Trichogaster trichopterus, Pallas, 1770
Origin:Thailand, Malaysia, Burma, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia; Sumatra, Banka, Borneo, Java, Madura and Bali, Brunei, and on the Phillipines. In all kinds of waters, mostly in densely planted areas.
Etymology: Trichopterus means hair - fin, referring to the shape of the ventral fins.
Synonyms:Labrus trichopterus, Pallas, 1770, Trichogaster trichopterus, Bloch & Schneider, 1801, Trichopodus trichopterus, Lacepede, 1801, Trichopodus trichopterus, Cuvier & Valenciennes, 1831, Trichopus sepat, Bleeker, 1845, Osphromenus siamensis, Günther, 1861, Osphromenus trichopterus, Bleeker, 1865, Osphromenus trichopterus var. koelreuteri, Günther, Osphromenus trichopterus var. cantoris, Günther, Trichopus siamensis, Sauvage, 1881, Trichopus cantoris, Sauvage, 1884, Trichopodus maculatus, Vipulya, 1923, Osphronemus saigonensis, Borodin, 1930.
First European import: Simulataneous in Germany and the Netherlands, 1896.
Description:See pictures. Anal fin always extends beyond the base of the caudal fin.Above is the original form. A subspecies originating from Sumatra, Indonesia looks similar but has a blue groundcolor, and is known as Trichogaster trichopterus sumatranus, Ladiges, 1933. This form was brought to Hamburg by a sailor in 1933, and is likely to be a natural mutation. Many colormorphs have been bred since, starting with Trichogaster trichopterus var. Cosby, named after the American breeder of the form.Original Cosby's are probably extinct nowadays.
Care:Keep them in a 80 cm tank minimum, the fish are extremely hardy and will tolerate virtually every environment. Temperatures in the middle to higher regions. The fish are somewhat aggressiv, and shouldn't be kept with small or quiet fish. For the same reason only a single male in smaller tanks. Trichogaster trichopterus should only be bought when young. Older fish get so accustomed to their surroundings, that they will turn shy if moved to another tank.Larger fish pollute a lot, decent filtration is necessary.
Feeding: Omnivorous, all food is taken.
Size:Up to 15 cm maximum, but most fish in nature are around 11 cm. In aquariums they rarely exceed 9-10cm.
Breeding:Lower the waterlevel to 15-20 cm in the same tank, do not transfer the fish to another tank since then they'll get very shy, and won't breed. The male will darken, which will bring out the yellow in the anal fin even better, and will build a very large bubblenest, which can measure 15 cm in diameter, although it's not as solid as for instance C. lalia. Sometimes plants are also used. After mating took place it's best to remove the female since males can be aggressiv. Up to 4000 eggs, but usually less.
Sexual dimorphism:Males have a pointy dorsal fin.
Additional:Wildcaught fish exhibit far more beautiful color than aquariumbred fish. Depending on the mood of the fish they can vary their coloration noticeably in seconds.
In the German version Baensch and Riehl report the following: "A fish that is almost impossible to kill" and "will even eat and live on oatmeal and dried daphnia, and because of that in some underdeveloped Aquarium countries still aquarium fish nr 1. ".
The fish will eat Hydra and Planaria, if hungry enough, and are often used to get rid biologically of infestations with both of these unwelcome guests.
The first description by Pallas has been reported twice from 1770, but also twice from 1777.
Picture references:Picture 1,3,4 : E. Naus. Picture 2: M. Rosenstein.
References:Richter, H. J. (1979): Das Buch der Labyrinthfische. Verlag Neumann-Neudamm, Melsungen, Germany.Baensch, H. A., Riehl, R.(1982): Aquarien Atlas I. Mergus Verlag, Melle, Germany.(click on the link to buy this book)
Hoedeman, J. J.(1969): Aquariumvissen encyclopedie 5. Elsevier Nederland B. V., Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
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