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Maximum size : 6.5 cm

Congo Ctenopoma - Ctenopoma congicum : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Congo Ctenopoma is a relatively new species to the aquarium hobby. However, these fish are generally sociable and can live well in a community tank, providing you choose the correct tankmates. The Congo Ctenopoma would be best kept in pairs; however, even though the males may get aggressive and territorial with one other, especially when in spawning conditions, you can still maintain them together with no problems as long as there is plenty of hiding places and broken lines of sight. The Ornate Ctenopoma will do better in a species only aquarium; however, you can keep them with other fish. Tankmates should be small, peaceful species that hang around in the upper and lower parts of the aquarium. Some ideal tankmates could include Tetras, Rasboras, killifish, and Hatchet fish. In addition, Having suitable tankmates will encourage these fish to come out more as they can be somewhat shy. You should avoid housing these with tiny fish or fry as they will get eaten, and you should not house them with nippy, boisterous or larger aggressive species. These fish will thrive in a well-established aquarium with a dark substrate and an abundance of hiding places using plants, driftwood and smooth rocks. In addition, floating plants can also be valuable as it helps diffuse the light and make these timid fish feel more secure. The filtration will need to be efficient, but water movement reasonably gentle. You should also perform small, frequent partial water changes as this will help keep nitrate to a minimum. The Congo Ctenopoma will adapt to different water conditions; however, make sure you avoid extreme changes. These fish will always exhibit their best colours in soft, slightly acidic water. Adding leaf litter like dried Indian Almond leaves would further emphasise the natural feel. Congo Ctenopomas have a brownish-gold body with mottled markings on their unpaired fins and the sides of their body. These fish also bear 6 to 8 narrow dark vertical separated bars. In addition, they have flat tails and upturned mouths.

Congo Ctenopoma Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be somewhat challenging to differentiate between the male and female Congo Ctenopoma as they are very similar looking; however, the males usually have more pointed fins than females.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCtenopoma congicum
Year Described1887
Other NamesCongo Bushfish, Congo Climbing Perch
OriginsDemocratic Republic of the Congo
Max Size6.5 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
Best kept asPairs
ReproductionBubble nest
Lifespanup to 5 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 7.5
GH3 - 25
72 - 82
22.2 - 27.8

Natural habitat

Congo Ctenopomas are endemic to the lower and central Congo River Basin in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Here you will find them in the Chiloango River in Cabindain and the Ogowe River in Gabon in Africa. These fish inhabit sluggishly or still, oxygen-deprived waters, including pools, lakes, lagoons and swamps with marginal areas and thick vegetation. These conditions provide extra protection from predators.

How to breed the Congo Ctenopoma

It can be a little challenging to breed Ornate Ctenopomas but achievable. However, there are no records on the successful breeding of these fish and very little information on breeding them, although they are likely to produce similar to other Ctenopoma species. You will need to set up a separate breeding tank that will be dimly lit and well-planted with many floating plants. The water will need to be relatively soft and acidic for these fish to spawn. It would help if you conditioned the fish with plenty of live foods. Once the fish are ready to spawn, the male will build a small, loose bubble nest of large bubbles amongst floating vegetation or under a thick leaf. Spawning will then occur under the nest in a typical anabantoid embrace. These fish may lay several hundred eggs in a single spawning. You will need to remove the female once all eggs have been laid because the male will fiercely guard the nest and eggs. He will continue to tend to the nest and guard the eggs until they hatch. At this point, it would probably be best to remove the parents. The eggs will hatch around 24 hours later, and the fry will become free-swimming two to three days after that. The babies are tiny and should be fed infusoria for the first week, after which they will be able to accept microworm and baby brine shrimp.

Diet & feeding

Congo Ctenopomas are predators in the wild; however, it is pretty straightforward to wean them on to dead alternatives. It would be best to offer your fish a varied diet containing frozen and live foods such as prawns, mussels, bloodworms and daphnia, and the occasional live treat of mealworms or earthworms. These fish will not usually accept dried foods; however, some individuals may learn to take them.

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