Classic Car Intelligence

Anableps microlepis(Common Four-eyed Fish)

Large, grey, dorso-ventrally compressed fish that swims close to the surface, with the eyes protruding above the waterline. Closer inspection of the eyes reveals a cruous bilobed pupil that allows the fish to see above and below the surface of the water at the same time. Males are equipped with a modified anal fin used to deliver sperm to the female. These fish are livebearers.

This is probably the most commonly imported foureyes. Its most distinctive feature are the small scales on the flanks and the four or so, relatively thick, longitudinal bands running along the flanks of the fish.


Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

All foureyes are delicate, schooling fishes that need to be kept in a special aquarium with a large, smooth, shallow shelf region where they will feed. A slate resting on two flower pots will do. The depth of this shelf need be minimal: only enough for the fish to swim on and off comfortably, no more.

They cannot be easily kept in community aquaria, but the presence of very quiet, peaceful species (such as sailfin mollies) will help these fish to settle in. Floating foods of all types are accepted, though they have a preference for insects and insect larvae.

Breeding is difficult. Although they are livebearers, finding compatible males and females is difficult. Males and females have their genital organs pointing to the left or right, and right-handed males can normally only mate with left-handed females. While the aquarist might be able to observe which way the males use their gonopodium, the handedness of the females is impossible to determine. Consequently, breeding these fish requires a large number of specimens to ensure a good likelihood of the compatible males and females. Gestation is about three months, and a dozen or so large (5 cm long) fry are produced. These must be removed quickly, or the parents may try and eat them.

Family Group: Livebearers
Distribution South America (Trinidad to Brazil)
Temperature 24-28 C
Size 32 cm
Water Parameters Brackish, SG 1.010
Water PH 8.0

Useful sources of information:

The best reference is in Frank Schaefer's Brackish Water Fishes book from Aqualog. To buy a copy of this book click here.


Shop stock

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Other fish added to TFF/TF2YD recently can be viewed below.

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