Empire Gudgeon’s are native to Australia and have a large distribution around the coastal regions of Queensland and New South Wales through to Victoria. In nature they are usually found in flowing freshwater streams, however, they are quite comfortable in brackish conditions as well.
Male Empire Gudgeon’s in breeding colour are a spectacular sight. Both dorsal fins and the anal fin show brilliant bands of red and black with a contrasting blue-white edge. The females are olive – brown in colour and don’t have the bright colours of a male.
In the aquarium this species is hardy and quite undemanding. Giving the right conditions they can grow to 10cm and live for up to 5 years.
These are small fish and do not require the large amounts of space demanded by other Australian natives. A simple three-foot aquarium with base dimensions of 90cm x 30cm will be sufficient. This allows enough space for the males to establish territories.
Empire Gudgeon’s prefer neutral, soft to medium hard water. A pH between 6.4 and 7.4 with a general hardness between 80 and 120ppm is ideal. They tolerate a wide range of temperatures with anything between 20°C and 35°C being suitable.
Empire Gudgeon’s are omnivorous and are voracious feeders. In the aquarium they will readily accept most foods offered, including; flake, pellets, frozen foods and live foods. Beef-heart and live worms aid in bringing out the best colouration.
Empire Gudgeon’s make a worthwhile addition to both the general community tank and the native community aquarium. Large specimens are capable of eating small fish, such as neon tetras, so should not be mixed with small species. They are a peaceful fish that mix well with similar natured fish of the same or similar sizes. They stay at the bottom of the tank, so species that swim mid-level in the tank and at the top will be well suited to these fish.
Males are usually larger than the females and have much more vibrant colours. Breeding is rarely achieved in aquaria.
This article was sponsored by Nature at Work.