Snakeskin Gourami (Trichopodus pectoralis) Fish Species Profile

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The Snakeskin Gourami is a peaceful and relatively hardy fish. It is not as vividly coloured as some tropical fish. Still, it has a particular charm and is well suited to a community tank with other gouramies or medium-sized peaceful fish. Although this fish is a slow grower, it can grow quite large, so it would be best to avoid mixing it with tiny fish.

The Snakeskin Gourami has an elongated, somewhat compressed body with a small dorsal fin. Its anal fin is nearly the period of the frame, and the pelvic fins are elongated and thread-like.

Their back is olive in colour, and the flanks are greenish-grey with a silver luminosity. An apparent, unique black band extends from the nose, through the eye, and to the caudal peduncle.

The underparts are white. The rear portion of the body may display faint oblique stripes. The fins are also greyish-green, and the iris of the eye may be amber under suitable water conditions.

Juvenile snakeskin gouramis have strikingly intense zig-zag lines from the eye to the base of the tail.

Scientific NameTrichopodus pectoralis
Other NamesNone
OriginsSoutheast Asia
Aquarium LevelBottom - Middle
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
Best kept asGroups 5+
ReproductionBubble nest
Lifespan3- 5 years
Maximum Sizeup to 20 cm
Water Conditions
Water TypeFreshwater
Temperature72 - 86 ℉ (22.2 - 30 ℃)
PH5.5 - 8.5
GH2 - 30

Origins of the Snakeskin Gourami

Snakeskin Gouramis are common in the Chao Phraya and Mekong basins of Thailand, Southern Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in Southeast Asia. They have also been introduced in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, New Caledonia and Sri Lanka.

Snakeskin gouramis inhabit shallow ponds, swamps and rice paddies where the water is slow-flowing, sometimes still and sluggish and are covered in dense vegetation. They also occur in flooded forests in the lower Mekong and gradually return to rivers once floodwaters subside.


In the aquarium, these fish will usually eat all kinds of living, fresh, and flake foods.

To keep the right balance, give them a high-quality flake or pellet food as the staple of their diet and feed them two to three times a day.

In their natural environment, a good portion of their diet is green foods, so they need regular offerings of spirulina and algae wafers as well as fresh vegetables such as blanched lettuce.

Supplementation can also include blood worms, brine shrimp, white worms or any other suitable alternate. This fish will not eat fry or snails.

Sexing the Snakeskin Gourami

It is moderately easy to differentiate males from female Snakeskin Gouramis. The dorsal fins of male fish are more pointed, and the pelvic fins are orange to red. The males are also slimmer. In contrast, females are much duller than the males are more plumper.

Breeding the Snakeskin Gourami

A separate breeding tank will be required containing shallow water with lots of floating plants. Filtration has to be gentle, and air-powered filters are best. Condition the fish with live or frozen food.

When the female becomes filled with eggs, the male will create a large bubble nest amongst the floating plants. He will then begin to perform to the female. As the female continues towards the nest, the fish can be seen touching each other with their modified ventral fins.

Spawning happens under the nest in the typical anabantoid embrace. The eggs float upwards, and the male takes them into the nest. Several more spawnings occur, and they may produce up to 5000 eggs. When all the eggs have gone, the female is chased off. It is best to remove her at this point, or the male may severely harm her.

The male then tends to and guards the nest until the eggs hatch, usually around 20-30 hours later. The fry becomes free swimming 4-5 days after that. Now you should remove the male, or he may consume the fry accidentally.

You'll then need to feed the fry with infusoria or liquid fry food for the first week, after which they are big enough to accept artemia, microworm, nauplii and powdered flake.

The fry grows very slowly, and care must be taken when doing water changes as they are very susceptible to fluctuations in water temperature for the first three months or so.

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Date Added: 9/28/2020 - Updated: 9/28/2020 10:21:07 PM