The Croaking Gourami (Trichopsis vittata) is perhaps the most common small fish in South East Asia. It grows to 4 – 6.5 cm long. It can be found almost everywhere, except in strongly flowing waters and in the mountains. Freshly caught, the Croaking Gourami is usually very attractively coloured and shimmers in different shades of blue-green, red and violet, but this quickly fades away in the aquarium. Most likely this is due to the fact that in nature the fish usually live in very turbid water where the underwater visibility is only a few centimetres. In this “dirty broth” (the cloudiness usually comes from clay and is hygienically harmless) the fish need strong colours to be able to communicate with conspecifics. In crystal-clear aquarium water, however, the fish feel naked and defenceless and therefore switch the colouring to camouflage mode. Only during reproduction do the magnificent colours reappear.
Croaking Gourami are called that because they can produce easily audible creaking sounds. These sounds are produced when the fish strokes a bone over tendons that run across the air-filled swim bladder. Croaking Gouramis play the guitar, so to speak. The croak itself is powerplaying. The fish croak and the one who croaks the loudest wins. When mating, the males also show by croaking that they are very strong and great. But also the females croak in this species and are very emancipated.
Everywhere the Croaking Gouramis look a bit different. Probably it’s not just one species, but a lot of species that just look very similar to each other. But because there are so many of them, no one has ever dared to split them.
Our Croaking Gouramis come from Thailand and there from the Ratchaburi area. You should not mate them with Croaking Gouramis from other collecting sites, but always breed them pure, otherwise there is the danger of unintentionally breeding bastards that lose their reproductive ability after a few generations.
For our customers: the animals have code 471003 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.
Text & photos: Frank Schäfer