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Croaking Gourami (Trichopsis vittata)

The Croaking Gourami, known scientifically as Trichopsis vittata, is a small and enchanting freshwater fish, popular among aquarium enthusiasts for its unique vocalizations and striking appearance. Originating from Southeast Asia, these gouramis have adapted well to life in captivity, offering a fascinating addition to home aquariums. This article provides an in-depth look at the Croaking Gourami, covering its profile, coloring, aquarium setup, diet, breeding habits, and compatibility with other fish.

Croaking Gourami Quick Facts

Scientific Name Trichopsis vittata
Common Name Croaking Gourami
Origin Southeast Asia
Size Up to 3 inches (6-7 cm)
Lifespan Up to 4-5 years
Diet Omnivore
Water Temperature 72°F – 82°F (22°C – 28°C)
pH Level 6.0 – 7.5
Temperament Peaceful but can be territorial
Tank Size Minimum 10 gallons
Compatibility Good with small, non-aggressive fish
Unique Feature Known for its ‘croaking’ sound

Croaking Gourami Profile

Croaking Gouramis are small, typically reaching up to 3 inches in length. They are known for their distinct croaking sound, made by contracting muscles attached to their swim bladder, often heard during courtship or as a display of dominance. These fish prefer slow-moving or still waters and thrive in a calm, well-planted aquarium. With a lifespan of around 4-5 years, they make a long-term commitment for fish keepers.

Croaking Gourami Coloring

The Croaking Gourami boasts an impressive array of colors, often displaying a mix of silver, brown, and green hues on their bodies. Their sides are adorned with dark, longitudinal stripes, and their fins may exhibit a touch of red or orange. The color intensity can change based on the fish’s mood, health, and environment, making them a vibrant addition to any tank.

Croaking Gourami Habitat

The Croaking Gourami, originating from Southeast Asia, is predominantly found in stagnant or slow-flowing waters like ponds, swamps, and rice paddies. These environments are characterized by soft, acidic water with a rich presence of vegetation and a substrate covered in leaf litter. The dense vegetation and dimly lit conditions created by overhanging foliage offer ample hiding spaces and a serene environment.

Adapting to these surroundings, the Croaking Gourami has developed a labyrinth organ, enabling it to breathe atmospheric air, a trait crucial for survival in oxygen-depleted waters. Replicating these conditions in an aquarium is key to maintaining a healthy habitat for these unique fish.

Croaking Gourami Aquarium Setup

Croaking Gouramis are a unique and fascinating species, known for their distinctive croaking sound. To create a comfortable and healthy environment for these fish, a specific type of aquarium setup is essential.

Tank Size and Water Parameters

  • Minimum Size: Opt for a tank that is at least 10 gallons. This size provides ample space for swimming and territory establishment.
  • Recommendations: Larger tanks are always better, as they provide a more stable environment.

Water Conditions

  • Temperature: Maintain a water temperature between 72°F and 82°F. Consistent temperature is key for their health.
  • pH Level: The ideal pH level is slightly acidic, around 6.0 to 7.0.
  • Water Hardness: Aim for soft water conditions. Hardness should be kept low to mimic their natural habitat.

Filtration and Water Flow

  • Filtration System: A low-to-moderate flow filtration system is ideal. This replicates the stagnant or slow-moving waters they are used to.
  • Avoid Strong Currents: High flow rates can stress Croaking Gouramis. Gentle water movement is preferred.

Aquascaping and Plantation

  • Plants: Use a variety of aquatic plants. Floating plants are particularly important as they provide shade and hiding spots.
  • Hiding Spaces: Include driftwood, caves, and other decorations to create hiding places. This is crucial for their sense of security.
  • Substrate: A dark substrate can help mimic their natural environment and make the fish feel more at home.

Lighting and Tank Placement

  • Lighting: Soft, subdued lighting is preferred. Bright lights can stress these fish.
  • Location: Place the tank in a low-traffic area to reduce stress from external movements.

Maintenance and Care

  • Regular Water Changes: Perform regular water changes to maintain water quality.
  • Monitor Parameters: Regularly check the water temperature, pH, and hardness.

Croaking Gourami Breeding

Breeding Croaking Gouramis presents a unique challenge for aquarists. These fish are known for their bubble-nesting behavior, where the male constructs a nest using air bubbles and plant debris at the water’s surface.

Breeding Environment

To encourage breeding, the environment should be carefully prepared. A separate breeding tank, about 10 gallons in size, with a water level reduced to 6-8 inches is ideal. The water should be soft, with a slightly acidic pH, and a temperature slightly higher than the main tank, around 80°F. Dim lighting and ample plant cover, including floating plants, will mimic their natural breeding conditions.

Before introducing the breeding pair, condition them with high-quality, protein-rich foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms. Once introduced to the breeding tank, the male will start building the bubble nest. He then entices the female to the nest with a unique courtship display, characterized by flaring fins and a vibrating body.

Spawning Process

During spawning, the female releases eggs, which the male fertilizes and collects in his mouth, placing them in the bubble nest. This process can repeat multiple times, with the female laying several hundred eggs. Post-spawning, the female should be removed to prevent stress, as the male becomes highly protective and might become aggressive. The male continues to guard and maintain the nest until the eggs hatch, which typically occurs within 24-36 hours. Male should be removed at that point.

The fry, initially helpless and feeding on their yolk sacs, become free-swimming within a few days. At this stage, they can be fed infusoria or specially formulated fry food. Constant monitoring of water quality is crucial during this stage to ensure the healthy development of the fry.

Croaking Gourami Compatibility

Croaking Gouramis are generally peaceful but can be territorial with their own kind, especially males. They are best kept with other small, non-aggressive fish species. Ideal tank mates include Tetras, small Barbs, Clown Loaches, Danios, Gouramis, Hatchetfish, Harlequin Rasbora, Kuhli Loaches, Liveberarers, White Clouds, Ottos, Plecos, Rainbowfish, Red Tailed Shark, and Corydoras.

Avoid housing them with large or overly active fish, which might stress the Gouramis or outcompete them for food. Kindly note that the Croaking Gourami is not compatible with Cichlids.

Croaking Gourami Diet and Feeding

The Croaking Gourami is an omnivore, requiring a balanced diet for optimal health. In the wild, they feed on small insects, larvae, and plant matter. In an aquarium setting, their diet should include a variety of foods such as high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

Vegetable-based foods also contribute to their nutritional needs. Feeding them small amounts 2-3 times a day is recommended, ensuring all food is consumed within a few minutes to avoid overfeeding and maintain water quality.

Croaking Gourami Diseases

Croaking Gouramis are susceptible to common freshwater fish diseases like Ichthyophthirius (Ich), fin rot, and fungal infections. These ailments often stem from stress due to poor water conditions or overcrowding. Early detection and treatment, along with maintaining clean, stable water parameters, are key to preventing and managing these health issues.


The Croaking Gourami is a fascinating and beautiful fish that can add both visual and auditory interest to any home aquarium. With proper care, the right aquarium setup, and compatible tank mates, they can thrive and bring joy to both novice and experienced fish enthusiasts. Understanding their unique needs and behaviors is key to maintaining a healthy and harmonious aquatic environment for these charming creatures.