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Trichopsis pumila, click to see the full size image
Trichopsis pumila, Arnold, 1936

Origin:Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia; Sumatra.Trichopsis pumila

Etymology: Pumilus means small.

Synonyms:Ctenops pumilus, Trichopsis pumilus

First import:Germany, 1913 from Ho Chi Min city

Description: See picture. Difference with Trichopsis schalleri is that Trichopsis schalleri has a elongated caudal tail(filament), and that T. schalleri grows a bit larger(5-6 cm).

Care: These fish are best kept in a species tank, or with other small fish. Trichopsis pumila is a very peaceful fish, that shouldn't be kept together with larger or aggressive fish. A 40 or 60 cm tank will do fine for several pairs. The temperature should be kept in the higher regions, water conditions soft and slightly acidic to neutral water. The tank can and should be densely planted, Trichopsis pumila doesn't require much free swimming space. The fish are pretty indifferent to light, they do well in both shaded tanks with a dark soil, and well lit tanks with a light soil. The fish are really hardy, but to keep them in optimal condition the water should be changed regularly.

Temperature: 25-28 degrees.

Feeding:Small live and flake food. The fish can choke on large food.

Size:3.5-4 cm.

pH: 6.0-7.0

Breeding: Bubblenester. A 40-60 cm species tank with 6 fish in soft, slightly acidic water will usually lead to breeding activity if the temperature is kept at 27 degrees or higher. The males will build a very small nest either in a cave, under driftwood,or below a suitable leaf. Acidic soft water and higher temperatures are necessary. Up to 170 eggs can be laid, which are collected and protected by the male. No need to remove the female(s), Linke even states that the males do a better job protecting the eggs and fry if the female is in the vicinity of the nest. Eggs will hatch after 2 days, and will be free swimming after another 2 days. Parents do not eat the fry. The fry are extremely small, susceptible,and hard to raise.

Sexual dimorphism: None, it's said to be possible to sex the fish since the ovaries can be seen against strong light.


Additional: Unclear to me is why it has been renamed to pumila( as opposed to pumilus). Same goes for Trichopsis vittatus/vittata. The issue is probably just a correct use of Latin, although that goes way beyond giving fish an identifiable name, and actually has nothing to do with fish classification but is more a linguistic issue.

The described habitats for pumilus and vittatus are very similar, but since many mistakes have been made by ichthyologists in the past, mix-ups have occurred. Juvenile vittatus have been defined as pumilus, and vice versa.

Picture references:Picture 1: Henk Grundmeijer. Picture 2: E. Naus


Linke, H.(1980): Labyrinthfische - Farbe im Aquarium. Tetra Verlag, Melle, Germany.

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