good couple, random breeding attempts often result in failures. The fish will deposit the 2-300 eggs on any suitable surface(mostly on large hidden plant leaves), and take turns in caring for the eggs and fry. It's best to cover at least three sides of the tank since any disturbance can result in the parents eating eggs or fry. The fry react to the black pelvic fin signals from the parents, which take care of the fry for a very long time. The fry sometimes feed on the skin of the parents, similar to Discus, but here the fry can be raised separately.
Sexual dimorphism: Females are smaller and less colorful, they lack the red regions in the fins.
Additional: The genus Etroplus is closely related to the cichlid families from Madagascar, which may indicate that they originated from Madagascar, and moved to the coastal regions of Sri Lanka and India.
Picture references: Picture 1: E. Naus
References:Frey, H. (197?): Buntbarsche cichliden. Neuman Verlag, Leipzig, Germany.
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