Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis)

Characteristics & Origin

Paradise fish were the first tropical ornamental fish to be introduced in Europe after the goldfish. Not only are they among the most brightly coloured fish, but they are also considered one of the most robust species of aquarium fish. The vertical blue stripes on their reddish-brown body are particularly striking.

Macropodus opercularis can be found from Southern China to Northern Vietnam, where they primarily prefer swampy areas. As paradise fish are labyrinth fish, they are also able to breathe atmospheric oxygen. If kept correctly, they can live for up to 10 years. Male paradise fish can grow to a length of up to 10 cm thanks to their wide, pointed dorsal and anal fins. The females remain far smaller with a maximum length of just 7 cm. Females are also slightly paler in colour.

Aquarium and water

The aquarium should have a volume of at least 100 litres. We recommend a water temperature of 18 to 26°C. This makes it possible to keep paradise fish at room temperature without heating. The aquarium water should ideally be slightly acidic to alkaline (pH value: approx. 6.0 – 8.5). A medium hardness level (GH value: approx. 5 – 19°dH) is also frequently recommended, but these fish can also be kept in softer or harder water.

Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis)

Keeping conditions

Macropodus opercularis should ideally be kept in pairs. Even through the males can be very territorial, they are generally regarded as peaceful fish that are well-suited to large community tanks. They mix particularly well with loaches and Asian barbs. Keeping two or more males is not recommended as they would fight with one another. Paradise fish tend to prefer the upper regions of aquariums.

Planting and decoration

This species prefers dense vegetation in aquariums. The addition of several floating plants is also recommended as they act as an anchor for the Macropodus opercularis when they build their foam nests. Caves and roots should also be used to provide the fish with places to hide.


Paradise fish are omnivores but prefer smaller types of food like Tetra Micro Crisps or even TetraMin. To add variety, you can also feed paradise fish natural foods such as Tetra FreshDelica.