The Chocolate Gourami, also known as Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, is a remarkable freshwater fish species that has captured the fascination of aquarists worldwide. Known for its unique appearance, captivating behavior, and peaceful demeanor, this gourami species has earned its place as a treasured choice among both novice and experienced hobbyists. In this comprehensive guide, we will take a closer look at the Chocolate Gourami, unveiling details about its size, appearance, native habitat, behavior, dietary preferences, and expert insights for successfully keeping these charismatic fish in your home aquarium.
The Chocolate Gourami is a relatively small species, typically reaching a size of 4-6 centimeters (1.6-2.4 inches). Its name is derived from its stunning deep brown to almost black body coloration, which resembles a rich piece of dark chocolate. The fins of this gourami often showcase contrasting colors, adding to their allure. Their large, expressive eyes give them a truly endearing appearance.
These gouramis originate from the slow-moving waters of Southeast Asia, specifically found in countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. They are most commonly discovered in densely vegetated blackwater streams, swamps, and peat swamp forests, characterized by acidic and tannin-stained water.
The Chocolate Gourami is celebrated for its peaceful and unassuming nature. These fish prefer quiet and calm surroundings and thrive when kept in a species-specific tank or alongside other peaceful fish species. They are known for their unique habit of using their labyrinth organ to gulp atmospheric air, which allows them to survive in oxygen-poor waters.
In their natural habitat, Chocolate Gouramis feed on small insects, zooplankton, and microorganisms found in the water column. In a home aquarium, they are typically fed a diet consisting of high-quality dry foods such as micro-pellets, as well as live or frozen offerings like daphnia, brine shrimp, and bloodworms. Their small size makes them easy to feed, and they prefer smaller food items.
Keeping Chocolate Gouramis at home
Creating an ideal environment for Chocolate Gouramis requires meticulous attention to tank setup, water parameters, and compatibility with tank mates. Here are essential guidelines to ensure their well-being:
Tank size: Provide a moderately sized aquarium with a minimum capacity of 75 liters (20 gallons) to accommodate a small group of Chocolate Gouramis. A larger tank allows for a more extensive community setup.
Water parameters: Maintain water temperature between 24-28°C (75-82°F) and ensure a pH level around 5.5-7.0. It’s essential to maintain stable and clean water conditions through regular water changes.
Aquarium setup: Recreate their natural habitat with dim lighting, a dark substrate, live plants, and floating vegetation. The addition of leaf litter or driftwood can help simulate the tannin-stained water they prefer.
Tank mates: Chocolate Gouramis are peaceful and should be kept with other peaceful fish species. Ideal tank mates include small Rasboras, Tetras, peaceful loaches, and dwarf shrimp.
|Type of aquarium
|4-6 cm / 1.6-2.4 inches
|Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
|Ideal tank size
|75 liters / 20 gallons
|Ideal water temperature
|24-28 °C / 75-82 °F
|Omnivorous, dry foods, live/frozen foods
|Egg layer, no parental care
|Around 5 years
|Peaceful, prefers small groups