Sparkling Gourami Care Guide: Tips for a Happy, Healthy Fish

Sparkling Gouramis, also known as pygmy gouramis, are beautiful and captivating freshwater fish that can make a fantastic addition to your aquarium. These small, colorful fish boast a vibrant personality and are known for their unique communication style, making them an exciting choice for fish enthusiasts.

As a potential Sparkling Gourami keeper, it’s crucial to understand their care requirements to ensure a happy and healthy environment for them. Proper care includes providing the right water conditions, tank size, and tank mates. With the right knowledge and dedication, you can create a thriving home for your Sparkling Gourami and enjoy their beauty for years to come.

Species Overview

The Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila) is a small, beautiful freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia. They thrive in still or slow-moving waters with abundant vegetation, such as rivers, ponds, and rice paddies.

These fish are known for their hardiness and adaptability, making them an excellent choice for novice and experienced aquarists alike. They’re social creatures that enjoy the company of their own species, so it’s best to keep them in groups.

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Scientific name Trichopsis pumila
Common names Sparkling Gourami, Pygmy Gourami
Distribution Southeast Asia
Size Up to 1.5 inches
Lifespan Up to 10 years
Diet Omnivorous
Temperament Peaceful
Minimum tank size 10 gallons
Temperature 72-80°F (22-27°C)
pH 6.0-7.0
Water hardness 5-19 dGH
Care level Easy to Intermediate
Filtration/Water Flow Low to Medium
Water type Freshwater
Breeding Egg layer
Breeding difficulty Moderate
Compatibility Peaceful community aquariums

Remember to maintain a stable water temperature and pH, and provide plenty of hiding spots for these shy fish. With proper care, your Sparkling Gouramis will reward you with their stunning appearance and interesting behavior for many years.

Origins and Natural Habitat

The Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila) originates from Southeast Asia, where it thrives in standing water filled with lush vegetation. You can typically find them in slow-moving streams, rivers, ponds, or even rice paddies1. As the smallest fish in the Gourami family, these captivating creatures are known for their unique iridescent scales2.

In the wild, their natural environment is characterized by stagnant or slow-moving water, which is why they prefer tanks with low water flow3. Make sure to include plenty of plants in your aquarium to replicate their natural habitat. Providing them with various hiding spots and swimming room also helps create a comfortable environment for your Sparkling Gourami3.

Keep in mind that these fish have a special labyrinth breathing organ, allowing them to directly breathe oxygen from the air4. This unique feature contributes to their resilience in different water conditions and makes for an interesting addition to your aquatic family.


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Physical Characteristics

Size and Shape

The Sparkling Gourami is a small and relatively slow-growing fish. You can expect it to reach a maximum length of approximately 1.4-1.6 inches (35-40 mm). Its petite size and elongated fins make it an attractive, eye-catching addition to your aquarium.

Color and Markings

Your Sparkling Gourami showcases shimmering scales, a stunning golden body with flecks of iridescent red, and fins adorned with enchanting blue and green spots. These vibrant colors and unique markings contribute to the fish’s captivating appearance and help it stand out in any aquatic environment.


With proper care, your Sparkling Gourami can live up to 10 years. These hardy fish can thrive in most freshwater aquarium conditions, giving you plenty of time to admire their beauty and enjoy their peaceful temperament.

Housing and Setup

Tank Size and Shape

When setting up a home for your Sparkling Gouramis, it’s essential to provide them with an appropriate tank size. They thrive in a 30-gallon or larger tank, as this size gives them ample space to swim and explore. Keep in mind that they are small fish, typically growing up to an inch and a half in length, so always prioritize giving them enough space.


For the substrate, choose a fine, smooth material like sand or small, smooth gravel. This helps mimic their natural habitat while also making it easier for them to navigate the bottom of the tank. It’s also more comfortable for them, as it prevents injuries from sharp or rough substrates.

Plants and Decorations

Sparkling Gouramis enjoy a well-planted aquarium that replicates their natural environment. Use live plants like Java Fern, Anubias, and Amazon Swords to create hiding places and shaded areas for them. They appreciate floating plants, such as Duckweed or Water Lettuce, to offer surface cover. Additionally, you can include driftwood, rocks, and caves to ensure they have plenty of hiding places and areas to explore.

Filtration and Aeration

When it comes to filtration, opt for a gentle filter that doesn’t produce a strong current. Sparkling Gouramis prefer slow-moving water, so a sponge filter or a hang-on-back filter with an adjustable flow rate would work well. For aeration, ensure the temperature stays between 77-82°F, and the pH remains within the range of 6.0-7.5. Regular water changes will help maintain these parameters and keep your fish healthy.

By following these guidelines for housing and setup, you’ll create a comfortable and thriving environment for your Sparkling Gouramis. Always remember to prioritize their well-being and mimic their natural habitat as much as possible.

Water Parameters

Caring for your Sparkling Gourami begins with ensuring the proper water parameters in their tank. Let’s take a look at the optimal water conditions for these fish to thrive.


The ideal water temperature for Sparkling Gouramis is 76° to 82° Fahrenheit (25° to 28° Celsius). These fish can tolerate various temperatures, but they do best in the warmer end of the spectrum. To maintain a stable temperature, consider using a reliable heater and aquarium thermometer to monitor your tank’s temperature.


Sparkling Gouramis prefer a pH range between 6.0 and 7.0. Maintaining a stable pH level is crucial for their well-being. Use a pH testing kit to check the water pH and adjust it if necessary. Remember to test your pH levels regularly to avoid sudden changes that might adversely affect your fish’s health.


As hardy fish, Sparkling Gouramis can adapt to a wide range of water hardness levels. However, it’s important to keep the hardness relatively stable to prevent stress on your fish. Monitor the water hardness using a testing kit and make adjustments if needed.

Feeding and Diet

Dry Food

When it comes to dry food, you can offer your Sparkling Gourami flakes or pellets as a staple diet. However, it’s essential to provide these fish with high-quality food products, as this ensures they receive a balanced diet with necessary nutrients. One possible option is to opt for tropical fish flakes or micro-pellets designed for small fish. Remember to crush the flakes if needed to make it easy for your Sparkling Gourami to consume.

Live and Frozen Food

In addition to dry food, your Sparkling Gourami will benefit from live and frozen food options. These fish enjoy snacking on:

  • Bloodworms
  • Daphnia
  • Artemia (brine shrimp)

Live and frozen varieties of these foods can be easily found at your local pet store or aquarium shop. Including these protein-rich options in their diet will help support their growth, health, and vibrant colors.

Feeding Schedule

It’s essential to establish a consistent feeding schedule for your Sparkling Gourami. Ideally, you should aim to feed them at least 3 times a day. Make sure to offer a small portion of food each time to prevent overfeeding, which can lead to water quality issues and health problems for your fish.

By providing a diverse diet in appropriate portions while adhering to a consistent schedule, your Sparkling Gourami will flourish in your aquarium setting, showing off their beautiful iridescent colors.

Behavior and Compatibility


Sparkling Gouramis are generally peaceful and shy freshwater fish. Their small size and timid nature make them a pleasant addition to your aquarium. They are also known for their unique croaking sounds made by rubbing their pectoral fins together. This behavior can be exciting to observe but keep in mind that it might be a sign of aggression or stress, so ensure that they have enough hiding spaces and a stress-free environment.

Tank Mates

When selecting tank mates for your Sparkling Gourami, you should consider their peaceful nature and small size. It’s essential to choose tank mates that won’t bully or overpower them. Some suitable tank mates for your Sparkling Gourami include:

  • Small Tetras: Ember, Neon, or Cardinal Tetras are great options as they are peaceful and share similar water parameter requirements.
  • Rasboras: Harlequin and Lambchop Rasboras make excellent tank mates due to their calm demeanors and mutual water preferences.
  • Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwelling fish are compatible with Sparkling Gouramis, as they are peaceful and create minimal competition for territory.
  • Small Shrimp: Red Cherry or Amano shrimp can coexist with Sparkling Gouramis, providing a source of natural algae control without disrupting their environment.

Remember to avoid aggressive, large, or overly active fish that could stress your Sparkling Gouramis or outcompete them for food. By choosing suitable tank mates and providing a peaceful environment, you’ll help ensure the well-being of your Sparkling Gouramis and create a harmonious community within your aquarium.



To breed your Sparkling Gouramis, you first need to determine their sex. Males typically have a more vibrant coloration, especially when preparing to court females. Additionally, males tend to develop longer, more pointed dorsal and anal fins. In contrast, females are usually slightly larger and rounder in appearance, with shorter fins.

Mating Procedure

When you’ve identified a male and female pair, it’s time to establish a suitable breeding environment. Create a separate breeding tank with warm water between 22-26°C, a pH level around 5.5, and very low water hardness. Provide dense plant growth, particularly floating plants, where they can create their bubble nests.

Once the breeding tank is set up, you can introduce the male and female. The male will initiate the mating process by building a bubble nest in the tank, usually among the floating plants. He then courts the female by displaying his vibrant colors and performing a dance. If the female is receptive, she’ll approach the male, and they’ll embrace under the bubble nest. During the embrace, the female will lay eggs, and the male will fertilize them.

After the eggs are fertilized, they’ll float up into the bubble nest. The male takes responsibility for tending to the nest, ensuring the eggs stay safe. It’s recommended to remove the female from the breeding tank at this point to avoid any conflict or predation.

Raising Fry

The eggs will hatch within 24-36 hours, and the fry will remain in the bubble nest for a few more days. After they leave the nest, they become free-swimming. From this point on, your responsibilities include providing suitable food and maintaining a clean environment.

Feed the fry with infusoria or newly hatched brine shrimp until they’re large enough to accept crushed flake food or other small foods. Perform regular water changes to maintain water quality, but be cautious not to disturb the floating plants or the nest during these changes.

As the fry grow, you’ll notice their colors starting to develop. At this stage, you can gradually introduce them to the main tank if they’re large enough, or you may choose to raise them separately until they reach adulthood.

Remember to monitor the water parameters and provide a healthy diet as they grow to ensure the young Sparkling Gouramis thrive and show off their brilliant colors.

Health and Disease

Common Illnesses

Sparkling Gouramis are generally hardy fish, but they can still be affected by a few common aquatic illnesses:

  1. Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis): This is a common parasite that appears as white spots on the fish’s body and fins. It can cause difficulty breathing and lethargy.
  2. Fin Rot: A bacterial or fungal infection that causes the fins to fray and rot away. Symptoms include discoloration and ragged edges on the fins.
  3. Swim Bladder Disease: This can cause the fish to have difficulty swimming, staying afloat, or maintaining balance. It might be due to a diet, poor water quality, or sudden temperature changes.

Preventative Measures

To prevent diseases and keep your Sparkling Gouramis healthy, follow these guidelines:

  • Maintain clean and stable water conditions by monitoring and adjusting temperature, pH, and hardness levels.
  • Perform regular water changes, removing about 25-30% of the water every two weeks.
  • Quarantine new fish for at least two weeks before introducing them to the main tank.
  • Feed your gouramis a balanced and varied diet to promote overall health and strengthen their immune system.
  • Minimize stress by providing hiding spots, minimizing rapid changes in the environment, and avoiding overcrowded conditions.

Treatment Options

If your Sparkling Gourami shows symptoms of disease, take action quickly:

  1. Isolate the affected fish in a separate quarantine or treatment tank.
  2. For Ich, gradually raise the water temperature to 86°F (30°C) and maintain it for a week; you can also use commercial Ich treatments following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. For Fin Rot, consider medicating the fish with antibacterial or antifungal medications designed for aquarium use. Maintain good water quality and monitor the fish’s progress closely.
  4. In case of Swim Bladder Disease, you can try fasting the fish for a day followed by feeding it with a half-cooked, shelled pea. You may also consider adjusting their diet to include more fiber.

Remember, always follow the instructions of any medication or treatment used, and consult with an aquatic veterinarian if unsure of the diagnosis or treatment.

Maintenance and Cleaning

To keep your Sparkling Gourami healthy and comfortable, regular tank maintenance is essential. Aim to perform water changes of about 20-30% every week to maintain optimal water quality. This will help control waste levels and replenish essential minerals.

It’s vital to monitor water parameters such as temperature, pH, and water flow rate. Sparkling Gourami thrive in temperatures between 72-80 degrees Fahrenheit and a pH range of 6.0-7.0. For a 10-gallon tank, the ideal water flow rate is 166-208 gallons per hour, while for a 20-gallon tank, it’s 416-520 gallons per hour.

Don’t forget to clean the filter and remove any debris that could impact water quality. In their natural habitats, these fish prefer slow-moving water with lots of vegetation. Make sure their aquarium has a similar environment with adequate plants for them to feel at home.

Lastly, inspect the tank regularly for any signs of illness or stress in your fish. Early detection can make a big difference in ensuring the well-being of your Sparkling Gourami. Happy fish keeping!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Sparkling Gouramis?

For Sparkling Gouramis, a tank size of at least 10 gallons is recommended. Despite their small size, they love to swim and explore, so providing them with enough space will help them thrive.

How many Sparkling Gouramis can be safely kept together?

You can safely keep a small group of Sparkling Gouramis together. They are peaceful fish that enjoy socializing with each other, so having 5 or more in a tank is a good option. Just ensure there’s enough space for each fish to swim and explore without overcrowding.

What water parameters are essential for their well-being?

Ensure the water pH for Sparkling Gouramis is between 6.0 and 7.5, ideally around neutral (6.8-7.2). Although they can tolerate pH up to 8.0, a neutral level is optimal. Pay attention to water changes, and aim for a 20-25% water change at least once a week to keep harmful substances like nitrite, nitrate, and ammonium under control.

What is the appropriate temperature for their habitat in Celsius?

The ideal temperature range for Sparkling Gouramis lies between 24°C and 28°C. Keep your fish healthy and comfortable by maintaining this range.

How can I distinguish between male and female Sparkling Gouramis?

Males and females have subtle differences: Males tend to have slightly more vibrant colors and a more extended dorsal fin. Females, on the other hand, are often slightly larger and rounder in their bodies, especially when they are carrying eggs.

Are Sparkling Gouramis considered easy to care for?

Yes, Sparkling Gouramis are generally easy to care for. They require minimal care and have a reputation for being resilient. This makes them a great choice for both experienced aquarists and beginners alike.