Aquarium fish: Chocolate gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides)
Size: 4 cm
Water temperature: 23-30 ° C
Aquarium volume: 60 l
Chocolate gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) – a labyrinthine, freshwater aquarium fish of the gourami family.Also known as Chocolate Malay.
Chocolate gurami comes from Asia . It lives in smaller, mineral-poor waters in the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. It occurs mainly in flooded forest areas and peat bogs.
Characteristics and disposition
The species reaches 4-5 cm in length.
It is characterized by a chocolate-brown color with light stripes across the body. Males in good condition have yellow-edged dorsal and anal fins. The male’s lower jaw is straight and the shape of the head is more pointed. Females have a slightly rounded lower jaw, adapted to hatch eggs in the mouth, and a shorter dorsal fin. Like other gourami fish, they have an additional respiratory organ, the so-called labyrinth through which they can breathe atmospheric air.
Although they are not shoal fish, they need contact with representatives of their species. Kept in a larger group, they show more interesting behavior. Recommended min. 6 pieces. Hierarchies are formed in the herd, the dominant fish chase their rivals away, e.g.
at feeding time or from their favorite places. Interesting behavior can also be observed when one individual, lying on its side, allows the other to touch its mouth with its body and fins. This behavior is quite safe and is not part of the mating ritual. Fish that are difficult to breed, sensitive to water parameters (nitrites, fluctuations in water chemistry) and diseases. They react much earlier to contamination than other organisms, e.g.
they lose their color, are listless, or have a ball of their fin.
Nutrition and feeding
Chocolate gurami can be picky at first and not eat dry foods. We mainly feed with live and frozen foods, eg Daphnia, Artemia, larvae.
They require an aquarium of at least 60 liters, densely planted and with good filtration. They feel good in soft and acidic water.
In their natural environment, they live in very acidic water, up to 3.0 pH. A weekly water change is necessary, but not more than (10-15%). To reproduce the natural environment, we can use a sandy substrate, decorations made of branches and roots as well as dry tree leaves, such as Oak, Beech, Ketapang. Fish prefer a gentle stream of water. They look best in not very bright light.
Chocolate gourami can be kept in an aquarium with small, calm carp, such as Razbora galaxy , Razbora wedge , or Piskorek kuhla . It is not advisable to keep with larger and fast fish. May cross with Bornean Chocolate Gurami.
Chocolate gourami , unlike other labyrinth fish, does not create a foamy nest near the water surface – the eggs (females) incubate in their mouths. You can breed them in groups or in pairs.
By providing the aquarium conditions described above, reproduction should not be a problem. During the spawning period, the striped pattern of the males becomes darker, almost gray, the females acquire an intense brown color, the vertical stripes become almost golden. Usually the male starts courtship and then the act begins. The fish hug upright. Spawning takes several hours.
The eggs are laid on the ground and fertilized by the male. Then the female collects the grains into the mouth where they mature. During this period, the female eats very little and stays in the quiet parts of the aquarium. The eggs in the mouth are incubated for 7 to 20 days, after which about 10-40 fully developed young fish are released. After the parents spawn, we catch or transfer the fry to another water tank with the same parameters.
The young fish are large enough to be fed with Artemia right away. In order to maintain the proper water quality, approx. 10% of the water should be changed every day. For the proper development of the respiratory organ – the labyrinth, the aquarium should be covered with a lid.