Macropodus opercularis, Linnaeus, 1758
Origin:China, Korea, Taiwan, Hai-nan, Malakka and on Ryukyu, in slow flowing or standing, usually shallow water with dark soil. In Southern Spain and in Florida(USA) introduced populations exist.
Etymology: Operculum= Gill cover
Synonyms:Labrus opercularis, Macropodus viridi-auratus, Macropodus var. viridi auratus, Polyacanthus opercularis
First European import: 1869, France, by Gerault, a French officer. He was ordered to bring 100 Macropodus opercularis to France by the French consul in Ning-Po, Simon. 22 fish survived the trip, and 17 were delivered to the famous breeder Pierre Carbonnier in Paris, who bred them in the same year.
Description: See pictures.
Care:Easy to keep in larger community tanks, a dark soil and some plants bring out the colors better although it's no prerequisite. The fish are extremely hardy and will adapt to virtually every surrounding and water values. Since full grown fish can be extremely aggressiv among eachother but also towards other fish, they shouldn't be kept with fragile peacefull fish. If they start to breed in a community tank they will completely terrorise the tank, and attack all fish approaching the nest. If they attack they usually go straight for the eyes of the intruder, and sometimes you will see fish with only one eye swimming around in community tanks with M. opercularis. Since the fish jump well, the tank should be covered.
Temperature:13-26 degrees, but also beyond these boundaries.
Feeding:Will eat all given food including small fish!
Size:8 cm, although breeders have increased the size by selection to 10 cm.
Breeding: Although the fish will reproduce in community tanks, breeding is best done in a large 80 cm breeding tank with lowered waterlevel, at higher temperatures(23-25 degrees). Between 100 and 500 floating eggs are produced, after which the female should be removed. If no hiding places are available in smaller tanks the male will sometimes kill the female. Eggs will hatch in 2-4 days, depending on the temperature. Fry are extremely small and can only be fed with infusoria in the beginning.
Sexual dimorphism:Male more colorful and with longer fins.
Additional: The fish will eat planaria, if no other food is available. It has also been reported as an algae eater(Mills and Vevers, 1985). Several forms exist, an albino, a blue and a red form. The often named black form does not exist, but refers to M. concolor.
Picture references:Picture 1: E. Naus
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