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Maximum size : 6 cm

Chocolate Gourami - Sphaerichthys osphromenoides : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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Chocolate Gouramis (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) are gentle, slow-moving fish with a shy disposition, making them vulnerable to more assertive or boisterous tankmates who may outcompete them for food. These Gouramis are sensitive to water conditions and prone to bacterial infections and skin parasites, making them less suitable for beginner aquarists. To promote a peaceful environment and help them thrive, house Chocolate Gouramis in larger tanks with compatible tankmates and in groups of six or more, as they can become aggressive towards one another. Before introducing the delicate Chocolate Gourami species, it is crucial to ensure that the aquarium is biologically mature. Provide ample hiding spots by incorporating tangles of bogwood, rocky caves, and dense planting, including floating plants to help diffuse the light. Utilizing a dark-colored substrate and background will not only boost the fish's confidence but also enhance their vibrant colors. Although filtration should be efficient, it is essential to maintain gentle water movement. Incorporating aquarium botanicals can help mimic the fish's natural water conditions. Adding leaf litter, such as dried Indian Almond leaves, will further contribute to replicating their natural habitat. Maintaining excellent water quality is vital for Chocolate Gouramis, as they cannot tolerate elevated nitrate levels or fluctuations in water chemistry. To ensure optimal conditions, perform small, frequent partial water changes. Chocolate Gouramis possess an oval-shaped, flat body, a pointed mouth, and a small head. Their name is derived from their dark chocolate brown color, which can range from a reddish-brown to a greenish-brown hue. The fish also features three to five light yellow to white stripes running vertically across its body. The fins are elongated and bordered in yellow, with a slightly forked caudal fin.

Chocolate Gourami Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Identifying the gender of Chocolate Gouramis is quite simple due to the distinct characteristics each sex displays. Males are generally larger, with more developed and pointed fins, and a pronounced yellow edge on their caudal and anal fins. They also exhibit a brownish-red hue. Conversely, females have a rounded throat, while males possess a straighter throat, possibly to aid in mouthbrooding. These differences make it uncomplicated to discern between male and female individuals.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameSphaerichthys osphromenoides
Year Described1970
Other Names
OriginsIndonesia Malaysia
Max Size6 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan5 - 8 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH4.0 to 6.0
GH0.5 - 6
77 - 84
25 - 28.9

Natural habitat

The majestic Chocolate Gouramis can be found in the exotic lands of Sumatra (Indonesia), Borneo, and the Malaysian Peninsula in South East Asia. These exquisite creatures inhabit the soft, acidic, and mineral-poor blackwater peat swamps and adjacent streams that are unique to their region. Not limited to just one type of aquatic environment, these gouramis can also be discovered in clear water areas that are tannin-stained to a rich, dark brown colour by decomposed organic materials. This adds to the allure of their natural habitat and provides a stunning backdrop for observing their elegant movements. For those who appreciate the wonders of nature and all its diversity, the opportunity to encounter Chocolate Gouramis in their natural habitat is an experience not to be missed. Witnessing these captivating creatures thriving in their environment is truly an unforgettable sight.

How to breed the Chocolate Gourami

Breeding Chocolate Gouramis presents a challenging endeavor. A dedicated tank is necessary, with precise water conditions and ample vegetation for fry to seek shelter when needed. To optimize breeding outcomes, condition the pair with high-quality foods, particularly the female. Although predominantly mouthbrooders, these Gouramis may occasionally create a bubble nest. When female Gouramis are prepared to spawn, they lay a limited number of eggs at the tank's base. The male then fertilises the eggs, after which the female collects them in her mouth for incubation, lasting approximately two weeks. The male assumes the role of protector during this period. Upon the fry's full development, the female releases them. At this stage, nourishment such as freshly hatched brine shrimp, rotifers, and cyclops are essential. Chocolate Gourami fry are particularly sensitive to water changes and exhibit slow growth. Maintaining a warm air layer between the cover slides and the water surface is crucial during the first few weeks of their lives as they develop their labyrinth organ. Consistent monitoring and care are vital to ensure their well-being and survival.

Diet & feeding

The Chocolate Gourami necessitates a well-balanced diet to sustain optimal health and well-being. Although they generally accept a variety of foods, these fish seldom consume dried flakes. As a result, it is essential to provide them with small live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods, such as Daphnia, brine shrimp, or mosquito larvae, as the foundation of their diet. Incorporating algae-based foods is also crucial to ensure a comprehensive and nutritious diet for the Chocolate Gourami.

9 tank mate ideas for the Chocolate Gourami

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Chocolate Gourami? Look no further! Here are 9 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

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