Leopard Bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre): Ultimate Care Guide

Unlike most other pets, owning an aquarium should be considered an extension of yourself. You can choose the fish you want and the plants you desire and set up your tank in any way you wish. Picking a fish can be easy for some, but it can be a truly difficult decision for others. Some aquarists build tanks for a specific fish they desire, while others just wing it and choose any fish that fits their parameters. If you need help picking out a fish for your tank, how about a quirky and underrated fish that doesn’t get the love it deserves – the Leopard Bush fish?

The Leopard Bush Fish is a species of carnivorous freshwater fish native to the Congo River Basin in Africa. You may know this timid predator by some other names such as a bush fish, leopard gourami, ctenopoma, spotted ctenopoma, spotted climbing perch, or spotted birch. Regardless of what you call it, the Leopard Bush Fish is an aggressive fish that will eat anything it can swallow. Because of the carnivorous nature of this fish, you need to be sure that you carefully plan out your tank and the fish you may decide to add to it. If you aren’t careful, your Leopard Bush Fish may just feast on all the fish in your tank.

Leopard Bush Fish Care

Caring for a Leopard Bush Fish isn’t difficult at all. When kept in a tank, the Leopard Bush Fish will spend most of its time hiding in thick vegetation. This means it is imperative to have plenty of plants in your tank. During the night, the Leopard Bush Fish tends to become more active and will stray a bit further out from its vegetation home. Leopard Bush Fish are simple to care for as long as you set up your tank properly. They don’t have any outlandish temperature or pH requirements. The biggest hurdle of owning a Leopard Bush Fish is that it’s a very hungry fish and may attempt to eat any potential tank mates.

Leopard Bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)
Leopard Bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)


The temperature of a tank is a very important parameter and is such for the Leopard Bush Fish. The Leopard Bush Fish is endemic to waters in Africa, which tends to be a warmer locale. With this in mind, your Leopard Bush Fish tank should always remain between 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit or 23 to 28 degrees Celsius. A heater should be used to maintain these temperatures, and you should regularly check to ensure it does not fluctuate.

Water pH

The pH of any tank should be regularly checked and monitored to ensure it stays within the required parameters of the species in your tank. The pH of a tank that houses Leopard Bush Fish should always remain between 6.0 to 7.0. Regular checks can help ensure that your tank stays within those parameters. If the pH fluctuates too much, the species in your tank will be negatively affected.

Leopard Bush Fish Size

The size of any fish should be taken into account before you decide to add one to your tank; this is because you need to be sure that it will fit into your tank. When fully grown, the Leopard Bush Fish can reach around 20 centimeters or 8 inches in length. However, on average, the Leopard Bush Fish will be approximately 17 centimeters or just under 7 inches.

Food and Diet

When it comes to feeding your Leopard Bush Fish, your best bet is live food. Live food such as blood worms or tubifex is the preferred option by many aquarists. A great choice for feeding your Leopard Bush Fish is smaller fish. Your Leopard Bush Fish will eagerly chase a smaller live fish around your tank until it catches and eats them. Some great frozen options are frozen bloodworms and frozen shrimps. As for dry food, Leopard Bush Fish don’t tend to enjoy eating it; however, they can be trained to.

Leopard Bush Fish Lifespan

When being kept in a tank, any fish’s lifespan can be negatively affected by the care it receives. Other factors that play a role in the lifespan of some fish are their diet, as well as water conditions, and tank parameters. On average, the lifespan of the Leopard Bush Fish is between 8 to 10 years. If you give your fish the care it deserves, it should have a full and happy life. But remember that an expected lifespan isn’t a guarantee, just an estimate.

Leopard Bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)
Leopard Bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)

Tank Size for Leopard Bushfish

The Leopard Bush Fish doesn’t grow very large, only around 7 inches. That smaller size means you don’t require that large of a tank. Most aquarists recommend a tank size of approximately 50 gallons in volume. Keep in mind that size is just for a single Leopard Bush Fish; if you plan on adding more, you will need to increase your tank size accordingly.

Tank Setup for Leopard Bushfish

When setting up a tank for any species, you need to be sure that you emulate their native environment. Leopard Bush Fish tend to be timid during the day and prefer to hide. It would help if you gave your Leopard Bush Fish plenty of hiding spots, such as tall grass, caves, and large branches or rocks. The Leopard Bush Fish also doesn’t light, bright lights, so keep your tank lights dim. Always make sure the temperature and pH levels are within their recommended range.

Leopard Bush Fish Breeding

Breeding Leopard Bush Fish in captivity isn’t an easy task. Leopard Bush Fish are egg layers and will lay their eggs among the plants in your tank. Most aquarists say that the best chance you’ll have at breeding Leopard Bush Fish is if you’ve had them as a group from a young age. That seemingly increases their chances of pairing off for breeding.

Leopard Bush Fish Disease

Leopard Bush Fish tend to be disease-free. However, they may sometimes be infected by parasites in their environments. These parasites may infect them with some diseases, such as fin rot.

Where can I find Leopard Bush Fish for sale?

The Leopard Bush Fish isn’t a very popular fish which means you may not be able to find it in your local aquarium store. However, you can find Leopard Bush Fish for sale in several locations online. On average, Leopard Bush Fish tend to sell for around $10.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *