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Shandong 2007-II

A day trip in China’s Shandong Province

Target fish: Macropodus ocellatus Cantor 1842

There are a couple of interesting articles about Macropodus ocellatus aquarium maintenance and about its zoogeographic distribution. A recommendable article for German speaking labyrinth fish nuts is DE RHAM (1992) published in the German aquarium magazine DATZ (see literature). DE RHAM also reports about his experience keeping M. ocellatus in a garden pond. It seem to survive European winter frost in a garden pond when appropriate measures are taken.

Macropodus ocellatus is known from many locations in China, including China’s eastern Shandong Province, in which I currently live. Some weeks ago a friend brought me some fishes out of a small stream close to her home town (W-CN 35-07). Among plenty of Misgurnus anguillicaudatus (weather loaches) and Monopterus albus there were some Macropodus ocellatus. The Macropodus really draw my special attention.
Therefore Wang Jing and I get up early and went to the village the fishes are reported to live. After 2 hours by car we finally reached a village called JiaYue (贾悦) in Weifang County. We picked up Wang Zhongtao, who possesses rich knowledge about the local fauna and conditions in order to help us to find the right spot.
At around 2 pm we found the biotope (EWW-CN 50-07): A channel called Hedao (河道) running through the above mentioned village (near to the Wu Zhong [五中] school).


A stream called Hedao (河道) running through a village called JiaYue (贾悦) (near to the Wu Zhong [五中] school)

GPS coordinates

614m asl, N 36º 02.206′, E 119º 10.877′


Artificial drainage channel, through a small village. A small stream (50cm wide/15cm deep) with almost no current, pools with 8m width and 50cm depth.

Lemna sp. (Water lenses), but no real water plants, bottom covered partially densely with dark brown big leaves. Grass from the banks hung in the stream flowing on the surface.

Bottom is very muddy and covered by leaf litter. During the summer time (July) much more water is reported from this channel.

Total Dissolved Solution (TDS)


Carassius gibelio (Bloch 1782)

Macropodus ocellatus Cantor 1842


The icy water was covered by a 2mm thin layer of ice. Fishes were hiding in the shore vegetation and leaf litter.

The Macropodus showed a different pattern directly after the caught.

The lateral belly was rather bright ochre-brown colored, possessed 2 to 3 dark brown vertical stripes.

This color pattern may be only shown by females.

Middle of December 2007: There was a thin layer of approximately 2mm on the water. The icy water had a temperature of 5 ºC.

In this shore vegetation among the leaf litter we found Macropodus ocellatus. The vegetation is actually not a submerse water plant, but just weed hanging into the channel.

Fishing method: Just net blind in the shore vegetation on the off chance trusting to your luck. Empty your net on a plain ground and then just pick out the cherries.

As you can gather from this picture sometimes we got up to four Macropodus in one draught.
The cherries:
These two pictures have been taken 1 day after the catch at home. Unfortunately the nice pattern in the females’ flanks is disappeared. The coloration is now quite pale.
Same to the males. But after a couple of days in my tanks they showed brillant colors again.

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