Datnioides undecimradiatus

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Neale Monks on the Thin-band Siamese tiger fish, Datnioides undecimradiatus.

Common name: Datnioides undecimradiatus

Scientific name: Thin-band Siamese Tiger Fish

Origin: Southeast Asia, specifically the middle and lower Mekong River basin

Size: Potentially up to 40 cm/16"

Diet: These fish are predators, and generally ignore flake and pellet foods. Juveniles readily take all the usual small frozen and live foods, such as bloodworms and brine shrimps. Adults prefer live fish, river shrimps, and earthworms, but can be weaned onto dead foods without too much trouble. A good trick is to place silversides or lancefish into the flow of water from the filter; the flash of movement as the food floats by is usually enough to trigger the attack, and once the food has been taken, it is usually swallowed. Besides small frozen fish, mussels and prawns can be used as well.

Aquarium: The main problem with tiger fish is providing enough space and filtration to keep them healthy. To keep multiple specimens, or to mix them with other species of fish, will require a tank at least 180 cm/6' long. In terms of water quality, the filter must have a turnover of at least four times the volume of the tank per hour, and regular water changes are essential. Like other large predatory fish, these fish can pollute the water very quickly, particularly if overfed. Juveniles may need feeding every day, but adults certainly do not. These fish like tanks with plenty of vegetation to hide in; giant Vallisneria would be ideal, providing shade along the sides of the tank and overhead. This is not a brackish water species, and neutral to slightly hard and alkaline fresh water will be acceptable.

Identification: Siamese tigers can be difficult to identify to species level. This species is characterised by a creamy-brown body colour and the presence of relatively thin, slightly oblique, vertical stripes on the flanks.

Availability: This species is not as popular as some of the other Siamese tigers, and can be difficult to find, but these fish were seen at Wildwoods Water Gardens, Middlesex (0208 366 0243).

Price: Around 25 each.