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Maximum size : 7.5 cm

Spike Tailed Paradise Fish - Pseudosphromenus dayi : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish is characterized as a diminutive, resilient, peaceful, and timid species known for its relative scarcity in the aquarium trade. Due to their small size and shy disposition, they are not particularly suitable for inclusion in a general community aquarium. However, it is possible to maintain these fish in pairs or groups of six or more individuals, with a recommended higher female-to-male ratio. Keeping them in a group setting can elicit fascinating behaviours.

Ideally, it is advisable to house the Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish in a dedicated species-only aquarium or in the company of similarly sized species that share a compatible temperament. Suitable tank mates may include non-aggressive Cyprinids, Tetras, smaller Loaches, and Corydoras Catfish. It is best to avoid larger, more boisterous species or those with a similar body shape.

When setting up the aquarium for this species, a fully-decorated environment is recommended. However, many breeders opt not to include a substrate, as it simplifies maintenance. Instead, adding driftwood roots and branches provides shaded areas for the fish. Creating cave-like structures using flower pots or coconut shells is also beneficial, as they serve as breeding sites. The introduction of dried leaf litter enhances the natural aesthetics and offers additional cover and a food source for microbe colonies, which can be valuable for the young.

To accommodate the Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish's preference for subdued lighting, the inclusion of floating plants is advantageous. A gentle filtration system is recommended, as these fish naturally inhabit still to slow-moving waters. A small air-powered sponge filter will suffice. Regular water changes should also be performed to maintain optimal water quality.

The Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish boasts an elongated brownish body accentuated by two dark, irregular stripes along the sides, which become more pronounced when the fish is stressed. The anal, dorsal, and caudal fins exhibit a brownish-red hue with an iridescent light blue edge. Furthermore, the ventral fins feature a vivid red colouration with iridescent blue tips.

Spike Tailed Paradise Fish Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between male and female Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish is a relatively straightforward task. Males exhibit pronounced sexual dimorphism, characterized by vibrant colouration and larger body size compared to females. Notably, males display an orange hue in the throat region, along with the extension of their anal, dorsal, and caudal fins. Conversely, females tend to possess a more subdued colouration, smaller body size, and shorter fins.

Quick Facts

Scientific NamePseudosphromenus dayi
Year Described1908
Other NamesSpike-Tailed Gourami
Max Size7.5 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asPairs
ReproductionBubble nest
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH6.0 - 7.5
GH5 - 15
TDS36 - 268
75 - 82
23 - 27

Natural Habitat

The Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish is indigenous to the coastal drainages of the Western Ghats mountains, located in the southern region of Kerala state, India. These fish are prominently found in the Muvattupuzha, Periyar, and Chalakkudy Rivers, which traverse the specified geographic area. Their distribution spans habitats characterized by sluggish to still water conditions, encompassing diverse environments such as rice paddies, swamps, lakes, ditches, weedy ponds, and, notably, floodplains and other lowland areas.

In their natural habitats, it is common to encounter dense growths of submerged vegetation, which serve as significant features within the preferred ecosystems of the Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish.


The Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish exhibits bubble-nesting behaviour during the breeding process. The male takes the initiative in constructing a nest composed of bubbles, typically located beneath cave-like decorations or a leaf. Once the nest is prepared, the male and female engage in a wrapping behaviour, allowing for the fertilization of the eggs. The female subsequently releases the eggs to the substrate, where they are promptly collected by both parents and carefully placed within the bubble nest.

Following the completion of egg collection, the female no longer participates in parental duties, leaving the male solely responsible for the protection and care of the eggs. The incubation period typically ranges from 24 to 48 hours, after which the hatched fry gains the ability to swim independently within 2 to 3 days. However, it is important to note that once the fry becomes free-swimming, they are susceptible to predation by other aquarium inhabitants, including their own parents. Therefore, separating them from the main tank and rearing them in a separate environment is advisable.

Additionally, the newly hatched fry demonstrates an ability to consume microworms and baby brine shrimp, providing suitable nourishment for their early developmental stages.

Diet & feeding

Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish exhibit discerning feeding preferences. In their natural habitat, these fish primarily consume zooplankton and insect larvae, making it essential to provide them with appropriate nutrition in captivity. It is recommended to offer a variety of small frozen and live foods, such as grindal worms, white worms, artemia, and daphnia, to satisfy their dietary needs.

While dried foods may be explored and occasionally nibbled, they do not serve as a sufficient source of nutrition to maintain optimal conditions for these fish. Supplementing their diet with small insects like fruit flies and crickets is also suitable; however, it is crucial to ensure that these insects are adequately nourished by feeding them dried flakes or vegetable matter before offering them to the fish. This ensures that the insects themselves possess nutritional value before being consumed by the Brown Spike-tailed Paradise Fish.

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