Widespread in nature, it is known from India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Phillipines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Tends to inhabit a variety of slow-flowing or still water biotopes, including rivers, canals, ditches, flooded fields, lakes and ponds. Some of these may be stagnant, and all typically contain lots of surface vegetation. It’s occasionally seen in semi-brackish conditions around mangrove swamps during the rainy season.
Maximum Standard Length
Male to 2.2″ (5.5cm), female to 2.8″ (7cm).
A small group could be kept in a 24″ x 15″ x 12″ (60cm x 37.5cm x 30cm) – 71 litre tank.
Surface area is more important than depth with this species, as it spends almost all of its time just under the water surface. It’s a particularly flighty species, particularly when first introduced to a new tank. The addition of dense planting around the edges of the tank will lessen the possibility of it damaging its delicate mouthparts by banging into the glass. It is also an excellent jumper, so a layer of floating vegetation is a good idea, as is a tightly-fitting cover. Decor below the surface is not essential and is a matter of personal preference. Salt can be added to a sg of around 1.005, but as long as the water is hard and fairly alkaline it should be ok in freshwater. Water changes should be small and frequent as is it sensitive not only to deteriorating water quality, but also to sudden swings in temperature or chemistry.
Temperature: 75-82°F (24-28°C)
Feeds exclusively from the surface. Gut-loaded Drosophila fruit flies are an ideal food, but brine shrimp, bloodworm etc. are also taken. It sometimes refuses dry foods at first, but can usually be persuaded to accept them over time.
Behaviour and Compatibility
Can be kept with similarly-sized, peaceful species that enjoy the same water conditions. In a freshwater tank good choices include other livebearers, smaller rainbowfish and freshwater gobies. Under brackish conditions it can be kept with smaller glassfish (Parambassis sp.), bumblebee gobies and mollies. Don’t keep it with any much larger or more aggressive species, as it can become shy and will be easily outcompeted for food.
It can be kept in groups and will usually be less skittish when maintained in this way. Males will often spar with one another, but lasting physical damage is rarely done unless space is very restricted. It is best to keep either a single male specimen or several in order to disperse the aggression.