Information, Freshwater fish, Gourami, Labyrinth fish, Species

Leopard Bush Fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)

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by Jason Matthews



Leopard Bush Fish is a fascinating addition to any aquarium, captivating pet fish enthusiasts with its brilliant coloration and lively personality. In this comprehensive guide, we will dive into the world of the Leopard Bush Fish and explore everything you need to know about caring for these beautiful creatures.

From their origin to their dietary needs and everything in between, you will leave this article with a wealth of knowledge and a newfound appreciation for the Leopard Bush Fish. So sit back, relax, and get ready to embark on a journey of discovery with one of the most eye-catching species in the aquarium world.


Scientific Name: Ctenopoma acutirostre
Common Names: leopard bushfish, spotted ctenopoma, leopard ctenopoma, spotted climbing perch, spotted leaf, spotted cichlid or spotted bushfish
Life Expectancy: 8-10 year
Adult Size: 20 cm (8 inches) in the wild, 15 cm (6 inches) in captivity


HabitatCongo River Basin
OriginCentral Africa
Care LevelIntermediate
Tank LevelMiddle to bottom
Minimum Tank Size80-100 gallons
Water pH6.0-7.5
Water Temperature24-28°C (75-82°F)
Water Hardness5-19 dGH
Tank MatesPeaceful to semi-aggressive fish

Fun Fact Corner

Did you know that the Leopard bush fish can breathe air and extract oxygen from water? This adaptation allows them to survive in stagnant or oxygen-poor water conditions, making them a hardy species for fish tanks. 


The Leopard Bush Fish is native to West and Central African tropical waters, particularly the Congo Basin and the Niger River. These species are found in slow-moving rivers, swamps, and lagoons, where it feeds on insects, crustaceans, and small fish. The Leopard Bush Fish uses its unique camouflage to blend in with its surroundings in its natural habitat, making predators challenging to spot.

Appearance & Size

The Leopard Bush Fish has an iridescent golden-yellow body with dark spots that resemble a leopard’s coat. It has a long, slender body, wide mouth, and large, protruding eyes. Leopard Bush Fish have a brownish coloration with faint spots as juveniles, but as they mature, their coloration intensifies, and the spots become more pronounced. T.

The size of the Leopard Bush Fish can vary greatly, with adults reaching an average length of 6 to 8 inches (15 to 20 cm). It is important to note that the size of the Leopard Bush Fish is influenced by several factors, including the quality of care it receives and its diet. A well-cared-for and properly fed Leopard Bush Fish can grow fully.


Several physical characteristics can distinguish the male and female Leopard Bush Fish, although they share a similar overall appearance. Male Leopard Bush Fish are larger than females and have a more pronounced dorsal fin. Furthermore, males may have more intense coloration, especially during breeding. Females, on the other hand, are plumper and rounder, especially when carrying eggs.


In the wild, the Leopard Bush Fish protects itself from predators using camouflage and hiding spots. It is a peaceful and timid species in the aquarium that can be shy initially but will quickly become more confident and active with proper acclimation and a comfortable environment. The Leopard Bush Fish is a strong swimmer who spends most of its time exploring and searching for food. They are also active and playful species, often engaging in lively swimming and playing with aquarium decorations. 


The Leopard Bush Fish is a peaceful species that can be with various other temperate fish species in a community setup. However, it is important to choose tank mates of similar size and temperaments and compatibility with similar water conditions. 

When selecting tankmates, consider the following:

Tank conditions

The Leopard Bush Fish is native to slow-moving rivers and streams in Central and West Africa. As such, the aquarium requires specific water conditions to thrive. A minimum tank size of 50 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with larger tanks required for multiple fish or a community setup. 

The water temperature should be between 74-82°F (23-28°C), with a pH of 6.0 and 7.5. Regular water changes and filtration are required to maintain water quality and the health of the Leopard Bush Fish. 

The Leopard Bush Fish will appreciate the security and comfort of a well-planted aquarium with plenty of hiding spots and structures. Using a substrate, such as sand or fine gravel, can also assist in replicating its natural environment and provide a suitable spawning surface.


The Leopard Bush Fish is an omnivorous species, and as such, it requires a varied diet to maintain optimal health. It feeds on various food sources in the wild, including insects, crustaceans, and plant matter. A balanced diet can be achieved in the aquarium by offering a combination of commercial dry and frozen foods and live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. It is also a good idea to provide vegetables such as spinach, lettuce, or peas to provide additional nutrients and variety to the diet. Provide adequate food and avoid overfeeding. 


Breeding the Leopard Bush Fish can be a challenging but rewarding experience for the experienced aquarist. This species is known to be difficult to produce in the home aquarium, but successful breeding is possible with proper conditions and a little patience.

The first step in breeding Leopard Bush Fish is to create an appropriate environment. This includes maintaining good water quality, providing enough space, and establishing a spawning area. The water should be clean and well-filtered, with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and a temperature of 72-82°F.

This species is a substrate spawner, which means it will lay its eggs on a flat surface when spawning. Placing a slate or a flat rock in the aquarium will create a spawning area. Adult fish should also have plenty of hiding places and cover, as they can become territorial during breeding.

The fish must be conditioned by providing a diverse diet that includes live and frozen foods and commercial dry foods. Females will plump up as they mature and lay eggs, while males will develop breeding tubercles on their fins. After conditioning the fish and preparing the breeding area, the next step is to wait for the breeding. This process can be slow, and successful breeding may only occur for a few months. However, with patience and perseverance, the rewards of breeding the Leopard Bush Fish can be well worth the effort.


Like any other fish species, the Leopard bush fish is susceptible to certain diseases. Pet fish owners must be aware of these diseases so that they can take the necessary precautions to prevent and treat them. Ich, fin rot, and bacterial infections are some of the most common conditions that can affect Leopard bush fish.

Ich is a parasite that affects the skin and fins of fish. It is also known as white spot disease. It is caused by a single-celled parasite that multiplies rapidly in filthy environments. White spots on the skin and fins, a loss of appetite, and lethargy are all symptoms. 

Another common disease that affects Leopard bush fish is fin rot. It is caused by a bacterial infection that causes the fins and tail to degrade. Frayed or torn fins, redness or inflammation, and a change in swimming behavior are all symptoms.

Bacterial infections are another common threat to the Leopard bush fish’s health. They can be caused by unsanitary conditions, stress, or weakened immunity due to other diseases. Skin ulcers, cloudy eyes, and abnormal swimming behavior are all symptoms.

Maintaining good water quality and properly caring for your Leopard bush fish is critical to prevent disease spread. Regular water changes, testing, a balanced diet, and suitable living conditions can help keep your fish healthy and disease-free. If you suspect your fish is ill, see a veterinarian specializing in aquarium fish to diagnose and treat the problem.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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