The Pygmy gourami, Trichopsis pumila, is one of the prettiest labyrinth fish. With a maximum length of 4 cm (usually it stays one centimeter smaller) it is a real dwarf fish. The species occurs in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia. Although the species is an obligatory air breather, so would drown if you block its way to the water surface (which of course nobody would do), the Pygmy gourami lives more bottom-oriented. Often you can see the animals searching the ground for potential food in a 45° angle with their head down.
Also the foam nest is usually not built at the water surface but near the ground. The male likes to erect the usually walnut-sized foam structure on the underside of an aquatic plant, e.g. a Cryptocoryne.
The colouring varies enormously from one individual to another. A horzitontal band is always present, it can appear more or less as a dark stripe or be formed by a row of dots. The dots in turn can be round or oval. Above these central band there is a second band, usually formed by dots. The dots are brown-red, the scales are shiny emerald-green depending on the angle of the incoming light.
Unfortunately the sexes are very difficult to distinguish. The best way to do this is with the “see-through method”. In the back light the visceral sac of the males appears rounded at the rear end, that of the females appears triangular because of the ovaries rising to the back. Males can also be eavesdropped, because in T. pumila only the males can growl. With the other Trichopsis species the females, however, give strong answers.
For our customers: the animals have code 470803 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer