Distribution: The spotted climbing perch comes from Western Africa, in the Congo basin, from Lisala to Kinshasa in Congo.
Size: The spotted climbing perch can measure up to 6in (15cm).
Form: The spotted climbing perch has a relatively slim, flattened body shape, with relatively large eyes. The fish’s long dorsal fin reaches to the caudal fin, with a corresponding lengthy anal fin. The caudal fin itself is quite small and has a straight edge, with a prominent black spot at its base. The spotted climbing perch’s overall body color is yellowish-brown with darker spots. Male fish have body spines, sometimes described as “thorn fields,” located behind the eyes and at the base of the caudal peduncle, which is short in this fish species.
Diet: The spotted climbing perch eats food tablets plus fresh or processed live foods.
Natural habitat and behavior: The prominent eyes of the spotted climbing perch suggest that this fish species becomes more active toward dusk. Their deep mouth allows them to suck and swallow small creatures without difficulty, and so they should not be housed in the same aquarium with any fish species significantly smaller in size. These fish are shy by nature and hide away, even becoming a more brownish shade overall on occasions, to blend in with their background.
Aquarium conditions: Usually, smaller spotted climbing perches are available, and they grow slowly, taking as long as three years to reach their adult size. Spotted climbing perches require soft water conditions, with a dGH reading 2-4, and a pH close to neutral. The water temperature in the aquarium should be in the range of 79-84°F (26-29°C). Lighting in the fish tank must be subdued, and there should be plenty of retreats provided, including bogwood. There is not much documentation about the spotted climbing perch’s breeding habits, but it is known to be a bubblenesting fish species, with the male fish being responsible for constructing the nest. Frequent feeds with rotifers are necessary for rearing the young fry at first, once they are free-swimming.
Excerpt from Bettas and Gouramis, part of the Fish Keeping Made Easy Series, with permission from its publisher BowTie Press. Purchase Bettas and Gouramis here.