Leopard Bush Fish

The Leopard Bush Fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre), also known as Spotted Climbing Perch, Leopard Ctenopoma, or Spotted Leaf Fish, is a fascinating freshwater species that hails from the Congo River basin in Africa. It’s a beautiful and interesting addition to the right kind of aquarium, thanks to its unique appearance and intriguing behavior.

Now you can find many living in aquariums all over the world. Leopard Bush Fish are endemic into the Congo River basin in Middle Africa and are available in the thickly vegetated rivers, rivers, as well as stagnant ponds of the domain where they prey on almost any insect or fish little enough to fit in their voracious mouths. Ctenopoma Acutirostre possesses a foundation body shade of yellow to dark brown, with big dark brown stains across the full body that extend on the fins. They have big eyes and a slim, higher profile body having a pointed mind.


Leopard Bush Fish get their name from their distinctive leopard-like spots that cover their bodies. They have a long body with a sizable, rounded mouth adapted for surface feeding. The pectoral fins are long and wing-like, enabling them to “walk” along the substrate. An adult Leopard Bush Fish can reach up to 6-8 inches in length.

How hard to take care Leopard Bush Fish

Leopard Bush Fish (Ctenopoma acutirostre) are considered moderately difficult to care for. This is due to their particular habitat requirements, feeding habits, and temperament. Here are the main considerations to keep in mind:

Behavior and Compatibility

Ctenopoma acutirostre is a stealthy predator in its natural environment, remaining still and camouflaged among vegetation until small prey swims by. As a result, in an aquarium setting, it’s not suitable to house them with small fish that fit into their mouths, as they are likely to become a meal. They’re semi-aggressive and do well in a community tank with larger, non-aggressive fish species. They perform best in a densely planted aquarium of 40-gallon capacity, using a dark sand substrate, lots of driftwood roots, and plenty of floating plants to subdue overhead light. They need a good deal of swimming area, lots of places to hide, fantastic filtration, and also a closely fitted tank cover; particularly in the event that you would like to attempt breeding the species.

Habitat and Care

Leopard Bush Fish prefer heavily planted aquariums with ample hiding spots, to replicate their natural environment in the Congo River basin. Leopard Bush Fish are hardy and adaptable, but they prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH levels (6.0-7.0) and temperatures between 74°F and 80°F. They are happiest in well-planted aquariums that provide plenty of hiding spots, mimicking their natural habitat.

Size of Tank

As Leopard Bush Fish can grow up to 6-8 inches, they require a spacious tank. A single Leopard Bush Fish would need a tank of at least 30 gallons, but a larger tank would be more appropriate if you plan on having a community tank or a group of Leopard Bush Fish.


In the wild, Leopard Bush Fish feed on small fish and invertebrates. In an aquarium, they accept a wide range of food, including live and frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. They may also accept high-quality pellets and flake foods over time. They might not immediately take to commercially prepared foods, and transitioning them to accept pellets or flake foods can be a process.


These fish are semi-aggressive and may eat smaller fish, so they should be kept with larger, peaceful species that won’t fit into their mouths. They’re also territorial, so ensure there are enough hiding spots to prevent conflicts if you have more than one.


Breeding Leopard Bush Fish in captivity can be challenging. They’re egg layers, and the male will guard the eggs once they’re laid. They require very specific water conditions for successful breeding and are sensitive to changes in their environment.

While Leopard Bush Fish are not beginner-friendly fish, they are an excellent choice for intermediate to experienced aquarists who can cater to their specific needs. With their unique appearance and intriguing behavior, they’re a captivating addition to the right aquarium.

Aquarist Experience Level: Advanced
Minimum Tank Size: at least 30 gallons
Care Level: Moderate
Behaviors: semi-aggressive fish.
Water Conditions: 75° to 80° F, pH 6.0 -7.0
Size: normally 6 inches.
Lifespan: 7 years

Leopard Bush Fish
Leopard Bush Fish2
Leopard Bush fish adult size 6"
Leopard Bush fish adult size 6″

By fishexp

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