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Maximum size : 12 cm

Mottled Ctenopoma - Ctenopoma weeksii : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Mottled Ctenopoma is a rather shy fish; however, they are generally sociable and can live well in a community tank, provided you choose the correct tank mates. The Mottled 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 Mottled 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 aquarium's upper and lower parts. Some ideal tankmates for the Mottled Ctenopoma 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. However, 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 Mottled 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 accentuate the natural feel. Mottled Ctenopomas can change colour very quickly when startled, usually changing to a mottled appearance hence their name. However, their primary body colour is yellowish-brown with a large spot on both sides, and their fins are brown with black edges.

Mottled Ctenopoma Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

It can be challenging to differentiate between male and female Mottled Ctenopomas as they look very similar. However, the male's dorsal and anal fins are more angular, and the females are generally larger.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCtenopoma weeksii
Year Described1896
Other NamesMottled Bushfish
OriginsCameroon Democratic Republic of the Congo
Max Size12 cm
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
Lifespan8 - 10 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH4 - 15
75 - 82
23.9 - 27.8

Natural habitat

Mottled Ctenopomas are endemic to Cameroon's middle and Upper Congo River Basin and the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa. These fish inhabit sluggish to still, oxygen-deprived waters in pools, lakes, lagoons and swamps. Within these, they are usually collected in marginal areas where the vegetation is thickest, providing added protection from predators.

How to breed the Mottled Ctenopoma

It can be tricky to breed Mottled Ctenopomas, but undoubtedly achievable. After two years of age, Mottled Ctenopomas become sexually mature. The breeding tank should be around 50 litres in size, have a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and contain lots of floating plants. It is usually during the evening hours that the fish spawn. Usually, quick breeding occurs over the substrate, the parents do not care for the eggs, and the fish do not build bubble nests. The small eggs float to the surface and land in a floating plant. The Parents may eat the eggs, so removing them at this point is recommended. 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 can accept microworm and baby brine shrimp.

Diet & feeding

Because the Mottled 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 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-bought 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 you can also use to supplement the diet. However, dried foods are not usually accepted, although some individuals learn to take them. Get to know your fish and test which foods they prefer and which they ignore but always be sure not to overfeed your fish and remove excessive uneaten food whenever possible.

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