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This profile was written by metanis an active contributor to the site.  



Ctenopoma acutirostre

Ctenopoma acutirostre



    This is one of the most unique fish I have ever kept as far as behavior is concerned. They will stake out a territory so caves and plenty of hiding places should be provided. They are active during both day and night and tend to be peaceful toward most other species of similar size. They do not get along well with one other unless there is lots of space and lots of different territory to claim. Also, species that look somewhat similar in color should be avoided as the leopard ctenopoma may see them as competition (i.e. certain species of cichlids that may have dark spots like keyhole cichlids). This fish will often "yawn" and the keeper can see the enormous mouth that this species possesses. It is no wonder that most small fish end up as snacks! They are very personable and will often swim to the front of the tank when there is activity in the room and they can be trained to feed from your hand with blood worms or pieces of earthworm.

Quick stats:

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 6 inches (15cm)
    Tank: 48 inches (55 gallon)
    Strata: All
    PH: 6.0 to 8.0
    Hardness: Soft to medium. dh Range 5.0-12.0
    Temperature: 68° to 77°F (20° - 25°C)
    Lifespan: 5 - 8 years


    Order: Perciformes (perch-likes)
    Family: Anabantidae
    Genera: Ctenopoma
    Species: acutirostre


Common name:

    Spotted Climbing Perch, Leopard Bushfish, Leopard Ctenopoma

Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Africa: Congo basin

General Body Form:

    This is a very beautiful fish that has a rounded or elliptical body that is laterally compressed. The body is a golden/yellowish color with many round or oddly shaped brown spots that create the "leopard" look. They have an elongated snout, large mouth, large eyes and many short spines on the dorsal fin.

    Ctenopoma acutirostre

    Minimum of 50 gallons as this fish can grow to 6 inches or so. The leopard ctenopoma can adapt to a wide variety of water conditions, but regular tank maintenance is required to keep nitrates in check to avoid unneeded stress or disease. Temperature range: 68 to 77 degrees F is recommended.

    This fish will eat anything that fits into its mouth and loves to stalk prey. The leopard ctenopoma can swallow fish up to nearly 1/3 of its size so tank mates should be chosen carefully. To take in food, this fish opens its mouth and sucks in swallowing the food whole. While hunting, it turns its body completely vertical and bends it caudal tail to resemble a leaf shape and to wait for an unsuspecting small fish to swim by. The ctenopoma will eat tropical flakes and small pieces of vegetables, but live or frozen foods should be provided as well as this fish prefers "meatier" foods. Mine eats brine shrimp, blood worms, tropical flakes, peas, tubifex worms, shrimp pellets, small feeder fish, etc.

    Sluggish streams Central Africa full of vegetation along its home range.

    These fish are difficult to sex, but the major difference between males and females is that males have short spines on the gill covers while females do not.

    There has been little reported success in breeding this fish in captivity, but they do not tend to their young so parents should be removed after spawning. They are reported as egg scatterers or bubble nest builders, but captive breeding is rare and not well documented.

Ctenopoma acutirostre
This photo was originally taken by species_snob and the original photo can be found here:

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Rodrigo
I have 1 in a 55 gallon along 2 angels and one south American puffer. He is not shy and controls the whole tank. He is a bit of a bully and the angels are somewhat afraid of him. All my small fish have disappeared, the last one a molly was pretty big and gone overnight. But overall I am pretty happy with this fish.
From: Trina
Hi, I've have 2 bush fish living in a 200 litre tank with 3 opaline gourami, 2 long fin bristle nose plecs and a short fin bristle nose plec. I have had them about 5 months now and around 3 and a half inches, I love them and could sit and watch them all day, they get mixture of foods and eat everything they are given. A friend of mine, also a fish keeper of discus has ordered me 2 more for my aquarium, she has done this without asking, although I have thought about getting more I am now dubious as to whether this is a good idea due to their territories, although mine are peaceful, I am worried they will bully the newbies as they will obviously be smaller!
From: Toni
I absolutely love mine. I have 3 purchased around 1" now 3-4 ". They live peacefully in a 75g planted tank with lots of hiding places. When I first bought them I gave them newborn guppy fry but they did not eat them . The guppies grew up with them and it wasn't till I removed the guppies I realized how shy these guys are. So they got their guppy friends back and are very happy/ outgoing again. They now will eat very young fry but only at night (glad not to see it) .They mostly beg for me to feed them and will eat from my fingers. They now live with guppies, a small pompom goldfish,2 wildfin mollies,dwarf pleco ,corycats and ghost shrimp. . I feed them all kinds of frozen fish food,live black worms,garden worms,guppy fry,cherry shrimp,fish food. Mine are very peaceful with each other (all three hang together)and are very comfortable touching bodies with their tankmates. Not at all agressive so far.At feeding time they will always let someone else grab the food. The seem to be very hardy.. I have hard water 7.8-8.0 temps vary 72-80. Definatly recomend!!! My favorite freshwater fish!!
From: Zack
I have 2 ctenopomas, and at first they did not get along. Now, they are doing great with each other and spend their rest hours in the same cover. I have ample coverage with driftwood, both real and fake, rocks, and large plastic plants provide lots of cover. They feed on freeze dried shrimp, sinking catfish shrimp pellets, frozen blood worms, live mealworms, and occasionally they will eat ghost shrimp when I get them. My larger ctenopoma enjoys swimming in the current around my airstone, while the smaller one prefers to remain in the cover of the driftwood. I have no real biotope set up but the driftwood stained the water and that has helped bring the fish "out of their shells."
From: Tamara
I found all the information here very helpful. I bought 1 "African leaf fish" as that's what it was labeled at petsmart, and LOVE him! Super cute and did hide for a while but he's great now and loves frozen blood worms and does eat flake food as well. I didn't know that they were not good as pairs before buying my 2nd one tonight... hopeful it all works out :)
From: Josh Nichols
I purchased one of these oddballs about 3 weeks ago. At first he or she, not quite sure yet, was very skittish and would hide all the time. Never really came out. Now its going on week 3 and "Spike" swims around all the time. More so when I have the light off. I have been feeding Spike flake food with the occasional brine shrimp cube. I think I'm going to start feeding him some feeder guppies. Spike is now a good 4" versus the 3" he was when I bought him. Seems to be doing very well. One of my favorite fish by far.
From: Ira Rubinson
I bought my two Ctenopoma acutirostre as an "African Leaf Fish" at Petco. 1.5 years later, one is the same size as when I bought it; 3/4". The other is enormous: 4" and inhales blood worm cubes in one gulp. I call it my finned pig.






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