Banded Climbing Perch (Microctenopoma fasciolatum)

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Banded Climbing Perch

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Banded Climbing Perch

Microctenopoma fasciolatum

57 Litres (15 US G.)

6-8 cm (2.4-3.1")




6 - 7.5

20 -28 °C (68-82.4°F)

5-15 °d

1:1-3 M:F

Pellet Foods
Flake Foods
Live Foods

5-8 years



Additional names

Banded Climbing Perch, Banded Ctenopoma

Additional scientific names

Anabas fasciolata, Ctenopoma fasciolatum, Anabas fasciolatus filamentosa

Native Range[edit]

Endemic to the Congo basin and a handful of rivers in Cameroon.

Tank setup[edit]

A fairly flexible fish that is best kept in a tank with a large amount of cover, ideally plants; water conditions are best kept reasonably close to neutral, though this is not a particularly fussy species and has been bred at a range of temperatures and water conditions. This species is a bubble nester, so if spawning is desired at least part of the tank surface must have still water. Banded bushfish are also powerful jumpers and need a secure lid with no gaps.


Will readily eat live or frozen food. Will frequently take flake food, especially if captive bred, but weaning wild fish onto flake food may take a while.


A relatively shy anabantid when not spawning. Best kept with peaceful, calm species too large to be eaten; dither fishes may encourage them to be less shy. Males will claim a sizeable territory - potentially 10 inches wide - when they spawn and aggressively drive all other fish and even shrimp out of it until brood care is complete. Larger tanks can support mixed sex groups, and males will regularly spar for dominance, which is quite spectacular.


Males have filamentous extensions to the dorsal and anal fins and bolder coloration than the females. In some populations, the males develop bright blue spots on their fins; in others the fins are brown with transparent spots. If preparing to spawn, females can lose the vertical bars entirely and develop a single light horizontal bar over a darker body. The blue populations are reportedly more aggressive with each other than the brown populations.


Unlike related Ctenopoma and Anabas species, Microctenopoma species are bubble nesters, though the nests produced are not necessarily as robust as those of the related Osphronemids like bettas. Banded bushfish nests are built from large bubbles up to half a centimeter across and may be scattered over a large area or built into a more traditional, compact nest; nests are more likely to be compact and obvious if floating plant cover is scarce. After spawning in a typical anabantoid embrace, the male will aggressively defend the nest from all other fish and even shrimp in the tank; the fry hatch in less than a day at 78 fahrenheit and become free swimming a few days later. The fry are quite small and need infusoria for at least a week before they will take baby brine shrimp or microworms. The fry can be converted to dry food a few weeks later, making them easier aquarium fishes as adults. Broods can easily contain hundreds of fry from a single female and will most likely require culling unless the rearing tank is very large.


Second to Microctenopoma ansorgii in popularity among the Microctenopomas, but still a highly uncommon species that is not consistently available. Not particularly difficult to keep or breed if it can be acquired, though.



External links[edit]