Macropod - the owner in the aquarium should be alone

Macropod common (lat. Macropodus opercularis) or paradise fish is unpretentious, but cocky and can beat neighbors in the aquarium. One of the first fish was brought to Europe, only goldfish were ahead of him.

He was first brought to France in 1869, and in 1876 he appeared in Berlin. This small but very beautiful aquarium fish has played a major role in popularizing aquariums around the world.
With the advent of a large number of other fish species, the popularity of the aquarium macropod somewhat declined, but it still remains one of the most popular fish, which almost every aquarist kept.

Living in nature

Common Macropod fish (Macropodus opercularis) was first described by Karl Linnaeus in 1758. It lives in large areas in Southeast Asia.

Macropod's homeland is China, Taiwan, northern and central Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, Korea. Introduced and settled down in Madagascar and the USA.

Despite its wide distribution, it is listed in the Red Book as causing the least concern.

Natural habitats are being actively developed, water resources are polluted by pesticides. However, extinction does not threaten him, this is just a precaution.

Macropod aquarium is one of nine species in the genus Macropodus, with 6 out of 9 being described only in recent years.

Common has already been found in aquariums for over a hundred years. First brought to Paris in 1869, and in 1876 to Berlin.

List of known macropod species:

  • Macropodus opercularis - (Linnaeus, 1758) Paradisefish)
  • Macropodus ocellatus - (Cantor, 1842)
  • Macropodus spechti - (Schreitmüller, 1936)
  • Macropodus erythropterus - (Freyhof & Herder, 2002)
  • Macropodus hongkongensis - (Freyhof & Herder, 2002)
  • Macropodus baviensis - (Nguyen & Nguyen, 2005)
  • Macropodus lineatus - (Nguyen, Ngo & Nguyen, 2005)
  • Macropodus oligolepis - (Nguyen, Ngo & Nguyen, 2005)
  • Macropodus phongnhaensis - (Ngo, Nguyen & Nguyen, 2005)

These species live in many different bodies of water on the plains. Streams, backwaters of large rivers, rice fields, irrigation canals, swamps, ponds - macropods live everywhere, but I prefer slow-flowing or still water.


This is a bright, noticeable fish. The body is blue with red stripes, the fins are red.

The common macropod has an elongated strong body, all fins are pointed. The caudal fin is bifurcated and can be quite long, of the order of 3-5 cm.

Like all labyrinths, they can breathe air, swallowing it from the surface. They have an organ that allows them to absorb atmospheric oxygen and survive in water with a low oxygen content.

All labyrinths have developed a special organ that allows you to breathe air. This allows them to survive in the waters of the poor for oxygen, the still waters that they prefer.

However, they can also breathe oxygen dissolved in water, and atmospheric only in case of oxygen starvation.

Males grow about 10 cm, and a long tail makes them even more visually. Females are smaller - about 8 cm. Life expectancy is about 6 years, and with good care up to 8.

But then they are very beautiful, a blue-blue body, with red stripes and the same fins, make the macropod irresistible. In males, the fins are longer, and the abdominal fins in the macropods have turned into thin strings characteristic of the labyrinth.

There are also many color forms of macropods, including albinos and black macropods. Each of these forms is beautiful in its own way, but all of them in their contents are no different from the classical one.

Difficulty in content

Unpretentious fish, a good choice for a beginner aquarist, provided that the macropods are kept with large fish or alone.

Undemanding to water parameters and temperature, they can live even in aquariums without heating the water. Eat a variety of types of feed. Quite accommodating with neighbors of similar size, but keep in mind that the males will fight to death with each other.

It is better to keep males alone or with a female for whom shelters need to be created.

Macropod is very unpretentious and has a good appetite, which makes it a great fish for beginners, but it is better to keep it alone. In addition, it transfers various water parameters.

In nature, macropods live in various biotopes, from slow-flowing rivers and even ditches, to the backwaters of large rivers.

As a result, they can tolerate different conditions, for example, aquariums without heating, and in summer live in ponds.

When choosing a macropod, choose a fish carefully. The desire to bring out different color variations often leads to the fact that the fish is neither colored nor healthy.

The fish you choose should be bright, active and free from defects.


In nature, they are omnivorous, although they clearly prefer animal food over vegetable. Eat fry of fish and other small aquatic creatures. Of the interesting features - sometimes they try to jump out of the water in an attempt to catch a potential victim.

In the aquarium, you can feed cereals, granules, cockerel feed. But it is important to diversify food, and not to limit it only to branded feeds.

Live or frozen food is an excellent choice for macropod. Bloodworm, tubule, corpetra, artemia, he will eat everything.

Prone to overeating, it is better to feed twice a day in small portions.

Aquarium Maintenance

An adult male can be kept alone in an aquarium of 20 liters, and for a couple or several fish from 40, although they live successfully and in smaller volumes, they may not grow too close to their full size.

It is better to plant the aquarium tightly with plants and create different shelters so that the female can hide from the male. Also, the aquarium needs to be covered, macropods are excellent jumpers.

They are tolerant of water temperature (16 to 26 C), they can live in aquariums without heating the water. The acidity and hardness of water can also vary very widely.

They don’t like strong currents in aquariums, so the filtration should be set so that the flow does not disturb the fish.

Macropods in nature often live in tiny ponds, several square meters, where they have their own territory and protect it from relatives.

It is better to keep a couple of macropods to avoid fights between males. For the female, you need to create shelters and plant the aquarium with plants, as the male periodically pursues her.

Remember that the macropod often rises to the surface for oxygen, and it needs free access that is not covered by floating plants.


The macropod is amazingly smart and curious, it becomes a very interesting resident in the aquarium, which is interesting to watch.

However, this is one of the most aggressive fish among the labyrinth. The juveniles grow beautifully together, but upon reaching maturity, the males become very violent and will arrange fights with other males, like their relative, a cockerel.

The males should be kept separately or with the female in the aquarium with many shelters for the female.

They can be great fish for beginners, but only in the right company. They are similar in behavior to cockerels, and although macropods are simpler, these two types of labyrinths are warlike and it’s difficult to find suitable neighbors for them.

It is best to keep the macropod alone or with large and non-aggressive species.

The best neighbors are peaceful in nature and unlike macropod fish. For example, gourami, zebrafish, barbs, tetras, ancistruses, synodontis, acanthophthalmus.

You need to avoid fish with long fins. Macropods are skilled hunters, and the fry do not survive in the aquarium with them.

In a general aquarium, the macropod needs to control everything, and if there is a view prone to the same, fights are inevitable. But to a large extent it depends on the character, for many macropods live in common aquariums and do not touch anyone.

Females can get along with each other without problems. Macropods are also suitable for general aquariums, provided that the neighbors are not pugnacious and large enough. Best kept with fish that are significantly larger and not aggressive.

Gender differences

Males are larger than females, more brightly colored and their fins are also longer.


Like most labyrinths, macropods build a nest of air bubbles on the surface of the water. Macropod breeding is simple, even with little experience you can get fry.

A male macropod will often build a nest out of foam, usually under a leaf of a plant. Before spawning, the couple needs to be seated and fed with live or frozen food several times a day.

A female ready to spawn is filled with caviar and will be rounded in the stomach. If the female is not ready, it is better not to sit on the male, as he will pursue her and may even kill her.

In spawning (80 liters or more), you need to make a low water level, about 15-20 cm.

The water parameters are the same as in the general aquarium, only the temperature needs to be increased to 26-29 C. You can put a small internal filter, but the flow should be minimal.

Plants that create dense bushes, for example, hornwort, need to be placed in the spawning grounds, so that the female macropod can hide in them.

During the construction of the nest and spawning, the male will chase it and beat it, which may result in the death of the fish. Floating plants, such as riccia, serve to hold the nest together and are best added.

When the male completes the nest, he will bring the female to him. The male hugs the female, squeezing her and squeezing the eggs and milk, after which the couple breaks up, and the tired female sinks to the bottom. This behavior can be repeated several times until the female lays all the eggs.

For spawning, you can get up to 500 eggs. Macropod roe is lighter than water and floats into the nest itself. If some of them fell out of the nest, the male lifts it and carries it back.

He will zealously guard the nest until the fry hatch. At this time, the male is very aggressive, and the female needs to be removed immediately after breeding, otherwise he will kill her.

The time of appearance of the fry depends on the temperature, usually from 30 to 50 hours, but it can be 48-96. A signal that the male hatched is the decay of the nest.

After this, the male needs to be removed; he can eat his own fry.

The fry is fed with infusoria and a microworm, until he can eat an artemia nauplia.

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