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Fish of the Month
Issue: February 2011

Trichogaster (Colisa) chuna

(HAMILTON 1822)

FOM T 0211

Tony Terceira

Common Names: Dwarf fire gourami, honey gourami, honey dwarf gourami, red flame gourami, red robin gourami, sunset gourami. These and other names used for this species are also used for color morphs of Colisa lalia and for hybrids of T. chuna and C. lalia

Type Locality: India: Ganges River

Range: India and Bangladesh

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Trichopodus chuna. Known for some time as Colisa chuna, with some authors still using that genus. Considered a synonym of Colisa sota. Labyrinth fish have undergone considerable taxonomic reorganization. The famil

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. Live foods are especially appreciated and often necessary to condition breeders.

Breeding: Spawns like bettas and other Trichogaster. The male does not incorporate large amounts of plant parts into the nest as Colisa lalia does. The female should be removed after spawning, and the male should be removed when the fry become free-swimming. Fry are tiny and require microorganisms as their first foods. The young fish are especially delicate during the formation of the labyrinth organ; a covered tank helps provide the warm, humid air they require.

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. It builds a bubblenest for its eggs. Although 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. Males can be quite territorial, but there are usually no problems as long as their tankmates are larger. This species is one of only a couple of commonly available gouramis that can work in a nano aquarium. Most others are too large and boisterous. It may take a bit of effort to find this fish, but it is well worth it.

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