Not every aquar­ium is suit­able for licorice gouramis

photo H.Schoubye

A suit­able aquar­ium for licorice gouramis is small, since the fish tend to “dis­ap­pear” in larger tanks and it can become dif­fi­cult to pro­vide them with enough food. Their spe­cific require­ments with regards their envi­ron­ment can hardly be met in a nor­mal com­mu­nity tank. They need tran­quil­lity and are wor­ried by lively fish swim­ming around them con­ti­nously. Above all, they need extremely soft water with very low pH value (mostly between 4.5 and 6.5) so that many demand­ing plants will not grow well under these con­di­tions. And they do not like bright lights. If nor­mal liq­uid plant fer­tiliser is used, the con­cen­tra­tion of dis­solved sub­stances in the water will be increased, but exactly the oppo­site is wanted. One have to realise that also in our bylack peat waters only poor plant grow is pos­si­ble, due to the low con­tent of nutrients.

It is still pos­si­ble to have good licorice gourami tanks with plenty of plants; some­times they can even be lux­u­ri­antly planted. But only few plants will sur­vive and hence are suit­able, despite the lack of light and nutri­ents in such water val­ues: many mosses, e.g. Java moss, Cryp­to­co­rynes and espe­cially Cer­atopteris thal­ic­troides, kept as a float­ing plant. This plant is very valu­able, because it removes all excess nutri­ents from the water with their dense free float­ing roots. This is par­tic­u­larly advan­ta­geous for small tanks , because over­feed­ing, which hap­pens often, can partly be com­pen­sated for.

photo P.Finke

Allan Brown has kept and bred his licorice gouramis in pairs very suc­cess­fully in 5 L tanks. Of course he had to change the water reg­u­larly, often even daily. But already from a tank size of 10L upwards (tank size Peter Finke) this effort can be reduced to weekly par­tial water changes, if there is a good Cer­atopteris growth. The ideal tank size for 1 pair of licorice gouramis is 20 to 25 L (Gün­ter Kopic, Mar­tin Hall­mann and many oth­ers). It does not seem as if the fish would need more space. The keep­ing of licorice gouramis in pairs is advis­able for those who intend to carry out exten­sive breed­ing. If sev­eral pairs are kept together, they should either be from the same species or sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent – espe­cially because of the sim­i­lar­ity of the females. How­ever under these conditions,

fry will only be brought up besides the older fish in very rare cases.

photo P.Finke

For each pair, a small cave is needed for the tank. The hor­i­zon­tal ceil­ing should not be inclined in a way that the egg clutches might slip out of it. The place within the tank and the mate­r­ial of the case plays no sig­nif­i­cant role. Even float­ing black film-​boxes and some­times cork bark will be accepted. are Small branches of soaked acidic wood from moors are advis­able, which struc­ture the water­space as well as well soaked beech or oak leaves on the floor as shel­ter for small fry. This can be found in the nat­ural habi­tats as well. But even in unplanted tanks with­out a sub­strate or any other dec­o­ra­tion, just with a small fil­ter and one or two caves, licorice gouramis can be bred.

Air-​operated, weak sponge fil­ters are bet­ter suited than fast cen­trifu­gal fil­ters. Any­one who does not over­feed, can com­pletely do with­out any fil­ter. If you want to be on the safe side,you should use small fil­ters and begin­ners should use them in any case. The water tem­per­a­ture can be as low as 23° C. In many cases (just as in the nat­ural habi­tats), higher tem­per­a­tures around 2628°C can help to trig­ger the spawn­ing behav­iour. How­ever, Parosphromenus can­not cope with higher tem­per­a­tures for a long time. At around 30°C,they show clear signs of dis­com­fort by using their labyrinth hec­ti­cally (what they usu­ally not do, except for build­ing the bub­ble nests), this indi­cates any improper water value, often too high temperature.



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