Max Size: up to 8 cm

Samurai Gourami (Sphaerichthys vaillanti)

The Samurai Gourami is a small, shy, and extremely timid species that thrives best in dim lighting. Their water tanks should have a lot of floating plants and should be planted densely with aquatic plants, which can grow in low light, allowing them to feel more secure.

This Gourami fish is a rare and challenging fish that is relatively new for aquarium lovers and requires special care.

Females have vertical green and red stripes. The part adjacent to the head is mainly green, while the tail area is redder. They have a uniformly straight jaw profile and a more fringe head shape.

Males are usually light browny-grey and look fairer than females. Their skin is brown. The skin around their mouths is broad and expands when they are carrying eggs in their mouths. The lower jaw is slightly rounded and looks more extensive than the female. Also, males have a vertical stripe between the dorsal and anal fins. During courtship and spawning, the male's colour becomes more intense. However, females are more colourful throughout the year and look different from males.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameSphaerichthys vaillanti
Other NamesSamurai Zebra, Vaillants chocolate gourami
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan4 - 10 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature77 - 86 ℉ (25 - 30 ℃)
PH3.5 - 6.5
GH1 - 54
Samurai Gourami
Samurai Gourami
Samurai Gourami


The Samurai Gourami is native to the Indonesian part of Kalimantan River in Borneo in Southeast Asia where these fish inhabit peat swamps and associated black water streams submerged with tree roots in forested areas. You may also found them in some clear water habitats. The water is typically stained dark brown by humic acids and other chemicals released from decaying organic materials.

Other Gouramis of interest

Chocolate Gourami(Sphaerichthys osphromenoides)
Dwarf Gourami(Trichogaster lalius)
Giant Gourami(Osphronemus goramy)
Giant Red Tail Gourami(Osphronemus laticlavius)
Gold Gourami(Trichogaster trichopterus)
Honey Gourami(Trichogaster chuna)
View All Gouramis

Diet & Feeding

Samurai Gouramis should be fed regularly with dry food such as flakes or granules to make them familiar with such foods.

A portion of small live or frozen food like daphnia, grindal worm, nauplii, artemia and micro worm should also be given to keep them alive during the adapting period.

After the adaptation period, feeding them regular helpings of live or frozen fare foods will help them develop brighter, bolder colours and condition.

Sexual Dimorphism

When this species is young, it is tricky to differentiate males from females however once matured these fish exhibit striking reversed sexual dimorphism with the female taking on a vibrant red and green patterning which enhances further during spawning and is slightly smaller. In contrast, the males remain brownish and duller looking and are more significant than the females.


The female Samurai Gouramis will initiate courting, and during the reproducing period, the couple remains upright in the water for several hours.

The female lays around 10 to 40 eggs on any available object in the tank, and the male will then fertilize them.

The male will gather the eggs in his mouth and will keep them for around 7 to 21 days. During this period, males either do not eat at all or eat very little. He will remain in a quiet corner of the tank.

When the male releases the fry, they can swim freely, once they are born, they will feed on the microorganisms present in the aquarium, and when they become big enough, newly hatched microworms or larval brine shrimp can be introduced to them to eat.

After the male releases the fry, he should then be taken to another tank until the fry grows. Otherwise, he will consume his young. It is best to use a separate grow out tank. This tank should be tightly covered to keep the internal temperature warm and the atmosphere humid. This helps the labyrinth organs of the young fish to develop naturally and stay healthy.

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Date Added: 25/09/2020 - Updated: 25/09/2020 16:43:13