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Maximum size : 10 cm

Frail Gourami - Ctenops nobilis : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The extraordinary Frail Gouramis (Ctenops nobilis) is a species rarely encountered in the aquarium trade due to its delicate nature and high levels of aggression. However, these captivating creatures are known to challenge even the most experienced fish keepers, making them a formidable choice for those seeking a freshwater fishkeeping challenge.

While not recommended for the average community aquarium, Frail Gouramis can be successfully maintained alongside non-cannibalistic anabantoids in larger, well-designed setups. They also find compatibility with peaceful, schooling Cyprinids, although caution should be exercised when considering larger species. Juvenile Frail Gouramis display sociable tendencies, but as they mature into adulthood, their demeanour shifts, often displaying open hostility and even engaging in fatal aggression towards members of their own species.

To successfully maintain a group of Frail Gouramis, a spacious aquarium or a meticulously structured setup is required, featuring dense plant growth and carefully arranged decor to create strategic hiding spots that break lines of sight. Aggression is not limited to a specific gender and is heightened under higher temperatures or breeding conditions.

Regarding aquarium aesthetics, Frail Gouramis are relatively undemanding as long as the structure and cover are abundant. An appealing, natural-looking design can be achieved with a sandy substrate complemented by strategically placed driftwood roots or bogwood, providing essential hiding places for the Gouramis to feel secure. Enhancing their habitat further, adding dried leaf litter, such as beech, Indian almond, or oak, contributes to their sense of comfort.

Creating an optimal environment for Frail Gouramis involves dim lighting and lush plantings featuring species like Microsorum, Cryptocoryne, Taxiphyllum, and Anubias. Floating plants can be introduced to diffuse the lighting and provide additional cover, ensuring the ideal ambience for these exquisite creatures. While maintaining pristine water conditions is always essential, it is advisable to opt for gentle filtration. Water changes, if deemed necessary, should be limited to 10 to 15 per cent on a weekly basis, particularly in lightly stocked aquariums.

Securing a tight-fitting lid for your Frail Gourami habitat is crucial, as these acrobatic species possess a remarkable ability to leap, especially when introduced to a new aquarium. However, with patience, diligence, and a meticulous approach to their care, you can uncover the unique allure of Frail Gouramis and embark on a captivating journey into the depths of their fascinating world.

Frail Gourami Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Accurately discerning between male and female Frail Gouramis can prove to be a formidable task, particularly in instances where they are newly imported or not in optimal condition. Nonetheless, a key characteristic distinguishing females is the presence of a uniformly straight lower jaw, accompanied by a more tapered head shape in comparison to males. Conversely, the male exhibits a slightly rounded lower jaw, owing to the distensible skin that expands during the process of mouthbrooding. Aside from these differentiating features, the visual similarities between the sexes are striking.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameCtenops nobilis
Year Described1845
Other NamesIndian Paradisefish, Noble Gourami
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asLoners
LifespanUp to 5 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.0 - 7.5
GH10 - 20
TDS36 - 215
59 - 77
15 - 25

Natural habitat

Embark on a journey to the enchanting landscapes of Bangladesh and northeastern India, where the captivating Frail Gouramis reign supreme. These remarkable fish have also been discovered in the picturesque regions of West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam states, Bihar, and, more recently, even in the scenic realm of Nepal. Within these diverse habitats, Frail Gouramis carve their niche in the realm of aquatic wonders.

Immersed in the aquatic tapestry, Frail Gouramis thrive in the embrace of relatively clear, moderately flowing waters. Lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams serve as their aquatic playgrounds, adorned with an abundance of vibrant vegetation that carpets the aquatic realms. It is amidst these lush havens, where foliage flourishes, and nature's serenade plays, that Frail Gouramis find solace.

While their preferred abode boasts ample aquatic vegetation, these resilient fish have also adapted to thrive in regions where such greenery is scarce, showcasing their remarkable adaptability. Prepare to be captivated by the wonders of nature as you witness Frail Gouramis gracefully navigate these diverse aquatic landscapes, reminding us of the endless wonders that lie beneath the tranquil waters.

How to breed the Frail Gourami

Frail Gouramis, distinguished as parental mouthbrooders, present an intriguing opportunity for breeding, whether in groups or as a single pair. With the provision of an appropriate setup, a suitable diet, and meticulous attention to water quality, the breeding process can be achieved with relative ease. Notably, if multiple individuals are present, females often take the initiative in initiating courtship.

The spawning ritual can extend over several hours as the female diligently collects batches of eggs in her mouth, subsequently transferring them to the male by expelling them in his direction. The male adeptly catches each batch of eggs in his anal fin, exhibiting a remarkable display of parental care. Together, both fish diligently protect the surrounding area until the female has exhausted her egg supply. Males assuming the role of egg-bearers often seek refuge in quieter regions of the aquarium, displaying a distinct and cryptic marble-like patterning. During this period, their feeding activity becomes significantly reduced or ceases altogether.

The eggs remain securely held in the male's mouth for a period spanning 7 to 20 days, ultimately giving way to the release of fully-formed, free-swimming fry. The number of offspring can vary, ranging from 10 to 100 individuals. It is worth noting that inexperienced or young individuals may consume the eggs before they hatch, necessitating several attempts before successfully carrying them to term. To minimize the risk of fry predation, it is advisable to relocate the male to a separate tank a few days after spawning. However, in well-established, heavily decorated setups, some fry may still manage to survive within the breeding environment.

Alternatively, the fry can be promptly removed from the breeding tank as soon as they are observed or released and transferred to a separate location with identical water conditions and temperature. At this stage, the fry is of sufficient size to accept live foods such as baby brine shrimp and microworms. However, they may initially exhibit limited mobility during the early stages of their lives. Notably, it is important to bear in mind that the fry prefers food presented at or near the water surface. Therefore, diligent monitoring to prevent the accumulation of uneaten food at the tank bottom is essential. In addition, regular water changes, around 10 per cent on a daily basis, should be performed to maintain optimal water quality and promote healthy growth rates.

In the tank designated for their maturation, it is imperative to ensure a tightly fitting cover without any gaps. This provision is vital, as Frail Gouramis require access to a layer of warm, humid air to facilitate the proper development of their labyrinth organ—a crucial respiratory adaptation.

Embarking on the breeding journey of Frail Gouramis offers a captivating glimpse into the realm of parental care and the delicate intricacies of their lifecycle. With attentiveness to their specific needs, the rewards of successfully rearing these enchanting creatures will be a testament to the dedication and expertise of the aquarist.

Diet & feeding

In their natural habitat, Frail Gouramis exhibit primarily micro-predatory behaviour, preying upon small aquatic crustaceans, insect larvae, worms, and other forms of zooplankton. However, upon introduction to the aquarium, these fish may initially exhibit reluctance towards accepting dried or prepared foods. Nonetheless, they can learn to consume such foods over time with patience and proper acclimation.

To ensure optimal nutrition and development, it is advisable to provide Frail Gouramis with a varied diet that includes daily servings of small live or frozen foods. Options such as brine shrimp, grindal worms, daphnia, and microworms are particularly beneficial, promoting vibrant colouration and overall conditioning. Additionally, incorporating occasional offerings of high-quality dried food, preferably in granular form rather than flakes, can further supplement their dietary requirements.

By carefully curating a balanced and diverse diet for Frail Gouramis, aquarists can support their health and enhance their overall well-being, unlocking the full potential of these beautiful aquatic specimens.

10 tank mate ideas for the Frail Gourami

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Frail Gourami? Look no further! Here are 10 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

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