Trichogaster microlepis, Günther, 1861
Origin:Thailand and Cambodia, in standing and slowly flowing waters, always in small numbers. Malaysia has also been reported, but this is probably an error, ot the fish may have been introduced there..
Etymology: Micro= small; Lepis= scales, up to 60 very small scales on the linea lateralis.
Synonyms: Osphromenus microlepis, Günther, 1861, Trichopsis microlepis, ?, Trichopodus microlepis, Regan, 1909, Trichopus microlepis, Sauvage, 1881, Trichopus parvipinnis, Sauvage, 1883, Deschauenseeia chryseus, Fowler, 1934.
First European import: Germany, 1951, by the store Aquarium Hamburg.
Description:See picture. The dark spot at the base of the caudal fin is only seen in juveniles. In older fish it's no longer present. Full grown fish have a blueish iridescent glow.
Care: Large and high tank, well planted, temperature in the higher regions. Suitable for the community tank, but since it can grow up to 15 cm it is rarely kept. The fish are a bit shy, and should not be kept with vey robust fish. Normal biweekly waterchanges are beneficial for the fishes well being.
Feeding:All food they can master.
Size: 16 cm in large tanks.
Breeding:Similar to T. Leerii, plants, which are sometimes pulled out of the gravel by the fish, are used to build the nest. The nest can get quite large, 15 cm high and 25 cm diameter has been observed. Below the nest the fish will spawn, and the eggs automatically float in to the bubblenest. The male will collect the eggs and add bubbles through opercular aeration below the eggs. Up to 5000 eggs can be laid, usually less, mostly depending on the size of the female. Fry, which are free swimming after 4 days at 29 degrees, do not eat artemia nauplii immediately, since they are extremely small.
Sexual dimorphism:Males are a bit more colorful than females(ventrals are orange to red, females have yellow ventrals), and have a slightly elongated dorsal fin.
Prices: Netherlands: 3-5€
Additional: In Thailand this fish was/is considered the female Trichogaster trichopterus by the natives, and is called Pla kadi nang(nang means female).
Picture references: Picture 1: M. Rosenstein, FINS website.
References:Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.Schäfer, F.(1997): Aqualog - All Labyrinths, Verlag A. C. S. Gmbh., Mörfelden - Walldorf, Germany.Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)
Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 5. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Linke, H.(1980): Labyrinthfische - Farbe im Aquarium. Tetra Verlag, Melle, Germany.
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