Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila)

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The Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila), also known as Pygmy Gourami, is a small freshwater fish native to the ponds, slow rivers, and rice fields of Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Osphronemidae family and the Anabantiformes order. These Gouramis are very small and usually live up to 5 years. However, in good aquarium conditions they may sometimes live longer.

They belong to the anabantiformes order – also known as labyrinth fish. Fish in this group have a special labyrinth breathing organ that allows them to take in oxygen straight from the air, instead of the way most fish get oxygen which is dissolved in the surrounding water.

Sparkling Gouramis are not schooling fish but they still prefer to be in groups of five or six. They are quite peaceful but sometimes can be aggressive towards other males. They are very competitive when it comes to having their own territory.

The available specimen are around 1.5 to 2cm in size.

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Description

The Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila), also known as Pygmy Gourami, is a small freshwater fish native to the ponds, slow rivers, and rice fields of Southeast Asia. It is a member of the Osphronemidae family and the Anabantiformes order. These Gouramis are very small and usually live up to 5 years. However, in good aquarium conditions they may sometimes live longer.

They belong to the anabantiformes order – also known as labyrinth fish. Fish in this group have a special labyrinth breathing organ that allows them to take in oxygen straight from the air, instead of the way most fish get oxygen which is dissolved in the surrounding water.

Sparkling Gouramis are not schooling fish but they still prefer to be in groups of five or six. They are quite peaceful but sometimes can be aggressive towards other males. They are very competitive when it comes to having their own territory.

An interesting behavior you will see is them breathing. You will see them swim up to the water surface and breathe using their labyrinth organ. Such behavior is seen only in adults, because young fish use their lungs while the labyrinth organ develops. Surprisingly, these fish do not have a preferred layer of tank and can be found swimming all over. Their unique breathing behavior forces them to often swim near the upper level. Sparkling Gouramis also enjoy spending time looking for hiding spots or swimming through plants.

This fish is also unique because it makes sounds! They make an almost croaking/chirping sound which can be heard from outside the tank, when they are happy or are mating.

Their body is elongated, compressed on the sides and towards the end. These are very small fish, whose fins are about 30% of their body length. They have a standing dorsal fin and a wide merged anal fin. Their pelvic fin is small and has a long threadlike outgrowth. Their eyes are quite big and blue colored with a unique rim.

Sparkling Gourami are typically a brown color. However, small colorful spots that are found all over their scales create green, bluish, grey or sometimes white coloring across the body. The bottom part of their head and abdomen is significantly lighter than the rest of the body.

All their fins usually have a brown or dark orange edging. Each fish will have a unique color pattern, ranging from well-organized black lines to sporadic small light blue dots all over its body. So even though they’re the same species, they will look unique! Their fins have black dots on a light blue background. All these colors combined with the structure of their scales beautifully reflect light, making it seem like the fish is sparkling.

Sparkling Gouramis look best against a dark substrate; this contrast will enhance the visual sparkles of these beautiful fish. You can use any substrate you like, just make sure it’s appropriate for freshwater aquariums and small fish. You should aim to keep the temperature around 25°C (acceptable range 22–27°C). Water hardness should be kept in the range of 5–18 and pH should be 6–8.

As for the lighting, bear in mind their love for plants. The lamp in your tank will be needed by the fish and all greenery. Keeping it switched on for around 9-10 hours will be enough. Sparkling Gouramis prefer a slow water flow and can live in a poorly oxygenated environment. They do not like rapid water flow, so make sure to use a low-powered filter. Highly oxygenated waters are not particularly important for these species. This means that you don’t need a very powerful aeration system.

Remember that they really enjoy hiding and plants. Having a lot of plants, with some floating ones, and various decorations is ideal. This will give them lots of space to explore and is guaranteed to make them happy.

In the wild, they usually feed on small insects that either fall into the water or live in it. However, in the tank, they will gladly feed on dry and live foods. Sparkling Gouramis can also be fed flakes foods.

Their diet should include meaty live and frozen foods, such as daphnia, artemia, bloodworms, or shrimp meat. Maintaining a diverse diet is especially important for these species, as they rarely graze on aquarium plants and most “leafy” nutrients come from combined foods. Live foods help Sparkling Gouramis reach their best in terms of size and appearance. So, having a varied and consistent feeding pattern is beneficial both for you as an aquarist and the health of your fish. As well as live and frozen food, you can also feed them freeze-dried foods.

Sparkling Gouramis are hardy fish that do not require lots of care. The water parameters should be kept in the range we mentioned above and the levels should be monitored closely. Weekly water changes of 25% are also needed. This species is easily scared by loud noises or fast water flow. So placing your aquarium in a quiet place is a good choice.

The available specimen are around 1.5 to 2cm in size.

Additional information

Genus

Trichopsis

Species

T. pumila

Scientific Name

Trichopsis pumila

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