Name: Trichogaster microlepis
Origin: Thailand, Cambodia
These fish are so beautiful and graceful. I LOVE them. I have 2 females, so there are no aggression problems. Males will develop a red chest and red feelers. Once they reach maturity, male moonlights become very aggressive and territorial. I've been a part of occasional debates as to whether or not these fish can be kept in tanks with live plants. They use plant matter to make their nests, so if you don't mind leaves that look like they were attacked with a hole puncher, go for it! Mine are in a tank with lots of BABY plants which are anchored in place with fishing line. If the plants were not anchored, they would be constantly uprooted and would need to be replanted. Because of this, I recommend using thick leaved plants such as Anubias varieties. Not only can these plants be firmly attached to things, but the moonlights do not seem interested in eating them. I also recommend Java fern for the same reasons. Unfortunately, the moonlights in my tank enjoy snacking on the roots of Java fern. These fish are extremely easy to feed. They love live and frozen meaty foods, flake, spirulina wafers, and just about anything that gets tossed into the tank! They are a wonderful "centerpiece" fish for large aquariums. Their silvery sheen is quite beautiful, especially in full grown specimens. They are a bit fussy about water quality, which will keep their keepers on top of water changes. If a moonlight gourami is sucking air from the surface of the tank, a water change is needed. For my tank, this is once a week, 30% without fail.
I had 2 Moonlight Gouramis in my tank, one about 9 cm, the other 13 cm. The smaller one was always given a terrible time, being bullied by the larger fish. In time the smaller one turned on the large one, and eventually bit her face so much, infection set in, and the large Gourami died. Once the smaller Gourami was on its own, it began attacking every fish in the tank, in particular my 2 Angelfish. I decided enough was enough, and I have a tank divider in place now. The Gourami seems fine in her own space, but the 2 Angelfish are never away from the divider, swimming in a repeatedly ramming the divider, as if they are trying to get the Gourami. Curious behaviour for Angelfish! I now feel sorry for the Gourami (although it is her own fault!).
The Moonlight Gourami is quite beautiful. They are peaceful and act quite a bit like the Pearl Gourami (T. leeri). Moonlight Gouramis come from Thailand, Cambodia, where the water is rather slow moving. A male's pelvic fins are normally orange to red (like T. leeri) The female's pelvic fin is usually a yellow color. A healthy adult Moonlight Gourami would have a red iris. They prefer a tank that's roomy and has a lot of plants (fine leaved or delicate plants may get damaged, so watch out). If you want to breed the Moonlight Gourami you should reduce the water level since they are bubble nest builders (make sure there isn't a current, or else the nest will get destroyed). The fry should be fed infusoria made up of banana skins and lettuce leaves. Mature Moonlight Gourami's will eat flakes since they are omnivorous. The Moonlight Gourami can grow up to about 19-20 cm. The temperature of the tank should be 26-30°C. The pH should be kept between 6.0-7.0 and the water hardness 2-25°dGH. From my experience the Moonlight Gourami is a wonderful fish to have, they are absolutely stunning during spawning season. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
My female moonlight gourami died at the age of 7 years, and I still miss her. She was one of a pair that spent the summer in a very warm pond, and her buddy died in the pond. She was the lone gourami in a 150 L community tank with tetras, a red tailed shark, clown loaches, and a large angelfish. She spent the first 6 months hiding behind the plants along the back wall, but when she finally calmed down she interacted peacefully with every fish in the tank. After 2 years I added a small geophagus. When he matured and began eating the small tetras and chasing the other fish, my moonlight was the only fish not afraid of him. She didn't bully him, but they spent part of each day nose-to-nose in a stare down. She didn't have a yellowish area on her body, but her trailing fins were yellow.
I've had my moonlite for about three years now. He's roughly 17 cm long and lives in a 170 liter tank. Whenever I introduce new fish to his tank he swims over and taps them with his feelers. He's not aggressive, which is good when I want to introduce new fish. I used to have an opaline gourami female that beat up every other fish in the tank. This guy is nice and mellow.
The Moonlight Gourami often becomes territorial as they mature - not only with their own kind but other fish as well, so I've kept mine in a 80 L tank after he went after my cory cats at feeding time (he/she was the runt of the litter and has stayed relatively small about 10 cm). The tank is planted with Anubias (tougher) and some wood/rocks. Very personable as fish go. I feed frozen food, types rotated and warmed up of course, and the occasional smashed snail which he loves. These fish absolutely need vegatable matter, hence the mention of other posts with eaten plants. You can steam Zucchini (sans peel) peas (sans outer layer) or any softer vegetable type - or do as I do and float some softer plants for his diet. (Anacharis, sword leafs that are older from another planted tank so on). They scout for this vegetable matter all day long and any algae in the tank gets munched on as well. I have added a small school of fast moving pearl dianos - he can't catch those! (their color goes well with the moonlight - silver blue/purple 'theme'). The Moonlight Gourami is a beautiful fish for those who like fish with more muted tones.