Sparkling Gourami (Pygmy Gourami) – Care, Size, Tank Mates & Details!

Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila) also known as Pygmy Gourami is the smallest fish from the Osphronemidae family. Sparkling gourami is perfect for the small aquariums that are popular in our time, because its size does not exceed 4 cm.

The color of the fish is not very bright and it is a pleasure to watch them. These sparkling gouramis are famous for their easy maintenance because in nature they are able to survive even in the drainage ditches.

Quick Stats

Scientific Name: Trichopsis pumila

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Relatively peaceful
Color Form: Dark with bright spots
Lifespan: 4-5 years
Size: Up to 1.6 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Osphronemidae
Minimum Tank Size: 15 Gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater (planted)
Compatibility: Limited compatibility

General Description

Close relatives of this gourami (Opaline Gourami and golden gourami) are much less common in aquariums, primarily because the fish does not have an outstanding body color.

However, Pygmy gourami is not devoid of its charm. At the same time, this gourami is hardy, easy to maintain, and breed.

Like other representatives of this group, it has an additional respiratory organ – a labyrinth, thanks to which the fish is able to breathe and use air above the water surface.

Sparkling Gourami Appearance

In terms of the general structure of the body, the fish looks more like Betta fish, but with less developed fins: the body is not as tall as that of the closest relatives.

The head is pointed with large eyes that shine red and blue. The pelvic and pectoral fins are transparent, all others with a lot of blue spots and red edging.

The pelvic fins have been modified into thin filaments that act as organs of touch.

The body of the fish is colored bluish-green; from head to tail, two dark stripes are clearly distinguishable: one is almost whole, the other is from separate spots.

The fish is also called dwarf gourami because its usual size is 3-4 cm.

Sexual dimorphism is weak. Males are brighter and have pointed dorsal and anal fins.

The life expectancy of Sparkling gourami is 4-5 years.


The Sparkling gourami is widespread in the water bodies of the countries of Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, and the Sunda Islands.

It can be found in slow-flowing rivers, small ponds, densely overgrown with aquatic vegetation, rice fields, and even ditches. The water in such reservoirs is usually cloudy and poor in oxygen. Here the labyrinth organ and sensitive fins-strings come to the rescue.

Sparkling Gourami Care and Maintenance

The sparkling gourami is rather shy fish, therefore, they must be kept in pairs or small groups of 6-8 pieces with a predominance of females.

For such a number of fish, an aquarium of 40 liters or more will be enough. It must be equipped with a cover so that the temperature of the water and the air gap above it does not differ significantly.

This is due to the fact that the ingestion of supercooled air can lead to gourami diseases.

Any substrate can be used as a substrate, but it is desirable that it be suitable for growing live plants, which need to be planted more along the walls in an aquarium with gourami. 

When flocking, you will also need a variety of shelters like driftwood, ceramic pots, hollow tubes so that the weaker individuals can hide in them, if necessary.

The aquarium should be equipped with a filter that does not create strong currents. Lighting can be used bright, but diffused. 

This can be achieved with the help of floating plants. However, they must be limited to floating circuits so that there is free space for air to swallow.

Pygmy gouramis are thermophilic, so a thermostat is needed to maintain a comfortable temperature.

Water changes should be done once a week – 25-30% of the volume of the aquarium.

Optimum water parameters for the aquarium: T = 24-28 ° C, pH = 6.0-7.5, GH = 2-12.

Sparkling Gourami Tank Mates

Given the increased fearfulness of sparkling gourami, a species aquarium is best suited for keeping them. If there is a need for cohabitation, then it is better to dwell on species that are distinguished by a calm temperament and small size. \

Suitable tank mates for Sparkling Gourami are Opaline Gourami, Honey gourami, Dwarf Gourami, Harlequin Rasbora, Cory Catfish, Otocinclus Catfish, Ember Tetra, Pencilfish, etc.

Keeping Pygmy gouramis with large and aggressive species is not recommended. You should not keep this gourami with active barbs, which can easily pluck their antennae fins, and Betta fish. The betta fish also fighting fish and it can mistake them for congeners and start attacking.

Feeding Pygmy Gourami

For Sparkling Gourami, small foods that can fit in their miniature mouth are best suited.

It is recommended to opt for high-quality dry food, which will be fully balanced, enriched with useful additives, and completely eliminate the risk of contaminating the aquarium with dangerous infections:

  1. Tetra Micro is a special line of food specially formulated for tropical miniature fish. You can use chips or pellets. If the fish are kept in a common aquarium with other small species, then it is convenient to purchase the Tetra Micro Menu – a mixture of 4 types of food in separate cells.
  2. TetraMin Universal Flake Feed is also a good feed choice. Before pouring it into the aquarium, it is recommended to grind the food a little in your hands.

If you want to watch how the whole flock of Sparkling gourami gather at the glass and greedily bite off pieces of a delicious treat, then use the food in the form of tablets glued to the glass – Tetra FunTips Tablets.

Breeding Sparkling Gourami

To breed Sparkling gourami, you need an aquarium of 15 liters or more. The water level in it is set at 10-15 cm. In the spawning grounds, it is necessary to place plants with wide leaves, because it is under them (and not on the surface) that the male will make his nest.

Sexual dimorphism is weak; males are usually brighter and have longer fins. Two weeks before spawning, the producers are kept separately and heavily fed, after which the couple is placed in a spawning aquarium and the temperature is raised to 26-30 ° C.

The temperature should be constant and not change dramatically – this is the key to the survival of the fry.

After building a nest from foam and saliva, the male begins courting the female. Mating dances are similar to “hugs”, while the male squeezes the eggs from the female and fertilizes her. 

It should be noted that the eggs are collected in a special egg bag of 4-6 pcs, which the male has to tear apart to place their nest. 

Eggs are white-yellow in color and their average number per spawning is 150 pcs.

After spawning, the female is removed, and the male remains to guard the nest. Incubation lasts about 3 days, after which the larvae are born. 

For the first 2-3 days, the father takes care of them, but then he is able to eat, so he, like the female, is removed. The fry is tiny, barely 1.5 mm in size.

Sexual maturity occurs at the age of 6-9 months.

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