Pygmy gourami

Aquarium fish: Pygmy gourami (Trichopsis pumila)
Size: 3.5 – 4 cm
Origin: Asia
Water temperature: 22-28 ° C
Aquarium volume: 40 l

Pygmy gourami (Trichopsis pumila ) – a nicely colored, small freshwater aquarium fish from the gourami family.


Asia. It is found in the lower Mekong River basin in Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, as well as in the watershed of central and southern Thailand. They live in slowly flowing and stagnant waters with abundant vegetation – small ponds, rice fields, marshes, flooded forest areas.

Characteristics and disposition

Adult specimens grow up to 4 cm in length.

Flesh pale brown. A brown streak runs from snout to caudal fin along the lateral line. A little higher, separated by a whitish area, is a row of brown spots. Under certain light conditions, the sides have a greenish iridescent color. The iris of the eye is light blue and the outer parts of the eye are orange.

Light blue fins with red spots, edged with red and blue. Gender differentiation can be confusing. 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 ovaries will be visible under the swim bladder. Like other gouramis, they have an additional 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 timid fish, only males can be aggressive towards 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). Interestingly, during the spawning period, when excited, they emit screeching sounds – hence the Polish name of the species – Skrzeczyk. Research has shown that characteristic noises are not only important during courtship, but also serve to prioritize males.

These sounds are produced by the pectoral fins hitting the body violently and can vary in frequency and intensity from one individual to the next.

Nutrition and feeding

In nature, they feed on zooplankton, 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 Dafnia, Ochotka, Artemia. A varied diet will keep them in good condition and have a nice coloration.


A 40-liter aquarium will be suitable for a couple or a harem, preferably partially with plenty of vegetation with plenty of shade.

Stem and floating plants are a good choice. Cryptocorynes will also work well. For decoration, you can use pieces of dry wood on which Mikrozoria or mosses can grow. Dry leaves can also be placed in the tank, which will provide additional shelter, will release desired humic compounds into the water, and will also be an alternative source of food for the fry. In their natural environment, they inhabit stagnant waters, therefore strong water movement should be avoided in the aquarium.

The aquarium should be covered to give them access to warm and humid atmospheric air and to prevent them from jumping out. 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 herd fish should not be a problem, eg Microdevario, Boraras or Trigonostigma. They will hunt for Caridina and Neocaridina Shrimp.


Dwarf elves build foamy nests near 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. Be sure to cover the aquarium tightly (some growers use cling film). 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 are released, which the male collects in its mouth and carries it 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 100 to 170 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 2-3 days. If something 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.

Parents usually do not eat the young. 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.


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