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Maximum size : 8 cm

Samurai Gourami - Sphaerichthys vaillanti : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

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The captivating Samurai Gourami is a unique and remarkable species that requires particular care to thrive in aquariums. These fish are shy and introverted and prefer dim lighting, so it is recommended to have plenty of floating plants and dense aquatic vegetation to provide them with a sense of security in their tank. This species is relatively new to the aquarium world and can pose a challenge for fishkeepers, but their stunning appearance and unique behaviors make them an exciting addition to any collection. When choosing tankmates for the Samurai Gourami (Sphaerichthys vaillantiis), it is crucial to consider their timid and slow-moving nature. They can quickly become intimidated or outcompeted for food by larger or more boisterous fish. Rasboras or Tetras are peaceful and make great companions for this species. Some Loaches also do well with these fish While not gregarious, Samurai Gouramis thrive in the company of their own kind and exhibit more fascinating behavior when maintained in groups. It is recommended to keep at least six individuals together to promote social interaction and hierarchy formation. Dominant individuals will chase away their rivals during feeding or when occupying their favorite spots. Maintaining them in groups also promotes the formation of breeding pairs. Female Samurai Gouramis have striking vertical green and red stripes that run along their bodies. The head area is predominantly green, while the tail region is redder. They have a straight jaw profile and a more rounded head shape, giving them a distinct appearance. In contrast, males are typically lighter in color, with brownish-grey skin. The skin around their mouths is broader and expands when they are carrying eggs. The lower jaw is slightly rounded and appears more significant than that of the females. Additionally, males have a vertical stripe between their dorsal and anal fins, and during courtship and spawning, their color intensifies. Although males undergo color changes during these periods, females maintain their vibrant appearance throughout the year and look different from males.

Samurai Gourami Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Determining the sex of Samurai Gouramis can be challenging during their juvenile stage. However, once the fish reach maturity, they display remarkable reversed sexual dimorphism. The female Samurai Gouramis exhibit a stunning red and green pattern during spawning, which further enhances their vibrant appearance, and they are slightly smaller in size than their male counterparts. In contrast, the males remain duller in coloration with a brownish appearance and are generally larger than the females.

Quick Facts

Scientific NameSphaerichthys vaillanti
Year Described1832
Other NamesSamurai Zebra, Vaillants chocolate gourami
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelAll Levels
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 6+
Lifespan4 - 10 years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
PH3.5 - 6.5
GH1 - 54
77 - 86
25 - 30

Natural habitat

The Samurai Gourami is native to the Indonesian part of Kalimantan River in Borneo, where they can be found inhabiting the unique and challenging environment of peat swamps and associated blackwater streams submerged with tree roots in forested areas. Despite the challenging environment, the Samurai Gourami thrives, demonstrating its remarkable adaptability and resilience in the face of adversity. They can also be found in some clear water habitats, adding to their unique versatility. One of the most remarkable features of the Samurai Gourami's natural habitat is the dark brown staining of the water caused by the presence of humic acids and other chemicals released from decaying organic materials. This unique environment provides the perfect conditions for the Samurai Gourami to thrive and has helped to make it one of the most sought-after and captivating fish species in the world. Join us as we explore the lush and vibrant lands of Southeast Asia and discover the incredible beauty and diversity of the Samurai Gourami. From their origins in the unique and challenging environment of the peat swamps to their remarkable adaptability and resilience, the Samurai Gourami is a true marvel of the natural world and a must-see for any fish enthusiast.

How to breed the Samurai Gourami

When it comes to Samurai Gouramis, the female is the one who initiates the courting ritual, and the couple will remain upright in the water for several hours during the reproduction period. The female will lay approximately 10 to 40 eggs on any available surface in the tank, and the male will fertilize them. Once the eggs have been fertilized, the male will carefully gather them in his mouth and keep them there for about 7 to 21 days. During this time, males will usually not eat or eat very little and will often hide in a quiet corner of the tank to protect the eggs. After the fry have hatched, they will feed on microorganisms present in the aquarium, and as they grow, newly hatched microworms or larval brine shrimp can be introduced to their diet. Once the male releases the fry, it is best to move him to a separate tank to prevent him from consuming his young. This separate tank should be tightly covered to maintain a warm temperature and humid atmosphere, which helps the labyrinth organs of the young fish develop naturally and stay healthy.

Diet & feeding

To maintain optimal health and vibrant colors of Samurai Gouramis, it is crucial to provide a balanced diet consisting of both dry and live/frozen foods. Feeding them dry food, such as flakes or granules, is recommended to acclimate them to these types of foods. During the adaptation period, supplementing their diet with small portions of live or frozen food, such as daphnia, grindal worm, nauplii, artemia, and micro worm, is essential to ensure their survival. Once acclimated, regularly feeding them with live or frozen fare foods will not only promote their health but also enhance their coloration and overall condition.

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