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Fish of the Month
Issue: May 2004

Trichopodus trichopterus

PALLAS 1770


JLRphotography/Shutterstock

Common Names: three-spot gourami, blue gourami, plus color morphs

Type Locality: Indonesia

Range: widespread in Asia and Southeast Asia

Taxonomic Troubles: Originally described as Labrus trichopterus. Gouramis have undergone substantial taxonomic revisions, but this species has been known by its current name for a long time.

Size: 15 cm (6 inches)

Preferred Water Chemistry: Tropical fresh water. Temperature 22 to 28 degrees Celsius (72 to 83 degrees Fahrenheit), pH 6.0 to 8.0, hardness 70 to 250 ppm.

Difficulty: Very hardy and adaptable, excellent for beginners.

Tank Setup: Ideal is a planted tank with low current. Their natural habitat includes both sluggish backwaters and seasonally flooded areas

Feeding: An omnivore, but largely carnivorous, a micropredator. Will take all types of prepared, frozen, freeze-dried, or live foods. May nibble on live plants. This species is often used to control Hydra infestations; they also eat snails.

Breeding: A typical bubblenester, easily spawned. Males have longer, more pointed dorsal and anal fins; females become very rounded with eggs. Males can be quite hard ont heir mates; make sure there are plenty of hiding places. Spawns of this fish can number into the thousands. The fry are easily raised on micro foods and can soon take brine shrimp nauplii.

Description: Typical gourami form--asymmetrical, rounded V-shape. with apex at the mouth.  WIld type has two round spots, midbody and at the caudal peduncle; the eye makes the third spot.  A plethora of domestic color morphs have been established, including opaline (Cosby), gold, platinum, and lavender.  These are all the same species, and they will freely interbreed.

Notes: This popular species has two drawbacks for the typical community setup: it gets quite large, and males are usually aggressive with each other. Otherwise, with its small mouth and peaceful nature, a pair or trio makes a good choice for a larger community tank. The long, antenna-like ventral fins, which give the fish its scientific name ("hair stomach," "hair fin") are used dynamically to feel the way through and around obstacles. The fish also seem to use them in greeting and identification, touching each other lightly. Although the domestic varieties have largely replaced the original three-spot gourami in the trade, this species is a perennial favorite. It has been common in the aquarium hobby since the beginning and remains a good fish for both beginning and advanced hobbyists. Many veteran fish breeders were encouraged early on by success with this easy-to-spawn species. Again, the only caution is to realize that the 2- to 3-inch juveniles typically found for sale will double or triple in their size when full-grown.

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