Known for its gentle, shy nature, the Chocolate Gourami is a gem that ideally deserves a species or biotope tank due to its special care requirements. For those who take on the challenge, this fish is a beautiful and interesting species to keep.
The Chocolate Gourami reaches an adult size of no more than two inches. Like many Gourami species, they have a flat oval shaped body, small head, and pointed mouth. Its common name refers to the dark chocolate brown color of this Gourami, which can vary slightly from reddish-brown to greenish-brown. Three to five yellow-white stripes run vertically through the body. The fins are long and edged in yellow, with the caudal fin being slightly forked.
Chocolate Gouramis are very sensitive to water conditions. Their native habitats are peat swamps and black water streams. Such habitats have a very low mineral content, which results in an extremely low pH, sometimes below 4.0. The water is very soft, and usually dark from decayed organic material.
Ideally the Chocolate Gourami habitat should be well planted with live plants, including floating plants to maintain subdued light. The water should be conditioned with peat extract, or filtered through peat. Filtration should not produce strong currents within the tank. Therefore, a sponge filter is ideal for this species.
Water should be changed often, but only in small amounts (10 % or less) to avoid major changes in the water chemistry. Cleanliness should be carefully maintained, as the Chocolate Gourami is prone to parasites, as well as fungal and bacterial infections. Keep water temperatures warm, preferably at least 80 F. Leave a few inches of space above the water surface and the top of the tank, and keep the lid closed tightly. This will produce a layer of humid air near the water surface, which this species thrives on.
Their natural habitat: