Max Size: 7cm

Dwarf Ctenopoma (Microctenopoma nanum)

Dwarf Ctenopoma are generally sociable and can live well in a community tank, provided you choose the correct tank mates.

The Dwarf Ctenopoma would be best kept in pairs; however, even though the males may get aggressive and territorial with each 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 Dwarf 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 abundant hiding places made up of 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, which will help keep nitrate to a minimum.

The Dwarf Ctenopoma will adapt to various water conditions if you avoid extreme changes; however, 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.

The Dwarf Ctenopoma has a rounded, elongated brownish body with eight transverse dark stripes running along the body to the base of its caudal fin. In addition, these fish have big eyes, their caudal fin is fan-shaped, and their dorsal fin is large with a serrated appearance.


Dwarf Ctenopoma
Quick Facts
Scientific NameMicroctenopoma nanum
Year Described1896
Other NamesDwarf Climbing Perch
OriginsCameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Guinea
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespanup to 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
64 - 75℉
17.8 - 23.9℃


Because the Dwarf Ctenopoma is a carnivore; it would be best if you aimed to feed your fish on a diet primarily of meaty foodstuffs such as live and/or frozen daphnia, brine shrimp, lobster eggs, cyclops, Mysis shrimp and bloodworm. Bloodworm should be used sparingly as it is hard for your fish to digest.

You can also cut up earthworms from your garden or chop up shop brought mussels, prawns, krill and fresh fish (be sure only to use fresh or frozen fish and not fish canned in oil).

You can also try your fish with dried foods formulated for predatory fish and made up of insect material such as Fluval bug bites, which can also be used to supplement the diet.

Get to know your fish and test which foods they prefere and which they ignore but always be sure not to overfeed your fish and remove excessive uneaten food whenever possible.

Sexual Dimorphism

It is relatively straightforward to differentiate between male and female Dwarf Ctenopoma. Males are typically larger and are more vibrantly coloured than females, intensifying when in spawning conditions.

Other Gouramis of interest

Banded Gourami(Trichogaster fasciata)
Chocolate Gourami(Sphaerichthys osphromenoides)
Congo Ctenopoma(Ctenopoma congicum)
Dwarf Gourami(Trichogaster lalius)
Frail Gourami(Ctenops nobilis)
Giant Chocolate Gourami(Sphaerichthys acrostoma)
View all Gouramis
Date Added: 19/01/2023 10:57:03 - Updated: 20/01/2023 16:46:26