Microctenopoma ansorgii, Boulenger, 1912
Origin: Congo and Kongo, tropical West-Afrika, in small streams with soft slightly acidic water, where they inhabit the densely planted zones close to the riverbanks.
Etymology: Named in honor of Ansorge, who discovered the species.
Synonyms:Anabas ansorgii, Boulenger, 1912, Ctenopoma ansorgii, Boulenger, 1912.
First European import: Netherlands: 1958.
Description:Variable species, groundcolor brown to silvery beige. Around 7 vertical brown/black stripes, extending into the dorsal and anal fin. Depending on origin the stripes in the fins are separated by brownisch orange to bright orange parts, and the tips of the dorsal and anal fin are white, caudal fin transparent brown to black, vental fins have white band at the front as well.
Care: The water for these fish should be slightly acidic to neutral, with a hardness up to 10 dGH. This should be combined with decent filtration, preferably over peat. The tank is best well planted,with a dark soil, and with some driftwood and caves for the fish to hide in. Microctenopoma ansorgii is a peacefull inhabitant, that is suitable for the community tank. The fish do not adapt well to new environments, and may become shy if moved to new tanks.
Feeding:Live and frozen food, although flake food is also taken.
Size:Males 8 cm, females smaller(7). Some varieties can grow bigger(Up to 15 cm)
Breeding:In large well planted community tanks the fish will often spawn without any special treatment. A very small bubblenest of relatively large bubbles is build by the male at the surface, or under plantleaves. Shaded areas are preferred, and sometimes it is necessary to dim the light. Eggs, up to 600, will hatch in 1 day, and the fry are free swimming after another 2-3 days. The fry are extremely small and should be fed infusoria for the first week, after that artemia nauplii can be given. Wild caught fish only spawn in the winter which correlates to the rain season in their natural habitat. A special breeding tank can be quite small, 40*30 with a waterlevel of 15-20 cm, some floating plants. Acidic soft water that should be changed quite frequently(weekly 20%). Parents don't eat the fry when kept in couples, but in groups the fry are eaten. The fry will start to show adult coloration at approximately 1 cm
Sexual dimorphism:Males are larger and more colorful, and have white seams at the edge of the dorsal and anal fin.
Prices: Netherlands: 8€.
Additional: Depending on the origin of the fish, some differences to the descriptions may occur.
Rarely imported, the fish are difficult to catch in sufficient numbers, and due to the current situation in former Zaire export from there has almost stopped.
Picture references:Picture 1: E.Naus
References: Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)
Linke, H.(1980): Labyrinthfische - Farbe im Aquarium. Tetra Verlag, Melle, Germany.
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