Aquarium fish: Croaking gourami (Trichopsis vittata)
Size: 6 – 7 cm
Water temperature: 22-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 54 l
Croaking gourami (Trichopsis vittata ) – curiously disposed, small, freshwater aquarium fish from the gourami family. Under certain circumstances, they make screeching noises.
Asia. The species is distributed throughout Indochina, including the lower Mekong basin in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, through southern Thailand, the lower Saluin basin of Myanmar, Western Malaysia and Singapore. Wild populations are also found in the Philippines, India, and the United States.
It lives in all kinds of stagnant and slowly flowing waters, mainly lowland, peat bogs, river tributaries, irrigation canals, rice fields and roadside ditches. It prefers places with rich vegetation.
Characteristics and disposition
Adult specimens grow up to 6-7 cm in length. Body pale brown with three or four dark stripes along the lateral line. These stripes can be brown, blue, and sometimes dark red.
The main one usually runs from the face through the eye to the tail and ends with a larger blotch. In some populations in the farthest eastern regions, a brown dot appears above the pectoral fins just behind the gill cover. The eyes are red or golden, with a bright blue iris. The fins are coated in metallic blue and red, creating an interesting pattern. It can be difficult to distinguish between the sexes .
Sexually mature males are more intensely colored and have longer pelvic, dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Adult fish can also be illuminated with strong light from the back – in females, yellow reproductive organs will be visible under the swim bladder. Compared to other leprechauns , zebrafish are slightly larger, have more elongated anal fin rays that extend almost to the end of the caudal fin (in others only halfway), there are 3 stripes on the side of the body and a dark spot above the pectoral fins (only in certain populations). The wild forms differ in color pattern, and it is possible that there is hidden diversity within the genus. Like other gouramis , they have an additional respiratory organ called a labyrinth that allows them to breathe atmospheric air.
Thanks to it, they can survive in stagnant waters, poor in oxygen. Mild and quite shy fish, only males can be a bit aggressive towards each other and fight harmless duels with each other. In the aquarium, it is recommended to keep in pairs or in small groups with a predominance of females (2-3 per one male). During the period of reproduction, when excited, they emit screeching sounds – hence the Polish name of the species – Skrzeczyk. The distinctive noises are not only important during courtship, but also serve to hierarchy the males.
The sounds are produced by the pectoral fins hitting the body violently and can vary from one individual to the next.
Nutrition and feeding
In natural habitats, they feed on small insects, insect larvae and small invertebrates. In the aquarium, over time, they will get used to dry food, but they should also receive a large amount of live and frozen food, eg Daphnia, Artemia, Ochota. A varied diet will keep them in good condition and have a nice coloration.
They require min.
54 l aquarium. They will feel best and present themselves among the vegetation covering the water surface. Stem plants, floating and tropical lilies are indicated. Cryptocorynes or Mikrozoria and mosses growing on the roots will also be suitable. Dry leaves of Beech, Oak or Ketapang are recommended, which will provide additional shelter, can be a source of food for the fry, and release the desired humic compounds into the water.
In their natural environment, they inhabit still waters, therefore the water movement should not be too strong. They need access to warm, moist air from above the water surface, and they also jump high, so a lid is advisable . They are not recommended for a social aquarium . They cannot be combined with much larger, aggressive or vigorous fish. It is best to keep them in a species aquarium, but the company of small flock fish should not be a problem.
Brindle mites build foamy nests at the water surface. For breeding you will need a separate spawning tank, set up as described above. For the proper development of the maze, fry require warm and humid air, which it draws from above the water surface. It is necessary to cover the aquarium tightly (some growers use cling film for this purpose). Soft water and a slightly increased temperature stimulate spawning fish.
Before spawning, the selected pair must be separated. The male builds a foamy nest under a wide leaf or among small-leaved vegetation and will not tolerate the female until it is completed. Spawning usually takes place under a built nest in a grip typical of gourami – the male wraps around the female. At the climax, milk and eggs (4-6 pcs.) Are released, which the male collects into the mouth and moves to the nest. This process is repeated until the female has gotten rid of all her eggs.
During the entire spawning period, there may be from 150 to 200 of them. After spawning, the male protects the territory and looks after the eggs and fry. Hatching takes 24-48 hours. The larvae remain in the nest for another 3-4 days, until the yolk sacs are used up. If one falls out of the nest, the male collects and carries it back to its place.
When the fry begin to swim freely, the handler loses interest. At this point, it’s best to separate the parents or move the nest to a separate tank. The fry require the finest powdered or liquid food for the first few days, after which they can be fed with micro nematodes or brine shrimp larvae. Frequent but small water changes are recommended. They reach sexual maturity after about 3 months.