Regarding Sphaerichthys selatanensis or the Crossband Chocolate Gourami?
I was researching how to keep Chocolate Gouramis but then I found out that my LFS had only S.Vaillanti. and S.Selatanensis. I never liked the Vaillant's Chocolate Gourami much. So I decided to keep Crossband Chocolates instead. Anyone here have experience with them? Also are their requirements similar to regular chocolates?
My personal experience with crossbars was not entirely positive. Disclaimer: I'm by no means an expert; I can only tell you what happened with mine and what I found out from research. I'm not an expert fish keeper at all, but my boyfriend has mainly been in charge of my tank and he has a LOT of experience with freshwater fishkeeping. My LFS began to carry crossbar gourami (also called crossband or chocolate cherry gourami as far as I've heard) and as soon as I saw them, I fell in love; I thought they had really striking patterns. I got one and it thrived in my (30 gal) tank for a while. I read that they do better in groups so I added the last two my LFS had, but the first one bullied them pretty bad. I put the first one in a small tank while they adapted as they looked really stressed from the move and I wanted to eliminate any other stress that may be caused by the other gourami. The two died within 48 hours (they never really gained their colors back and honestly didn't seem very healthy from the start), but the first one I got still seemed to be doing very well when I put him back in. He died yesterday. It's possible the pH of my water was too hard; my tap water is about a 7.2-7.4, so the pH tends to stay on the harder side in my tank. They prefer really soft water.
I was doing some research on them shortly after I got the second pair. They're apparently really delicate fish. They come from black water rivers and enjoy a pH as low as 4.0. It's pretty hard to find any substantial information about crossbars on the internet. This: http://freshaquarium.about.com/od/go...te-Gourami.htm comes up in a google search for crossbar gourami, but is actually about chocolates. It was the most comprehensive page I found on either species.
Here's one other link with info. This one is about crossbars:
It also has some notes about the differences between the two. It seems the main difference is that the crossbar has an extra vertical bar the chocolate is missing, but otherwise they're essentially the same fish.
Either way, both crossbar and chocolate gouramis seem to have a reputation for being hard to keep.
Here's a link to someone who strongly advises AGAINST buying them:
I can't speak for the credibility of the website but they seem to have A LOT of fact sheets on different fish.
My conclusion is that they're not worth it. Most people say they're about as hard as discus to keep. While they're a lot less expensive than discus, they have a reputation of "dropping like flies" for some people. If you don't have a lot of experience (like me...) or don't have a lot of time and energy to put into your tank, I'd move on to some other species.
Edit: I'm just realizing this thread is old, haha. I imagine you've probably already made a decision regarding them, but in case you haven't, you have my two cents now :)
Last edited by skyluna; 07-03-2013 at 08:48 AM.
Skyluna has mentioned some of the issues with this fish, Sphaerichthys selatanensis. I have had this species along with the "common" Chocolate, S. osphromenoides, and spawned them. They are maternal mouthbrooders. The two species live together well in the same aquarium provided they have some room to keep out of each other's territories.
Soft water is essential; the pH will naturally tend to be on the acidic side with very soft water. These species develop skin irritations and disease from inappropriate water parameters. Hard water will constantly stress this fish.
Sphaerichthys selatanensis was originally considered a sub-species of S. osphromenoides; Roberts (1989) established it as a distinct species, confirmed by Kottelat et al. (1993). The two species are very closely related. A very social species, it must be kept in numbers that will allow it to develop natural behaviours within the group, some of which are fascinating to observe. It requires a well-planted tank with a good covering of floating plants such as Ceratopteris (Water Sprite) and the stem plant Hygrophila difformis (Wisteria) that can be grown such that it continues to extend across the surface. These will also help to keep the light subdued; this species does not do well in brightly-lit aquaria. And the filter flow must be as little as possible, a small sponge filter or a slow-flow canister is ideal.