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Parosphromenus paludicola
by Charles Drew (H&DAS)

This little Licorice Gourami species comes from the eastern Malaysian Peninsula and north to South Thailand where it inhabits slow moving streams and swamps. Barely an inch in length it is a timid little cave spawner, preferring soft, acidic water.

I first acquired these fish in September 1999 in an auction at the Canadian Killifish Convention. They had been brought to the auction by one of our guest speakers Allan Brown, a hobbyist and collector from the UK who has a Parosphromenus species (allani) named after him and a Betta species (brownorum) named after him and his wife. The fish were young and immature and badly stressed when I took them home but I placed them in a tank of soft, slightly acidic water that I had prepared in anticipation of possibly buying some killifish. I was delighted and surprised the next morning to find all five fish still alive.

A couple of months went by and the fish grew and matured. They were fed live baby brine shrimp and the occasional meal of white worms. Then one day I noticed a fish guarding a bubble nest inside a three inch long piece of three quarter inch plastic pipe. I moved the rest of the fish to another tank. Two days later he started acting 'funny' and died.

I then did a little research and discovered that the water they come from is as acidic as 5.5 pH. and as soft as one degree of hardness. I also learned that they are best kept in pairs. Sexing is not too easy although the males are said to have longer ventral fins. I took my guess and split my remaining four into two pairs, each with their own two and a half gallon tank with a sponge filter and plastic pipes to hide or spawn in. The tanks were on a top shelf at eighty degrees and had only room light. A week went by and then one day a fish appeared to be guarding a dime sized bubblenest in a pipe. A couple of days later with the aid of a flashlight, tails could be seen hanging down. About five days later the fry, numbering about fifteen, left the pipe. The parents were moved to another tank and repeated the performance; this time at least twenty fry. At the time for writing they have spawned for the fourth time. The other two are abstainers and are having a platonic relationship.

The fry are about an eighth of an inch and are able to eat live brine shrimp and microworms. They appear to be easy to raise just so as long as the water is kept clean and is of good quality. These fish were a great find and are a good challenge for the experienced aquarist.

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