The Sparkling Gourami is a petite gem of freshwater aquariums. With its gorgeous golden body speckled with flecks of iridescent red and fins adorned with blue and green spots, the tiny Trichopsis pumilus is simply stunning.
In spite of its beauty, the Sparkling Gourami remains humble and peaceful towards its tankmates. Native to the shallow rice patties of Thailand and Cambodia, the Sparkling Gourami can survive in the low water level conditions with diminished oxygen levels.
Because it is adapted to close quarters, the Sparkling Gourami only reaches a total length of about 4cm. However, for the best care, this member of the Belontiidae family should be housed in an aquarium at least 30 litres in size. The Sparkling Gourami will thrive in an aquarium with a variety of live plants and rocks or driftwood amongst which it can hide. An aquarium with dark substrate or slightly tinted water brings out the best coloration of the Sparkling Gourami.
The Sparkling Gourami can be kept with a variety of tankmates of similar size and temperament. While males can be territorial with each other, the Sparkling Gourami becomes timid around other, more aggressive fish. The only way to differentiate the male from the female Sparkling Gourami is by illuminating the fish with bright light and looking for the ovaries of the female.
When ready to breed, the male Sparkling Gourami builds a bubblenest and then begins to entice the female by swimming back and forth, flaring his fins and raising his tail. When this behavior is noticed, the water level should be reduced to 15cms.
After spawning, the female should be removed to a separate aquarium as the male may become aggressive toward her. The male Sparkling Gourami will tend the eggs until they hatch. After the eggs have hatched perform frequent water changes, especially during the third week, as this is when the labyrinth organ is developing. The fry should be fed infusoria and nauplii.
The Sparkling Gourami is an omnivore and requires both algae-based foods as well as meaty foods.