Trichogaster trichopterus ( three-spot gourami)

Taxonomy:
Trichogaster trichopterus which is most known as the pearl gourami belongs to the Osphronemidae family and Anabantoidei suborder. Another common name of the species is the lavender gourami. Trichogaster trichopterus may also be known as Trichopodus trichopterus.
Distribution-Habitat:
The species is native to Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia) but, has been introduced in different continents (Africa and South America). In general, gouramis occur in low oxygen, plant-choked, low mineral content, tea-colored/black-water areas. Furthermore, the water has a high amount of tannin due to the decomposition of leaves and wood. As a result of the human expansion, the original habitat of gouramis has altered and are found in pig farms and rice paddies (Colisa sp.), etc. In addition to the degradation of gouramis’ habitat, many species are in danger of extinction.
Description:
Generally, gouramis have a long, flattened body with extended and filamentous ventral fins that are used as tactile organs to obtain physical information about objects. Furthermore, gouramis can use ventral fins for orientation in dark, muddy water habitats. Trichogaster trichopterus have a greyish-blue body with two dark spots. Because of the selective breeding of these fishes, there are many color variations (Cosby, golden, platinum gourami). The species have an average size of 6 inches (15 cm). Gouramis, like the rest of the Anabantoidei fish, can breathe atmospheric air. This ability occurs in Anabantoidei fish due to an organ located closed to the branchial apparatus, the labyrinth. The species have an average of 4 years lifespan. Three-spot gouramis have sexual dimorphism. Males have long pointed dorsal fins while females have short rounded dorsal fins.
Habits:
Pearl gouramis are an excellent choice for beginners because of their hardiness. It’s best to keep the species in a ratio of one male with two females as males can be territorial with the same species as well as with other species. It’s best to keep them in an only-species tank. In community tanks, the three-spot gourami is compatible with sturdy fish such as barbs and large characins.
Because of the natural habitat of three-spot gouramis should be kept in soft acidic water. A pH between 6.0-7.0, with a temperature between 26-30 Celsius, and hardness 50mg/l, suits the species.
Three-spot gouramis need big aquariums as they get stress easily and males are territorial. An aquarium with 120 liters of water is suitable for a pair of 2-3 gouramis. Plants are necessary as they provide shelter for stressed fish and their offspring, especially floating plants. Furthermore, the surface air should have a similar temperature of the water for the prevention of losses. Cover the aquarium to maintain a similar temperature above and under the water.
Three-spot gouramis are omnivorous and can eat prepared food and small live-foods such as brine shrimp, white worms, bloodworms, etc. In nature, their diet consists of small invertebrates, algae, insects’ larvae, hydra, e.t.c
et consists of small invertebrates, algae, insects’ larvae, e.t.c
Breeding:
Trichogaster trichopterus are surface bubble nesters which means when the male is ready for reproduction, creates a nest and waits for a ”willing” female. The female Trichogaster trichopterus helps to build the nest and care the fry. The species may use floating plants for the creation of bubble nests. Then the male wraps the female’s body and inseminates the eggs, that she releases. After that, they collect the eggs and put them into the nest. The action is repeated many times until the female gets exhausted. The female gourami produces about 1000 eggs. In contradiction with other gouramis, both parents usually care for the nest until the young can swim on their own. The young hatch 28 to 30 hours after egg-laying and after 3-4 days can swim on their own. Anabantoid young are very small in size to eat regular food for young such as hatched brine shrimp. You can feed the young with liquid food, boiled egg, infusoria, rotifers.
For the survival of the young, the species is best to spawn in a breeding tank than an only-species tank with many individuals. For the reproduction of the species, an aquarium with dense floating plants and water depth of 10 cm suits for breeding three-spot gouramis. Like almost every fish, another key for breeding gouramis is diet. Besides prepared food, feed the pearl gouramis with a variety of high-quality foods such as live foods. Last, Remove the female after she releases the eggs and when the young are swimming-free, remove the male too.

Gourami algae background. Blue fish.
“iStock.com/daniilphotos”

References: 

  1. Gary Elson and Oliver Lucanus 2005, Gouramis and other Labyrinth fishes, Published by Barrons
  2. Earl Schneider and Dr. Leon f. Whitney 1957, The Complete Guide
    to tropical fishes
  3. David Alderton 2005, 2008, Encyclopedia of aquarium and pond fish, Published in the United States by DK Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7566-3678-4
  4. A. O. Kasumyan, E. S. Mikhailova, and E. A. Marusov 2013, Role of Tactile Sense and Other Sensory Systems in Control of Feeding Behavior in Gourami of the Genus Trichopodus. Retrieved from https://istina.msu.ru/media/publications/article/6d5/24c/6023586/kasumyan_et_al_2014.pdf
  5. Trichopodus Trichopterus. Retrieved from https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/trichopodus-trichopterus/
  6. Trichogaster trichopterus. Retrieved from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=172634#null

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