Fish, Tanks and Ponds

Fish, Tanks and Ponds
A comprehensive guide to fish

Trichopsis pumila

Sparkling gourami

Sparkling gourami, Trichopsis pumilaSparkling gourami, Trichopsis pumila
Photos by Andy Rapson


Trichopsis: Greek, thrix = hair + Greek, opsis = appearance

General Notes:

Trichopsis pumila is a peaceful little fish which can be used in a community tank with other small peaceful fish. They can be kept singly or in groups, Trichopsis pumila isn't a shoaling species but they are peaceful in groups. They are ideal for the planted tank as this is a close representation of their natural environment. Their appearance improves with age and when adult they are beautiful. They make few demands but ideally their water should be mildly acidic to neutral.
Trichopsis pumila because of its size and nature is not really a fish for the complete beginner at fish keeping.


In the wild environment Trichopsis pumila feeds on insects, crustaceans and worms. In captivity they will accept flake food, and both live or frozen food. Trichopsis pumila is quite small and delicate so it may not be able to compete for food if housed with lively boisterous species like tiger barbs.


Peaceful but a little shy, they will not be able to compete for food and may be intimidated with larger and slightly boisterous barbs. Ideal tank mates include Loaches, dwarf rasboras and small peaceful catfish.


The male has a bigger and more colourful dorsal fin when adult.


Trichopsis pumila is a bubble nest builder which is built by the male alone among floating vegetation. Spawning takes place below the nest where the male wraps around the female who then lays a few eggs which the male gathers and places in the nest. This is repeated a number of times until all the eggs have been laid. The male then guards the brood on his own but he is quite fearless about it and will attack any fish which comes to near. If the intention is to raise a brood then a separate spawning tank is a must.
After about four or five days the fry are free swimming although they are extremely small at this stage. Infusoria is the best food for the first week or so and then the fry can be moved on to newly hatched brine shrimps and micro worms. The fry can be quite slow growing. Trichopsis pumila is not easy to breed successfully due to the small size of the fry and so it is better to wait until you have some experience with easier species before attempting this one.

Wild status

Trichopsis pumila is widespread and quite common throughout its natural range. The wild population is stable and the main threat for the future is potential loss of habitat.

Additional information

The species name pumilus means small and is pronounced POO-mil-us. It refers to the relatively small size of the adult fish.

Information at a glance

pH: 6 - 7
dGH: 5 - 19
Temperature: 25 - 28°C (78 - 82°F)
Diet: Omnivore
Size: 4cm (1.7in)
Min tank size: 60 litres
Difficulty level: Intermediate
Aquarium type: Community
Swimming level: All levels

Distribution and habitat

distribution map for Sparkling gourami, Trichopsis pumila

Origin: Asia: Thailand and Laos to Indonesia

Habitat: Found in ditches, small ponds. Mostly in standing or stagnant water that has a lots of cover such as floating plants and may sometimes has low oxygen levels.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Osphronemidae
Genus: Trichopsis
Species: T. pumila (Arnold, 1936)

Other common names:
Pygmy gourami

Synonyms: Ctenops pumilus