fish Easy level

Apricaphanius iberus (Valenciennes 1846)

Sponsored by

Spanish toothcarp, Nono moresco

The Apricaphanius iberus populates the Mediterranean coasts of the Iberian peninsula, in particular the regions of Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia. It is a small, robust and fairly peaceful fish that inhabits mainly brackish areas, such as lagoons and estuaries. Furthermore, it is a predator that feeds on insects, larvae and invertebrates.

Due to the changes of the natural habitat and the introduction of other species, which competes with the Apricaphanius iberus to access the food sources, the latter is at risk of extinction and entered the list of endangered species.

Now, it is restricted to a few small areas of the Spanish Mediterranean coastline, especially to the autonomous communities of Catalonia, Valencia and Murcia.

Submitted by
Alejandro Ríos Martin
38.3836136, -1.0582480
Geographical region
Southern Europe
Drainage Basin
Mediterranean Sea
River catchment
Water body type
Water body name
Water body part
Water body course
Middle course
Water body: tributary of
Tributary name
Type locality
Conservation status/IUCN Red List
Endangered (EN)


Water Chemistry

Water information

Water type
Brackish water
Water color
Clear water
Water transparency
Concentration of sediments
Water temperature
10 - 32 °C
Water flow/curent

Chemical parameters

6.5 – 7.5
Dissolved Oxygen


Standard length
5.5 cm
Water volume (min. aquarium)
60 l
Social behaviour
Group fish
Behaviour description

Apricaphanius iberus‘s particular water requirements and aggressive spawning behaviour make the species a poor choice for the aquarium community. It should be kept in a group with the ideal ratio of two or three females to each male.

Aggression grade
Day active
Sexual dimorphism

Males of Apricaphanius iberus exhibit a series of silvery vertical bars in the rear portion of the body, usually with 3-4 darker bars on the caudal fin. The dorsal, ventral, anal and caudal fins are suffused with a light blue colour, with a dark base and distal band on the dorsal and anal. Females are larger and much plainer, having only a series of variable small spots on the flanks and completely hyaline finnage.

Nutrition in Nature

Basically, micropredators feeding on small aquatic crustaceans, worms, insect larvae and other zooplankton, athough algae and other plant material is also taken at times.


Breeding tank set-up

The available space in the breeding tank can be filled with acrylic wool mops, clumps of java moss or Ceratophyllum and, ideally, filamentous algae. There is no need to add a substrate, although inert sand or gravel can be added if you prefer. Filtration needs not be too strong, either.

Nutrition parents

This species has learnt to accept dried foods in most cases, but should also be offered regular meals of small live or frozen fare such as Artemia, Daphnia or bloodworm.

Mating type
Spawning behaviour

Males form temporary territories, which they defend against rivals, while attempting to entice females to spawn. Dominant individuals will show more intense colouration.

Breeding habits
Hatching period
7-14 days
Number of eggs in average
up to 1000
Parental care
Fry number
Nutrition fry

When the fry is large enough, it will accept Artemia nauplii and microworm.

Notes on reproduction

Eggs are laid daily for a long period of time.