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Sparkling Gourami: Pictures, Size, Care, Tank Setup & More

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

sparkling gourami in black background

The Sparkling Gourami is just one name for which the species is known. It’s also called the Pygmy, Dwarf Croaking, and Purring Gourami. This Asian fish is an excellent choice for beginners. It isn’t a picky eater, and it is relatively hardy. The species is peaceful, although it can be shy sometimes. Therefore, you must be careful about the tankmates you choose to create the optimal setting.

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Quick Facts About the Sparkling Gourami

Species Name: Trichopsis pumila
Family: Osphronemidae
Care Level: Easy
Temperature: 77℉–82℉
Temperament: Peaceful but shy sometimes
Color Form: Brown, blue, and silver
Lifespan: 4 years
Size: Up to 1.6 inches
Diet: Carnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Setup: Well-planted tank with hiding places
Compatibility: Peaceful with other community fish

Sparkling Gourami Overview

sparkling gourami in black and green background
Image Credit: Ian Grainger, Shutterstock

The Sparkling Gourami lives in the inland waters of southeast Asia in countries like Vietnam and Thailand. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) classifies it as a species of least concern because of its abundance in the wild. The organization doesn’t recognize any immediate threats. Fortunately, it’s also easy to breed in captivity.

How Much Do Sparkling Gouramis Cost?

Sparkling Gouramis aren’t expensive. You can easily find them for around $5 apiece. They aren’t schooling fish, although they fare well in small groups. They are affordable additions to your aquarium since they breed in captivity. We recommend buying from sellers that include a health guarantee with your purchase.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

The Sparkling Gourami is the quintessential peaceful community fish. This species is shy instead of aggressive. You don’t have to worry about it chasing other tankmates. The opposite is more likely to occur. Cover is essential because of this trait. Fortunately, they are hardy and relatively tolerant of less-than-ideal conditions.

Appearance & Varieties

The Sparkling Gourami isn’t a big fish, but it’s one you’ll notice because of its beauty. Its sparkle comes from the species’ pigments, which contribute blue, green, and red to its coloration. Its body is elongated with a dark stripe and mottling along its length. The mixture of colors is striking. The species’ primary colors are brown, blue, and silver. That selection accounts for its name.

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How to Take Care of Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling Gouramis can breathe atmospheric air from the surface of waterways and tanks. It’s a feature they share with Bettas. That allows them to live in shallow waters in the wild and be tolerant of poor water conditions in captivity. It’s an adaptation that helps them survive when nature stacks the cards against them. However, it’s not an excuse to neglect your fish.

sparkling gourami in aquarium
Image Credit: Ian Grainger, Shutterstock

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

The temperament of this species plays a significant role in your tank setup. Cover and plants are vital for controlling stress and keeping your fish healthy. They often live in conditions in the wild where plants interfere with oxygen exchange. That accounts for their breathing ability. It also provides clues about the ideal aquarium environment.

Plants and Substrate

Plants are an integral part of the setup, which provide cover. These fish usually don’t eat them, making cover their primary purpose. They tend to occupy the top and middle parts of the tank. You can keep the bottom open with the necessary additions for the other tankmates. You can use a dark-colored substrate to highlight the silvery sheen of the fish. However, it isn’t imperative.

Aquarium Size

A 10-gallon tank is the minimum size for the Sparkling Gourami, although you can certainly ramp it up if you want a well-stocked community tank. A long tank is preferable to a tall one, based on the areas of the water column that these fish will use. We suggest keeping this factor in mind when deciding on tankmates that may have similar preferences.

Water Conditions

The Sparkling Gourami is a tropical species that accounts for its preferred temperature range of 77℉ to 82℉. It also thrives in slightly acidic conditions between 6.0 to 7.0 pH. The water should be on the soft side, with a dH of 5–19. Although the fish is hardy, we recommend regular water testing, bimonthly water changes, and routine cleaning to keep the conditions stable.

holding PH tests in front of freshwater aquarium
Image Credit: M-Production, Shutterstock

Tank Setup

Captive-bred fish often retain many qualities of their wild counterparts. The Sparkling Gourami is no exception. It’s a prey species that fuels its shyness and need for cover. The latter is most important for the top of the tank, although it won’t hurt to have it available elsewhere. A heater is essential to maintain a constant temperature that doesn’t fluctuate needlessly.


While a power filter is best, you shouldn’t have turbulent conditions in the tank. They are more likely to live in slower waters than a pump blowing at full blast would create.

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Are Sparkling Gourami Good Tankmates?

The Sparkling Gourami does its part to create a peaceful environment. It’s not going to be the spoiler in your aquarium. It is a diurnal species that feeds primarily on insects and plankton. It’ll get along just fine with bottom feeders like Otocinclus Catfish. Other options include livebearers such as platies and similarly sized species such as loaches and rasboras.

otocinclus catfish in aquarium
Image Credit: PRAPHAKORN LIMRAT, Shutterstock

What to Feed Your Sparkling Gourami

The Sparkling Gourami is a carnivore in the wild, relying mostly on insects and larvae. You should give your fish frozen foods, such as bloodworms and daphnia, for protein. Plants can supplement their diet and provide other essential nutrients. Fortunately, these fish aren’t picky eaters. They’ll readily eat commercial foods like pellets and flakes.

Keeping Your Sparkling Gourami Healthy

Optimal water conditions are vital for keeping your gourami healthy. Regular water changes and testing are imperative for maintaining stable conditions and reducing stress. After all, the latter makes any species more vulnerable to parasites and disease. Carnivores, such as the Sparkling Gourami, can tolerate times of low food availability. However, lethargy and loss of appetite are red flags for illness.


You may have luck breeding your Sparkling Gouramis if you provide the right conditions. They are bubble nesters. Increasing the water temperature in shallow water can trigger it. Plants are necessary for it to occur. We also suggest temporary quarters with more females than males to ensure success. Interestingly, the male builds the bubble nest and tries to get the female to release her eggs.

The male takes the main role after the eggs are fertilized. It’s a behavior they share with bettas. However, the male is like other fish when the defense ends and the fry hatch. You should remove him from the breeding tank lest he eat the young.

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Are Sparkling Gourami Suitable For Your Aquarium?

The Sparkling Gourami is an attractive fish that will make a beautiful addition to your community tank. It is a peaceful species that won’t bother other tankmates. Their coloration is another point in its favor. We can see a lovely display with other iridescent tankmates. Fortunately, you’ll find plenty of suitable fish to add to your community aquarium.

Featured Image Credit: Ian Grainger, Shutterstock

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