Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling Gourami information:

Scientific name:                 Trichopsis pumila
Common name:                Sparkling gourami, Pygmy Gourami
Max. size:                           4.0 cm / 1.6 inches
pH range:                          6.0 – 7.0
dH range:                           5 - 19
Temperature range:         25 – 28°C / 77 – 82.5°F

The Sparkling Gourami is a popular aquarium fish that stays very small compared to most other gourami species. The more famous Kissing Gourami can for instance grow up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) in length. The Sparkling Gourami is known under a wide range of names, including Pygmy Gourami, Dwarf Croaking Gourami, Green Croaking Gourami and Purring Gourami. The word pumila in its scientific name means small or dwarfish.

Sparkling Gourami habitat:

The Sparkling Gourami is a benthopelagic freshwater species native to Southeast Asia. It originates from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. The typical Sparkling Gourami habitat is tropical ditches, small ponds, rice paddies and slow-flowing rivers and streams. This species is often found in standing or lazy water where the aquatic vegetation is thick and the oxygen levels low. The Sparkling Gourami can endure really low oxygen levels since it is equipped with a labyrinth organ and can breathe oxygen directly from the air above the water’s surface. The Sparkling Gourami habitat usually consists of water that is covered by floating plants, and the Sparkling Gourami will therefore appreciate this type of cover in the aquarium.

Sparkling Gourami description:

The longest scientifically measured Sparkling Gourami was 4.0 centimetres (1.6 inches) long, but aquarists sometimes report having Sparkling Gouramis that measure up to 5 centimetres (2 inches) in length.

The body of the Sparkling Gourami is arrowhead shaped and not as deep as the body of other gourami species. There is a lateral dark band or dark spots running through the mid line of the body, and the fish is also decorated with sparkling spots of blue and green. Just like the other gourami species, the Sparkling Gourami has a long and thread-like pelvic fin. Sexing Sparkling Gouramis is not easy, especially outside the breeding period. 

The Sparkling Gourami is also known as the Purring Gourami, the Dwarf Croaking Gourami and Green Croaking Gourami, since it can produce a distinct croaking sound. 

Sparkling Gourami setup:

The Sparkling Gourami is not a schooling fish, but you can usually keep several Sparkling Gouramis together in the same aquarium without any problems. Males are however territorial, especially during the breeding period. Ideally keep more females than males. Including plenty of hiding spots in the aquarium is also important. Combining Sparkling Gourami with more assertive and aggressive tank mates can lead to starvation, since the Sparkling Gourami will not compete well for food. Nippy fish species and notorious bullies must also be avoided.

Since the Sparkling Gourami inhabits standing or lazy water in the wild, strong currents should be avoided in the aquarium. Try to mimic the natural Sparkling Gourami habitat when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of aquatic plants and arrange good hiding places. Floating plants are also recommended, since they will subdue the lighting and make the Sparkling Gouramis less shy. Always leave space between the water’s edge and the aquarium lid, since the Sparkling Gouramis needs to breathe oxygen directly from the air.  

Just as the name suggests, the Sparkling Gourami is a glittering fish. The body is decorated with red, green and blue shades. In a certain light, the body will look bright blue and reflect a rainbow of different colours as the light shifts. Suitable aquarium lighting is necessary if you want this fish to look its best in the aquarium.

Sparkling Gourami care:

The Sparkling Gourami is used to standing waters, such as small tropical ponds, where the oxygen levels are low. They will therefore handle such conditions well in the aquarium too. Keep the pH between 6 and 7 and the dH between 5 and 19. The recommended temperature range is 25 – 28° C (77 – 82.5° F).

Sparkling Gourami feeding:

The wild Sparkling Gourami feed on zooplankton and aquatic insects. They are usually happy eaters in captivity and will eat live and frozen food as well as flake food. Keep them on a varied diet to prevent malnutrition.  They are known to appreciate tropical flake food, algae flakes, Tubifex, live brine shrimp and live snails.

Sparkling Gourami breeding:

Sparkling Gouramis can be bred in captivity and thriving Sparkling Gouramis can spawn monthly. It is recommended to keep a group consisting of six or more Sparkling Gouramis together and let them form their own pairs. Distinguishing males form females is difficult, especially before the breeding period. During breeding, both sexes will display enhanced colours. You can coax your Sparkling Gouramis into breeding by increasing the water temperature and lowering the water level to no more than 15 centimetres (6 inches).

When the breeding period begins, the male Sparkling Gourami will start building his bubblenest from air and saliva. In the wild, the bubblenest will be hidden under leaves at the surface, and including this type of aquarium decoration is therefore highly recommended if you want to breed Sparkling Gouramis.

The male will then start courting the female by dancing near her and wrapping himself around her. During the mating, the male Sparkling Gourami will embrace the female and their bodies will become tightly intertwined. The female releases the eggs, the male fertilizes them, and the eggs are placed inside the bubblenest. The spawning process will often be repeated several times within the same day. During each release, no more than 10-15 eggs is released, but after a day of spawning the bubblenest can be filled with more than a hundred eggs.

It is always recommended to use a separate breeding aquarium for Sparkling Gouramis, since you might have to tamper with the water level and temperature. The male will also be highly aggressive when he protects his bubble nest. Letting him stay in the breeding aquarium and returning the female to the main aquarium after spawning is therefore recommended. The male will be violent towards the female as well as towards other fish species when he is caring for his offspring.

After a few days, the eggs will hatch. The emerging fry is really small and must be feed microscopic infusoria. Remove the male when the fry is free-swimming. As the fry grow larger, you can start giving them newly hatched brine shrimp and then gradually increase the size of the brine shrimp. The water must be kept clean and frequent water change swill be necessary when you are raising Sparkling Gourami fry.

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