Breeding licorice gouramis

Breeding licorice gourami and care guide

Licorice gourami male

General care and description of licorice gouramis

They are a very small and active gourami with horizontal stripes reminiscent of a piece of licorice all sorts, the dark brown type with yellow and black stripes. Licorice gouramis have torpedo shaped bodies completely surrounded by a wall of finnage, except for the head. They only grow to 4cm so are perfect for a nano aquarium set up.

They like very soft almost pure water with a ph about 5ph. They can live in higher ph’s but need the lower ph to be courting and breeding. Use reverse osmosis water or rain water collected from a clean source and the use of peat and Indian almond leaves will acidify the water. A stocking full of peat and/or almond leaves can achieve this. Keep the aquarium at a temperature of 75F.

Change 10% of the water daily, making sure that the new water is exactly the same ph, hardness and temeperature as the aquarium’s water. Licorice gouramis like live food and will need a staple diet of live food and dried food. Daphnia, adult brine shrimp, mosquito larvae and white worms should provide enough nourishment. They will also eat high quality protein micro pellets.

When given these water conditions and quality feeding, licorice gouramis should breed regularly.
Small corydoras catfish and other small gouramis should make reasonable tank mates for a community aquarium.

There are several species of licorice gourami. It is better to buy the easier to keep and breed species: Parosphromenus deissneri. Any other parosphromenus species needs research on its care and breeding.

Equipment required for breeding licorice gouramis

  • male licorice gourami in full breeding colours
    male licorice gourami in full breeding colours

    18 inch tank light and tight fitting lid

  • 50w heater stat
  • floating plants
  • 2 sponge filters powered by air pump
  • java moss around the aquarium
  • cave like structure such as a large half coconut shell

Preparation for breeding licorice gouramis

Feed well with live foods. Move the male to the breeding tank with a sponge filter. Place a half coconut shell into the breeding tank. The shell should have an open entrance and a roof area that will hold a bubble nest. The coconut shell must be below the surface of the water. Large plastic pipes could also be used.

Include floating plants and java moss in the breeding tank but include a bare bottom. Lower the water to 4 inches. Raise the temperature to 82F by 2 degrees per day. When the male has built a bubble nest on the roof of a cave (such as the roof of a coconut shell) and you see a ripe plump female, place the female with the male. The male should have the most brilliant colouring with blues and reds in his fins. They should start spawning almost immediately.

If not then leave them together. They are not aggressive to each other. Anyway, the java moss will provide sufficient hiding places for the female if the male becomes too insistent.

Breeding behaviour of licorice gouramis

Breeding pair of licorice gouramis in spawning site
Breeding pair of licorice gouramis in spawning site

The female goes paler and loses her stripes while the male’s colour will be very pronounced. The pair embrace inside the cave with the bubble nest. The female will lay a few eggs which the male fertilises. The eggs will fall and be held in the ventral fin of the male where the female will snap them up and put them into the roof of the cave where the bubble nest is.

Sometimes, some eggs fall onto the floor of the tank and may be picked up by the male and female and these are also put into the nest. This repeats several times until the female stops laying eggs. Usually about 10-50 largish eggs are laid.
After mating has finished the male will threaten the female and chase her away. Then he will take sole charge of caring for the nest of eggs.

Raising the fry of licorice gouramis

It is better to leave the male with the nest and immediately remove the female when spawning is over. The male will guard and tend to the nest until the eggs hatch. He will continue to put the hatchling fry back into the nest until they become free swimming. At this point promptly remove the male as well. Try cling film around the lid to prevent draughts to preserve the moist and warm air above the aquarium. The air pump and sponge filters should provide sufficient oxygen into the aquarium.

Feed the fry with baby brine shrimp and infusoria. If you see all the fry eating brine shrimp then discontinue the insusoria. Try a drip feed method down an airline hose through a small hole in the lid. Do water changes using the air line hose to avoid disturbing the warm air above the water surface. Change about 5% of the water, twice a day every day. After 7 days depending on the growth of the fry, start feeding microworms.


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