Ornate Ctenopoma (Microctenopoma ansorgii)
The Ornate Ctenopoma is a breathtaking fish that is relatively rare in the hobby. In addition, this species is one of the most colourful of the African anabantoids and is highly sought after by hobbyists. These fish are generally sociable and can live well in a community tank, providing you choose the correct tankmates.
The Ornate 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 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 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 as this will help keep nitrate to a minimum.
The Ornate Ctenopoma will adapt to a range of 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 Ornate Ctenopoma has a rounded, elongated brownish body that can change colour depending on its mood. Other colours you may witness include orange and green or sometimes a mixture of all three. This fish also has six vertical dark stripes that run through their body into their dorsal and anal fins, and they have red colouring in between each stripe. All the other fins are hyaline except the caudal fin, which is dark brown, and the body colouration, on the whole, becomes more vibrant when ready to breed.
|Scientific Name||Microctenopoma ansorgii|
|Other Names||Ornate Climbing Perch, Orange ctenopoma, Pretty ctenopoma, Rainbow ctenopoma, Orange Bushfish|
|Origins||Democratic Republic of the Congo|
|Aquarium Level||Bottom - Middle|
|Best kept as||Pairs|
|Lifespan||up to 5 years|
|PH||5.5 - 7.5|
|GH||5 - 20|
|68 - 80℉|
20 - 26.7℃
Because the Ornate 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.
It is relatively straightforward to differentiate between the male and female Ornate Ctenopoma. Males are typically larger and are more vibrantly coloured than females, intensifying when in spawning conditions. The males will also have white edging and more extended anal and dorsal fins tips, and orange colouration on their flanks.