BEDO (Thailand), CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sparkling Gourami or Pygmy Gourami fish, which is scientifically known as the Trichopsis pumila, is one of the most beautiful freshwater fish species that is loved by many fish keepers from all over the world. It is one of those fish species that are known for its uniqueness and rarity. They are a famous fish species but they are not found in everyone’s aquarium. Sparkling Gourami fish species are easy for the new fishkeepers to take care of as they do not require extra care and are very durable. Meaning that if there are sudden changes in the tank, they would survive, unlike many fish species that would die as soon as the changes in the tank occur. This small freshwater species is known for its beautiful colors, scales, and has a peaceful nature.

This species is native to the ponds, slow rivers, and rice fields in Eastern China, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, and some other East Asian regions. It belongs to the Osphronemidae family of small fish species. Most other members of this family are also known for having beautiful features and are very commonly found in aquariums worldwide. Although it’s a small fish species, it has a long lifespan. Meaning that it would last in your tank for a long time. Also, they are easy to breed and have easy care requirements. That means you will not only be able to enjoy their beauty in your tank but also will be able to increase their number and add them to multiple of your tanks. It is a great species for the new fishkeepers to learn about the breeding of fish.

Basic Facts Table:

LifespanAverage 5 years in suitable conditions, in wild conditions only 1 to 2 years.
SizeUp to 1.6 inches or 4.064 cm.
ColorsDark with bright spots
Freshwater or SaltwaterFreshwater
Care LevelMinimum, beginner level
CompatibilityPeaceful community aquariums.

Tank Companions:

The Sparkling Gourami is a small and mostly peaceful fish species and you should pair it with other small and peaceful fish species. As they are a very small fish species, make sure that you do not put them with large fish species that have big mouths and can eat these small creatures. It would kill their population and would terrorize them. Also, do not put them with small and aggressive fish species because the Sparkling Gouramis are also partially aggressive fish species. Putting two or more partially aggressive small fish species might destroy the peace in your aquarium. That is why you should pair them with a species of small size, (equal to theirs) and similar temperament or behavior. You can also put them with other fish species that have a peaceful nature. Here is the list of most suitable tank mates for the Sparkling Gouramis.

  • Dwarf Gouramis
  • Pearl Gouramis
  • Rasboras
  • Neon Rainbowfish
  • Corydoras
  • Small Tetras species
  • Small Otos species
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Nerite Snails
  • Amano Shrimp

Note: It has been observed that the Sparkling Gouramis are mostly aggressive towards the male from other species. So, if possible, keep them in a tank where there are no males from other species.

Here is a list of the species that are not suitable tank mates for the Sparkling Gouramis.

  • Male Bettas
  • Black Tetras
  • Tiger Barbs

Most of the conflict in the tank of Sparkling Gourami happens because of the small space. They are an active fish species and like to move from one part to the other part of the tank, exploring everything. This is something that might agitate other fish species and a conflict might start. So, if you are planning on making a Sparkling Gouramis community tank, make sure that you choose a large tank with enough space for all the members of different species.


The Sparkling Gouramis are small, and their body size is about 1.6 inches or 4 cm. Their body is elongated and compressed in shape. Their fins are also small. Their body emits multiple colors in a sparkling wave. These colors include red, green, and blue hues, and because of this color sparkling feature, they are known as Sparkling Gouramis. Their bodies are shaped like arrowheads. In different light settings, their bodies reflect different colors, for example in the presence of red light, their eyes appear to have a blue color.

The body shape and size of both males and females in this species are the same. That makes identifying the male and female a difficult task, but there are also some differences. For example, the male has red spots which the females lack. These spots are found near the body line. Male spots on the body line are bright while the female spots are dull. These differences become more clear during the days of their breeding season.

The fins of this species also have a brown or dark color with orange color splashed around the edges of the fins. If you are looking from behind, its caudal fin creates a rainbow of colors while swimming. The color and dot pattern on the body is usually different for every individual. Their sparkling colors, beautiful shape, and appearance make them a perfect fit for most aquariums.

Origin and Natural Habitat:

The species is native to the South East Asian (SEA) countries, where they are found in ponds, rivers, rice fields, and lakes. The Sparkling Gourami fish likes slow-moving water sources and can be easily found in places where the water current is slow. They were brought to US and European countries where they thrived in peaceful aquarium environments. Its most common habitat is the places where the upper layer of the water is covered with leaves or algae. They like to live in the bottom and middle layer of the water and are rarely seen in the top layer.

This is because a lot of fish-eating birds can pick them from upper layers but in lower layers, they are protected from most of these predators. Also, as they are small fish species, they are threatened in their natural environment. But they are a quick breeder and reproduce in large numbers that help them retain the number of their population. The places where this fish species lives have shallow, slow-moving waters, and have partial acidity in the surrounding. It likes to live in environments where the temperatures are moderate all year long. Zooplankton and water-based insects act as their major food source in their natural environments.

Sparkling Gourami Lifespan:

In its natural habitat, this fish species only lives for a year or two but it reproduces quickly and the newly born fish replenish the numbers of fish that died in the previous season. The major reason behind their death is the change in their environment. Another major reason is that the places where they live are full of predators that eat them. These factors do not allow them to reach their potential lifespan.

But when these fish are brought into a tank where the conditions are favorable for them, they can live longer. According to different sources, the Sparkling Gouramis can live up to 5 years in a perfect environment. Meaning that your Sparkling Gouramis would remain in the tank for almost five years and some of them might even outlive the five years average limit. But you will have to make sure that the conditions inside the tank are perfect and there are no changes in the temperature, pH, and hardness of the water.

Habitat and Tank Conditions:

As mentioned in the earlier paragraph, if you want your Sparkling Gouramis to live longer and stay healthier, you will have to work on creating a perfect environment for them. The perfect environment for them inside a tank would be the one that resembles their natural habitat. Here is what you need to do to make a perfect tank environment for your Sparkling Gouramis.

Start with the size of the tank. Make sure that you get a large enough tank that can support the number of fish that you are planning to keep in that tank. If you are making a tank that will only hold the Sparkling Gouramis, you can use the recommended size tank. But if you are making a community tank, make sure to choose a larger tank. A large tank would prevent any kind of issues between the fish as it would provide a large area for them to explore without any confrontations. After selecting the tank, the second thing that you need to do is to create a bottom layer inside the tank.

To make sure that the bottom layer of your tank resembles its natural habitat, you should put treated sand in the bottom. After that, cover that sand with the help of a substrate. Make sure to wash that substrate before putting it in the tank to avoid pollution. You can also put some decorations, plant some water-based plants, and put some round pebbles, and stones with no sharp edges in the bottom layer. Make sure to use large decorations or the decorations or appropriate size. Small decorations with holes in them can trap the fish inside and that is not good. 

After you are done with the bottom layer, decorate the middle layer with some plants. Once you are done decorating your tank, you can add water inside the tank. You will have to put a water filter inside the tank to keep the water clean, provide flow, and add oxygen into the water. You will also have to put a water heater with proper settings to maintain the temperature inside the tank. These are all the requirements that will help you maintain the water temperature, oxygen level, pH, and other conditions for keeping your fish healthy.

Water Conditions:

Once you are done with the tank conditions, it is time to focus on making sure that the water conditions inside the tank are also favorable to keep your Sparkling Gouramis healthy. Certain water parameters need to be followed. Each water parameter is important as it impacts the health of your fish. For example, the level of pH of water inside the tank would have an impact on the health of your Sparkling Gouramis. As all of these parameters directly impact the health of your fish, any change would be bad. So, you should keep these parameters within the recommended limits to maintain a healthy environment for your fish in the aquarium. Here is a list of the important parameters for water inside the tank.

  • pH: 6 to 7.5 (slightly acidic to neutral)
  • Hardness: 4-8 KH
  • Temperature: 76°F to 82°F or 24.4 °C to 27.7 °C
  • Filtration: 20 to 25% every week.

If you maintain these water parameters correctly and between these limits, your sparkling gouramis would reach their expected lifespan and would remain healthy.

Water Source:

You can use water from any source but after proper testing. For example, if you want to use tap water, you can use it but you will have to make sure that it does not contain any contaminants that can negatively impact the health of your fish. You can also use the water from nearby rivers, waterfalls, and fountains if it is clean and has no impurities.

You can also use RO water that has been filtered using reverse osmosis. The reason for testing the water is that there are some purities in almost all types of water and testing helps identify them. Using the right type of water for your tank would help you keep your fish healthy and would allow them to reach their expected lifespan. Also,  the testing allows you to know the pH, hardness, level of minerals, and more properties of the water.

Ideal Size For The Tank:

There is no specific size or ideal size for this species. They are extremely small but very active fish species. For that reason, it needs reasonably large tanks. For the Sparkling Gourami fish tank, the minimum size of the tank that you can use is 10 gallons but it is not a recommended size. The appropriate and recommended size of the tank for Sparkling Gourami is the 15-gallon tank.

But if you want to add more fish to your tank, you will have to increase the size of the tank and add at least 10 gallons for each pair. If you want to create a community tank with fish from multiple species, you will need an even bigger tank where there is enough space for every species to move freely. Otherwise, you will notice confrontations between species.

Behavior and Temperament:

Most of the time it remains calm and peaceful, but they are not a shy fish species. If they are challenged, they would show aggression instead of fleeing the scene. Mostly they are friendly with the female from other species, but they attack the male and that is why it is recommended that you should keep them separate from the male of other species. If they are only sharing the tank with other members of their species, they would remain calm and peaceful and would show a little aggression.

The Sparkling Gouramis are a highly active species, they can breed oxygen from the air. That is a unique ability in this fish. So, you will see them often trying to reach the surface and jump in the air for a second. This creates an enjoyable scene. You should not cover their tank but make sure that the walls of the tank are higher than the reach of their jump from the water surface.

They also like playing and hiding in the plants and decorations inside the tank. They do this for several reasons, for example when they are running from other fish, or when they need a place to hide or explore. For this reason, it is advised to put a lot of plants in their tank to provide them with a comfortable hiding zone. If you put them in tanks in appropriate numbers, you would witness them shoaling together.

Breeding Sparkling Gourami:

Sparkling Gouramis are one of the easiest fish species to breed. They just need the right conditions and they would breed on their own. It is advised to create a separate tank for breeding the Sparkling Gouramis because there is always a chance that the male and female might try to eat the eggs. Keeping them in separate tanks would help as when they are done breeding, you can pick them up and put them back in their tank.

You should start by selecting a healthy male and female for breeding. Create a separate tank with slightly alleviated temperature. Keep the lights at appropriate brightness and make sure that other water parameters are the same as recommended. After that put the male and female in the breeding tank. Once they are there, feed them a lot of food that would cause the female to swell and produce eggs inside the belly.

The Male would create a bubble nest and would dance to attract the female for spawning. Once the female accepts the invitation it would visit the bubble nest and lays the eggs. Male would quickly start to fertilize the eggs. After that, the male would chase the female away from the nest. You should remove the female at this point to avoid any confrontation. It is better to put one female with multiple males because each female lays more than four sets of eggs and each set might require a different male to fertilize them and guide them. Eggs will take 48 to 72 hours to hatch and at that point, you should remove the male from the tank as well.

Eggs and Fry Care:

Eggs and fry need special care. Male might try to eat the fry once the eggs are hatched and that is why you should remove the male sparkling gouramis from the tank. Fry would start to feed on the egg sac and it would eat planktons and infusoria for a few days. Once its mouth becomes large enough it would start to eat micro worms and artemia. You should put the special Fry food in their tank to make sure that they get the food they need.

It is not a great idea to introduce the small newborn Sparkling Gouramis to the tank of their parents. The small fish are bullied and sometimes are even eaten by the large members of the community. You can prevent this by creating a new tank for the Fry and keeping them in that tank. Once they reach a similar size as their parents, you can put them in their tank.

Diet of Sparkling Gourami:

The diet of Sparkling Gouramis is omnivores. It helps them survive in the wild conditions. They are capable of eating almost anything small such as small insects, their larvae, mosquitos, live worms. So, in the tank, you can also keep their diet diverse. For example, you can feed them food flakes, live insects, daphnia, artemia, bloodworms, or shrimp meat. If you are feeding them frozen food, make sure that the food source contains high proteins.

It would help them stay healthy and strong and would provide them with balanced nutrition. You should feed them every day, twice if possible. But only put a limited amount of food that they can easily finish. Putting a lot of food in their tank would cause pollution and that is not good. For that reason, it is recommended that you put a small amount of food in the tank and let them finish it, and put more food in the tank after every 12 hours.

Diseases of Sparkling Gourami:

Although it is a very durable fish species and can cope with problems and diseases on its own mostly, some diseases are very dangerous and can kill the Sparkling Gouramis. Here is a list of those diseases and how to deal with them.

  • Ich Diseases: It is also known as the white spots disease. It is one of the most common fish diseases that is also found in the Sparkling Gouramis. This disease happens because of infectious bacteria, but water quality also contributes to this problem. So, it is preventable by keeping the temperature, pH, and pollution in the water in check. Also, there are other pharmaceutical treatments available for this problem as well.

Most of the fish diseases that occur in this species and health concerns that arise, happen because of the poor quality of water, and changes in the conditions in the environment. For example changes in temperature, pH, and hardness of the water can cause health problems for your fish. But all of these are easily avoidable by keeping the conditions in the water favorable.

Is Sparkling Gourami a Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

The Sparkling Gourami fish is a freshwater fish species from the Southeast Asia region.

Conclusion – Is Sparkling Gourami Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Well, the simple answer to this question is “Yes.” Sparkling Gouramis are a suitable species for your aquarium. They are a unique, beautiful, and rare fish species that are not commonly found in aquariums, so if you have one in your aquarium, it would mean that your aquarium is also one of the rare aquariums with Sparkling Gouramis. Apart from rarity, this is also a very beautiful fish species. When they move their colors create a sparkling appearance in the water and that is why they are named Sparkling Gouramis. This beautiful color combination and sparkling appearance is also a reason why you should have them in your tank. Apart from all of these reasons, it is also one of the peaceful but highly active fish species and they need a little care. Keeping these reasons in view, it can be said that yes, it is a suitable species for anyone’s aquarium.


Question: How many Sparkling Gouramis in 5 gallons?

Answer: You can keep a pair or a trio in a small 5 gallons water tank. But this size of the tank is not a recommended one because due to the small space, you might witness aggression between the members of your tank. That is why it is advised to use at least 15 gallons or larger tanks for keeping them.

Question: Sparkling Gourami male and female, what is the difference?

Answer: Male and female of this species mostly look the same in size and shape. The only major noticeable difference is in their colors. The body of the male has more bright colors while the body of the female has less bright and dull colors.

Question: What is the size of Sparkling Gouramis in cm?

Answer: The average size of a sparkling gourami fish is about 1.6 inches which are equal to 4.064 cm.

Question: Are sparkling gouramis aggressive?

Answer: Most of the time the sparkling gouramis are a peaceful fish species, but sometimes they show aggression towards the male from other species. For this reason, it is advised to keep them in a separate tank with females from other species only. But if you want to keep them with the males of other species, make a huge tank where there is enough space for them to stay away from each other.

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