Friday, 14 September 2007


I think it's pretty safe to say that the best hunters I have had are Angels. They are probably the most intelligent fish I have had, and seem able to plan their moves beyond the most immediate. Fighters, on the other hand, don't strike me as very good hunters.

I had a male fighter in a tank with 30-40 Macropodus fry for about a week (see here). Remarkably, when I finally took him out of the tank, there were still several fry left. It may have been that he was in breeding mode, and was less prone to eat little creatures swimming around his nest (although I saw him eat some of them right under his nest), but having watched him hunt, I think he was just an inefficient hunter (the female fighter, who was in the tank with him for certain periods of time, seemed to be better at it, thought still not an expert).

As I could tell (based on my rather limited observations) fighters hunt by swimming up to a potential prey item, and then snapping at it. If they prey item (Macropodus fry, in this case) can see them, they can get away. The fighter won't give chase, so it's possible to escape. Angels, on the other hand, seem to give chase and corner their prey - when the angels went after the neons, they gave chase and cornered their prey. Of course, they went at the fish as a group, which is something a more solitary fish like a fighter is unable ot do. But still, even single angels strike me as more efficient hunters. I suppose it reflects their prey source. Fighters aren't good at swimming fast - their long fins aside (something their ancestors wouldn't have had), they just aren't the sort of sustained swimmers that angelfish are. They probably depend more on prey that is either unable to see them (mosquito larvae?) or on lying in wait. Angels, on the other hand, are better swimmers. Given their reaction to the neons, I'm pretty sure that they are piscivores in nature.

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