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American leaffish or Monocirrhus
polyacanthus belong to the
The leaffish is obviously indigenous to South America. It is
also referred to by the name Amazon leaffish.
A commonality to unusual looking fish is that their name typically
describes the features that make them unique. The
leaffish’s peculiarly shaped body and patchy coloration
resembles a leaf in the fall. Their bodies are rather flat and wide
which contributes to the resemblance. Even the way that they swim seems
to mimic a leaf falling through the air.
The Leaffish is an aggressive predator. Their diet consists mainly of
other fish. In the wild they will lay among the substrate foliage with
their heads pointed down. Their distinctive color palette makes it hard
to distinguish them from a dead leaf. The leaffish has the unique
ability to change colors to better camouflage itself amid the foliage.
It will approach its prey using its transparent pectoral fins which are
nearly undetectable to its victim. It will then open its abnormally
large mouth and suck in its dinner. They will also dine on worms,
insects and insect larvae in the wild, especially when they are still
Given their predatory nature it is not recommended that they be kept in
a community tank. If you decide to do
so, their tank-mates must be a
robust, less timid fish of similarly or slightly larger size. Once
again this fish will swallow smaller species whole. Leaffish are
relatively small. They grow to about 3 inches in length. Keep this in
mind when choosing their potential roommates. They will also require
subdued lighting with lots of foliage to hide in.
Like most South American varieties, the leaffish is accustomed to
slightly acid water; pH 6.8. Water temperatures can vary from
Males and females are hard to distinguish from one another unless it is
breeding time. In their spawning cycle the female has a visible
ovipositor near her anus used for laying eggs. Because of their natural
ability to camouflage themselves, spawning often takes place in
Leaffish may be induced to
spawn by establishing a properly controlled environment. As with any
fish a breeding tank is recommended. An increase in water
temperature will simulate spawning season. You will also want your
breeding tank water to be soft and slightly acidic. If you live in a
region where the tap water is hard use bottled or reverse-osmosis
filtered water. PH levels can be altered chemically. Or there is a
completely organic way to increase acidity levels. The breeding
tank’s water can be filtered through peat. The peat will
release humic acid into the water raising the acidity level. You will
also want subdued lighting and plenty of foliage.
The couple is
spawn when you observe them cleaning off a rock or other flat surface
to deposit their eggs on. After spawning the male will become the
caregiver. The female is prone to harass the male and should be removed
form the tank.
The fry will
60-90 hours depending on water temperature. Leaffish fry are voracious
eaters and will consume their body weight on a daily basis. They will
develop at different rates. Larger fry should be separated from smaller
fry to prevent cannibalism.
Fry can be fed
hatched shrimp brine, liquid rotifers or powdered fry food formulated
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