Chocolate Gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) Species Profile & Care Guide
Chocolate Gouramis are slow-moving with a gentle and shy nature, and will quickly be frightened or defeated for food by more abundant or more rowdy tankmates.
These Gouramis can be sensitive to water conditions and are susceptible to bacterial infections and skin parasites, so are not well suited to the beginner aquarist.
They can be very combative with each other, so larger tanks with the correct tank mates and groups of six or more will allow them to be peaceful and thrive.
Chocolate Gouramis have an oval-shaped, flat body, a pointed mouth, and a small head.
It gets its name from the dark chocolate brown colour it possesses which can differ from slightly reddish-brown to a greenish-brown.
This fish also has three to five light yellow to white stripes that run vertically through the body.
The fins are long and edged in yellow, with the caudal fin slightly forked.
|Scientific Name||Sphaerichthys osphromenoides|
|Aquarium Level||Middle - Top|
|Difficulty||Intermediate - Advanced|
|Best kept as||Groups 6+|
|Lifespan||5 - 8 years|
|Temperature||77 - 84 ℉ (25 - 28.9 ℃)|
|PH||4.0 to 6.0|
|GH||0.5 - 6|
Natural Habitat of the Chocolate Gourami
Chocolate Gouramis are found from Sumatra, Malacca, Borneo, and the Malaysian Peninsula, in South East Asia, in the soft, acidic, very low mineral content, blackwater peat swamps and adjacent streams of their range.
You can also find them in clear water areas that are tannin-stained a dark brown colour by decayed organic materials.
They possess a labyrinth organ that will allow them to breathe atmospheric air and survive in oxygen-depleted water that would probably kill most other species.
Other Gouramis of interest
The Chocolate Gourami will accept most foods and will require a well-balanced diet to maintain health and condition. However, they rarely take dried flakes, so you will need to feed them small live, frozen or freeze-dried foods such as Daphnia, Brine shrimp or mosquito larvae as the staple of their diet.
Algae-based foods are also essential in their diet.
Sexing the Chocolate Gourami
It is quite easy to differentiate the male from the female.
The males are usually larger overall and have more developed, and pointier fins than females and their Caudel and Anal fins have a more prominent yellow edge than the females. They also present a more browny red colouration.
The females will have a more rounded throat, whereas the male's throat is more straight probably to facilitate mouthbrooding.
Breeding the Chocolate Gourami
Breeding Chocolate Gouramis it quite tricky. They will need their own tank, the water conditions must be correctly adhered to, and the tank should be covered in enough vegetation ready for the fry to hide in if necessary.
For the best results, you should first condition the pair by feeding them, especially the female, high-quality foods.
This species of Gourami is mainly a mouthbrooder, but on a rare occasion, they will create a bubble nest.
When the female Gouramis are ready to spawn they will lay a small number of eggs on the base of the tank the male will then fertilize those eggs and when he's done the female will collect them in her mouth and incubate them for around two weeks.
During the incubation period, the male will protect her from predators.
Once the fry has fully formed, the female will spit them out; you will then need to feed them on things like freshly hatched brine shrimp, rotifers and cyclops.
The Chocolate Gourami Fry are very susceptible to water changes and are slow-growing.
You will need to maintain a warm layer of air between the cover slides and the surface of the water at all times while they are developing their labyrinth organ, this is critical in the first few weeks of their lives.