Amazon leaffish is a very common and popular species of fish all around the globe. With a unique appearance and behavior, it easily catches the interest of any fish enthusiast. As its name suggests, Amazon leaffish has an appearance similar to a dead leaf. They blend themselves in the environment so well that it is very difficult to notice their presence. They use it to hunt their prey. This is the reason why they have a great reputation as predators. Their prey almost can't realize that they are on the verge of being eaten until they start getting inside the mouth of their predator.
Coming from the Amazon river basin, these fish are easily available in the wild. However, they are not a very popular choice when it comes to aquariums. Why? Because they are difficult to care for. They are also not recommended for beginners as they have special requirements and need special care. Giving them a proper diet and constantly maintaining the water condition is a tough task in itself.
Apart from that, they are aggressive too. Considering all the factors, they can be a little too much to handle. However, they are fascinating, and experienced fish-keepers take them gladly. For the remaining part, this article will guide the owners.
Distinctive Features of Amazon Leaffish
|Scientific Name||Monocirrhus polyacanthus|
|Color||Green/Brown with dark markings|
|Size||Up to 5 inches|
|Tank Size||Minimum 20 gallons|
|Tankmates||Peaceful community fish such as tetras and corydoras|
|Unique Trait||Camouflages with leaves and twigs|
|Famous For||Its ability to mimic dead leaves|
|Temperament||Peaceful and shy|
|Behavior||Not recommended for young children|
|Personality||Quiet and inactive|
|Domesticated||Not for beginners|
Also known as South American leaffish, this species looks a lot like a dead leaf floating around the water. The adult leaffish are 3-4 inches in size and have an oval-shaped body that is flat from both sides. Before having a deeper look at their other features, here's a quick guide about their basic characteristics.
Besides these, they have some other notable features that would give the readers a better understanding of the life of their pet leaffish.
- Amazon leaffish are very good at deceiving their prey. They make themselves look like a part of the environment and get closer to their prey. They even change their color for the same.
- They are not usually schooling fish but they don't mind sharing their shelter with their own species. However, keeping them with smaller fish is equivalent to giving the smaller ones capital punishment.
- These fish have an instinct of a predator since the day they are born. They eat almost every fish that can fit in their mouths. Note that they have quite a big mouth that can even bring inside someone of the same size.
- Differentiating between male and female Amazon leaffish is a difficult task as there are only slight differences. However, experts can distinguish.
How to Take Care of Pet Amazon Leaffish?
Taking care of Amazon leaffish would require a considerable amount of experience. As already mentioned, they are not everyone's cup of tea. They are quite sensitive to the water condition. Due to this, the owners have to keep a regular check on the system. They have a heavy diet so providing them a proper diet every day can also be difficult. And, even though they are renowned predators, they are fearful. They can get easily frightened. All in all, there are plenty of things to look after. Here, some of them have been simplified.
How to Setup a Tank for Pet Amazon Leaffish?
These fish are small in size but need sufficient space to swim, hide and hunt. The minimum tank size for a pet Amazon leaffish should be between 20 to 25 gallons. The bigger is always preferred. As said, they are sensitive to water conditions and it is difficult for them to survive in water that doesn't suit their requirements. So, this needs to be monitored carefully. The temperature of the water should always remain between 77 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level must lie between 6.0 to 6.8 while the hardness should be between 2 to 5 dH.
Another important factor is vegetation. The tank should be filled with different varieties of plants and in a large amount. Various types of submerged, floating, and large-leaved plants can be considered for this purpose. Additionally, one may also add rocks, pebbles and driftwood. This is essential for them to feel safe and secure. They like to blend themselves with the environment and are often found hiding behind leaves and plants. So, it is important to give them enough resources to do that. As for the light, it should be kept dim. Exposure to bright light makes them feel threatened as well.
What to Feed Pet Amazon Leaffish?
Amazon leaffish is carnivorous and live fish makes up the main part of their diet. Moreover, they have a huge appetite. These fish can eat the amount of food that is equal to their own weight. They should be fed with three guppies or something equivalent every day. The owners should provide them with living fish so that they can hunt it down and eat it. As said, they can eat anything that fits into their mouth. So, they can feast on different smaller fishes. In addition, bloodworms and brine shrimps can be added as well.
It is to be mentioned that if they are not provided with the amount of food they need, it would severely impact their health. Their bodies will weaken in no time and they will soon die. Hence, one should bring an Amazon leaffish home only when they are ready to provide them with an adequate diet.
Interesting Facts about Amazon Leaffish
A lot of things have been covered so far to give the owners a complete idea about how to care for their pet amazon leaffish. Before we conclude, here are some other interesting facts about Amazon leaffish that might be of interest to the readers and fish enthusiasts.
- Due to extreme requirements, Amazon leaffish are difficult to reproduce when in captivity. It is not impossible as there are a few experienced breeders who have been successful. However, this happens only on rare occasions.
- More than a hundred eggs are laid during one spawning session. Consequently, one may get to see around hundreds of these fry in just a single spawning session.
- Amazon leaffish are predators by birth. They start hunting to feed themselves ever since they are born and are free to swim.
- Just after the eggs hatch, the adult leaffish are removed from the tank. It's because these parents have no mercy on their children. They are so much of a predator that they won't hesitate to kill and eat their own babies.
- Amazon leaffish can often be seen using the water current to swim instead of their fins. They do this to get near their prey without them noticing it. And, just when they come in close contact, they attack!
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Frequently Asked Questions About Pet Amazon Leaffish
How big do Amazon leaf fish get?
Amazon leaffish grows up to 3 to 4 inches in size.
Are South American leaf fish aggressive?
They have the instinct of a predator and attacks every other fish that is smaller in size.
Can leaf fish live together?
Yes, leaffish can live together. Even though they are not schooling fish, they are peaceful towards others from their species.
How long do leaf fish live?
Provided they are given all the facilities they require, they can live up to 5 to 8 years in captivity.