Maximum size : 10 cm

Giant Chocolate Gourami - Sphaerichthys acrostoma : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


Prepare to be captivated by the intriguing allure of the Giant Chocolate Gourami (Sphaerichthys acrostoma). These species may lack its chocolate Gourami relatives' vibrant colouration but hold an undeniable fascination. Enigmatic and elusive, these gouramis are a rarity, making them a prized find for aquarists seeking a unique addition to their collection.

While the Giant Chocolate Gourami may not exhibit a shoaling nature, their activity levels can be enhanced by keeping them in groups of six or more. Behold the mesmerizing dynamics that unfold within larger groups as these remarkable creatures showcase intriguing behaviours and assert their dominance. To ensure a harmonious tank environment, it is essential to select tankmates that are smaller, slower-moving, and possess a gentle disposition, steering clear of aggressive or boisterous companions. An ideal setting for the Giant Chocolate Gourami involves a species-only tank shared with other peaceful species that appreciate a tranquil aquatic realm.

Creating an optimal habitat for these enigmatic creatures demands meticulous attention to detail. Envision a heavily planted aquarium adorned with lush foliage that provides a sense of security and refuge. A thick substrate serves as the foundation, complemented by the addition of dried leaf litter, driftwood pieces adorned with intricately crafted holes, and the subtle presence of low-light plants. While the Giant Chocolate Gourami may not be particularly concerned with specific decor elements, they do appreciate an aesthetically pleasing environment that mimics their natural habitat. Resourceful aquarists often incorporate elements from their own homes to recreate this natural ambience, while other enthusiasts may utilize items such as PVC pipes and ceramic flower pots, ingeniously transforming the aquarium into a haven that mirrors the gouramis' native surroundings.

The Giant Chocolate Gourami is adorned with striking gold and bronze scales that trace a breathtaking path from their nose, through their eyes and to the end of their gill covers; these highly stylized fish embody nature's artistic mastery. Immerse yourself in the captivating world of the Giant Chocolate Gourami and behold the delicate harmony between form and function as these extraordinary creatures grace your aquarium with their presence.

Giant Chocolate Gourami Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

When Giant Chocolate Gouramis are in spawning condition, distinct visual differences between males and females become apparent. Males showcase a striking lateral stripe that gracefully extends from their tail to their midsection, highlighting their glorious presence. In contrast, females lack this distinctive stripe, instead revealing dark scales adorning the lower rear portion of their body and along the bottom edge of their anal fin. These dissimilarities in appearance between male and female individuals are inherent to their genetic makeup.

Delving deeper into their distinguishing features, males exhibit a subtly rounded lower jaw, a characteristic attributed to the presence of distendable skin. This unique attribute adds a touch of elegance to their overall appearance. Meanwhile, females boast a greater degree of red pigmentation, particularly evident in their throat and unpaired fins, further enhancing their distinct allure.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameSphaerichthys acrostoma
Year Described1979
Other NamesGolden Chocolate Gourami, Sharp Nosed Gourami, Moonlight Chocolate Gourami, Black Lined Chocolate Gourami, Black-Tailed Chocolate Gourami
Max Size10 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyIntermediate - Advanced
Best kept asGroups 6+
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 3.5 - 6.5
GH 10 - 20
TDS 0 - 54
Ideal Temperature
69 - 77
20 - 25

Natural Habitat

Giant Chocolate Gouramis, a species that exclusively calls the Kalimantan region of Borneo in Indonesia it's home. These remarkable creatures thrive amidst the tranquil embrace of stagnant black water areas, immersing themselves in an environment where darkness prevails, fueled by decaying organic matter. Such conditions give rise to a unique aquatic landscape characterized by water with exceptionally low levels of dissolved minerals, resulting in a low pH.

Within this captivating habitat, certain resilient aquatic plants manage to survive, defying the depths of flooded rainforests. Shielded by the dense vegetation and the towering canopy above, these plants endure in the face of minimal light penetration. However, the once-vast expanses of pristine primary forests that once enveloped Southeast Asia have witnessed the loss and devastation wrought by human actions. The consequences of these actions reverberate throughout the region, with many fish habitats experiencing severe limitations and a marked decline in species diversity.


Unlock the secrets of successful breeding with the remarkable Giant Chocolate Gouramis. With a keen focus on water quality and a balanced diet, the breeding process for these captivating fish presents minimal challenges. Witness the wonders of their reproductive journey, characterized by intriguing behaviours and intricate rituals.

Initiating the breeding process, the female often takes the lead, expressing her readiness for spawning. In cases where multiple partners are present, the female with the most dominant personality typically assumes the role. Notably, the couples maintain an upright position during the spawning embrace, distinguishing this species from other anabantoid counterparts.

Within a matter of weeks, untamed waters transform into a sanctuary for a new life as the fertilized eggs find their place upon a carefully chosen substrate. The male assumes his vital role, diligently collecting and protecting the precious eggs within his mouth. Displaying remarkable dedication, both males and females defend the spawning area for approximately 30 days. During this time, the male's appetite diminishes as he devotes himself to the welfare of the developing eggs, shouldering the responsibility of parental care for a duration of 7 to 20 days. As this remarkable chapter nears its conclusion, the male releases a remarkable brood of 10 to 40 fully grown fry from his mouth.

To ensure the survival of the fry, strategic measures can be taken. Consider removing the male from the vicinity of the eggs, safeguarding them from potential consumption. Within an established and well-structured habitat, a portion of the fry will likely thrive. Alternatively, diligent observation allows for the prompt removal of fry, providing them with a nurturing environment until they grow stronger. As the fry progress into the free-swimming stage, their relocation to a larger tank equipped with live foods such as baby brine shrimp and microworms fosters their continued growth and development.

Daily water changes of approximately 10% of the tank volume for optimal growth prove invaluable. Creating a warm and humid atmosphere within the tank is essential, necessitating the use of a secure lid to prevent the escape of precious moisture.

Diet & feeding

Embrace the intricate feeding habits of the Giant Chocolate Gourami, a species primarily recognized as micro predators, delicately preying upon worms, aquatic crustaceans, and other zooplankton. These discerning gouramis are reluctant to accept dried or prepared foods in their natural habitat. However, within the controlled environment of an aquarium, they can gradually acclimate to the required diet.

To ensure the optimal nourishment of Giant Chocolate Gouramis, it is essential to provide them with a daily supply of small, live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. This careful selection of sustenance caters to their innate dietary preferences, addressing their specific nutritional requirements with meticulous attention.

By accommodating the unique feeding preferences of the Giant Chocolate Gourami, aquarists can forge a harmonious bond with these captivating creatures, observing the fascinating interplay between their predatory instincts and their carefully curated diet.

2 tank mate ideas for the Giant Chocolate Gourami

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Giant Chocolate Gourami? Look no further! Here are 2 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

Other Gouramis of interest