Sparkling (Pygmy) Gourami: Care, Breeding, Mate, Identity

Gourami became known to domestic aquarists at the end of the 19th century. Several representatives gained great popularity at once: spotted, pearl, marble. However, there is a species in the family that is undeservedly deprived of attention the Sparkling Gourami fish (Pygmy Gourami). These babies are distinguished by interesting and lively behavior, expressive eyes and beautiful color of fins. Knowing the basic rules of care, keeping miniature gouramis will not cause much trouble and will only be a pleasure.

Sparkling Gourami (trichopsis pumilus): Description and general information

The tropical freshwater Sparkling Gourami belongs to the macropod family.  This is the smallest representative of the labyrinth. Became known and described in the aquarium hobby as trichopsis pumilus in 1936. Introduced to the territory of the Soviet Union in 1954. The average lifespan of a Sparkling Gourami is 6 years.

The sparkling gourami has an additional respiratory organ in the supra-gill cavity – a labyrinth apparatus.

Sparkling Gourami Appearance

Sparkling Gourami cougars are miniature in size the length of the fish is only 3.5-4 cm. In an aquarium, gourami grows up to 4 cm in length.

sparkling gourami fish pygmy gourami

Sparkling Gourami fish (Pygmy Gourami) Description of appearance:

  • Pointed head, eyes on the sides are large and bright, light blue with a red halo.
  • Large mouth, serrated gills.
  • The body is oblong, laterally compressed.
  • The dorsal fin is high, sail-shaped, not wide.
  • A pair of pelvic fins with a modified threadlike shape. They play the role of tactile organs and are similar to antennae.
  • The anal fin is the widest – it originates from the abdominal formations and extends to the caudal peduncle.
  • The tail is rounded, with an extension at the end.

 The main body tone is olive green with pearlescent iridescent overflow. A dark or light brown intermittent wide stripe runs from the snout along the central part of the body. Above, parallel to it, there is a group of chaotic large gray-brown spots and bright small blotches of green and blue. The belly is white, with a pale pink pearlescent tint.

The background of the fins is transparent, with a complex pattern – frequent dotted blotches of azure blue, black. A wide red and scarlet edging runs along the edges.

Sparkling Gourami Habitat

Sparkling Gourami is a representative of Southeast Asia. He inhabits the water area from Indonesia, Thailand, Laos to Vietnam. Habitat:

  • rivers;
  • streams;
  • ditches;
  • pits.

Typical gourami habitat are ditches, ditches, and rivers with little current. Prefers a weak current and abundant vegetation.

The water in the aquatic systems of the range has a low oxygen content and poor visibility. It is these difficult living conditions that justify the presence of two additional organs in the sparkling gourami fish at once – the respiratory and tactile.

The labyrinth apparatus is located in the supra-gill cavity and saturates the body with atmospheric air. Long, modified rays of the pectoral fins help gourami navigate through the murky water.

Sparkling Gourami Character

Although the shape of the body of the Sparkling Gourami resembles a fighting fish, its character is peaceful and calm. In the aquarium, he is careful and, in the absence of danger, behaves actively.  Gourami are not schooling fish, but it is recommended to keep them in a group of 8 specimens  1 male for 3 females. The numerical superiority of females will reduce territorial aggression among the dominant representatives of the species – males. Gourami can feel good both in a group and alone.

Sparkling Gourami Care and maintenance

For a fish like the dwarf gourami, keeping in an aquarium requires a properly prepared habitat.  Before settling the Sparkling Gourami, the water should be well matured with a stable biocenosis. For this, the tank with soil and aquaculture is kept for about two weeks before the fish are launched.

Sparkling Gourami “talkative” fish. During the spawning period, they make rumbling sounds similar to screaming.


For a school of 8 fish, you will need an aquarium with a capacity of 40 liters or more, based on the fact that a couple of individuals should have at least 5 liters of volume. The shape of the structure is recommended to be rectangular so that the length prevails over the height. The aquarium is closed with a lid so that the air above the water surface is not cold.The gourami aquarium can be quite small, but not less than 40 liters. Since the fish are endemic to the tropics, they love a soft, slightly acidic warm habitat.

Optimal physical and chemical parameters of water for dwarf gourami:

  • temperature – 25-28 ° С;
  • hardness – 2-12 dH;
  • acidity – 5.0-7.0 pH.

Sparkling Gourami is hardy and easily tolerates temporary adverse conditions. To eliminate the organic load, water is changed weekly (30%).

Despite the fact that the dwarf gourami can also breathe atmospheric air, the labyrinth organ in the Sparkling Gourami is poorly developed. Therefore, a filter and aerator are required as equipment for the aquarium. They are installed so that a strong current does not form in the water.

In the cold season, a tropical fish needs an additional source of heat. For these purposes, a water heating element with a thermostat is installed.

Lighting for Sparkling Gourami Aquarium

The lighting in the aquarium should be moderate, as the intense light scares the humble fish. A bright stream of lamp equipment is scattered by abundant vegetation and shaded by driftwood, ceramic decorations. Aquarium lighting should provide enough light, but too much light is also harmful.

Plants and soil Compatible with Sparkling Gourami

Any soil is chosen that will promote good rooting and growth of aquacultures. Dark tones are preferred to minimize light reflectance. Often it is not recommended to siphon the bottom, since the dwarf gourami loves silted substrate. 

For the comfort of little Sparkling Gourami, live cultures are planted in the tank:

  • hygrophilous;
  • peristolistnik;
  • vallisneria;
  • echinodorus.

Aquariums are arranged around the perimeter with plants, leaving enough space for the fish to be active.

Swimming species such as riccia or duckweed should be limited to water circuits so that Sparkling Gourami always have an open area to swallow atmospheric air.

Sparkling Gourami Feeding

The Sparkling Gourami is unpretentious in nutrition, absorbs both live food and plant food. However, instead of dry granules, it is preferable to use live and frozen food:

  • daphnia;
  • bloodworm;
  • artemia;
  • corretra;
  • pipe maker.

The food is given 1-2 times a day in crushed form so that the Sparkling Gourami can swallow it.

sparkling gourami tank mates

The dwarf gourami is a friendly and modest fish,  which is explained by the diminutive phenotype.

When planning to put a Sparkling Gourami in a multi-species aquarium, it is important to choose suitable neighbors:

  • Aquarium fish zebrafish, cherry barbs, neons, lalius, rasbora and other small individuals with a peaceful disposition are suitable for joint maintenance .
  • Cannot be kept with cockerels, thorns, scalars and other aggressive and predatory representatives.

An unsuitable neighborhood deprives the fish of the opportunity to eat normally since the dwarf species is not able to compete with peaceful, but large individuals of other families. In this case, stressful situations are also not excluded, the oppressed mini-gourami will feel unfavorable in such an environment, they may lose their color brightness and get sick.

Compatibility of dwarf gourami with other fish

Keeping gourami with other families will not cause trouble for the aquarist, since most of the time the Sparkling Gourami peacefully swim between the algae and plants.

sparkling gourami Breeding and Reproduction

 Breeding Sparkling Gourami is a simple process. Spawning is stimulated by increased feeding with live food and an increase in temperature to 28 ° C, after which mating courtship and games begin in the gourami.

A separate container is prepared for the pair – a spawning grounds, where spawning will take place. The volume of the tank should be about 22 liters (35 * 25 * 25 cm). You can use a spawning grounds for fish breeding.

Optimal physical and chemical parameters of water in the spawning grounds for dwarf gourami:

  • temperature – 28-30 ° С;
  • hardness – 10 dH;
  • acidity – 6.5-7.0 pH.

Settled, soft water is poured into the breeding tank at a level of 15-20 cm. Large-leaved vegetation is planted or installed in pots. It is not necessary to put soil on the bottom in the spawning box.

As producers, they take an established pair and transplant it into an aquarium for spawning, where the male begins to build a nest from foam under a wide leaf plate of plants. The female lays eggs in a shell, which includes a group of 4-6 white-yellow eggs. The male frees them from the egg bag and places them in the nests.  At the end of spawning, the female is returned to the common aquarium, and the male remains to wait for the offspring to appear. 

After 36 hours, the larvae of little gourami appear from the eggs at the end of the incubation period, and at this time a caring parent – father will look after them.

The male transfers the hatched offspring to the surface of the water in the morning – closer to warmth and light, and in the evening returns to the nest. The male sparkling gourami takes such care of the larvae for 2-3 days. Then his parental instinct disappears, and the producer is removed from the spawning grounds. After hatching, the male gourami brings them closer to light and warmth.

By this time (on the 4th day), the fry gain the ability to move independently, and therefore, to eat.

Starter feedFood for grown fry
Egg yolkCyclops

The fry of dwarf gourami are dark in color, up to 1.5 mm in size.

The male sticks air bubbles for the nest together with a viscous secretion, which is produced by epithelial cells in his oral cavity.

sparkling gourami male and female

Anatomical differences in dwarf gourami are poorly expressed. Sexually mature from 5 months.

The sizeLargeSmall
Dorsal fin in width and shapeLong, diamond-shapedShort, beveled
Anal fin in width and shapeLong, sharpShort, rounded

The female dwarf gourami is not fertile and spits up to 150 eggs.

Sparkling gourami Diseases

Most often, fish get sick when they are kept in unsuitable conditions. They are very sensitive to sudden temperature changes and “unripe” water.  Before starting Sparkling Gourami in the aquarium, a biological balance must be established,  when the ecosystem is able to carry out such a chain of transformations: ammonia – nitrite – nitrate. This happens as the beneficial bacteria build up over a period of 2-3 weeks. Until the nitrogen cycle has passed in the aquarium, the environment for the life of fish will be unsuitable. The nitrogen cycle is essential for proper biological filtration in an aquarium

Poor quality feed or infected animals, introduced into the aquarium without quarantine, can cause invasive, viral, bacterial infectious diseases. Therefore,  to feed the fish, only safe feed should be used, for example, well frozen. 

New animals should be moved into a common aquarium only after a two-week quarantine, during which time sick individuals are identified.

Most often, Sparkling Gourami are susceptible to:

  • Lymphocytosis is a viral disease. It takes place against the background of the formation of cream or gray nodules, more often in the gills, sometimes accompanied by exophthalmia. The affected area may burst, forming open wounds.
  • Pseudomoniasis – an infectious disease caused by bacteria. It is manifested by bulging eyes, patches of ruffled scales with a dark color, an enlarged abdomen, hemorrhages of the branchial and thoracic regions. Internal organs are affected.
  • Aeromonosis – an infectious disease caused by bacteria. Typical symptoms: dark small spots, which over time form rounded ulcers, and then hemorrhages, different in shape and size.

For the period of treatment, sick individuals are isolated from the general aquarium. If it is difficult to establish the cause of the pathology, dwarf gourami are treated with universal drugs of complex action.

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