Bicolor labeo

The two-colored labeo is interesting for its coloration, body shape, which makes it look like a very miniature shark, and active behavior. Because of all this, they are often kept in an aquarium, even despite their difficult nature – and they are quite aggressive towards their neighbors, especially towards their fellow tribesmen, and they require a large territory.

Origin view and description

Photo: Two-tone label

Photo: Two-tone label

The most ancient primitive protobes inhabited our planet more than 500 million years ago – of the highly organized organisms that surround us now, they are among the most ancient. The oldest finds are pikaya and haikouichthys, they reveal transitional features in themselves – these are not yet fish, but they could have come from these species.

Although it is not known for certain whether it was from them or from other chordates, the first representatives of the class of ray-finned fish appeared about 420 million years BC. Although they have undergone great changes since then, and the fish of those times bear little resemblance to modern ones, their evolution can be traced more clearly since that era.

Video: Two-colored Labeo

At first, the ray-finned animals were small, the species diversity also remained at a low level, and in general, development was slow. The jump happened after the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction. Although a significant part of the species of ray-finned fish also died out, they suffered less than marine reptiles, cartilaginous and lobe-finned fish, so they turned out to be the masters of the seas.

According to fossil studies of those times, ray-finned fish begin to dominate the seas at that time, and continue to do this is for now. Both the species diversity and the size of these fish are increasing. Among others, the first representatives of cyprinids appear, which include the two-colored Labeo.

This species was described in 1931 by H.M. Smith as Labeo bicolor. Later it was decided to transfer it from the Labeo family, so it turned into Epalzeorhynchos bicolor. But by that time, the old name had already been fixed, and in everyday life these fish continue to be called labeo.

Appearance and features

Photo: Fish two-color labeo

Photo: Two-colored labeo fish

The body is elongated, but wider than other labeos. The back is arched, and the fins are large relative to the body, the tail has two blades. The mouth is located below, and its structure is excellent for cutting fouling. In an aquarium, the labeo grows up to 15 centimeters, in nature it can reach 20-22 cm.

The fish resembles a greatly reduced shark, which is why another name has been assigned to it in English – the red-tailed shark. The fact is that her body is black, and the fin is a rich red hue. Of course, labeo sharks are very distant relatives.

Due to its appearance and high activity, the two-colored labeo immediately stands out and quickly attracts the attention of people. You can also get a labeo-albino – his body is not black, but white, while he has red eyes and all fins.

It is not easy to distinguish between males and females – they do not differ in color and size, as well as in other external features. Unless, if you look closely, you can see that the females have a slightly fuller abdomen. Sometimes the caudal fin of males is darker, and unpaired fins are longer – but it is very difficult to notice the latter.

Young fish are paler in color and, until they reach puberty, can stay in a flock, but then they have to be separated, because otherwise they start to confront. They live on average 5-7 years, sometimes up to 10 years. They all have two pairs of antennae.

Interesting fact: He gets along well with small fast fish, always able to escape from him. It is best if they live at the upper edge of the water – away from the Labeo. For example, these are fire and Sumatran barbs, Malabar zebrafish, Congo.

Where does the two-colored labeo live?

This fish prefers to live in small rivers and streams, but it is necessary that the water in them be clean – it quickly dies in dirty water. Prefers to stay in shallow water, abundantly overgrown with grass. The water should be flowing, with a fairly fast flow.

All these conditions are met by a small number of water bodies in the Chhauprai basin. During the rainy season, when the surrounding fields and forests are flooded, the labeos move there. Under temperature conditions similar to those in their range, they can live in water bodies in other countries, which is what they use for their mass breeding.

Due to the rarity in nature, these fish live in aquariums around the world much more. Moreover, they are not so demanding for aquarium fish – they need a large aquarium and many plants, as well as clean and warm water.

Interesting fact: Becomes noticeably paler at night or under stress – if sick, hungry, depressed.

What does the two-colored labeo eat?

Photo: Two-color labeo fish

Photo: Two-color labeo fish

This fish can eat:

  • algae;
  • worms;
  • cucumbers;
  • zucchini;
  • zucchini;
  • lettuce.

In nature, it mainly feeds on plants, but also hunts – it eats larvae and other small living creatures. In the reservoirs where they live, there are usually no problems with food – these are streams and streams overgrown with grass, so you don’t have to look for what to eat for a long time. There are also usually a lot of animals along the banks.

Pets in aquariums are given food with vegetable fiber. For good health, the fish must eat them. You can also feed finely chopped cucumbers or other similar products – but be sure to scald them with boiling water first.

They also need animal food. Dry food is allowed, and from living creatures labeo can be fed with bloodworms, tubifex, and also coretra. But you should not overfeed them with such food – it must necessarily be less than vegetable. They pounce on her with much more enthusiasm than on vegetable mixtures, but the latter are necessary for them.

In order for the labeo to feed, it is advisable to place glass with algae inside the aquarium – it will gradually eat these algae, and they are also an important part of the diet. It can also eat various fouling on the leaves of plants, the walls or the bottom of the aquarium.

Now you know everything about the maintenance of two-color labeos at home. Let's see how the fish lives in the wild.

Character and lifestyle features

Photo: Two-colored labeo from the Red Book

Photo: Two-colored labeo from the Red Book

Two-color labeo – the fish is very agile and nimble. Both in a natural reservoir and in an aquarium, he prefers to live closer to the bottom. It can lie down on the bottom and crawl along it a little. Also, sometimes you can watch how the labeo becomes upright or turns upside down – this does not mean that he needs help, he can swim like that.

The main time of activity comes with twilight. In them, the two-colored labeo shows especially great mobility, can swim all over the aquarium and chase smaller fish. All Labeos are prone to this behavior to a greater or lesser extent, so you should carefully select their neighbors.

These fish are smart: if the owner is unhappy because of their aggression, they hide from him behind some bush and calm down for a while. They wait until he moves away from the aquarium and stops watching them, and only after that they again take up their own.

They are kept together with other fish, but a spacious aquarium is still required, and the neighbors of the labeo should not be like their relatives. It is best if they have a completely different color – they are much more tolerant of such fish, but all individuals with a bright tail cause them a burning dislike.

It is preferable to keep them with neighbors who can endure their attacks without much difficulty, and it is necessary to make special shelters in which to wait out the danger. Labeo-albinos cannot be kept with ordinary ones – they are more gentle and they need a calm environment.

Social structure and reproduction

Photo: Two-tone labeau

Photo: Two-tone labeo

In nature, young two-colored labeos keep in flocks. They blur as they grow up, each occupies its own territory, and does not let either relatives or fish of other species of comparable size into it: conflicts periodically arise because of this. These fish unite only during the breeding season. They behave in the same way in the aquarium, and with age they protect their territory more and more aggressively. Therefore, it is not recommended to keep several labeos together, and if you do this, give them a large aquarium and clearly delimit the zones with obstacles – if the fish are not in the line of sight of each other, they are less aggressive.

In addition, if you keep several labeos in one aquarium, there should be not two, but more. Then a hierarchical relationship will develop between them: the larger fish will dominate, but for those that are smaller, the stress will not be too strong. If there are only two of them, then the dominant labeo will not give any life to the second fish. Territoriality and aggression are manifested in them regardless of gender: they cannot swim into someone else's territory, otherwise fights immediately begin. An exception is made only for the largest labeo in the aquarium – he can swim anywhere he wants, and no one can resist this.

Breeding two-colored labeos at home is difficult: in order for them to multiply, special hormones must be used, and it is extremely important to choose the exact dosage. If you make a mistake even a little, then the fish will simply die. Therefore, they are usually not bred at home – only the most experienced aquarists decide on this. Spawning for this you need at least a meter, the water level in it is 30 centimeters or more, it is imperative that the water moves. Shelters and plants are also required. The fish are injected with hormones, after which they are kept separate from each other for several hours before being released into the spawning ground.

Spawning passes quickly and ends in a few hours, after which the parents are returned to the aquarium. After another couple of hours, white eggs should be separated – they remained unfertilized, the rest are placed in an incubator. After only 14-16 hours, fry will appear. At first, they do not move: they simply remain in the water, hovering in it, or even sink to the bottom. After a day, they rise to the surface, and after three days they should be fed.

They are given:

  • suspension of algae;
  • ciliates;
  • rotifers;
  • egg yolk;
  • plankton.

Algae can be collected from the walls of the aquarium. Rotifers and ciliates must be sieved through a fine sieve. The yolk is added to the diet when the fry begin to swim horizontally, and plankton, for example, daphnia, when they are over a week old.

Natural enemies of two-colored labeos

Photo: Two-color labeo in Thailand

Photo: Two-color labeo in Thailand

In nature, their enemies are the same as those of most other small fish – that is, larger predatory fish, fish-loving birds and other predators. Although the habitat to a certain extent saves the two-colored labeos, they often live in streams so shallow that predatory fish do not swim in them. Often they do become the main predators in such reservoirs. But in rivulets, they can still be threatened by other fish living nearby, or rising from larger rivers. Birds of prey can threaten the labeo everywhere – this is the main enemy they face all the time.

Although people can argue with this – it was because of the active capture by them that the two-colored Labeo were on the verge of extinction. Although now it is forbidden to catch them, and they are not so expensive that this ban is massively violated. Also, these fish need to beware of other predators, sometimes inclined to fish in their streams: large rodents and cats.

Interesting fact: Labeo females are born much more than males. This is another difficulty when breeding them at home: you need to breed at least several dozen fish to be sure that there is at least one male among them. At the same time, while the fish are young, their sex cannot be determined.

Population and species status

Photo: Two-colored labeo fish

Photo: Two-colored labeo fish

After the discovery of two-colored labeos in the Chhaupraya River basin in the 1930s, they began to spread as aquarium fish, and in the 1950s they began to be actively imported to Europe. At the same time, the population in nature was sharply declining due to several factors – active fishing, pollution of rivers in the habitat, construction of dams.

As a result, in the 1960s, the two-colored Labeo was listed as extinct in the living the nature of the species. At the same time, a large population of them lived in aquariums around the world, and it only grew thanks to mass breeding on special farms.

A couple of decades ago, it turned out that they hurried with the listing of this species as extinct – in a remote corner of Thailand, reservoirs were discovered in which the two-colored labeo was preserved. But the population of the species is small, and therefore it is placed in the Red Book as being on the verge of extinction.

The population in wildlife must be protected, because although many representatives of this species live in captivity, they cannot simply be released into nature, and this applies not only to fish grown in an aquarium, but even to caviar or fry. It is extremely difficult to reintroduce the two-colored Labeo, so far it has not been possible.

Interesting fact: One of the most common diseases in the two-colored Labeo is the mucous membrane of the skin. When it comes on the fish, you can notice a light coating, it becomes lethargic and moves raggedly, it may even begin to rub against stones. The disease provokes poor quality water and excessive crowding. To cure, you need to use special drugs – simply moving to a more favorable environment is not enough.Two-tone labeo protection

Photo: Two-color label from the Red Book

Photo: Two-color label from the Red Book books

After this species was “rediscovered”, that is, it turned out that it was preserved in wildlife, it was taken under protection. Both the International Association for the Protection of Nature and the Thai authorities are engaged in its conservation, and so far we can assume that success has been achieved – the range of the species has remained stable in recent years.

Of course, fishing is strictly prohibited, and water bodies in which the two-colored labeo lives, it cannot be polluted with harmful emissions – after all, this fish is very sensitive to the purity of the water. Economic use is also strictly limited. Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by law.

This really had an effect, especially since there is no need to catch the two-colored labeo – their population in captivity is already quite large, and they are successfully propagated. But the problem is that the destruction of the ecosystem of their range as a whole due to the construction of dams in the Chhauprai basin is more harmful to the Labeo.

Scientists believe that it was precisely because of this that the range was reduced in the first place habitat for these fish. Fortunately, in those areas where they have survived, so far no problems have been noted. In the future, it is possible to implement projects to populate the basins of other rivers lying in suitable climatic zones – but they are not a priority due to the low economic value of the species.

The two-colored labeo is a beautiful and large aquarium fish, but before its establishment it pays to be well prepared. She needs a lot of space – you should make sure that you have enough of it, and the right selection of neighbors, because the character of this fish is not sugar. It is advisable to keep it alone, but with the right approach, you can also put it in a common aquarium.

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