Introduction to Paradise fish

The paradise fish is a perch like ray finned fish which is also known as Chinese Fighting Fish, Paradise Gourami, Blue Paradise Fish and Blue Paradise Gourami etc. It is found in wide range of Southeast Asia. In China it is found from the east in the Yangtze River basin to the Pearl River basin. It also occurs in Taiwan, northern and central Viet Nam, Northeastern Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands and Korea. It has also been introduced outside of its native range with populations found in Madagascar and the United States. It occurs in all kinds of lowland habitats such as streams and the backwaters of major rivers, rice paddies, irrigation ditches, marshes and stagnant ponds.

Paradise Fish’s Overview

It has somewhat elongated body with moderate head. Body has blue base color with 7-12 orange or red vertical stripes that extend onto the fins. The head and neck area are marbled in a brown color. The gill cover is striped in black boarded by bright red or orange. The dorsal and anal fins are dark in color while near the caudal fin is fade to red in color. The pelvic fins are also red in hue with white tip. The male is brilliantly colored while the females are considerably duller with shorter rounded fins and only the side bars are well defined. The caudal fin is forked and both lobes are elongated in male with filamentous extension in each lobe. Dorsal fin bears 11–17 spines and 5-10 soft rays while anal fin contains 7-22 spines and 9-15 soft rays. Lower margin of pre-orbital is sharply serrated and conspicuous dark brown opercula spot with whitish posterior margin are also present. This fish has two color forms including black and albino of which albino form can have a very attractive pattern, white overall accented with brilliant red blotches and vertical stripping across the body that extends onto the fins. They are omnivore and in wild they feed on small fish and other small aquatic animals including planktonic invertebrates and other zoobenthos. Male grows up to 11 cm in length while the female is a bit smaller reaching just over 8 cm in length. They have an average life span of about 6 years but can live up to 8 years with good care.

Scientific Name: Macropodus opercularis

Common Name: Chinese Fighting Fish, Paradise Fish, Paradise Gourami

Origin: Southeast Asia, China, Taiwan and North Vietnam

Adult Size: 10.01 cm

Behavior: Semi-aggressive

Tank Level: All level of the tank

Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons

Diet: Omnivore

Breeding: Egg layer, bubble nester

Care level: Easy

Water pH: 6.0-8.0

Water Hardness: 5 – 30 dGH

Water Temperature: 74°F – 82°F

Water Movement: Moderate

Lighting:  Moderate – normal lighting

Lifespan:  5 years or more

Background of Paradise fish

The Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis) was described by Linnaeus in 1758. It belongs to the family Osphronemidae under order Perciformes of class Actinopterygii. It was introduced to the hobby by a French soldier Gerault in 1869. It is often referred to as the ‘founding fish of the hobby’. It is small but very attractive and beauty fish among the freshwater fish keepers. The genus Macropodus is derived from Greek words ‘macros’ means great and Greek ‘podos’ means foot. It is listed on the IUCN Red List as Least Concern (LC).

Feeding Paradise fish

The paradise fish is omnivorous and in wild it feeds on small fish and other small aquatic animals including planktonic invertebrates and other zoobenthos. In captivity it accepts wide variety of foods such as frozen bloodworms, mealworms, mosquito larvae, small earthworms, shrimps and plankton. It also takes nearly any foods designed for salt water fish. To keep your fish healthy give them a quality flake or pellet food as the base of the diet. Generally feed should be offered once or twice a day.

Housing Paradise fish

It is a hardy fish and makes a good choice for the all type fish keepers. They make very personable and attractive aquarium inhabitants. It requires at least 20 gallons tank for a single male or 20-30 gallons for a community tank. Male should be kept singly or in pairs with lots of hiding places for the female while females can be kept in groups. The aquarium should be heavily planted with floating plants. The tank should also have an efficient filtration system with very gentle water movement. Gouramis should not be kept with large, aggressive fish but are compatible with other small, peaceful fish such as medium to large gouramis, robust cyprinid species, larger characins, Geophagus cichlids, loricariid catfish, large Synodontis catfish and loaches. It should not be kept with slow swimming fish or fish with long flowing fins. The tank needs to be covered as they are jumpers and regular water changes should be done to make your fish healthy.

Breeding Paradise fish

The paradise fish is bubble nest breeder and it can easily breed in captive condition. The spawning tank must have plenty of hiding spaces like rocks, caves and plants. The male builds a bubble nest on the surface of the water usually interspersed with floating vegetation or under a leaf on the surface.  The female produces about 500 eggs.  The eggs are lighter than water and float up into the nest. The male picks up the fertilized eggs in his mouth and pushes one by one into bubble nest.  After spawning, the male becomes extremely aggressive towards the female. At this point the female should be removed from the breeding tank and the male left to take care of the eggs and fry. The eggs normally hatch in 24 to 36 hours. The free swimming fry can be fed with infusoria, baby brine shrimp and micro worms.

Sexing Paradise fish

The male is far more colorful than the female and develops long filamentous anal and dorsal fins at maturity. Female becomes fuller bodied with eggs and more dull in color. Male also tends to be larger than the female of the same age.

Paradise Fish for sale and where to buy

The paradise fish is a beautiful and intelligent fish. Their beauty and extremely hardy nature have made them a popular choice among aquarists for decades. It is readily available in many pet stores and they are also offered by some online retailers. It is available in a variety of colors such as blue, red and albino. To buy your favorite color forms from home, look below online vendor that I would recommend from.