Labyrinth fish: gourami, cockerels, macropods
The body of the gourami is very much flattened on the sides, high. The fins on the abdomen are long and filamentous, the anal fin is long, the dorsal fin has a short base. Males of the spotted gourami is silvery blue, with blurred dark stripes. There are two large dark spots in the middle of the body and near the caudal fin. The fins are transparent, with faint yellow spots. On the lower part of the anal fin there is a reddish strip. During spawning, the fish gain a brighter color, the stripes turn black, the anal fin is covered with red spots, and the strip shimmers with different colors. The length of the fish in nature reaches 15 cm, in the aquarium 10-12 cm. pearl gourami have silvery, pale purple sides with small spots that resemble pearls. The same spots are on the fins. During spawning, the bottom of the head, the front part of the belly and the anal fin become bright red with an orange tinge.
From the head to the caudal fin stretches like a torn dark strip. Female gourami, like most fish, are painted faintly, the dorsal fin is smaller than that of the males.
Next to the brightly colored gourami, you do not immediately pay attention to the grayish-greenish fish. The body is about 6 cm, slightly flattened on the sides and elongated. On the sides there are poorly defined longitudinal stripes with a greenish sheen. And here is, to it approaching such a same fish. And, in an instant, lightning seemed to flash in the little body. The body and fluffed fins were emerald. The fish opens its gills and seeks to meet its guest. Whether it is a female, or a male rival, can be understood only by the way the stranger responds. The female folds her fins in front of the male. If it is not ready to spawn, it runs away. In the female ready to spawn, a white spot can be seen near the anal fin. If two males meet, their intentions are much more serious than can be assumed initially. Starts mutual posing, showcasing the beauty of the game Shine and size of the fins. It can last a few minutes, and maybe hours. If one fish is half as small as the other, it leaves someone else’s territory. But, if the males are the same size, sooner or later the first blow will be struck. Within minutes of the battle, the fins of the weaker male begin to droop in rags, the gills are broken, the body is covered with bloody wounds. Fish do not bite, they open their mouths in such a way that their teeth stick out. And they drive dozens of sharp teeth into the opponent’s body with all their strength. After some time, the male winner begins to prevent the defeated from the air. These aquarium fish are called cockerels. In addition to the green Thai cockerels, red cockerels live in Singapore. During arousal, the male is cherry red and the fins are streaked with turquoise. Cockerels were brought to Europe in 1896. Soon they appeared on the territory of Russia. But, the local people long before the Europeans kept cockerels and arranged in between tournaments. Before tournaments, the fish were tempered – forced to resist the strong current, teased by their reflection in the mirror. They chose fish not only in appearance, but also in strength, aggressiveness and speed.
Bred in European aquariums decorative forms have a very bright color of red, green, blue, purple and gold colors with fins twice or even three times more than their wild relatives.
No less a bully among fish is a macropod. Its body usually reaches up to 10 cm. The long dorsal and anal fin of the male is pointed and ends with threads. The same growths on the caudal fin. The body of the macropod is brown or greenish-brown. On the sides in turn are wide green and red vertical stripes. The dorsal and anal fins are blue, the fin tips and tail are red. Females are usually less brightly colored.
The macropod’s range is a coast of swamps, rice fields and shallow lakes from Vietnam to Korea. Fish, especially the Northern parts of the range, are well adapted to lowering the water temperature up to 15 degrees, unpretentious to the hardness of the water and to food. In aquariums, these fish live and breed since 1869. As a consequence of the fact that aquarists kept these fish in cool water, the color of aquarium macropods is much worse than those that live in natural reservoirs. A blue macropod with a light blue body, blue pattern on the sides and fins was artificially bred. There are also macropods-albinos. Young macropods help aquarists fight Hydra. Brought together with food from natural reservoirs, Hydra attack fry, sting adult fish. What would get rid of them, need a few days to let the aquarium without fish hungry makropody.
For content small aquarium labyrinth fish can be use aquariums even on 2-10 liters. Gourami and macropods need an aquarium for 50-70 liters.
To water quality, these fish are not demanding, but once a week is necessary to replace 1/10 of the volume of aquarium water for fresh. On the surface of the aquarium allowed to swim richius, pistia, water fern and so on.
The aquarium is equipped with several places where the fish can hide. Feed labyrinth fish any food-live, dry, ice cream, vegetable. Gourami, macropods and cockerels eat shellfish, smartly pulling them by the leg from the shell.
In nature, spawning labyrinth begins with the onset of the rainy season, therefore, the signal for reproduction in the aquarium can be the installation of a sprinkler or enhanced substitution of water for fresh. Choose a female ready for spawning and an active young male. It is better to choose a younger male, as the older they become, the more aggressive they behave, and can kill the female. Selected fish are separated for two weeks and strenuously fed with various food, while trying not to give Cyclops and Daphnia. So as after this fish often eat its progeny.
In the role of spawning, you can use a small aquarium. It is filled with ¾ of old aquarium water and ¼ of soft fresh water. The water level is 7-15 cm for small fish and 20 cm for large ones. From large-leaved plants build a house for a female.
When everything is ready, a couple of fish are transplanted into the spawning area and the water temperature is raised by 2-3 degrees. After checking the aquarium for the presence of rivals, and making sure they are absent, the male begins to make a nest. Mixing water with saliva, he let the small bubbles with which he has been building semi-circular socket is a real castle in the air. Each species makes a nest on its own project – on the surface of the water, under the leaves or in a cave. Cockerels use pieces of richii for the nest. Plants fasten the foam, do not allow the waves to scatter it. The gourami nest a large, flat, composed only of foam. That would seal the nest gourami allowed in the water an oily substance, which suppresses small waves.
The foam nest helps keep the eggs in the muddy swamp water. Having completed the construction of the nest, the male ceases to drive the female away from him, and begins to invite her there, performing a ritual dance. During the spawning, the fish press each other, and at some point squeeze out the eggs and milk. A large drop of fat brings the transparent eggs to the surface. The male catches them with his mouth and spits them into the nest. After spawning, the nest turns out to be about 300-2000 eggs, depending on the species. The male drives away the female and begins to guard the nest. If the female is not removed from the spawning area in time, the male can kill her. The little sentry boldly attacks all who approach the nest.
After 1-2 days, small larvae hatch from the eggs and hang over the nest. Interestingly, the nest helps to feed the fry in the first days. Plant particles, saliva, which contains protein, serve as food for fry. As soon as the fry begin to eat, the male must be evicted from the spawning area. After 8-12 days, the fry can already give Cyclops. Food in the aquarium should be a lot. Every 2 days, 2/3 of the volume of water is replaced with fresh. Labyrinth fish begin to breathe from the surface only 3-5 weeks after birth. Therefore, in an aquarium with fry must be present aeration. Do not lower the water temperature at this time. The signal that the fry begin to breathe from the surface will be that they will very often float. Now you can raise the water level and gradually, 1-2 degrees a week to lower the water temperature.
Under all conditions, labyrinth fry grow very quickly, and at the age of several months already acquire the color of adult fish. Small labyrinth fish become sexually Mature in 7-8 months, large-a little later.