Macropodus Opercularis Care (Paradise Fish)

macropodus opercularis

Last updated on August 25th, 2022 at 08:02 pm

Macropodus opercularis, also known as the Paradise fish, is an ornamental species of fish in the Cyprinidae family. It is native to the mountainous streams and ponds of China and Vietnam, but has been introduced to many areas throughout the world and has become established in some parts of North America.

Paradise fish, also known as paradise gourami or blue gourami, are one of the most commonly available tropical freshwater aquarium fish. They’re native to India and Sri Lanka but have been introduced to many other parts of the world, and they’re incredibly popular pets because of their vibrant colors and small size (even fully grown adults are much smaller than other types of gourami). Here’s everything you need to know about them.

Macropodus opercularis is a tropical freshwater member of the Cyprinidae family of fish. It’s native to fresh water in Southeast Asia and Australia but has since been introduced to other locations all over the world, including the United States and Europe, where it thrives in the conditions of captivity.

The paradise fish is an elongated, scaleless species of fish in the carp family (Cyprinidae). This species was originally classified by Carolus Linnaeus in 1758 as Cyprinus opercularis. It has been recorded to reach up to 7 cm (2.6 in) long and weigh as much as 870 g (1 lb 12 oz).

Origin and descriptions

macropodus opercularis

This species of paradise fish originates from China. Though it has many other common names, including mandarin fish and dragonfish, its scientific name is Macropodus opercularis. Its appearance makes it a popular choice for aquariums and ponds alike. Because of its colorful scales and reputation as a social species, Macropodus opercularis is often selected to be included in community tanks that hold small or medium-sized tropical fishes.

However, when deciding whether or not you want to include an individual paradise fish in your tank, it’s important to note that they are carnivorous creatures that enjoy eating live foods like brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and mosquito larvae. In fact, most owners will tell you that Macropodus opercularis can take all but one meal each day as soon as they have finished growing into their full adult size.

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Species profile

macropodus opercularis

Macropodus opercularis is a freshwater bony fish found primarily in Southeast Asia. Due to over-fishing, however, they are increasingly rare and are now protected in many areas. If you’re looking for paradise fish, it’s a good idea to adopt a captive-bred specimen since wild ones are disappearing fast.

Be sure that your pet shop isn’t selling you what is commonly known as Gambusia holbrooki, which has been introduced into waterways throughout North America and Australia where it has wreaked havoc on native species by eating mosquito larvae. Because they are bottom feeders, paradise fish need access to both sandy substrate and water of reasonable depth.


They prefer a large, fresh, well-oxygenated tank with plenty of rocks and plants. They need to be able to find lots of little nooks and crannies in which to hide from view. Paradise Fish should be kept in at least a 20 gallon tank with an under-gravel filter or power filter. In addition, it is very important to have a strong water current within your aquarium.

Paradise fish size

This species can grow up to a standard length of 2.6 inches (6.7 cm)

Macropodus opercularis tank size

The minimum recommended tank size is 20 gallons, although larger is better.

Tank set up

Paradise fish prefer to swim in schools, but they also do well on their own. Most hobbyists recommend keeping them in tanks no smaller than 20 gallons. They enjoy heated water, so make sure to keep your tank’s temperature above 70 degrees Fahrenheit and add an under-gravel heating pad if necessary.

Macropodus opercularis is an omnivore but likes meaty foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp. It will not eat algae wafers and other prepared foods designed for herbivores. If you want to feed your paradise fish live food, try introducing some snails into its tank; snails are omnivorous and can serve as a supplementary source of protein.

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Paradise fish tank mates

Macropodus opercularis is a territorial species. This fish will do well in an aquarium environment with other smaller, peaceful species of fish or invertebrates that are not large enough to be seen as food. Examples would include most tetras, danios, dwarf Cichlids, Corydoras catfish, and small shrimp-like invertebrates such as cherry shrimp and nerite snails.

Macropodus opercularis breeding

macropodus opercularis

Macropodus opercularis can be bred in pairs or larger groups. The water should be soft and acidic with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and a temperature of 21-26°C (70-79°F). They should be fed meaty foods like worms, small crustaceans, insect larvae, and other small live foods. When spawning, they will gather on plants at the surface, whereupon females lay between 50 and 150 eggs which are fertilized by males. Once hatched, they become free-swimming within 48 hours and feed on zooplankton as they grow, up to 5cm long.

Males are also territorial so it is best to have several females per male otherwise they may become aggressive towards each other when spawning; one male may guard two or three females at most but more than that will start to push things. Pairs produce eggs once every day until they are ready to spawn again, usually after 4 days. Eggs must not be left with adult fish because they will eat them! The young fry can be fed infusoria for about 2 weeks and then moved onto newly hatched brine shrimp nauplii.

Are Paradise fish aggressive or peaceful?

Macropodus opercularis are highly aggressive and territorial, so they should never be housed with others of the same species.

Macropodus opercularis care

macropodus opercularis

Macropodus opercularis, also known as Paradise fish, has very specific care requirements. This species only needs water changes of up to 10% a week and an environment that doesn’t rapidly change. If you want to keep them with other more active species they will need to be large enough to avoid being eaten and must not compete for food. Don’t keep them with aggressive mid or top dwellers as they will not survive if intimidated by larger fish.

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What do macropodus opercularis eat?

Paradise fish are omnivores and will eat most types of dried foods, including flakes, pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms, and tubifex. They’ll also occasionally eat frozen meaty foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp as well as live foods such as brine shrimp, worms, and feeder guppies. Be sure to chop up any food into small enough pieces so your paradise fish can swallow them whole.

Supplement their diet with fresh vegetables—such as zucchini and cucumber—to ensure they get plenty of fiber and vitamins. If you notice they aren’t eating anything at all, try feeding them a variety of different foods until you find something they enjoy; if a certain type of food is left out too long it may go bad and cause illness in your pet.

Water parameters

macropodus opercularis

The ideal water condition should be pH 6.0-7.5, the temperature of 77–81 degrees Fahrenheit (25–27 degrees Celsius), hardness of 5–15 dGH,  Specific Gravity of 1.005-1.025, and carbonate hardness of 4–12 dKH

Macropods opercularis lifespan

The maximum age recorded for Macropodus opercularis is 10 years (in captivity).

Parasites and diseases

Paradise fish are prone to attack from internal and external parasites, which can cause lethargy, a weakened immune system, and even death. To ensure your new pets don’t suffer from any of these problems, quarantine them for several weeks prior to introducing them to your main tank.

This will allow you to monitor their behavior for signs of stress or illness as well as give you time to treat or medicate if necessary. Paradise fish can also fall prey to disease brought on by overcrowding, poor water quality, and poor diet—all common pitfalls of first-time aquarists. However, keeping paradise fish in an aquarium with other members of its own species is not recommended since aggression between males is commonplace.


Paradise fish are a common food source for predators such as herons, eagles, and other large birds. Fish-eating snakes will also prey on them if they can manage to ambush them in shallow water. In their native range, these fish are also eaten by humans, who relish their taste and texture. The Paradise fish is not poisonous or toxic in any way, so they are safe to eat.

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Do macropodus opercularis make good pets?

Yes. Paradise fish are relatively easy to care for. They are suited to a wide range of water conditions and will even adjust to low oxygen levels. They can be kept in tanks, but they may also be housed in an outdoor pond, especially if you live in an area where temperatures do not drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.