Pachypanchax omalonotus

Pachypanchax omalonotus originates from Diana Region of Madagascar. The presence of rows of discrete metallic gold spots on the flanks and the absence of iridescent white edging along the upper and lower margins of the caudal fin distinguishes living male Pachypanchax omalonotus from all remaining Malagasy congeners.

Breeding is relatively easy, employing a spawning method known amongst hobbyists as «egg scattering». There exists several different methods of spawning it, and much is down to personal preference. A pair can easily be spawned in a tank as small as 20 – 25 litres. It’s often recommended that it should be spawned in trios, but brood sizes tend to be lower when it’s bred this way. This is perhaps due to the fish that is not involved in the spawning activity eating some of the eggs. Males compete for access to females and fatalities to both sexes do occur due to aggression. Recommended substrate is a cobble/sand mix or rocky, generally under some sort of forest cover – bogwood and leaf litter. The addition of a small, air-driven sponge filter is useful to prevent stagnation. The water should be soft to neutral mark with a pH of 6.5 – 7.2 (although specimens do not appear overly prone to water chemistry or water quality issues), and a temperature of 24°C – 28°C.

The fish should be conditioned on a varied diet of live and frozen foods. Many top breeders recommend keeping the sexes apart in separate conditioning tanks and selecting the best looking male and plumpest female before placing them in the spawning tank. This method allows females to recover between spawnings. Eggs will be deposited either in the substrate or in clumps of vegetation in nature, and the spawning medium can therefore either be a layer of well boiled peat moss, fine gravel or sand on the base of the tank, clumps of fine-leaved plants such as java moss or spawning mops.

If water conditions are good and the fish are well conditioned, spawning should present no problems. The eggs can be left in the aquarium to hatch with the parents but some may be eaten. If you want to raise a good-sized group, the eggs should be removed. Each pair should only be allowed to spawn for a week or so before being returned to the conditioning tanks, as the spawning process is hard on the fish (particularly the female) and they can become fatigued and weak if left for too long.

The fry are tiny and initial food should be infusoria. If using the peat moss incubation method, the raising tank can be ‘seeded’ a few days prior to hatching by adding a couple of drops of liquifry or green water. Otherwise add small amounts as required. After 2 days they can be fed brine shrimp nauplii or microworm with the introduction of larger and frozen varieties after 2 weeks or so. The water must initially be kept very shallow but the level can be raised as the fry grow. Extreme care must be taken regarding water quality in the raising tank as the fry are very susceptible to velvet disease. They should be fed twice a day with small water changes every 2 – 3 days for the best growth.

Species Summary:

  • Scientific Name: Pachypanchax omalonotus (Duméril, 1861)
  • Origin: Diana Region, Madagascar
  • Family: Aplocheilidae
  • Disposition: Active fish, male can be a little bit aggressive to each other
  • Total Length: 60 – 70 mm
  • Spawning Method: Egg Scatterer
  • Breeding Proportion: 1M : 1F / 2F
  • Keeping / Breeding Difficulty: Less Demanding
  • Incubation Period: 10 – 14 Days at 24°C – 28°C (water incubation) and 14 – 18 Days at 22°C – 23°C (semi-dry peat moss incubation)
  • Fry Size: Small (require Infusoria as first food)
  • Sexual Maturity: 8 – 10 Months
  • Life Span: up to 3 years (depends on food and keeping conditions)
  • Filtration: Moderate
  • Water Changes: 1/3 Weekly
  • General Hardness: 1 – 3 dGH
  • pH: 6.5 – 7.2
  • Temperatrure Range: 24°C – 28°C
  • Lighting: Moderate Light
  • Diet: Dried, Frozen and Live Foods

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