Leaf fish, scientific name Monocirrhus polyacanthus also called The Amazon leaffish or South American leaf fish is a freshwater ray-finned fish from the Nandidae family. It is the one consultant of its sort.
This typical predator lives within the Amazon, and its most attention-grabbing characteristic is its wonderful adaptation to catching prey.
The form of the body and coloration of the fish resembles a dry leaf of a tree, floating with the circulation.
Leaf fish statistics
Origin: Amazon and Reo Negro Basins; British Guiana.
Social Behaviour: Aggressive
Tank Level: All
Minimum Tank Size: 20 to 25 gallons
Breeding: Egg layer
Care: Moderate to tough
pH: 6.0 to six.5
Hardness: 2 to dH
Temperature: 77 to 82 F (25 to twenty-eight C)
Origin and Distribution
The South American Leaffish hails from the Amazon River basin within the countries of Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Columbia, and Venezuela.
Leaf fish lives in shallow water the place it hides within the vegetation within the riverbed, going through downward. Hidden from its prey by its environment, its camouflaged body, and its transparent fins, these fish are practically undetectable till they assault.
Leaf fish Profile
To thrive, the South American Leaffish wants gentle water and dim light. Floating vegetation may also assist to recreate the fish’s natural habitat and preserve harsh light from filtering down.
Because this fish hunts in ambush and is well frightened, it additionally wants loads of large-leafed vegetation and driftwood as objects to cover behind. Water within the tank must be as nonetheless as possible.
Leaffish do effectively in an aquarium as long as they eat dwell fish as their foremost diet. In order for this fish to be stored alive, every fish should be fed the equal of a minimum of three adult guppies per day, or they may shortly weaken and die.
Guppies are eagerly eaten, however feeding massive, dwell meals will be pricey. In some locations, such because the southern states, there’s an abundance of small native fish that may be caught and fed to the Leaffish.
Leaffish usually swim or cling within the water at an un-fish-like, head-down angle. While this intelligent rouse provides the three-inch leaffish great safety from bigger predatory fish, the primary worth of the camouflage is as support in capturing smaller fish.
The leaffish might drift with the present till an unsuspecting smaller fish swims close to, or it could sidle ever so slowly as much as a fish till its mouth is nearly touching.
There are few variations between women and men, although females will seem plumper through the spawning season. The male additionally has barely bigger fins.
This species shouldn’t be notably tough to breed; the problem shouldn’t be a lot offering particular circumstances, as it’s the luck of discovering a pair that occurs to be able to breed.
If they’re able to breed and if there’s a broadleaf plant reminiscent of an Amazon Sword Plant, females will lay eggs on the underside of the leaf or the underside of an overhanging stone.
After the feminine fastidiously deposits her eggs, the male fertilizes them. Each egg is hooked up to the leaf or stone by a brief thread. Hence, the big glassy eggs are all raised barely off the spawning site. The eggs will likely be tended to intently by each parent and hatch in three to 5 days.
The male leaffish stays near the eggs, fastidiously fanning water over the eggs. After hatching, the infants stay hooked up to the spawning site by the egg thread for one more week.
Once they’re free-swimming, child leaffish act very similar to their parents, remaining nonetheless more often than not. At first, younger leaffish eat small aquatic animals, however by the point they’ve grown to a half-inch, they’re able to eat small fish the size of child guppies.
The fry (child fish) are transparent for about two weeks and can graze on infusoria that exists on mature vegetation and rocks within the aquarium.
After two weeks the fry must be eliminated and separated since they develop at completely different speeds; bigger fry will eat smaller fry as quickly as they’ll match the smaller fry into their mouths.
Leaf fish General Information
In the process of evolution, predators and their prey are continuously fighting diversifications.
The former is making an attempt to provide you with more and more subtle methods of searching and camouflaging, and the latter is making an attempt to get away from them.
Leaf fish is among the most hanging examples of using “mimicry” (imitation of inanimate objects) in wildlife.
This permits her to successfully hunt from ambush and conceal from enemies.
Leaf fish are usually not usually present in house aquariums as a result of difficulties of holding and feeding, however, they’re one of the vital uncommon and attention-grabbing fish in behavior.
To improve the impact, the fish slowly drifts the other way up, shifting with the assistance of transparent fins.
As quickly as a small fish loses its vigilance and approaches such a “leaf”, the predator opens its unusually large mouth and sucks in its prey.
Eating solely dwell meals, particular circumstances of holding, and quarrelsomeness with different species led to the uncommon distribution of this species in aquaristics.
However, in case you are not afraid of such difficulties, and there is a chance to create an acceptable biotope aquarium, then you should buy one of the vital uncommon pets with attention-grabbing types of behavior.
Leaf fish Appearance
The leaf fish has a strongly flattened body. The head is pointed, on the lower jaw, there’s a small worm-like process, which makes the fish even more like a useless leaf of a tree.
The mouth is massive, as much as 60% of the top size.
The leaf fish grows as much as 8 cm long. The coloration might differ relying on the habitat. If the fish prefers locations with loads of aquatic vegetation, then its coloration is often yellow-green.
In open water, the color might change to brown. Often the body coloration shouldn’t be strong however within the type of alternating darkish and light stripes. Dark strains radiate from the attention in a circle.
The gentle art of the dorsal fin, in addition to the caudal and anal fin, are transparent, which permits the fish to maneuver without risking being recognized.
Also, the dorsal and anal fins have a pronounced serration.
Thus, the exterior construction of the leaf fish totally corresponds to its creed as an ambush predator.
Such camouflage not solely helps to successfully hunt however generally additionally saves the fish from bigger predators.
Leaf fish Colors and Markings
The South American Leaffish seems terribly like a useless leaf, floating among the many vegetation towards the underside of a tank. Like a leaf, it’s small, oval-shaped, and flat backward and forward; each of its anal and dorsal fins is spiny, making a body margin of jagged edges, like an ideal leaf, outline.
This fish is yellow to brown with random markings in addition to three strains working from the attention to the stomach, from the mouth to the caudal fin, and from the attention to the dorsal fin, resembling the veins of the leaf.
Many have a quarter-inch-long flap of skin protruding from the lower lip that appears very similar to the stem of a leaf. It has an enormous mouth relative to its size.
So good is its camouflage that even in a net with assorted useless leaves and twigs, it’s more likely to be returned to the water unseen — except it strikes.
To full the deception, the one fins that usually transfer, the pectorals and the rear suggestions of the dorsal and anal fins, are transparent and practically invisible even when in movement.
An even more spectacular side of the South American Leaffish is its uncanny capacity to change its camouflage whereas mendacity in look ahead to prey.
Like a chameleon, its colors might change with the intention to mix in more completely with its background whether or not within the wild or in captivity.
Leaf fish Habitat
Leaf fish are native to the river methods of South America, which are a part of the Amazon basin. It will be present in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Colombia, and Bolivia.
Rivers in this part of the world are saturated with humic substances, usually have a darkish coloration.
Numerous fallen leaves and snags are discovered on the backside. It is amongst them that leaf fish hides, looking forward to the next prey.
Leaf fish Care and Maintenance
For one leaf fish, an aquarium with a quantity of 70 liters or more will likely be optimum. Most usually it needs to be designed as a biotope.
Sand or small pebbles are used as a substrate, ideally a darkish coloration in order that the fish look more contrasting.
The foremost decorations are natural driftwood, stones, in addition to specifically processed tree leaves (for instance, Indian almonds), that are positioned on the underside.
For vegetation, it is suggested to make use of broadleaf species, for instance, massive echinodorus.
Fish doesn’t like shiny light, and these plants, along with species floating on the surface, means you can create a natural twilight.
Besides, the leaves of the Echinodorus are sometimes a favorite place for laying eggs.
The aquarium should be supplied with high-quality filtration (however and not using a robust present) and aeration.
Particular consideration must be paid to the proper water parameters. Like many inhabitants of the Amazon and its tributaries, leaffish favor heat, gentle, and acidic water.
It is beneficial so as to add the Tetra ToruMin conditioner to it. It accommodates natural peat extract and can create a “black” tropical water within the aquarium, during which the fish will likely be as comfy as possible.
Optimal water parameters for the content: T = 23-29 ° C, pH = 5.0-6.8, GH = 1-10.
Leaf fish Leaf Fish Tank Mates
In this case, often, one particular person or a male-female pair will be settled.
Cohabitation with small and even medium-sized fish species shouldn’t be beneficial.
The predatory instincts of leaffish are unusually robust, so eventually, the whole lot that may be eaten will likely be eaten.
Too massive neighbors can turn out to be a menace to leaf fish as a result of it’s unlikely to have the ability to rise up for themselves in battle.
It is believed that essentially the most appropriate tank mates for leaf fish are Gourami Fish, Silver Shark, Rainbow Shark, Silver Dollar, Pleco Fish, and so forth.
Do not preserve cichlids with leaf fish as each is predator fish and so they might start performing some wars!
Feeding Leaf Fish
According to research, the basis of the diet of leaf fish in nature is made up of small fish species, primarily from the households Characinaceae and Lebiasinaceae.
Young people even have varied invertebrates on the menu: crustaceans, beetles, larvae.
Surprisingly, the fish can swallow even fairly massive prey due to their extensively stretched mouth.
Leaf fish don’t differ in gluttony, the same old day-by-day rate is 2-3 fish.
Unfortunately, this species doesn’t settle for dry meals in any respect. Juveniles will be fed with massive bloodworms or items of shrimp, however, adults favor solely dwell prey.
For this, it turns necessary to maintain “weedy” fish that multiply quickly, for instance, guppies.
Leaf fish Reproduction and breeding
Breeding leaf fish at home is possible, however, it will require a number of efforts. First of all, you need a pair who is able to breed.
Fish turned out to be sexually mature at the age of about one and a half years. There is not any pronounced sexual dimorphism.
Females seem bigger through the spawning interval, and so they have a well-defined ovipositor.
Spawning takes place straight in a species aquarium or a particular spawning tank, the amount of which should be a minimum of 100 liters.
It is essential to have flat surfaces – stones, driftwood, and broad-leaved vegetation.
The stimulus for spawning is to keep up the temperature at a level of a minimum of 25 ° C and steadily lower the hardness to 2-4 dH with the assistance of frequent small water modifications.
The producers themselves are abundantly fed.
Once the fish is prepared for spawning, then quickly it will likely be possible to look at a mating dance close to the floor of the water, after which the feminine lays as much as 300 eggs on the substrate.
After fertilization by a male, the feminine must be eliminated, as a result of the burden of care is totally taken over by the newly-made father.
It supplies the eggs with water circulation, fanning them with their fins, removes useless eggs.
The incubation of eggs takes 3-5 days, after which the larvae feed on their yolk sacs for one more three days.
Then the male must be planted, and all that is still is to feed the juveniles. This is often the toughest task because the fry requires to dwell meals and may be very delicate to water high quality.
Also, regular sorting is necessary, as a result of the grown fry are under no circumstances averse to swallowing their smaller brothers and sisters.
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