I originally bought three of these wonderful fish at a Petsmart, and (as usual) they had misidentified this fish as an African Leaf fish. I lost one of the fish within a few days, but the other two survived and are now about six inches long. I have a 47 gallon bowfront, planted, with many hiding places, and amusingly enough, even with their size they never have a problem hiding from me. They always come out for feeding or if they're hungry, and will follow my every move until the food comes.
These are by far my favorite fish, being easy to care for and a joy to watch. They are usually very slow moving, and graceful, and their fins move in a fluttery way, but they can move amazingly fast when after food.
I'm not sure of the sex of my pair, but they are almost always together and often rub against each other, never very far apart. They never bother my other fish, although I've been told they will eat anything they can fit in their mouth, which is much larger than it appears. Although not an easy fish to find, I highly recommend them.
These are indeed great fish, with a lot of personality. As others have mentioned, they do like shady places to hide; mine use to nap in a "nest" it made amidst a dense mat of java ferns.
I'm not so sure about males having patches of spines on their body; most of the other sources of info I've checked say the males have spines on the edges of their gill plates - which is where mine had them, so I always assumed it was a male (I could admitedly be wrong, though).
I also wouldn't characterize this species strictly as a bottom-dweller, either - being labyrinth fish, they like to come to the surface for an occasional gulp of air; mine spent time throughout the water column, favoring the middle. Basically, where ever there's foliage, branches, rocks, or roots, they'll feel safe.
A word of caution, though, to people considering getting one for the first time: they are irresistibly cute when they're little, but they grow fast (maximum size between five and six inches), and will eat just about any moving thing that will fit into their big, telescopic mouth. Mine ate an otocinclus and a glo-light tetra! More ideal tank-mates include plecos, congo tetras, and syndontis cats. I've heard that they can also be kept with some kinds of cichlids, but you'd have to be careful about the species - though obviously efficient predators, they can just as easily be bullied by more aggressive fish.
I thought I would just add that the leopard ctenopoma is neither a gourami nor a climbing perch. They also can be very picky eaters. I have two of these, the first I got about a month ago, he would not eat anything other than frozen bloodworms, and I eventually weaned him to freeze-dried bloodworms (and now he has swim bladder issues, possibly due to the lack of diet variation and nutrients), and the new one I got last week will thankfully at least eat tropical pellets, but he only eats a couple of them before losing interest. He shows great interest, though, in the feeders I have in the tank for my South American leaf fish, and follows them around for a while when one catches his eye!
I've had my climbing perches, Kornflake and Sweetpea, for a year or so now. They are about 4 inches long and are doing great. They share the tank with 6 inch ray finned pleco, 4 inch royal pleco, 3 inch 8 year old cory and a 2.5 inch Borneo zebra puffer (Carinotetraodon Salivator). Everybody gets along great. They have plenty of drift wood and plants to hide and stalk prey in. They seem to have feelings. They got mad at me for a while when I moved. They even seem to compete for attention. I think I have a male and female. I was able to identify them once they got big enough to see the details of the outside of the gills. They are very hardy eaters and eat EVERYTHING i put into the tank that they can fit in their mouths. My puffer has to eat snails and other crustaceans because its teeth grow constantly and must be grounded down. If I don't corral them away they will take the food out of the puffer's mouth. They even eat the small peas and algae waffers I feed the plecos. I of course feed them their own variety of freeze fried and live foods, but nothing is off limits as far as they are concerned.
great fish, be careful with the tank mates you put with it, i accidentally put one of these guys into a 20 gal planted tank stocked with tetras~20, within a few weeks, when the fish got large enough, the tetra slowly started disappearing and then one morning i saw the fish in action gobbling up the last tetra i had, he is now full grown and happily eats what ever i feed him, small guppies are really fun to watch him prey on
bush fish are quiet ambush predators which can easily be bullied by territorial fish much smaller than they are. they enjoy all live foods and have a voracious appetite. I feed my 3" ctenopoma wax worms, earthworms, centipedes, bloodworms, crickets, woodlouse and whatever lives under a rock. waxworms are its favourite as he will move like lightning when he sees one. my fish often injures himself on the branching roots, i would advise to sand round any bog wood edges before putting them in a ctenopoma tank. the smartest fish in my tank by far
This fish is great! Mine seems kinda lonley though by himself in a spacious tank. Anyways, this guy is probably second place personality-wise, dominated by the black ghost knife. It likes to feed from my hand and LOVES to swim out in the open and observe the other fish. This is the first time I will thank petsmart for making this fish more readily available.
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