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Climbing perch - Anabas testudineus

Climbing perch - Anabas testudineus

Scientific name: Anabas testudineus

Common name: Climbing perch

Family: Anabantidae

Usual size in fish tanks: 17 - 25 cm (6.69 - 9.84 inch)


Recommended pH range for the species: 7 - 8

Recommended water hardness (dGH): 5 - 19°N (89.29 - 339.29ppm)

0°C 32°F30°C 86°F

Recommended temperature: 22 - 27 °C (71.6 - 80.6°F)

The way how these fish reproduce: Spawning

Where the species comes from: South Asia

Temperament to its own species: peaceful

Temperament toward other fish species: peaceful

Usual place in the tank: Bottom levels


Southeast Asia; Climbing perch is found in India, Sri Lanka, and Southern China.


The expected life span for Climbing perch is 5-8 years.

Short description

In the wild these fish inhabit small waterways and can even be found in some brackish waters but for long term health it is advised to keep the climbing perch in freshwater conditions. They get their common name from legends that say they can climb trees but this is totally unfounded and they have never been known to climb.

They have little demands but one important feature in the aquarium is to leave some air space between the water surface and the top of the aquarium as they will breathe from the atmosphere, this should be humid to prevent damage to their primitive lungs. Dimmed lighting does suit the climbing perch but they have also been kept in higher lighting levels where aquatic plants have been added to the aquarium.

Anabas testudineus are excellent jumpers; always use a tight fitting lid with a large tank. Filtration needs to be high as they produce a lot of waste, regular water changes are a must. This fish is well known for its aggressive nature but this can vary with individual specimens, they can be kept in a group as long as the aquarium is large enough but do not keep the climbing perch with smaller species of fish as these will be seen as a food source so only keep these with similar sized species and with a similar temperament.

Food and feeding

A varied diet is needed by these fish. Quality flakes and pellets should be given along with lettuce, spinach and peas. Meaty foods should be supplied by offering chopped earthworms and blood worms. Once settled into the aquarium they are not too fussy about their food but a balanced diet of meaty foods and vegetable matter will bring out the best colouration and will provide the best diet for long term health.


There are no visible differences between the sexes.


Use a planted tank for breeding, spawning will take place in the evening and the eggs will be deposited amongst the plants. The eggs should hatch between 24-36 hours and the fry will be left to their own devices as the climbing perch has no parental skills. The parents will not attempt to eat the fry and they can be fed on newly hatched brine shrimp. The parent fish will not attempt to eat the eggs but for a higher success rate it is wise to raise the fry in their own growing on tank where they can grow in the highest water quality and be fed on a suitable diet for their size.


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Climbing perch, picture 1 Climbing perch, picture 2

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