Chocolate gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) is one of the most beautiful fish from the labyrinth family. Unfortunately, Being so beautiful Chocolate Gourami has not received proper distribution and respect among aquarists. This is due to the specific conditions and parameters of water for their keeping.
Table of Contents
Common Names: Chocolate Gourami
Scientific Name: Sphaerichthys Osphromenoides
Adult Size: 2.5 Inches
Life Expectancy: 5 To 8 Years
Minimum Tank Size: 30 Gallon
Ph: 4.0 To 6.0
Hardness: 0.5 To 6 Dgh
Temperature: 77 To 84 F
This species of gourami originates from India, although in our time it has spread widely in the reservoirs of Southeast Asia.
The main biotope for chocolate gouramis is peat bogs and small rivers flowing through them, as well as flooded forest communities.
A large amount of decomposing organic matter in such reservoirs turns the water brown, it becomes very soft and acidic.
The body of chocolate gourami is slightly elongated and compressed laterally. The front of the body is pointed. Anal and caudal fins elongated. Body-color varies from chocolate brown to red-brown, often a greenish tint can be seen.
Each flake has a dark border. On the body, there are transverse light yellow, white or gold stripes, with a total number of up to 4-5. A narrow yellow border adorns the anal fin.
During spawning, the color changes: the males blacken, and the female’s throat becomes reddish. The size of the Chocolate Gourami in the aquarium does not exceed 5-6 cm.
Care and Maintenance
For good health and longevity, You need to create conditions that are as close as possible to natural conditions. The aquarium should be spacious (at least 70 liters), well-established, with a properly functioning nitrogen cycle.
The recommended water level in the aquarium is up to 30 cm. To prevent problems with the labyrinth organ (allows you to swallow and use atmospheric air for breathing) due to the temperature difference between the water and the air above the water, it is recommended to cover the aquarium with a lid or cover glass.
Lighting should not be bright: chocolate gourami is a very shy fish who prefers dim light.
The main thing that you should first of all pay attention to when maintaining is the water parameters. This tropical fish prefers water temp at 26-30°C. Water should be soft (not more than 10 dGH) and acidic (pH = 4.0 – 6.0).
Ideally, you need to give the water a tea shade. To do this, you can add peat extract to the water. Water needs to be replaced often, but little by little: preferably no more than 10% at a time.
The aquarium should be densely planted with plants, including species floating on the surface – they allow diffuse bright light from light sources.
Chocolate Gourami Tank Mates
Chocolate Gourami is a peaceful fish, but rather timid. Therefore, the tank mates have to be calm small flocking species, for example, zebrafish, harlequin rasbora, kuhli loach, discus fish, and various types of tetras. Most importantly, specific water parameters should be suitable for other fish as well.
In the aquarium, you can keep a group of chocolate gourami. It is advisable to purchase them in an amount of at least 6 pieces: in such a pack a clear hierarchy is established and interesting relationships between individuals are observed.
Males periodically arrange squabbles and measure themselves by force.
Feeding Chocolate Gourami
The natural menu of chocolate gourami consists of small crustaceans, worms, insects, and larvae. Thus, when keeping this micro-predator in the aquarium, food is needed that would completely satisfy the fish’s need for high-quality protein.
Chocolate gourami prefer the upper and middle layers of the aquarium, and also have a small mouth, so the food should be selected taking into account this specificity. The feed needs to be in the form of granules which will gradually soften and slowly sink to the bottom of the aquarium.
You can feed your Chocolate Gourami with tetra protein feeds as they are built with ingredients like protein, all the necessary vitamins, probiotics to improve digestion, etc. Good digestibility of feed helps to reduce the number of metabolic products released by fish into the water.
A portion of good food provides healthy growth and vitality to the fish.
It is important not to overfeed the fish. You can feed them several times a day, at each feeding, it is necessary to give as much food as the fish will be able to eat in a few minutes.
To determine the sex, chocolate gourami usually looks at the throat: in males it is straight, and in females, it is rounded. This is because females carry eggs in their mouths – one of the key differences between chocolate gourami and other labyrinths.
Sexual maturity in fish occurs at the age of 6-8 months.
It is best to keep the Parent Pair in a separate spawning aquarium. It is usually not difficult to choose a couple ready to create offspring: the male changes its color to that characteristic of the mating season – his body darkens and a gray pattern appears, the females become brighter, and their stripes acquire a golden hue.
Two weeks before the alleged spawning, the couple is seated separately and begin to actively feed. Males with chocolate gourami do not build nests from air bubbles – and this is the second serious difference between the fish and its closest relatives in the family.
The female throws eggs up to 1.5 mm in size to the bottom of the aquarium, the male fertilizes it, after which the new mother collects eggs in her mouth. The eggs are large, yellowish, heavier than water. Usually, no more than 40 pieces fit into the female’s mouth.
Upon completion of spawning, the female finds a suitable shelter, stops eating, and is engaged in the incubation of eggs. The male at this time guards the female.
Within two weeks, the fry will mature, and the female spits them out in the water, after which it is recommended to remove the female from the aquarium. The fry is big enough to eat microworms or brine shrimp.
After hatching, it is necessary to strictly control the parameters of the water in the aquarium, as juveniles are sensitive to water changes and a sharp change in parameters.
It is also necessary to reduce the water level to 5-10 cm. It is better not to make water changes in fry until the labyrinth appears in them.
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