Sparkling Gourami (Pygmy Gourami) – Tank Mates & Full Details!

The sparkling gourami, or Trichopsis pumila, hails from Southeast Asia, favoring environments teeming with vegetation and still water bodies. They’re often found in slow-paced streams, rivers, rice paddies, and even ponds.

One of their notable attributes is their labyrinth organ, functioning similarly to lungs.

This adaptation allows the sparkling gourami to swim up to the water surface and absorb oxygen, thus enabling them to live even in low-oxygen, murky waters.

Initially, these enchanting pygmy gouramis adorned aquariums predominantly in Asia. But their popularity has since spread globally, with the United States and Europe welcoming their captivating presence.

The sparkling gourami—also referred to as pygmy gourami—may not frequently be the first choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

However, this undervalued species, with its beauty, adaptability, and low maintenance, deserves a top spot on any aquarist’s wishlist.

Delve into the detailed aspects of this freshwater marvel, understand their unique features, and learn how to provide the best care for them.

By the end of this guide, you’ll gain profound knowledge about the sparkling gourami’s care, leaving you eager to add them to your aquarium.

Quick Stats About Sparkling Gourami

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

When we dive into the freshwater aquatics world, one remarkable fish often doesn’t get the limelight it deserves — the Sparkling Gourami, also affectionately known as the Pygmy Gourami.

This captivatingly beautiful fish is not only visually appealing but also relatively easy to care for, making it a perfect choice for aquarium enthusiasts.

This comprehensive guide will take you through everything about this vibrant fish species, including its appearance, natural habitat, origin, distribution, growth, size, and lifespan and much more!

Sparkling Gourami Appearance

Right at the first glance, the Sparkling Gourami, or Pygmy Gourami, immediately captivates with its gleaming array of colors.

Displaying a stunning mix of blues, browns, and soft greens, these tiny gouramis sparkle under the aquarium lights, rightly justifying their sparkling namesake.

The Sparkling Gourami is characterized by a sleek, streamlined body that narrows noticeably towards the caudal peduncle.

Its body widens at the mid-section and tapers gracefully, giving it a distinctive, elegant silhouette.

Their fins are decorated with blue and black spots and end in a vibrant red stripe that strikingly contrasts with their shiny bodies.

The dorsal fins are tall and slender, adding a fascinating touch to their appearance when they fan out or fold while swimming.

A significant portion of their body between the ventral and caudal fins is covered by the large anal fin, providing balance to their slender frame.

Undeniably, the radiance of the Sparkling Gourami and their mesmerizing swimming patterns make them a true delight to watch, turning your aquarium into an enchanting underwater spectacle.

Natural Habitat of the Sparkling Gourami

These vibrantly colored freshwater beauties hail from the serene waters of Southeast Asia. Here, they dwell in various water bodies teeming with dense vegetation.

The Sparkling Gourami, or Pygmy Gourami, is a versatile species that can thrive in the still waters of ponds, slow-flowing streams, rivers, and even in the rice paddies.

What sets the Pygmy Gourami apart is its labyrinth organ, a lung-like structure. This unique adaptation allows them to breathe air directly, enabling them to survive in oxygen-depleted or muddy waters.

As such, if you’re planning to create a suitable aquarium environment for them, replicating their natural habitat with plenty of vegetation is key to making your Pygmy Gourami feel right at home.

Sparkling Gourami: Origin and Distribution

The Sparkling Gourami, also scientifically known as Trichopsis pumila, has its roots in Southeast Asia.

However, their striking beauty and easy maintenance have helped them cross geographical boundaries. From their native Asian waters, they have now found their way into aquariums in the United States and Europe.

Initially seen as exotic, the Pygmy Gourami quickly became a favorite in freshwater aquariums worldwide.

Thanks to their vibrant colors and low-maintenance nature, they’re now one of the most sought-after fish species in the aquarium hobby, charming aquarists all over the globe.

Growth, Size, & Lifespan of the Sparkling Gourami

A full-grown Sparkling Gourami, or Pygmy Gourami, averages around 1.5 inches in size. This compact size, paired with their lively display, creates a delightful spectacle as a school of these fish dance through the water.

In terms of growth, with the right care, diet, and optimal water conditions, Pygmy Gouramis exhibit steady growth, reaching their maximum size within 6-8 months.

Ensuring a high-quality diet and keeping stress factors to a minimum will assist in optimal growth.

In terms of lifespan, a Sparkling Gourami can live up to 4-5 years in a well-maintained aquarium. This lifespan aligns with other popular gouramis.

However, it is essential to remember that their longevity also depends on genetics, emphasizing the importance of sourcing these aquatic gems from reputable sellers.

In conclusion, the Sparkling Gourami, with its shimmering allure, easy care, and manageable size, is a fantastic addition to any aquarium, offering years of aquatic enjoyment.

By understanding their appearance, natural habitat, origin, and growth patterns, aquarists can provide the optimal conditions for these captivating creatures, ensuring a healthy, vibrant, and long-lived Sparkling Gourami population.

Sparkling Gourami Behavior and Temperament

When it comes to behavior, Sparkling Gouramis, or Pygmy Gouramis, stand out with their calm and peaceful disposition.

They are shy, retiring species that prefer slow-paced living, which is quite at odds with their vibrant, sparkly exterior.

What sets them apart is their distinctive croaking sound, produced during courtship or territorial disputes. If you listen closely, you might hear a gentle, rhythmic chirping — a unique trait amongst aquarium fish.

Despite their peaceful demeanor, they are quite territorial, especially the males. It’s important to give each fish plenty of space and hiding spots to curb any potential aggression.

However, their overall serene nature makes them a great addition to community tanks, as long as they share the space with other peaceful species.

Tank Setup for Sparkling Gourami

Providing an ideal habitat for Sparkling Gouramis means more than just filling a tank with water. It requires careful consideration of various elements, from tank size and water parameters to suitable tank mates.

Here’s a detailed guide to help you create a perfect home for your Pygmy Gouramis.

Tank Size

Due to their small size, Sparkling Gouramis don’t need a vast space. A 10-gallon tank can comfortably accommodate a small group of these beautiful fish. However, if you’re planning to keep them with other species, a larger tank would be necessary to prevent territorial disputes.


For substrate, a dark sand or fine gravel mimics the Pygmy Gourami’s natural habitat and makes them feel more at home. The dark substrate also brings out their brilliant colors, adding an aesthetic appeal to your tank.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Sparkling Gouramis love densely planted tanks with plenty of hiding spots. Incorporate live plants, driftwood, rocks, and caves to create an environment that mirrors their natural habitat. The plants also serve as spawning sites for these bubble nest builders.

Water Parameters

As a tropical fish, the Pygmy Gourami prefers warm water with temperatures between 77-82°F. A neutral pH level (6.0-7.5) and a hardness level of 5-19 dGH is ideal. Regular water changes are necessary to maintain these parameters and keep your Sparkling Gouramis healthy.

Filtration and Aeration

Since they originate from slow-moving waters, they prefer a tank with low current. A gentle filter system will help maintain the water quality without disturbing the Pygmy Gourami’s peaceful environment. As labyrinth fish, they breathe air, so sufficient surface area and good aeration are essential.


Sparkling Gouramis don’t have specific lighting requirements. However, dim to moderate lighting will mimic their natural environment and encourage them to be more active.

Tank Mates

Being peaceful fish, Sparkling Gouramis do well with non-aggressive tank mates of similar size. Other peaceful species like tetras, rasboras, or small catfish would make suitable companions.


The Pygmy Gourami is omnivorous and enjoys a varied diet. Feed them high-quality flake food, along with frozen or live foods like brine shrimp or daphnia. Remember to feed in small amounts to prevent overfeeding and potential water pollution.

In conclusion, understanding the behavior and specific needs of Sparkling Gouramis or Pygmy Gouramis is the key to creating an ideal environment for them.

A well-planned tank setup, suitable tank mates, and a varied diet will ensure your gouramis thrive and continue to add sparkles to your aquatic world.

As captivating as they are, the Sparkling Gourami or Pygmy Gourami needs a well-maintained environment to truly thrive. Just like a garden, an aquarium requires ongoing care.

From regular water changes to close monitoring of fish health, let’s dive deeper into the essentials of tank maintenance for your Sparkling Gouramis.

Tank Maintenance for Sparkling Gourami

Owning a Sparkling Gourami is not just about admiring its beauty, but also about ensuring it enjoys a clean, healthy habitat. Proper tank maintenance is vital to keep these fish content and disease-free.

Here are some of the key aspects to focus on:

Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes are crucial for the health of your Pygmy Gouramis. These changes help remove harmful waste products, keep the water chemistry balanced, and the tank’s environment healthy.

Generally, replacing 10-20% of the tank’s water once a week works well. However, the specific frequency and volume can vary depending on the tank’s size, the number of fish, and the overall tank conditions.

Always ensure the new water is treated and matches the tank’s temperature to avoid shocking your fish.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

While a filter removes a lot of debris, it can’t keep the tank spotless. That’s why it’s necessary to clean the tank and decorations periodically.

Clean the inner glass with an algae magnet or scraper, remove and wash decorations in tank water, and vacuum the substrate to get rid of settled waste.

Be sure not to use any soaps or detergents as they can be harmful to your Sparkling Gouramis.

Filter Maintenance

The filter is the heart of your aquarium. Regular filter maintenance ensures it functions optimally, maintaining the water quality in the Sparkling Gourami’s tank.

Rinse the filter media in the water removed during a water change (not under tap water) to preserve beneficial bacteria. Replace the media as instructed by the manufacturer.

Regularly check for any signs of blockage or decline in performance.

Monitor Fish Health

Tank maintenance isn’t just about the physical environment. Monitoring the health of your Pygmy Gouramis is equally important.

Watch out for any signs of disease or distress, like unusual behavior, changes in eating habits, or physical symptoms like spots or discolored skin.

Early detection can prevent the spread of diseases and increase the chances of successful treatment.

By keeping a keen eye on water changes, tank cleanliness, filter function, and the overall health of your Sparkling Gouramis, you can ensure a thriving aquatic environment.

With careful, regular maintenance, your Pygmy Gouramis will continue to add a sprinkle of magic to your fish tank for years to come.

Acclimating Sparkling Gourami

Acclimating your Sparkling Gourami to its new tank is a delicate process that can impact the fish’s health and lifespan. Abrupt changes in water conditions can shock the Gourami and cause stress.

Start by floating the bag containing the Gourami in the tank for about 15-30 minutes. This step helps match the temperature inside the bag to that of the tank.

After this, slowly introduce a small amount of your tank’s water into the bag every 10 minutes for the next hour. This method, known as the drip method, ensures your Pygmy Gourami gradually adjusts to the new water parameters.

Once you’ve done this, gently net your Gourami out of the bag and into the tank. Remember, do not pour the bag’s water into your tank as it could contain harmful substances.

Sparkling Gourami Diet and Feeding

A well-fed Sparkling Gourami is a happy Pygmy Gourami. Let’s explore their dietary needs to keep them glowing with health.

Sparkling Gouramis are omnivorous by nature. They appreciate a balanced diet, packed with both plant-based foods and proteins.

Here’s what an ideal diet for a Pygmy Gourami can look like:

High-quality Flakes or Pellets

These form the base of the Sparkling Gourami’s diet. Look for ones that are specifically made for small, tropical omnivores.

Live or Frozen Foods

Adding variety with live or frozen foods, such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms, is essential. These are not only rich in protein but also encourage the Gourami’s natural hunting behavior.


Green foods, like blanched spinach, peas, or zucchini, are also appreciated. They provide necessary fiber and can help prevent constipation.

Feeding Sparkling Gouramis

Feed your Sparkling Gouramis once or twice daily, providing only as much food as they can consume in 2-3 minutes. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and poor water quality.

Remember, each Pygamy Gourami has its unique eating habits. Observe your fish during feeding time to ensure it’s eating well and appears healthy.

By offering a diverse, balanced diet and closely observing feeding habits, you can keep your Sparkling Gouramis in top health.

Combined with the right acclimation and ongoing tank maintenance, your little aquatic jewels will keep sparkling for many years.

Sparkling Gourami Tank Mates

A harmonious aquarium is more than just setting up the right tank conditions. It’s also about choosing the right companions for your Sparkling Gourami, or Pygmy Gourami.

Ideal Tank Mates for Sparkling Gourami

When considering tank mates, look for peaceful, slow-moving species that can share the Sparkling Gourami’s calm and serene environment.

Here are some excellent tank mates:

  1. Harlequin Rasboras: Small, peaceful, and fast, they occupy the upper levels of the tank, giving the Gouramis ample space.

  2. Corydoras Catfish: Peaceful bottom dwellers that won’t invade the Gourami’s territory.

  3. Kuhli Loaches: These nocturnal fish stay out of the Gourami’s way during the day.

  4. Small Tetras: Species like Neon Tetras or Cardinal Tetras can coexist well with Pygmy Gouramis.

  5. Cherry Shrimp: Shrimps can provide a nice contrast and won’t bother your Gouramis.

  6. Mystery Snails: These gentle creatures will share the lower part of the tank, leaving mid and top levels for Gouramis.

  7. Otto Catfish: Great for controlling algae, they can live harmoniously with your Sparkling Gouramis.

  8. Dwarf Crayfish: Their peaceful nature makes them good tank mates.

Tank Mates to Avoid for Sparkling Gourami

A poor tank mate choice can stress your Sparkling Gourami, causing health issues and potentially shortening their lifespan.

Here are some fish to avoid:

  1. Large Cichlids: These can be aggressive and territorial.

  2. Barbs: Species like Tiger Barbs are notorious fin nippers.

  3. Betta Fish: Although beautiful, their aggressive tendencies make them unsuitable.

  4. Oscar Fish: These are much too large and boisterous.

  5. Arowana: Their size and predatory nature pose a significant threat to Pygmy Gouramis.

Breeding Sparkling Gourami and Fry Care

Breeding Sparkling Gouramis can be an incredible and rewarding experience.

Let’s dive into the details:

Breeding Sparkling Gourami

These fish are bubble-nest builders, and the male does the building. They prefer dense floating vegetation where the male can construct his bubble nest.

Increase the water temperature slightly to encourage spawning.

During courtship, the male will showcase vibrant colors and dance around the female. Once eggs are released and fertilized, the male moves them into the bubble nest.

Fry Care

Post-spawning, the male takes the role of the protector, guarding the eggs in the bubble nest. After 24-48 hours, the eggs will hatch, and tiny fry will emerge.

Here are a few tips for fry care:

  • Food: For the first few days, the fry can live off their yolk sacs. Then, you can feed them infusoria or commercially available fry foods.

  • Safety: Be cautious of adult fish in the tank. Consider a breeding tank or a protective mesh to safeguard the fry.

  • Water Quality: Maintain optimal water conditions. Fry are sensitive to water parameters and pollutants.

By ensuring your Sparkling Gourami lives with the right tank mates and receives proper care during breeding and fry stages, you can create a peaceful, vibrant aquarium that promotes healthy growth and longevity.

Stress in Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling Gourami, also known as Pygmy Gourami, may not speak, but they communicate through their behavior and physical appearance.

Keeping an eye out for these signs of stress can help ensure a healthy life for your fish.

  • Unusual Swimming: If your Gourami is swimming erratically or hiding more than usual, it might be feeling stressed.

  • Loss of Color: Stress can cause Sparkling Gouramis to lose their vibrant coloration, appearing dull or pale.

  • Loss of Appetite: A stressed Gourami may eat less or even stop eating entirely.

  • Rapid Breathing: If you notice faster gill movement, it could be a sign of stress or poor water conditions.

Health Issues and Treatments

Even with the best care, Pygmy Gouramis can face health issues.

Here are some common problems and their treatments:

  1. Ich: Also known as white spot disease, it manifests as white spots on the fish’s body. Treat it with over-the-counter medications and by raising the water temperature slightly for a few days.

  2. Fin Rot: This is when the fins appear torn or frayed, usually due to poor water conditions. Improve water quality and consider using antibacterial medication.

  3. Dropsy: Characterized by a swollen abdomen and raised scales, it often indicates bacterial infection. While challenging to treat, antibacterial medicines might help.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

  • Routine Maintenance: Regular water changes and tank cleaning are vital.

  • Balanced Diet: Feed your Gouramis a varied diet to ensure they get all the nutrients they need.

  • Monitor Water Conditions: Keep a check on the temperature, pH level, and hardness of the water.

  • Observe Your Fish: Regularly observe your Pygmy Gourami for any behavioral or physical changes.

Should You Get a Sparkling Gourami for Your Aquarium?

Sparkling Gouramis are beautiful, peaceful fish, ideal for both beginners and experienced aquarists. They add a splash of color to any aquarium, and their serene nature makes them compatible with a variety of tank mates.

However, their sensitivity to water conditions means you’ll need to commit to maintaining a clean and stable environment.

If you’re ready to invest the time and care, these sparkling beauties can be a rewarding addition to your aquatic family.

Conservation Status of Sparkling Gourami

The Sparkling Gourami, or Pygmy Gourami, is not currently listed as endangered or threatened. It is considered a species of least concern according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

However, it is important to note that the conservation status can change over time due to habitat degradation, pollution, or other factors.

Availability & Pricing

Sparkling Gouramis are popular among aquarium enthusiasts and can often be found in local fish stores or through online suppliers. Their availability may vary depending on the region and the demand for these fish.

In terms of pricing, Sparkling Gouramis are generally affordable and accessible for most hobbyists. The cost can vary depending on factors such as the size, quality, and rarity of certain color variations.

On average, you can expect to find these fish priced between $5 to $15 per individual.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sparkling Gourami

Q: Are Sparkling Gouramis suitable for beginners?

A: Yes, Sparkling Gouramis are considered beginner-friendly due to their relatively easy care requirements and peaceful nature. They can adapt well to various water conditions and are generally hardy fish.

Q: Can Sparkling Gouramis live with other fish species?

A: Yes, Sparkling Gouramis can coexist with a variety of peaceful fish species. However, it’s important to select compatible tank mates that won’t harass or outcompete them. Avoid aggressive or fin-nipping fish.

Q: What size tank is recommended for Sparkling Gouramis?

A: A minimum tank size of 10 to 15 gallons is recommended for a small group of Sparkling Gouramis. Providing a larger tank will offer more swimming space and reduce territorial disputes.

Q: How long do Sparkling Gouramis live?

A: With proper care, Sparkling Gouramis can live for around 4 to 5 years on average. Genetics, diet, water conditions, and overall tank maintenance can influence their lifespan.

Q: Can Sparkling Gouramis jump out of the tank?

A: Yes, Sparkling Gouramis have been known to jump out of open aquariums. It’s essential to have a securely fitted lid or cover to prevent them from escaping.


The Sparkling Gourami, or Pygmy Gourami, is a captivating and peaceful freshwater fish that adds beauty to aquariums. With its availability, reasonable pricing, and beginner-friendly nature, it has become a popular choice among hobbyists.

By providing proper care, a suitable tank environment, and compatible tank mates, you can enjoy the company of these dazzling fish for years to come.

Remember to monitor their health, follow responsible aquarium practices, and appreciate the wonders of the aquatic world they bring into your home.