Acheilognathus meridianus

Acheilognathus meridianus is a beautiful, parasitic fish species. It lays its eggs in the gills of mussels. Despite its beauty, it is rarely found in the hobby. Current knowledge about this species is rather limited.

Acheilognathus meridianus

Acheilognathus meridianus was first described by Wu in 1939. However, originally this species was known as: Paracheilognathus meridianus. Currently, is this not valid anymore and is seen as a synonym.


This species has a light gray to white coloration. At the middle of his body, a vertical dark blue line runs over the lateral line. This line will run until the tail fin where it transforms into a black blotch. The fins themselves are opaque and have a hint of white on them. The anal and the dorsal fin have a black line at the outermost border of the fin. Besides this black line, a yellow one can be seen. There is no clear way on how to distinguish the sexualdimorphism of these fish.

Distribution and Habitat

Currently, this species is known from China and Vietnam. In China, the Acheilognathus meridian was found, among others, in Wuyuan in Jiangxi Province. Here, these fish occur in rivers alongside: Acheilognathus striatus and Acheilognathus macropterus.
In their natural habitat, they face a variety of conditions. They are caught in parts of the Le’an River with fast currents. The temperatures in this river range from 5°C (41°F) to 31°C (87°F). In addition, the pH changes between 4.5 and 7.4 during the year. Nevertheless, it is not advisable to keep the fish all year long at the extremes represented here..


Acheilognathus meridianus is a herbivorous species. Therefore, herbivorous foods such as algae wafer should be offered.

The Aquarium

Acheilognathus meridianus is a relatively large and active species. Therefore should it be kept in large aquariums. In addition, a powerful filter is recommended to mimic the rapid current of their natural habitat.


There is not much known about the reproduction of these fish in aquariums. However, scientists have shown that in their natural habitat, Acheilognathus meridianus lay their eggs in mussels. Embryos of Acheilognathus meridianus are only found in a specific genus of mussels: Lamprotul. This suggests a preference for this type of mussel.
The fish parasitize mussels. As a result, the mussels can growth is affected, but the eggs have enough time to develop safely.


Unfortunately, little is known about this species. They are rarely found at the aquariums of hobbyists. Acheilognathus meridianus is mainly caught to serve as food for local inhabitants.



Copyright foto’s

Choy Heng Wah


Acheilognathus meridianus . (n.d.). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Casal, C. M. (n.d.). Acheilognathus meridianus summary page (R. B. Reyes, Ed.). Retrieved April 22, 2017, from

Liu, H. Z., Zhu, Y. R., Smith, C., & Reichard, M. (2006). Evidence of host specificity and congruence between phylogenies of bitterling and freshwater mussels.

Yang, Q., Xiong, B., Tang, Q., & Liu, H. (2010). Acheilognathus striatus (Family: Cyprinidae), a new bitterling species from the lower Yangtze River, China. Environmental biology of fishes, 88(4), 333-341.

Additional information





Minimum aquarium length in cm

Length maximum in cm


Temperature minimum

Temperature maximum

pH minimum

pH maximum

Breeding behaviour



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