Laubuca dadiburjori, known as the dadio, orange chela or orange hatchetfish is an interesting little danionin. More commonly found under the old scientific name – Chela dadiburjori it is an under-rated fish that is ideal for a medium-sized community tank of peaceful fishes. L. dadiburjori was first described in 1952 by the grandly named Ambat Gopalan Kutty Menon it was named in honour of one of his assistants – Sam Dadyburjor.
Distribution and Availability
The Type Locality is Cochin in Kerala, India and the species range is restricted to a small area around there and Trivandrum in the South-Western part of peninsular India. It is found in small streams and pools. Dadios are not often offered for sale so if you see some snap them up. Your local shop may be able to order some for you. They are occasionally seen at auctions and club meetings as they are popular with hobbyists and relatively simple to breed.
A small danionin with a typical streamlined shape. There is a slight keel on the rear of the abdomen. Yellow-tinged brown upper parts and white belly are separated with a metallic blue mid-lateral stripe. Some individuals have blue spots distributed along the stripe. There are no barbels. The fins are colourless apart from the caudal fin which has a yellow tinge to the base. The pectoral fins are held tilted slightly upwards.
Males – Both Baensch and the USA standards state up to 4cm but this seems rather large to me.
Females – slightly larger than the males and rather plumper.
An easy fish to care for and can be kept in a medium-sized community tank with other peaceful fishes. It should be kept in a group and this active little fish needs room to dash around the surface regions of the tank.
- Tank size: 90cm minimum. Smaller for breeding. Keep the tank well covered.
- Decoration: fine-leaved and floating plants will reduce the likelihood of the fish jumping
- Temperature: 22 – 24oC
- pH: 6 – 7.5
- Hardness: not that fussy but avoid hard water, 5 – 12odH
A good quality flake or granular food sprinkled on the surface. Live foods such as newly hatched brine shrimp and grindal worms fed two or three times a week will keep your dadios in excellent condition.
These fish are quite easy to breed and if in good condition will spawn every few days. Males choose a clump of plants near the surface, preferably with a horizontal leaf and display to passing females. When a male succeeds in attracting a mate both fish will embrace above the plant and the female expels a few eggs with the male fertilising them.
The eggs are sticky and will gather in a clump on the leaf surface. Something around 40-50 eggs can be laid at one time. The eggs should be removed as soon as possible as they will be eaten very quickly. It’s best to remove them along with the plant they are attached to. Any attempt to separate them from the plant will be difficult as the eggs are small and delicate.
Hatching can be achieved simply by placing the eggs in a small tub with water from the main tank. Provide light aeration and some form of fungal control such as methylene blue. If the eggs are fertile they will hatch after two or three days. The fry are small and difficult to see but will be free-swimming 4 or 5 days after hatching. Use infusoria and paramecium as first foods. After a week or so the fry will be large enough to eat vinegar eels and newly hatched brine shrimp. Carry out partial water changes to keep on top of the water quality. Growth is slow.
USA Show standards
- Size: 4cm
- Breeding category: C
- Show class: DA
Laubuca dadiburjori is a delightful little fish that is easy to keep and relatively straightforward to breed. You will need to seek them out but the effort will be worthwhile.
- Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1993): Aquarium Atlas Volume 2 – Amazon
- Fishbase species summary
- Silas, E. G. 1958: Studies on cyprinid fishes of the oriental genus Chela Hamilton. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society v. 55 (pt 1): 54-99, Pls. 1-2