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Fish of the Month
Issue: February 2009

Trichogaster chuna

(HAMILTON 1822)

0209 FOTM

Horst Linke

Common Names: Honey gourami, honey dwarf gourami, red flame gourami, dwarf fire gourami, red robin gourami (these and other names are also used for color morphs of Colisa lalia and for hybrids of T. chuna and C. lalia)

Type Locality: N/A

Range: India and Bangladesh

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Trichopodus chuna. Known for some time as Colisa chuna. Considered a synonym of Colisa sota. Labyrinth fish have undergone considerable taxonomic reorganization. The family Osphronemidae, once restricted to the giant gourami Osphro

Size: Usually 3.8 to 5 cm (1½ to 2 inches) TL, with rare reports of up to 7 cm (2¾ inches).

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical freshwater. Likes warm water. Quite adaptable but may need soft water, neutral to slightly acidic, for spawning.

Difficulty: Of medium hardiness. Peaceful with all but the smallest tankmates.

Tank Setup: A planted tank is ideal. Tankmates must be peaceful and small, but not so small that the gourami can harass them. This is a shy fish that needs plenty of cover. It is found in the wild in association with aquatic vegetation. A good fish for a nano setup.

Feeding: Omnivorous. Will eagerly accept just about any aquarium fare.

Breeding: Spawns like bettas and other Trichogaster spp. The male does not incorporate plants into the nest as Colisa lalia do. The female should be removed after spawning, and the male should be removed when the fry become free swimming.

Description: The honey-gold body color can vary depending on the population and the fish’s mood. Rapid color changes are common. The female sometimes displays a faint dark horizontal stripe along the body, and the male can display a blue-black coloration on the face, throat, and abdomen.
 


Notes: Like all other osphronemids, the honey gourami is an air breather, and it builds a bubblenest for its eggs. Although it is a beautiful fish, it has also been bred in various color morphs, some of which are hybrids with C. lalia. There have recently been quite a lot of health problems with dyed, hormone-treated, and virus-carrying gouramis commercially bred in the Far East, so careful selection and mandatory quarantine are required when purchasing these fish. This is a very nice little fish that can work well in a variety of community tanks. Though it isn’t as commonly available as some of the other gouramis, it is well worth the effort to find.

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