Helostoma temminckii, Cuvier, 1831
Kissing gourami, Pink Kisser
Origin:Thailand, Indonesia: Java, Sumatra, Borneo(Including Brunei and Sarawak). Here they are mainly found in the swamps, but also in beeks and rivers. The fish have been introduced as food fish in several other countries.
First European import: Germany, 1924, by Schult. Xanthoric form was first imported in 1933.
Etymology: Named after Temminck, a Dutch doctor.
Helostoma temminckii, Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1831, Helostoma tambakkan,
Bleeker, 1845, Helostoma oligacanthum, Bleeker, 1845, Helostoma servus,
Kaup, 1863, Helostoma temmincki, Bleeker, 1865.
Description: See pictures.
Care:The fish can get quite large so they need a 125 cm tank minimum, with good filtration and frequent waterchanges. The lips on the fish have as primary function to graze algae, but they are also used for establishing territories and as a part of the mating ritual. They are often described as planteaters, which is only partly true. If the fish are fed well with additional boiled peas, cucumber and salad, hardy plants will hardly be touched. The fish have little requirements toward waterchemistry, they can be kept in hard and soft, basic and acidic water.
Feeding: Small live and frozen food, vegetables.
Size:Some strains up to 30 cm. In aquariums usually smaller, 15-20 cm.
Breeding: In natural circumstances breeding occurs as follows(After Hoedeman, 1952): "At the start of the rainseason large parts of land overflow causing plants to die and start rooting. Large schools of H. temminckii swim into the submerged forest and spawn there. The eggs float and remain hidden by the waste from predators." After 24-36 hours the eggs hatch and the fry will start feeding on the infusoria as soon as their yolksac has been consumed. In aquaria the fish can be bred at 15 cm, in large tanks(Minimal 140*60*60). Lots of floating plants, and maybe some dried leaves or hay at the surface. Frequent waterchanges with soft slightly acidic water will induce spawning. Prior to spawning the well known kissing behaviour of the fish can be observed very frequently. Up to 10000 eggs can be laid, which will hatch within a day, and be free swimming after another day. Huge amounts of infusoria should be fed, combined with very frequent waterchanges. Juvenile Helostoma temminckii swim in schools.
Sexual dimorphism: None. Full grown females ready to mate can be recognized by the presence of eggs.
Prices: Netherlands: 2-12 € depending on size.
Additional:Since the fish has been bred for consumption, a lot of colourvarieties have recently been added. A xanthoric form with brown irregular spots was available in Amsterdam in 2001.
Picture references:Pictures: E. Naus
References: Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.
Linke, H.(1980): Labyrinthfische - Farbe im Aquarium. Tetra Verlag, Melle, Germany.
Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 5. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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