Certain people have come to call it the walking fish and this usually happens when the current spot which they occupy or live in becomes overcrowded and when food source is scarce. Therefore, surviving this harsh and demanding condition has made this fish being categorized being one of the hardiest fish species that ever live. (Refer to definition of hardy fish suitable for kids)
Just like Tilapia, climbing perch is also a delicacy served as food fish among the Asian community. Not only that, they are also being kept as pets and domesticated to live in home aquariums. Climbing perch are a favorite among young children living in small villages located in outskirt cities in South East Asia as they are easily available and can be caught in paddy field’s puddle of water, mud holes or even drains as long as the water is not heavily polluted. The fish are widely called “ikan puyu” or “betok” among the Malay community.
There are several variants of the fish species and that depends on the locality on where they are found. Some has darker color tone while others appear in soft yellowish color. There are also the stripped and spotted climbing perch which can be quite rare while most commonly found variant of the fish is usually without any pattern on its body. Overall, the species doesn’t grow up to a very large size with an adult fish normally reaching roughly 5 to 10 cm in length. If I were to describe the fish, I would say it has an elongated body shape with a slightly big head and the body especially the gills are covered with hard scales. One word of advice would be, if you are handling the fish, I would suggest you wear some protective glove or else the scales can easily injure or cut your palm.
The aquarium setup for pet can be either plain with barren bottom but I would suggest adding some rocks or even pipes for them to hide in (learn about how to decorate your fish tank). If you are not sure about which aquarium plants to add, I would suggest putting in the hard leaves type such as Echinodorus cordifolius which can withstand onslaught nibbling by your pet fish. Occasionally you will often see the fish taking in a gulp of air and basically what they are doing is that they are actually breathing the normal air just like what we do. This special ability is what defines the category of labyrinth fish.
When it comes to food, the climbing perch will accept anything that you feed to them including kitchen waste like potato peel but be careful not to accidentally mix in oil to the water. The fish hardly develops any complication and a set of mine which were given to me by a friend actually survived for more than 2 years before I decide to give them up for adoption to another friend. When it comes to mixing into community aquarium, I would suggest you take precautionary steps not to put them in together with other smaller sized fish as those will ended up as food for your climbing perch. It is better to setup a single species tank as sometimes they can get pretty aggressive and attack each other especially during night time when the lights are out.
Related reading materials: Dwarf Gourami and Snail Eating Fish