Aplocheilus panchax

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(Hamilton-Buchanan 1822) B.K.A. Information Pamphlet No.74 October 1971

Biotope: This species extends over a wide geographical area including India, Burma, Malaya and Thailand where it is found in the drainage systems of the Ganges, Indus and Brahmaputra Rivers. In Burma and Thailand it is found in the low lying areas near to the coast. It also occurs in the large islands of the Gulf of Siam and in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Size of males: 3 to 3.5"

Size of females: 2.75"

Description of males: The flanks and dorsal region are olive green blending into a shade of mauve. Head is bold and "pike like", the gill covers have an iridescent green patch. The lower lip is edged black. Eye bold. The ventrals are light blue blending into orange in the outer region as is the anal fin. The dorsal fin has a black bar at its base with a gleaming white spot posteriorly, above the black bar is a pastel shade of blue. The caudal fin is pastel blue edged around with a black band and having orange rays radiating from the caudal peduncle to the outer black edge. There are several colour variations of this species depending on their origin. Some colour variations have been so different from the actual type that they were at one time given a zoological name.

Description of females: Apart from smaller size and much paler colouration the female does not carry the black around the caudal fin and in some specimens does not have the black bar in the dorsal.

Maintenance and breeding: This species is reasonably easy to keep and breed given water conditions of from 6.8 to 7.2 pH and from about 6 to 10 DH German with a temperature of 75 to 78F. Eggs are deposited in plants near to the surface or in floating mops if plants are not available. Eggs are fairly large and hatch in from 10 to 14 days. The fry can be fed immediately on newly hatched brine shrimp and micro worm. An addition to the water of sea salt or non iodised kitchen salt at the rate of 1 teaspoon per gallon will be greatly beneficial to this species.

Summary: This species can be quite aggressive and should only be kept with fish of its own size. It swims close to the water surface where it appears to be lying in wait for something to happen. Foods taken are all of the known live foods plus good quality flake foods. This is a species which should well please the beginner. Quite a prolific breeder, an average yield of eggs per day being in the region of 20 to 25.

Name pronunciation: Ap-low-kyle-us panchax.