Origin: Sri Lanka, Kottawa Forest. Here the fish is found in slow flowing rivers, with clear water. They inhabit the densely grown areas near the riverbanks.
Etymology: Named after De Kretser, a Sri Lankan lawyer who discovered the fish in 1937, and gave it to Derinyagala for determination.
First European import: Frequently reported as Germany, 1966, By Geissler, R. and Geissler, S. E., although A. van den Nieuwenhuizen published pictures of the fish in 1963 in the Netherlands in an article "Imports before the lens".
First bred by: Roloff, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Description: Body form similar to Pseudosphromenus, beige groundcolor, with brown irregular spots. Male fins with blue irridescend spots, stongly elongated dorsal and caudal fin rays. Iridescent blue seam at the end of the dorsal, caudal and anal fins, ventral fins completely blue. Dark horizontal line through the eye.
Care: The fish can be kept in small tanks, 40 cm is sufficient for a pair. Soft, slightly acidic peat filtered water, combined with frequent small waterchanges since they are susceptible to pollution. The tank should be covered extremely well, if the fish are scared they will try to escape through the smallest hole. A sandy soil in which the fish can hide if scared may reduce stress. If you want to see the fish it's best not to provide hiding places, or holes that can be observed from the front of the tank. Some plants, floating plants, tempered light,and a dark soil are other things to consider when keeping Malpulutta kretseri. Temperature for keeping these fish should be around 25 degrees. As the fish are rare, and very shy, Malpulutta kretseri should not be kept in community tanks.
Feeding: Live food, especially mosquito larvae.
Size: Up to 8 cm.(Bodysize female 4, male 6 cm)
Breeding: Can be done in small tanks. Water should be extremely soft, and slightly acidic. Temperature 27-28 degrees, lots of floating plants, some hideouts. If a pair is ready to mate the male will start to build a bubblenest in holes or at the surface, and display an amazing coloration. Females ready to mate turn dark, with a light horizontal band starting from the mouth. A long courtship follows, in which the female will swim head down before the male, shake her bod for a while, and swim away again. This can go on for a few days, before actual mating occurs.Up to 150 white eggs are laid, which sink, and are deposited in the nest by both parents. At the end the female will be chased away by the male, who will care for the eggs. Eggs will hatch in 2 days, and be free swimming after another 4 days, after which it's better to remove the male.
Sexual dimorphism: Male larger and more colofull than the female. Caudal tail much more elongated in males.
Prices: Netherlands: Unk. Breeders sell pairs for around 30-45€.
Additional: The fish is protected in Sri Lanka, since it is almost extinct, and export of wildcaught fish is currently prohibited. Breeding programs have been started, and from there occasional exports have been reported. Seldom available in stores.
A subspecies has been described as Malpulutta kretseri minor.
Picture references: Picture 3: courtesy of www.4wch.com, the site also describes the restrictions that apply to Sri lankan wildlife! Other pictures E. Naus.
References:Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.
Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 5. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Van den Nieuwenhuizen, A. (1963): Importen voor de lens. Het Aquarium, 33 (9): pp 208.
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