Macropodus opercularis – Paradisefish

Macropodus opercularis or Paradisefish is mostly known as being aggressive. This is usually caused by keeping them too warm, just lower temperature a bit!

Macropodus opercularis – Paradijsvis

Macropodus opercularis or Paradisefish can reach a total length of around 10 centimeters. Males show more colour then females and also have longer fins, especially the caudal fin can be very long. Their colour is blue with orange and they have vertical stripes that run across their flanks into their fins. Like most gourami’s they have 2 elongated pelvic fins which are used as a sort of whiskers to feel around in murky waters. Males are larger than females.

The Paradisefish needs an aquarium of at least 100 centimeters in length. You can decorate it with a dark substrate, dense planting and some floating plants to provide cover. Also create some hiding spots. These fish can jump so use a closed cover. They don’t like strong current or too much lighting.

Like all gourami’s they have a labirinth they can use to breath above water. During summer when water temperatures rise, the water contains less oxygen. This is no problem for gourami’s as they can take a breath above water.

Synonyms: Labrus opercularis, Chaetodon chinensis, Macropodus chinensis, Macropodus viridiauratus, Macropodus venustus, Macropodus ctenopsoides, Macropodus filamentosus.


Vietnam, Korea, Taiwan, Southern China.

Macropodus opercularis is the Paradisefish with the widest distribution. They occur from Central China al the way up to Vietnam. The most Northern populations can withstand lower water temperatures. The most Southern populations are true tropical species and more suitable for the community aquarium.

The most Southern population comes from QuangNam in Vietnam. This is the most intensely coloured Paradisefish. They are also relatively peaceful.

The most Northern population lives around Nanjing in China, they show less colour but are also peacefull.


Temperature: 16-26 Celsius.
PH: 6-8
GH: 5-10

In nature fish have to deal with fluctuating temperatures. Keeping them on their maximum or minimum temperatures for long times is not desirable and can shorten their life expectancy. Macropodus opercularis needs a couler period during winter to prevent them from trying to breed year round, which will exhaust the fish too much.


The Paradisefish prefers living and frozen foods like mosquito larvae, daphnia, cyclops and brine shrimp. You can also feed them with flakes and granules, just provide them a variety of foods to keep them healthy.


The character of the Macropodus opercularis is comparable to that of the Siamese Fightingfish. They can be very aggressive towards conspecifics, less towards other species.

They can relentlessly chase the females. It is therefore best to keep multiple females with one male and provide lots of hiding. They will use middle and upper water layers.

Breeding Macropodus opercularis – Paradisefish

If you want to breed Macropodus opercularis it is best to use a special breeding tank. Feed the parents with lots of black mosquito larvae. The male will built a bubble nest. They spawn under the nest, entangling each other until she lays the eggs. The male quickly fertilizes the eggs and both parents place the eggs inside the bubble nest. Their can be as many as 400 to 500 eggs. When the spawning is complete the male will tend for the bubble nest until the eggs hatch. You can raise the fry with cyclops and newly hatched brine shrimp.




Copyright images

John de Lange
Hung Jou Chen
Hristo Hristov

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