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Facts about Paradise Fish

Paradise fish, resized image 1 Paradise fish, resized image 2

Brief Description

This article has been written in order to help fish keepers with raising Paradise fish, a very beautiful fish often kept not only in tanks but in ponds too, and we have tried to cover all important aspects of raising this species on this page. From raising the fry to sexing and breeding, including feeding and FAQ along with links to related articles. However we’d love to hear about your Paradise fish, so make sure you use a form at the bottom of this page once you've finished reading the article and the forum under the article! Bear in mind we also have following pages devoted to this species: The profile, Another article about Paradise fish.

Caring for Paradise fish - Introduction

As this species originates from Asia they do well in heavily planted tanks with quite still waters however with lots of space per specimen due to their territorial behaviour which means two or more fish can be raised easily in one aquarium as long as each of them is given at least 40 litres (10.57 US gallons, 8.80 Imperial gallons) of water. Especially males display very territorial behaviour towards each other and the dominant one can bully the weaker one to a complete misery.

In comparison to adult specimens juveniles are very playful and peaceful toward others of the same species, but as they grow up aggression increases which is the reason for having a heavily planted tank when housing Paradise fish as when they don’t see each other, they don’t fight. In addition to plants also add some driftwood into the tank since driftwood naturally divides territories among fish.

In order to ensure your Paradise fish are getting best care it is important to feed them live and or frozen food on a regular basis. Lovers of Guppies won’t agree and may be angry, however giving small Guppies to Paradise fish helps them to live longer. The average lifespan of 2-3 years can be achieved by varying the diet using granules, dried food, frozen bloodworms and live foods as written above.

Tank set-up for Paradise fish

As it has been mentioned above already, Paradise fish come from Asia and therefore planted aquariums are the best option for caring. Since they're known to be very hardy it is OK to keep the general water hardness between 4 and 20°N dGH (71.43 - 357.14 ppm, 1.43 - 7.15 mEq) while pH in tanks with adult specimens should vary between 6 and 7.5. For juveniles it’s better to keep pH at 7 since young fish are more sensitive than adults. Oxygen level in the water isn’t important as these fish can breathe air from surface. Keep KH (carbonate hardness) at 4 at least. KH of anything below 4 definitely is not acceptable as pH will fluctuate and in the end fish will suffer, eventually could get sick or die. Carbonate hardness of 4 is very important when the fry is being cared for.

Height of the tank should be approximately 30 cm (11.81 inches) however Paradise fish don’t necessarily need tall fish tanks and they often lay at the bottom, on plants or on decorations doing nothing but having a rest.

As regards to temperatures it is not recommended to keep this species in ponds during Winter (or cold seasons) unless you're able to keep the temperature in the pond roughly at 16°C (60.80°F). Paradise fish are coldwater fish and thus can stand lower temperatures better than purely tropical fish, and don't need a heater in their tank.

Diet

Adult fish are usually fed once or twice a day however when they eat live foods it's wise to let them starve one day a week as this will clean their digestive system. Feeder Guppies can be given in the amounts of 3-4 specimens per 1 Paradise fish and then wait for the feeders to be eaten before introducing new ones to the tank.

If you feed your Paradise fish granules or other commercial foods make sure fish aren't overfed and the water isn't coloured (this would mean the food contains substances that only colour the whole product while not doing any good to the fish). Uneaten food need to be removed from the tank as such particles often decay and lower the water quality.

Paradise fish will also enjoy having Ramshorn snails in the tank as snails are vital part of their diet.

Bear in mind juveniles usually need food from two to four times a day. The smaller fish, the more often.

Do Paradise fish eat Mystery snails?

Yes. But only when snails are small enough. Later they (fish) just let them be. Paradise fish are also known to eat Ramshorn snails, and I can only agree.

Sexing the Paradise fish

Sexing is quite easy as the female is less coloured than the male. Moreover, females are smaller than males and as usual females are also rounder because of eggs that they produce and carry in their bodies. So if an aquarist have two specimens of which one is smaller, fins are shorter, and colours are not so intensive, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s a male! Always focus on the size of belly. It is very likely one of two males in the same tank will look just like a female except for the size of the belly as the dominant one will harass the weaker one to a certain extent.

Prior to breeding there is the stage of building a nest which doesn't necessarily mean fish are about to breed as it can be a sign of how good he feels in the tank, eventually when a single specimen (male) is kept in the aquarium, he can feel so comfortable that he starts building a bubble nest. Females do not build bubble nests.

Breeding the Paradise fish

Breeding is very easy with this species! Simply put one male and one female (she has to be full of eggs, check her belly’s size) into an aquarium of approximately 80-100 litres (21.13 - 26.42 US gallons, 17.60 - 22 Imperial gallons) and let them breed. It is best to let them reproduce in a dedicated tank and here below are tips to support the courtship behaviour and the whole process:

  • A well-planted aquarium is beneficial
  • A temperature of 25-26°C (77 - 79°F) should trigger the breeding process
  • pH of about 7 - 7.5 helps the fry to survive
  • Always measure dKH (carbonate hardness) and make sure that this variable’s value is at least 4! Lower values cause the fry to die (due to pH fluctuations)
  • Most fish will breed at night just before sunrise
  • Light doesn’t help them to breed; Instead, a subdued lighting is more useful for breeding purposes.
  • Water flow must be slow otherwise it’s going to destroy the nest!
  • Keep changing 10% of water on a daily basis, this simulates rainy seasons
  • Feed your fish live foods such as small worms, insects, etc.

The breeding process is quite simple. The male builds a bubble nest and then he tries to attract the female. Once he succeeded, his body turns to something like the U letter as he will try to push all eggs from the female. He stops breathing and you can see oxygen getting out of his gills. When he’s done, he falls down to the bottom for about 1-2 seconds and immediately after this he starts swimming (usually he swims to the surface to breathe some air). After this he starts to take care of eggs. Remember that this process isn’t always successful. Sometimes they repeat it 3-4 times until they’re finally done.

After a day or two (usually up to 48 hours), the eggs hatch. If the female had too many eggs in her body, it is possible that the eggs will hatch in 24-72 hours (some eggs may be released 24 hours after the first spawn, or similarly). The fry needs food of superior quality, also they REQUIRE pH of 7. 6.5 is enough, but in my experience more newborns survived in a higher-pH water. Feed them newly hatched Artemia salina (Brine shrimp), egg yolk and crushed dried food.

Snails - whether Ramshorn or Mystery snails aren’t welcome in a breeding tank because they love eggs.

Raising baby Paradise fish

When newborns accept crushed granules, they start to grow. However as they grow the labyrinth organ starts to develop which is very critical because one can lose even 80% of newborns without any possible input to be made from the fishkeeper side. There is nothing that can be done, so only keep feeding them and keep the water conditions stable.

When babies are 3 cm (1.18 inch) long, they can be given away or sold.

Other questions

Can I keep Paradise fish in fish bowls?

Only if bowls is big enough. 60-70 litres (15.85 US gallons, 13.20 Imperial gallons) at least. In addition, create artificial corners or some other points which help fish to orientate. Any fish in a small bowl without any corner or similar point that’s needed for proper orientation sooner or later becomes sick and dies.

How long will Paradise fish live?

3 years is usually maximum. If kept properly, they can sometimes live longer, but it is not too often. Actually one should expect something between 2 and 3 years.

Are Paradise fish aggressive and what to do if they’re?

Yes, Paradise fish may be aggressive, but only when kept in small aquariums, or if there are too many specimens in the tank. This problem can be resolved by adding more plants into the aquarium. Once they don’t see each other, everything regarding their territorial behaviour should become more friendly. Eventually consider moving your stock to a bigger tank as when these fish have more space they get along quite well.

Usually only males are aggressive toward other males, but they will not fight to death. This can happen only in really small aquariums.

Paradise do fish need territories. Always think about it when purchasing this species.

Related question:

  • Can you keep many Paradise fish males together?

    Yes, but this depends on more factors. Are you going to keep them together in a pond? If yes, then it will be OK. Just add some plants into the pond. In aquariums they need at least 40 litres (10.57 US gallons, 8.80 Imperial gallons) per male. Otherwise they’ll be too aggressive.

How to enhance colours of Paradise fish?

Happy and healthy fish are coloured the way they have to be. If you want to enhance it anyway, feed them food which contains carrot. It could be quite difficult as these fish are not herbivores which means the solution is to feed Ramshorn snails some carrot and then move such snails to the aquarium where Paradise fish reside.

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