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Colisa lalia male, wildform
Colisa lalia, Buchanan-Hamilton, 1822

Origin:India: Assam and Bengal: Ganges, Jumuna, Brahmaputra and tributaries. Bangladesh. Indonesia: Borneo, Baram river. Occurs very frequently in rice fields. In the natural habitat Colisa lalia are found in all kinds of waters, but mainly in densely planted areas.

Etymology: lalia, the native name in the Ooriah dialect, India.

Synonyms:Trichopodus lalius ,Buchanan-Hamilton, 1822, Colisa lalius, Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1831, Colisa unicolor, Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1831,Trichogaster fasciatus, Günther, 1861, Trichogaster unicolor, Günther, 1861, Colisa lalia, Myers, 1923Colisa lalia female, filled with eggs and ready to breed.

First European import: Germany, 1903, by a H. Stüve.

Description: See pictures. Many breeding forms exist.

Care:Very peaceful fish, 40 cm tank minimum. Can be kept in a community tank, if the tankmates aren't too robust. Will easily adapt to any type of tank, as long as there are parts of the tank where current is low, and some plants are present. Pretty indifferent to watervalues, providing the water isn't too hard.

Temperature: 20-25 degrees

Colisa lalia coupleFeeding:All food.

Size:Male 6, female 5 cm.Colisa lalia variant

pH: 6.5-7.5

Breeding: Easy, place a pair in a 40-60 cm tank with many fine leaved plants, and some floating plants like javamos and Riccia fluitans. Temperature should be raised to 27-28 degrees, and lowering the waterlevel(20-25cm) also seems to help. The male will build a small but high bubblenest(2-3 cm), for which he will use plant parts and other items available to fortify the nest. . The male will start to display for the female, which will be hunted away if she's not interested. If the female is willing, a few practice matings will take place prior to the actual mating. Up to 750 sinking eggs will be laid, that are collected only by the male. It's best to remove the female immediately after this. The eggs will hatch within 24 hours and the fry are free swimming after three days. At this point the male should also be removed.

Sexual dimorphism: Males are much more colorful and larger.

Prices:2-3€ Netherlands.

Additional:It's very rare nowadays to find good healthy fish in shops. Most fish suffer from inbreeding, and since the fry are raised as fast as possible by commercial breeders, the internal organs in the fish are often underdeveloped. Frequently the fish are infected with tuberculosis.

In India and Indonesia the fish are also kept as showfish because of their beauty, which may explain why the fish occurs in India, and on Borneo.

Francis Day(1889)describes C. lalia as: "This lovely little fish is the most beautiful amongst the numerous species of freshwater fishes I have ever seen".

Vierke reports that it is possible to cross C. lalia and C. Labiosa, but the offspring were all male and infertile.

Picture references: All pictures: E. Naus


Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 5. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)

Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.

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