The sec­ond of the two prob­lems to be solved: the food

Black mosquito larvae photo H.Schoubye

Besides the water, the sup­ply of proper food is the sec­ond prob­lem each licorice gourami enthu­si­ast has to solve. There are no fur­ther prob­lems, just these two. Parosphromenus only eat live food. Some­times they accept fro zen live food, but we would not advice this. Such food “bleeds out”, before it is eaten and espe­cially the small water bod­ies of the Parosphromenus tanks would be spoiled quickly. Use only live food. This makes the care of small tanks much safer, as if the keeper would be depen­dent on dry food. The great mar­ket suc­cess of the fil­ter man­u­fac­tur­ers has to do with this fact: the mod­ern aquar­is­tium hobby has become based on dry food.

.In any case it is advis­able to offer food vari­ety. Between Artemia nau­plia and white mos­quito lar­vae or young shrimp; every­thing that fits into the Parosphromenus mouth. For the expert it is clear that a varyied diet is impor­tant to get the fish pre­pared for spawn­ing. An exclu­sively fibre-​rich diet (Daph­nia) will not be suf­fi­cient; this can only be an (impor­tant) food sup­ple­ment. Mos­quito lar­vae, Moina and Artemia are thus the most impor­tant live food sup­plies for a good Parosphromenus diet. Some must be caught in the wild, while oth­ers can be bred in the gar­den or even in the house. In any case it is pos­si­ble to get a very good food base with sim­ple food cul­tures to over­come the win­ter sea­son, when out­doors food is not available.

Artemia setup Photo H.Schoubye

Ergiebige Moina-Zucht. Foto: P. Finke

Black and white mos­quito lar­vae will be eaten espe­cially eagerly; both come close to the nat­ural diet. Red mos­quito lar­vae as well as Tubifex should be avoided, because they can carry dis­eases. Small Daph­nia and Bosmina will be eaten, but they have hard shells and have few nutri­ents. More pop­u­lar are the soft-​shelled Moina, which can also eas­ily be bred. Sim­i­larly easy to breed are Grindal worms, but they should be fed only in small amounts because of the dan­ger of fatty degen­er­a­tion. For small fry, micro– and vine­gar worms can be fed. Some Parosphromenus breed­ers feed small shrimp, which is a near nat­ural form of feed­ing. How­ever, espe­cially in inten­sive Parosphromenus breed­ing, very young fry could be prey for the shrimp.

A good food for fish of all ages is freshly hatched Artemia. Even adult licorice gouramis, which could eas­ily eat much larger food, will eat them will­ingly and can even be pre­pared for spawn­ing with it. Tak­ing into account that vari­ety is always advis­able, it is how­ever pos­si­ble to cre­ate a good food base with Artemia. The big advan­tage of Artemia is that they will be eaten will­ingly by licorice gouramis of all ages. Even young fry secretly liv­ing in the parent´s tanks will get their share. The small­est Parosphromenus fry, imme­di­ately after they start to swim free, might be able to eat small Artemia nau­plia, but some­times they are not. For these species, rotifers are ideal, but also Para­me­cia are accept­able. Cul­ture of these is also possible.

Dafnia Moina tank and hyalella azteca container. Photo H.Schoubye Harvesting vinagre eels. Photo H.Schoubye Microworms different views. Photo H.Schoubye Artemia ready for use. Photo H.SchoubyeHyalella azteca. Photo H.Schoubye

Again, this kind of per­ma­nent live food sup­ply might appear to be com­pli­cated and dif­fi­cult, espe­cially for those, accus­tomed to tak­ing food from the can. In fact, it is not – it is just a mat­ter of habit. It makes the care for small tanks much eas­ier and frees the enthu­si­asts from being depen­dent on the food industry.



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