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Pygmy Perch

Pygmy Perch

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A small freshwater fish endemic to the south-west of Western Australia. The mottled body colouration of olive, brown and green usually includes two orange stripes down the sides. Males become brightly coloured  during the breeding season with golden mottling on sides, a reddish-orange belly and dark fins. Females become slightly bluish at this time.

This common and widespread species occurs in a range freshwater habitats usually amongst aquatic vegetation, and will also tolerate slightly brackish waters.

Pygmy Perch are a Western Australian native fish, which can generally tolerate water temperatures of between 0 and 25 degrees. They are perfect for native frog ponds as they are too small to eat tadpoles, but are great at eating mosquito larvae, and small amounts of algae.

Pygmy perch can tolerate a range of water conditions, both flowing and static and are reasonably tolerant of saline conditions. They are typically found in aquatic vegetation on the margins of streams or lakes. They have a varied diet of benthic crustaceans and terrestrial insects, and are especially voracious consumers of mosquito larvae. Studies have found that pygmy perch are in fact much better at controlling mosquito larvae than are gambusia, which were originally introduced for that purpose.

Western pygmy perch are one of the most common and widespread native fishes in south-western Australia, although they have declined in upper catchment areas where water is very saline. Because of their hardy nature, ease of breeding and ability to control mosquito larvae, they are often sold in aquarium shops for stocking in outdoor ponds.

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