Tag Archives: Trichogaster

Colisa lalia now Trichogaster fasciata?!

21. October 2022

For almost 20 years, ichthyologists have disagreed on which rule of the International Rules of Zoological Nomenclature is more important for the gouramis of South and Southeast Asia: the prime directive, according to which everything else must be subordinated to the stability and universal applicability of scientific names, or the various rules that regulate which names are valid in synonyms (i.e. multiple names of the same genus or species).

Those who want stability use Colisa for western gouramis and Trichogaster for eastern gouramis, those who see rules more like lawyers use Trichogaster for western gouramis and Trichopodus for eastern gouramis. In this, the two camps are quite irreconcilably opposed to each other, a sad example of how things should not go in the scientific naming of animals and plants.

The species Colisa/Trichogaster fasciata, which belongs to the western gouramis and was described by Bloch & Schneider in 1801, has always been a problematic case in zoology. The specimen on which the description is based was lost, the drawing to the species is inaccurate and where the fish is supposed to come from (Tranquebar in India, nowadays Tharangambadi) no gouramis of any species could be found until recently, although intensive searches were made.

Until now Colisa/Trichogaster fasciata was considered to be either the large gourami of the Ganges-Brahmaputra system, which was described in 1822 and for which the name Colisa/Trichogaster bejeus is available or (my humble self counts to this) for a South Indian species, which has not been found again as a wild form so far, but which should rather originate from the west coast (Tranquebar and Pondicherry (= Puducherry), from where also a gourami is described, are both located at the east coast; the area was a French colony from 1673 until Indian independence, which is why both Bloch & Schneider and Cuvier & Valenciennes were able to obtain naturalia via ports there; this does not mean, however, that the fish were also caught there). 

Now new life came into the matter. A team of authors around J. D. M. Knight believes that the fish described by Bloch & Schneider is our well-known dwarf gourami. They support their thesis with the fact that preserved dwarf gouramis can have a round-appearing caudal fin and that Bloch’s description of Trichogaster fasciatus explicitly mentions a round caudal fin. However, in reality NO gourami species has a round caudal fin and the dwarf gourami Colisa lalia/Trichogaster lalius was not found in southern India until 1999. It is extremely likely that the dwarf gourami there are due to abandoned or escaped ornamental fish which were not found there in Bloch & Schneider’s time. Nevertheless, Knight et al. are so certain that they declare Colisa lalia/Trichogaster lalius to be an invalid synonym of Trichogaster fasciata.

So now the dwarf gourami has three “official” names, depending on the personal opinion of the scientists involved with it, and five spellings: Colisa lalia, Colisa lalius, Trichogaster lalia, Trichogaster lalius, and Trichogaster fasciata. Whether one writes lalia or lalius depends on whether the name lalius, chosen by the first describer Hamilton in 1822, is an adjective or a noun; Hamilton did not comment on this. In the former case, the fish is called lalia (Colisa and Trichogaster are female (femininum), in which case the Latin word ending for adjectives is -a); in the latter, i.e., if lalius is a noun, it remains unchanged no matter what the gender of the generic name is. With fasciata/fasciatus (Latin for striped) this question does not arise, this is indisputably an adjective and must be adjusted in the gender of the genus. The striped gourami, previously called Colisa/Trichogaster fasciata, should be called Trichogaster bejeus according to Knight et al.

In our stock list, the dwarf gourami and its breeding forms continue to be called Colisa lalia. This has technical and economical reasons, but at the same time we are out of this name mess. The pictures for this post show Colisa lalia „Neon Colour“, Code 411605, „Flame Red“, Code 411705, „Cobalt“, Code 411555, and wild coloured, Code 411505 on our stock list. Please note that we only supply wholesale.


Knight, J. D. M., Nallathambi, M., Vijayakrishnan, B. & P. Jayasimhan (2022): On the identity of the banded gourami Trichogaster fasciata with notes on the taxonomic status of Trichopodus bejeus (Teleostei: Perciformes: Osphronemidae). Journal of Fish Biology: [1-5].

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Trichogaster leerii “Gold“

22. July 2022

Gold forms – also called xanthorists – are quite common in fish, even in nature. Ever since the beginning of man’s records of natural phenomena, there has been talk of golden perch, carp, crucian carp, tench and pike. Of course, such mutations occur much more often in breeding than in the wild, because there such strikingly colored animals soon become victims of predators. 

In the case of the Pearl Gourami (Trichogaster leerii, sometimes also called Trichopodus l.) a gold form has only been known for a comparatively short time. It is difficult to say whether this will become established on the market or remain a rarity. But compared to the first specimens we received in 2015 (see https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/trichogaster_leerii_gold_en/ the animals we can offer now are much stronger. 

We have also made a small film about these fish, which you can watch here: https://www.facebook.com/AquariumGlaser/videos/2059837734199427.

For our customers: the animals have code 469552 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Colisa labiosa Ruby Red

19. January 2022

Besides the orange colored breeding form of this gourami from Burma (see https://www.aquariumglaser.de/en/fish-archives/colisa-labiosa-orange-2/) there is also a very attractive, deep red colored breeding form. In order to keep these wonderful animals in their bright coloration permanently, it is necessary to provide certain types of food (e.g. Cyclops, Spirulina or also special flake food). Without the natural substance astaxathin contained in it, the colors will otherwise fade in the long term, just as in the case of flamingos, whose red coloration is based on the same substance. In addition to its positive effect on coloration, astaxanthin is also very healthy, as it is a natural antioxidant that reduces inflammatory processes. In human nutrition, astaxanthin is considered a dietary supplement.

But back to the Colisa! They are very beautiful and peaceful gourami, perfect for well-maintained community tanks with rich plant growth and also peaceful by-fish.

For our customers: the animals have code 411434 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply wholesale.

Trichogaster leerii WILD – Borneo

30. October 2020

The pearl gourami (Trichogaster leerii, Trichopodus leerii) is one of the most popular aquarium fishes at all. It is probably not exaggerated if one assumes millions of individuals in aquariums all over the world. All these fish are bred ones. It is only little known that the pearl gourami belongs to the endangered species as a black water inhabitant in the wild, because the habitat is dwindling more and more. We have already succeeded in importing animals from southern Thailand (https://www.aquariumglaser.de/fischarchiv/trichogaster-leerii-wild/) and from Sumatra (Jambi), now also from Borneo.

We very much hope that interested enthusiasts will succeed in building up strains of this wonderful animal of known origin by the occasional import (a threat to the free-living stocks by such removals is excluded from a scientific point of view). This would be an active contribution to the protection of species. Already frequently, species or populations of small fishes could be saved from extinction by such hobbyist—based breedings. However, a possible return to nature may only be attempted with animals whose original origin is known.

For our customers: the fish have code 469513 on our stocklist. Please note that we only supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Trichogaster leerii

26. June 2019

The Pearl Gourami (Trichogaster leerii) is an absolute classic among the ornamental fish. The species is always available in the petshops all over the world and they are usually quite cheap. These traded fish are bred ones. Wild collected ones are hardly ever offered; the species is endangered in the wild, because the habitats become destroyed in a very great amount. Sadly the quality of the bred fish sometimes is not as good as it should be. This is due to the low price the breeders get for the animals. But currently we have obtained wonderful, fully coloured specimens from a local breeder.

For our customers: the fish have code 469504 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Colisa lalia

28. January 2019

The dwarf gourami is the perfect ornamental fish. It unites magnificent coloration, a peaceful mind and an interesting behaviour. It becomes only 3 cm (wild caughts) or 6 cm (artifical bred sports) long and due to its calm habit it can be kept even in smaller tanks. And if it comes to feeding: the dwarf gourami happily accepts any type of fish food, may it be dried, frozen or alive. The only condition: food particles must not be too big, because the dwarf gourami has a tight throad. Sometimes the dwarf gourami is named Trichogaster lalius, but this is an opinion we do not follow.

For our customers: the xxl show animals (bred ones) have code 411505, the wild collected ones 411523 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.

Text & photos: Frank Schäfer

Trichogaster leerii Wild

30. June 2017

For the first time we obtained wild collected pearl gourami from Thailand. This is worth mentioning for several reasons. First, it is very ambigously discussed in the scientific literature wether the species occurs in Thailand at all; twice: the wild populations of the pearl gourami are declining terryfing fast, for the species is strictly adopted to blackwater (collecting the fish for or the trade has no impact on natural populations); and finally we have even good informations where the fish were collected. They originate from Narathiwat province near the city of Su-Magi Kolok. At this place usually the glass catfish (Kryptopterus vitreolus) is collected.

Initially the new arrivals looked very similar to their bred cousins. But a closer look showed an interesting difference: in the wild females the back has almost not pearl-spots! Currently the fish are something larger than half-grown (6-8 cm).

For our customers: the fish have code 469513 on our stocklist. Please note that we exclusively supply the wholesale trade.