Origin: Indonesia; Sumatra, near Djambi; Borneo, and in Malaysia
Etymology: Sphaerichthys= circle like, referring to the round body shape. osphromenoides: Looks like osphromenus(Refers to osphronemus gurami).
Synonyms: Osphromenus malayanus, Osphromenus notatus.
First European import:Germany: J. Reichelt, 1905.
Description: See pictures
Care:Very frequent waterchanges are required, the fish are very sensitive to waterquality. It's best to do smaller more frequent waterchanges. Temperature in the higher regions, dark soil and some floating plants. Soft and acidic water. Can be kept well with barbs, but a normal community tank will earmark them for death. It's best to keep them in schools of 5 or more in larger tanks.
Feeding:Lots of live food(artemia, daphnia, drosophila, bloodworms) and frozen food, but they will also take flake food.
Breeding:S.osphromenoides is one of the really hard to breed fish. There are a lot of myths around the breeding of this fish. From personal observation: the fish is a mouthbreeder. Previously it was described to be a livebearer, bubblenestbuilder, and also free laying species. Some of these errors may be explained by mixups. Hoedeman (1969) describes that he observed that the eggs were first deposited on a stone, and that the male collected the eggs. The male spit the eggs out again, and they were eaten by the female. He probably watched a failed breeding attempt, where the female rejected the eggs.In the picture on the left a 10 day old juvenile can be seen. In chocolate guramies the female takes the initiative, but is dependant on the males willingness. I f male is willing, up to 80 eggs are laid, which the male collects and spits out in front of the female. The female catches the eggs offered by the male, and will keep them in the mouth for approximately 14 days. During this period the male will guard her against possible attackers. The released fry will immediately eat artemia, but if solely fed on artemia lots of fry will die(Artemia does not contain all vitamins required by fish, and there is also a salinity issue that could cause this to happen)For more details on how to breed the fish see the breeding report(s) (Under construction)below.
Sexual dimorphism:Males can be distinguished from females by the white regions in the caudal tail, and the larger finnage in full grown fish. Males have a straight throatline, which is rounded in females.
Prices: Netherlands: 3-5 Euro for normal fish.
Additional:Since Chocolate guramis are extremely sensitive to waterquality, some keep them as indicator species in discus tanks. The gurami shows sign of discomfort a long time before the discus do.
Picture references:Picture 1, 2 and 3: Henk Grundmeijer. Picture 4: E. Naus.
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