Sparkling Gourami: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Caring for Sparkling Gourami is a luxury, and we can’t stress enough just how much their beautiful coloration will bring your aquarium to life.

With their low maintenance, it’s pretty unfair that these fish species haven’t captured the attention of many aquarists around the world just yet.

Perhaps after reading our guide, you will want to send a message out there that this little gem, with its sparkly look, deserves a place in modern aquariums.  

Don’t get us wrong. They might be popular in some home aquariums, but Sparkling Gourami are still one of the most underrated fish species for some reason.

They are a low-maintenance option that would usually thrive in many aquatic settings. Still, for some reason, many individuals choose to go with other varieties, such as the Dwarf Gourami instead.

Their beautiful scales and coloration make them stand out. But would they survive in your tank? In this guide, we will be shedding light on all things Sparkling Gourami care.

You will learn how to keep your little Gourami friend active by knowing what to feed them, the perfect tank mates to introduce for compatibility, the average tank size, breeding, and much more.

Species Overview

Trichopsis pumila, or Sparkling Gouramis, otherwise known as the Pygmy Gouramis, are predominantly found in Southeast Asia. They love still or sluggish water with plenty of vegetation, which they find in this region.

If you were to see them in their habitat, you would almost certainly locate them in slow-flowing rivers, streams, and ponds. Even rice paddies are enough to act as their perfect homes in the wild.  

ColorDark with Bright Spots
Lifespan4-5 Years
Care LevelEasy
Behavior & TemperamentPeaceful
Food and DietOmnivores
SizeUp to 1.6 Inches
Tank SetupFreshwater
Tank Size (Minimum)15 Gallons

If you’re wondering how they survive under such conditions, Sparkling Gourami have a “lung.” Oh! Well. Not an actual lung, but a unique organ, called the labyrinth, that functions pretty much the same way as the mammalian lung.

Sparkling Gourami will continuously swim towards the water surface, searching for oxygen thanks to this unique organ.  

Despite originating from Asia, their glittering appearance seems to have opened doors for them in many locations worldwide. They’ve been located in Europe and the USA by aquarists who are always amazed at their appearance.


A Sparkling Gourami will have an average lifespan of between 4-5 years. But this is wholly dependent on how much care you’re willing to give them in captivity.

However, this is still a solid lifespan considering most of the species within the Gourami family never exceed five years.


“Sparkling” in their name denotes their glistening appearance. You could argue that it’s unfair for them to display so much beauty in such a small body.

But for these fish, everything is perfectly balanced. It all starts with the limitless color patterns and vibrancy that covers the entire body.

Until you look closely, you would think they are a hail of sparkly bullets inside your aquarium. With long, streamlined bodies, you will only see a thick part in a Sparkling Gourami towards the ventral fins.

The dorsal fins, on the other hand, are just exquisite. So, thin yet so tall that they will slant magnificently as the fish swims.

What’s more, these fish have symmetrically shaped bodies, only ever tapered towards the caudal peduncle. Their caudal fins resemble a shell but with a shorter height that perfectly fits their bodies.

The Sparkling Gourami have dominantly blue fins, supplemented by beautiful black dots and a vibrant red stripe that travels through their bodies. The entire body will maintain a uniform mix of light green, brown or blue colors.

A dark stripe traverses the pectoral fins towards the caudal fin to complete its mesmerizing look. This coloration looks just perfect when the Sparkling Gouramis swim freely in your tank and is one many aquarists can’t ignore.


Sparkling Gouramis are relatively smaller fish that will only grow to a length of 1.5 inches. They are not selective when living in the aquarium and won’t require large tanks unless you’re keeping them in groups.

Think about their small, symmetrical body size, with a glittering appearance, and you will realize what a gem you will be introducing to your aquarium. You won’t stop staring at them when they swim through the plants in groups.

Sparkling Gourami Care

A small freshwater fish that never wants to cause trouble. There are plenty of reasons you may want to introduce the Sparking Gouramis to your aquarium, and low maintenance is undoubtedly one of those.

They come from a harsh environment, and by the time you introduce them to your tank, they will have already developed a hardy character that sets them apart from the rest.

They can get quite comfortable in their new environment that an aquarist quickly forgets to provide quality care. But don’t make this mistake.

Fishkeeping requires meticulous attention to the species’ needs, with quality living conditions always the aquarist’s biggest priority. Pay attention to the Sparkling Gourami’s comfort, diet, and water conditions if you want to increase its lifespan.

Tank Size

A Sparkling Gourami has less demanding tank requirements thanks to its small body size. With just a 15 gallon option, you will have created the ideal environment for their survival while also leaving enough space for controlled swimming and socializing.

The average tank size should be anything between 10-15 gallons. You will need a slightly bigger tank if you are opting for multiple Gouramis in the same space. In such a case, anything between 25-35 gallon tanks would be great.

Water Parameters

Even with their hardy nature, your Gourami buddies will feel the effects of shifting water parameters. These fish may give you little freedom in setting up the tank, but you should never ignore the critical water parameters.

For Sparkling Gouramis, the ideal water temperature should be between 76°F and 82°F. Conversely, the pH levels should range from 6-7. Water hardness, on the other hand, is best kept between 4-8KH.

Like with any fish species, you should keep a close eye on these parameters by constantly evaluating the status of the water through regular tests. Excellent Sparkling Gourami care also entails changing the water at least once every week. 

What to Put in Their Tank?

We mentioned that the Sparkling Gourami is accustomed to two things; still waters and plenty of vegetation in the wild. And this is precisely what they will expect to find in the tank. You may begin by introducing a lot of plants to mimic the actual conditions in their habitat.  

Plant inclusion is the easiest known way to lower stress levels and improve your fish’s comfort inside the aquarium. For compatibility, you will want nothing less than the water wisteria or the Hornwort.

On top of that, your Sparkling Gouramis may benefit from new hiding spots that are not necessarily plant-based. But be sure to give them enough space for swimming.

Common Diseases

Now, this will be music to your ears. There’s no specific disease that targets the entire Gourami family, let alone the Sparkling Gourami. So, anything that will be affecting these fish will be similar to what might harm the whole freshwater fish community.

And we can’t fail to mention the elephant in the room; Ich disease. Like many parasitic conditions, reduced water quality causes the Ich disease. Fortunately, you can solve that by monitoring the status of the water frequently to ensure everything’s just accurate.

If you notice something unusual in your fish, the safest decision will be to separate them from the entire school as soon as possible. With Ich disease, you will probably notice visible sores all over the fish’s body with an unusual swimming pattern or both.

But there’s no need to panic. You can manage it easily with proper medications. Just don’t let it spread to the entire community.

What Do Sparkling Gourami Eat?

Sparkling Gouramis are known omnivores that will be happy to feed on insects and zooplankton in the wild. For the same reasons, you should always include protein in this fish’s diet for healthy living.

A constant supply of daphnia, artemia, and bloodworms would be a perfect treat. Occasional veggies and other supplements are also great to satisfy their unique nutritional needs.

Opting for protein-rich snacks is never a bad idea either. But be sure to get the right quality that promotes healthy living.

Just like with any small fish species, Sparkling Gouramis do carry an increased risk of overfeeding. So, you may need to pay more attention to their feeding habits to avoid giving them more than their little bodies need.

Behavior & Temperament

Calling them peaceful might not be enough to express their true personality. But the Sparkling Gourami is a relatively gentle fish that will never get into trouble with its tank mates.

They are the diplomatic mates of the aquatic scene who would love to avoid any form of confrontation if they can. Perhaps that’s due to their small size.

Generally, they are active and exciting in home aquariums. With the labyrinth, they will continuously swim to the water surface to find oxygen. And that’s the ideal time to sit back and enjoy the mesmerizing scene they create with their swimming prowess.

A little nervousness is part of their daily living, given their relatively smaller size than most other species. But with the right conditions, they will have nothing much to worry about inside your tank.

What’s more, the Sparkling Gourami enjoy one’s company, and you may need to keep them in a small community. Their social life only gets better when they live in groups inside the aquarium.

Sparkling Gourami Tank Mates

You will want to consider the fish’s personality and size when choosing new mates for your Sparkling Gouramis. Ideally, you will want to create the perfect environment for your little pets without endangering their lives.

Remember, they are not the violent types to defend themselves in the presence of an enemy. Choosing an aggressive tankmate would mean endless hiding at the bottom of the tank, away from the perceived enemy.

At the same time, introducing a larger tank mate could quickly turn your Sparkling Gouramis into an afternoon snack for the big fish, who never think twice about confronting these little minnows.

Their peaceful temperament should guide you in selecting the best species to include in the tank. And some of the best pairing mates are listed below;


Sparkling Gouramis are among the easiest fish to breed, and aquarists of any level can do it at home. Just before spawning in the wild, they create bubble nests, which is why you will need lots of natural plants in the tank.

Also, you may want to increase the number of females in the tank for practical breeding. What’s more, breeding in Sparkling Gouramis is best done with slightly raised water temperatures as you will be attempting to recreate the actual conditions in the wild.

Like the entire fish community, the male Sparkling Gouramis will create the bubble nest before “dancing” near the female to attract their attention. If he is successful, the female will then lay eggs for fertilization in the nest.

The males can get quite fierce when guarding the eggs in incubation, which should prompt you to remove the female from the tank just in time. The ultimate step is to remove the male Gourami from the breeding tank and focus on feeding the newborns their standard meal.

Usually, artemia and plankton will be just fine for the newborns for a start. Later, you can introduce ordinary fish food and occasional snacks.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Sparkling Gouramis simplify the whole fish-keeping experience. Considering their low maintenance and ability to thrive in many settings, we believe they could be among the most underrated species in the entire aquatic scene.

If you’ve always wanted the easiest way to make your aquarium stand out, don’t look further than the Sparkling Gourami.

These are unique fish species whose distinctive appearance, beautiful coloration, and low maintenance don’t get spoken about quite often. With everything we’ve covered in this guide, we can’t wait to hear your success story with Sparkling Gouramis!