Chanda lala, Hamilton, 1822
Origin:India, from the neighbourhood of Calcutta up to Burma. Here the fish are fairly common and inhabit rice fields, small rivers and even brackish water in the coastal area.
Synonyms:Ambassis lala, Cuvier, 1828.
Care: This delicate fish can be kept in a community tank with other small peacefull fish, or in a species tank. The tank should be well planted with fine leaved plants, like Myriophyllum, in between which Chanda lala will hide. A sunny location and well aged neutral water are required. Salt addition is not necessary, but is often recommended to reduce the risk of illnesses. Chanda lala is very susceptible to changes in the waterchemistry, newly bought fish should be very carefully introduced to a tank. Small waterchanges with aged water are required. Usually the fish are very shy in the beginning, but in a few weeks will be accustomed to the new environment and the owner. A varied diet is necessary to keep the fish healthy, else the fish get easily constipated.
Feeding:Although flake food is sometimes accepted, the fish should be fed small live and frozen/freeze dried food.
Size:In aquaria usually up to 5 cm.
Breeding: In a 40 cm tank with a lowered waterlevel of 15 cm Chanda lala can be bred. The water should be well aged, have a temperature of around 26 degrees, and have a low KH. There's no need to have gravel or similar at the bottom of the tank, but it should be densely planted and receive some sunlight. If a pair is introduced the fish usually will mate within a few days. Chanda lala eggs are extremely small and stick to the leaves of the plants in the tank. At 26 degrees the eggs will hatch within a day. The fry are extremely sensitive, and usually this is the stage where breeding fails. Large amounts of small live food should be fed, and the water has to be kept in very good condition.
Sexual dimorphism:Females have a rounded swim bladder, males a more pointy one.
Additional: Chanda lala and Chanda wolffi are frequently available with artificial colors. Do not buy those fish. In England there's a lobby against the artificial coloration of fish, and many people will boycot stores that do sell these fish. There's a list of "good" stores available that have joined the lobby against this practice, and at least you will know that those stores actually care about the fish, as well as profit.
Picture references:All pictures E. Naus
Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 5. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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