The Pygmy Gourami also commonly known as the Sparkling Gourami is a fresh water aquarium fish that is native to the South East Asia region of the world. The fish is not very common in home aquariums as other gourami species. The fish is adapted to survivability even in extreme environments thus making it a great option for beginning aquarists in the hobby. Just as its name suggests, the fish is rather small in size and may only grow to a maximum of 4 centimeters long. The fish is from the labyrinth fish family and is considered one of the smallest in the fish family.
The fish is also referred to as sparkling due to the fact that its body and eyes exhibit iridescence under even just adequate lighting. The fish can really make a great addition to any fish tank that lacks beautifully colored fish. It can easily be kept in a small tank as long as the water parameters there are well checked to avoid any problems. The fish is usually peaceful and will need to be provided with lots of places it can hide in. It is one of the most shy fishes that will be stressed out easily if there is not hiding place offered.
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Habitat in the wild
It is a fresh water fish that has its native origins in the South East Asian region where it can be found in ponds, small streams as well as small rivers. The fish is usually found naturally spread out in countries such as Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, as well as Indonesia. The fish is known to like warm tropical waters that are heavily vegetated. It likes these kinds of habitats because food is readily to it in these areas.
Much attention needs to be taken when you are getting the fish from the wild to be kept in captivity. The conditions in the wild should be replicated in the tank where the fish will be kept in order for the fish to be able to adjust to life in captivity.
Appearance of Sparkling Gourami
The Sparkling Gourami is really a small aquarium fish and will only grow to a maximum of just 1.6 inches long in maturity. It has a brown body that is characterized with small light blue spots. You take a look at the fins of the fish and you will notice they appear light blue presenting edges that are red and some sort of red patterns.
The eyes of the fish are blue with a characteristic thin red border. If you compare the fish to betta fish, you will notice that they have got shorter fins. The males of the sparkling gourami show pointed fins with a red stripe that run along the whole body. The average lifespan of the fish when being kept in captivity is three to four years.
General care and tank requirements
Sparkling Gouramis are some of the easiest aquarium fish to keep in the hobby because they are very tolerate to number of water parameters. Their highly tolerant nature makes them well suited for keeping even small tanks. Just ensure that the tank is well planted with aquarium plants to help replicate the natural habitat that the fish lives in.
- Temperature should be 25°C to 28°C
- Water pH should be 6.0 – 7.5
- Slow moving water
Tank size and equipment
The minimum tank size required for keeping the fish should be at least 5 gallons but more is better. Lots of shelters need to be provided to the fish. This usually helps the fish to find places to hide when it is feeling shy or when suffering from aggressive tank mates.
The tank lighting should be dim and there should also be floating plants on the water surface. Also avoid very bright lighting in the tank as this has been proven to work against the well-being of the fish.
Never put the fish with other more aggressive fish that will make it hide most of the time. This will make it loose its coloration and will work to even shorten its lifespan. In the tank you should have a small group of the fish with the minimum being at least 5 or 6.
For the tank mates that you need to house with the sparkling gourami are; platy, guppy, honey gourami, and pigmy cory. These are all peaceful fish that will not harass the sparkling gourami. If you are in the business of keeping shrimp then the fish may just be fine with your shrimp in the same tank.
The fish is so easy to feed because in the wild they are known to feed on small insects which can still be offered to them even when they are in captivity. The fish can still easily be acclimated to life in the tank and be offered artificial or live food. You can as well start feeding the fish flakes, fish pellet, and frozen fish food.
Differentiating between the male and the female is not easy but a keen look at the female when spawning is near will show you a rather swollen abdomen. The abdomen is usually filled with eggs. Another keen look at the two of the sexes will prove to you that the males tend to have slightly longer fins.
When it time for the Sparkling Gourami to breed, it will build a small nest just beneath the water surface. It is the male that will later on call on the female to go the nest to lay eggs there. Once the eggs are laid there and fertilized by the male, it is the male that will care for them until they get to hatch. The male takes care of the juvenile fish that will emerge until they grow up enough to be able to start fending for their own.