|Author: || Grant Gussie|
|Publisher: || The Calquarium|
|Volume: || Volume 41, Number 3|
|Date Published: || November 1998|
This drawing depicts a brooding male spike-tailed paradise fish, drawn by CAS member Jennifer Wilkinson of Prince George BC. This fish is apparently now given the name Pseudosphromenus dayi, but was formerly known as Macropodus cupanus dayi.
The spike-tailed paradise fish is from South-East Asia, but its exact distribution is poorly known. Its range has been broadened considerably by the actions of tropical fish exporters and other humans. The fish is known from Sri Lanka, and this is probably the original home of the fish. They are also said to occur in Southern India and South Vietnam, but these may be either closely related species or feral populations.
The spike-tailed paradise fish is a peacable and hardy aquarium resident. They are found from the coastal plains of Sri Lanka to the uplands at an altitude of 1800m, in water temperatures that range from 16C to 34C. They do well in room temperature tanks, but warmer water helps in breeding. They are unparticular about water chemistry.
The spike-tailed paradise fish is a labyrinth fish, and like all such fishes they extract atmospheric oxygen with the help of a vessel-lined cavity above their gill arches. They will periodically take in a gulp of surface air to refill their labyrinths. They must not be confined below the water surface or they may suffocate. Because they do not rely on oxygenated water, they can be easily kept in small, still aquaria. Males and females can be kept together with no problems, although males may become dangerously insistent during breeding.
Like many labyrinth fishes, Pseudosphromenus dayi are bubble nest builders, with the male creating a small raft of mucous-coated bubbles in which to place the eggs. In their case, however, the bubble nest is often located under an overhang or horizontal leaf, rather than at the water surface. The sinking eggs are gathered by the male, and sometimes by the female as well, and placed in the bubble nest, where the surface tension on the bubbles holds the eggs in place. The young of this species are very small, and require small food such as Paramecium as an initial diet. The new fry are delicate, but they become easy to raise after they are large enough to take newly hatched brine shrimp. ?