My newest additions – Sparkling/Pygmy Gourami (Trichopsis pumila)

I finally added some fish to two of my smaller tanks. The first are three Trichopsis pumila, more commonly known as the pygmy gourami or sparkling gourami. Here’s the standard photo of them that is currently the wikipedia stock photo:

Sparkling GouramiThese little guys are far more shy than I was expecting, but every day they’ve been more adventurous and had brighter colors.


Pygmy gourami are from regions of Southeast Asia (continent and islands). They can typically be found in slow or standing water with surface growth or coverage, much like most fish of the gourami family (Osphronemidae). Sparkling gourami thus can be found many ditches, ponds, rice paddies, and other bodies of water without strong currents. Also like the rest of the gourami family, each has a labyrinth organ, letting them breath air from outside the water if necessary. Thus, sparking gourami fit their niche environment of shallow water with low oxygen quite well. Their small size (only about 1.5 inches max) makes them a small bioload that can navigate through dense plant growth.

I have three juveniles in a small, heavily planted 2.65 gallon Hagen Marina 360 I picked up on sale for $30 a few months back. The minimum tank size for sparkling gourami is usually listed as 10 gallons, so I’m going to be keeping a close eye on these guys for signs of stress or territory issues. For now, they’re all well under an inch long and seem to be enjoying their new home. I’m only using the stock light, so they have a nice dim environment. I also have a nice piece of driftwood with many nooks and holes. Since this tank was originally designed as my scrap trimmings and snail tank, it now has a variety of plants growing on most every surface as well as floating at the surface.

I’ll update again once I have some nice pictures and the new fish have fully settled in. I hope to sex them and maybe have a go at breeding if it turns out I have a pair.

Edit: Update on this tank has been posted! It includes some pictures and descriptions of the behavior of these interesting little fish.