We can only work together, not alone or even against each other

Coop­er­a­tion is cru­cial for a project like the Parosphromenus project. This is one of the sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments which have been imple­mented in 2010 com­pared to the ini­tial phase.

It is not pos­si­ble to run a project like this suc­cess­fully within the frame of just one sin­gle organ­i­sa­tion. From the begin­ning we have approached each expert and every seri­ously inter­ested per­son, no mat­ter to which organ­i­sa­tion she/​he belongs. A one-​sided tie to a cer­tain organ­i­sa­tion hin­ders a fact-​oriented inter­na­tional project. The “Arbeits­ge­mein­schaft Pracht­gu­ramis” of the IGL, the nucleus of the project, will remain an impor­tant cen­tre. Still this work­ing group has the largest con­cen­tra­tion of Parosphromenus friends worldwide.

But other organ­i­sa­tions are now our coequal part­ners; today we pro­mote the mat­ter of the licorice gouramis as part of a net­work. Within the Parosphromenus-​Project we explic­itly avoid frag­men­ta­tion of forces and in con­trast aim to con­sol­i­date all avail­able resources under the umbrella of an inde­pen­dent net­work, which works vol­un­tar­ily , does not require a costly mem­ber­ship and gath­ers together any­one who is inter­ested in the exis­tence of these fish. This com­prises the fol­low­ing groups:

In Europe among others

  • Shoal Freswa­ter con­ser­va­tion — Leader Michael Balzer
  • Chester Zoo — Con­tact — Aquar­ium team­leader Andrea Swatman
  • the EATA
  • the „Euro­pean Ana­ban­toid Club“ (AKL/​EAC)
  • the Ger­man umbrella organ­i­sa­tion VDA
  • the IGL
  • the French CIL
  • the Eng­lish AAGB
  • the Swiss umbrella organ­i­sa­tion of aquar­ium– and ter­rar­ium societies
  • and fur­ther national societies
  • but also sin­gle organ­i­sa­tions which sup­port our work (for exam­ple through for­ma­tion of a small work­ing group licorice gouramis)

In the USA our net­work sup­ports, among others

  • the “Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Aquar­ium Soci­eties” (FAAS)

In Asia this com­prises among others:

  • the “Team Borneo”
  • Betta Soci­ety of Malaysia
  • Wildlife Soci­ety of Indonesia

Among the big muse­ums we are coop­er­at­ing with:

  • Nat­ural His­tory Museum London
  • Raf­fles National Museum of Singapore
  • Sarawak State Museum Kuching

Fur­ther coop­er­at­ing research organ­i­sa­tions are among others:

  • the Fish-​BOL-​group in Guelph/​Kanada
  • or The South East Asia Research Cen­tre Hongkong

Only as part of the net­work we can have suc­cess. Any form of con­ser­va­tion has no chance if it is just an ini­tia­tive of a sin­gle group or organ­i­sa­tion. The alter­na­tive would be an insti­tu­tion which could organ­ise this, based on large finan­cial resources and jobs. But in the case of Parosphromenus spp nobody would be able to raise the needed money.

Eata IGL eac-akl betta society of malaysia team borneo

Wildlife conservation Society southeast Asia Research Centre

Where do we find the Parosphromenus and their friends?

As you can see from the top menu, we have a map mod­ule inte­grated into our web­site. Why?

Only for a few other aquar­ium fish is it so impor­tant as for Parosphromenus, to know where they come from. This is because of the exten­sive habi­tat destruc­tion that threat­ens their sur­vival, but also because we have lit­tle knowl­edge of their genetic diver­sity. For some species it is visual: P. nagyi from the region around Kuan­tan looks dif­fer­ent to P. nagyi from the area near Cher­at­ing; in this case the over­all dis­tri­b­u­tion of the species in West Malaysia is quite well known. But for most species we are com­pletely uncer­tain in this respect . One exam­ple is P. parvu­lus: Orig­i­nally we found them from only a few points north west of Ban­jar­masin in Kali­man­tan Ten­gah. Today we know that the species has an appar­ently far greater dis­tri­b­u­tion, and fishes from the area of​Palangkaraya and Babu­gus look a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than fishes from the area of​Tangk­il­ing. But how dif­fer­ent they really are? We do not know.

This is why it is impor­tant that the fishes do not mix while breed­ing. There­fore, one must know where they come from. This is espe­cialy inter­est­ing for forms that are not yet sci­en­tif­i­cally described . They are usu­ally des­ig­nated accord­ing to their local­ity of ori­gin, for exam­ple P. spec. Langgam (a local­ity in Suma­tra) and P. sp. Lundu (Sarawak). Our map mod­ule can now eas­ily assist for the search of such dis­cov­ery loca­tions. Although the satel­lite images, which the cards are based on, are now a lit­tle older, you can see in many places, the begin­nings of for­est destruction.

We are also try­ing to build maps for a dif­fer­ent dis­tri­b­u­tion, that we are inter­ested in as well: the res­i­dences of Parosphromenus aquar­ists. In par­tic­u­lar, those of us who live in a ” Parosphromenus wilder­ness”, where the nodes are very far apart, want to know where the next Parosphromenus enthu­si­ast lives. We are still work­ing on these maps .


How to organ­ise a forum that is both global and regional?

There are many forums in today´s inter­net, includ­ing many aquari­ium forums. Most of them are region­ally lim­ited, full of use­less chat and there­fore not inter­est­ing for seri­ous licorice gourami enthu­si­asts. But some are use­ful, e.g. the very com­pre­hen­sive licorice gourami forum of the IGL, which is reg­u­larly vis­ited by good people:


Unfor­tu­nately it is mainly German-​spoken and its hori­zon sel­dom extends beyond Cen­tral Europe.

If you con­sider that licorice gourami enthu­si­asts exist not only in Europe, but of course in Amer­ica (at least in the U.S. but in Canada as well) and in Asia (not only in Japan, increas­ingly in Thai­land and par­tic­u­larly in Malaysia and Indone­sia) too, then it was clear that our task would be to cre­ate a forum which is use­ful every­where. It is meant to trans­port ques­tions and answers and pic­tures to all places, where some­one is inter­ested in these fish and their fate – to dif­fer­ent coun­tries, even con­ti­nents. It is sup­posed to be use­ful, where some­one wants to com­mu­ni­cate in their neigh­bour­hood, about recent prob­lems but also is intended to assist net­work­ing and the con­ser­va­tion of the aquar­ium stock over long distances.

There­fore we have estab­lished an area “Euro­pean”, where one can dis­cuss mat­ters with North­ern, West­ern, South­ern, East­ern and Cen­tral Euro­pean rel­e­vance. Another area “Amer­i­can” is opened for the friends of the licorice gouramis mainly in U.S. and Canada. Here they can ‘tie their nets’. The area “Asian” is ded­i­cated not only to the peo­ple liv­ing in the home coun­tries of our fish, but also to other Asian coun­tries like Japan as well. Because we are all inter­ested not only in our own sur­round­ings, we will have a look at the “other” areas, too – to learn some­thing new or to estab­lish inter­na­tional and inter­con­ti­nen­tal connections.

But of course, there are many issues about licorice gouramis, which sim­ply deal with facts about the fish and which have no regional rel­e­vance. For these top­ics the area “Global” was estab­lished. Here we can dis­cuss the fish, their liv­ing con­di­tions, breed­ing, prob­lems, etc. Inter­na­tional and inter­con­ti­nen­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tion will mainly take place here.

The whole thing is an attempt to organ­ise a new form of net­work­ing for the ben­e­fit of the licorice gouramis. We would be happy if many peo­ple join us!

So what about the lan­guage? We rec­om­mend using mainly Eng­lish, but of course one can also dis­cuss in Ger­man or French. And if some­one wants to use another lan­guage, every­one is free to do so. There­fore we have imple­mented “Google Trans­la­tor”. If this tool is used, the trans­la­tion might not be per­fect, but most likely it will be pos­si­ble to get at least the point of what the con­tri­bu­tion is about.


Reg­u­lar stock-​checks are the basis for all con­ser­va­tion work

Any con­ser­va­tion work requires knowl­edge about basic facts. Whether in nature or in the aquar­ium: with­out an overview about the actual con­di­tions, no suc­cess­ful con­ser­va­tion strat­egy can be developed.

We are far from hav­ing an overview about the actual sta­bil­ity of licorice gouramis in their nat­ural habi­tats. We only have punc­tual insight at cer­tain and often not in wide­spread areas, because nobody is able to carry out con­stant mon­i­tor­ing in these places. If such biotopes are vis­ited again after some years, it is often fright­en­ing how much destruc­tion has occurred in between. At present we see no way how to sig­nif­i­cantly improve this very poor data base.

How­ever, we have com­pletely dif­fer­ent pos­si­bil­i­ties to the check on our aquar­ium stock of licorice gouramis. Even if it is not yet com­mon in the aquar­ium hobby, it is quite easy to list the avail­able species and forms at given time inter­vals and to eval­u­ate their dis­tri­b­u­tion and breed­ing rate. The project from the very begin­ning has there­fore organ­ised such an inven­tory of the stock at six months inter­vals. A half-​yearly cen­sus is fre­quent enough to avoid hav­ing large infor­ma­tion gaps, but still not too fre­quent to bore or over­strain the participants.

Today the Parosphromenus Project has already col­lected 6 years of such records of licorice gourami stock. They have become the base for the assign­ment of “god­par­ent­hood defined as the respon­si­bil­ity for the con­ser­va­tion of a species or form by cap­tive breed­ing. This only works on a vol­un­tar­ily basis and not always for a longer time, but in gen­eral this instru­ment has been suc­cess­ful. Before the project, almost the com­plete aquar­ium stock of licorice gouramis died out again within a few years. With the begin­ning of our work, the reoc­cur­rence of this cat­a­stro­phy could be pre­vented. Today we have ensured that not a sin­gle species and only very few vari­ants, which were imported in very small num­bers, has become “extinct” in our aquar­i­ums. Since the trend shows that more vari­eties will be avail­able, we have to recruit more mem­bers in order to keep this stan­dard. This is the basis for the renewed Parosphromenus Project and for the attempt of this net­work to win more Parosphromenus enthu­si­asts in all cor­ners of the world. to sup­port and strengthen us in our goals.

In gen­eral, our semi-​annual cen­sus takes place in spring in April (start 01.04., dead­line for stock inven­tory 30.04) and in autumn (start 01.10, dead­line 31.10.). Basi­cally it is very easy to take part in the cen­sus: just write an e-​mail dur­ing the above men­tioned time inter­vals to census@parosphromenus-project, indi­cat­ing your indi­vid­ual stock. In the top menu below the „census-​button“ you can find infor­ma­tion about what has to be con­sid­ered. Please take part in the cen­sus reg­u­larly, even if your stock is only small! Only then we can get a real­is­tic pic­ture. The results will be pre­sented in the newsletter.



Nach dreiein­halb Jahrzehn­ten Prachtgurami-​Aquaristik gibt es mit­tler­weile einige her­aus­ra­gende Fotografen dieser Fis­che. Alle haben einen eige­nen Stil entwickelt.

  • Hans-​Joachim Richter: HJR

  • Dr. Jörg Vierke: JV

  • Gün­ter Kopic: GK

  • Dr. Jür­gen Schmidt: JS

  • Horst Linke: HL

  • Karen Koomans: KK

  • Mar­tin Hall­mann: MH

  • Haji Badarud­din: HB

  • Helene Schoubye: HS

New species described : P. bar­barae

We wel­come the 21st mem­ber of the genus of Parosphromenus: P. bar­barae. The old name is sp. Lundu, sp. Sun­gaiS­tung­gang, sp. allani type 2. But unfor­tu­nately the habi­tats of this species were lost. Wild pop­u­la­tion can­not be found for many years. it is the com­mon fate of many Parosphromenus. With­out proper con­ser­va­tion, we might loose all of them! We must do it before too late!.

Con­grat­u­la­tion to Dr. Tan and Dr. Grinang!




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