Name: Trichopsis pumila|
Origin: Vietnam, Thailand, Sumatra|
My mother has her Gourami tank full of all different kinds of fish from the Chocolate to the Sparkler and almost anything in between. These little Sparklers are the attention getters. Even for their small size they have a wonderful glimmer in their eyes. Sparklers are very peaceful, friendly, and even seem to recognize us.
These fish are relatively peaceful...in fact, I've had no fuss out of them. I have them in a community fish tank set up which includes a combination of various Tetras (Neons, Skirts, Bloodfins), White Clouds, a couple of Kuhlis and a "Common" Pleco. They are very tiny and blend in well with my plants, but with the right lighting, it will bring out their "sparkles".
This species is also sometimes called the Dwarf Croaking Gourami, as it "croaks" when it gets excited or afraid, and sometimes when they spawn. They stay relatively small, only 3 cm, and are recommended for species tanks only, probably because they are easy to be eaten. The female's spawn can be seen from inside her body as a yellowish mass, but breeding is tricky and requires shallow water. It should probably be warm, too. They make a small bubblenest that is usually underneath leaves that will float, and the fry are very small and need to eat very small things, such as infusoria. Most of this info was found in a book, but after owning some Gouramis, I know that it is mostly true.
These are hands down my favorite of the small fish! These are not to be confused with the Croaking Gourami, but they DO make some really strange clicking noises. First, they'll circle around each
other and then zoom in with their dorsal fins "scraping" and as they "scrape" each other, back to back, they elicit a "clicking" noise. They do it off & on during the day, but mostly this happens at night once I've turn the light off.
These fish supposedly grow to 5 cm in length, but the largest one I have is 3 cm. It's about a year and a half old, and always comes to see me when I look into the tank. These fish are VERY shy. Having "dither" type fish, such as Neon Tetras, helps to bring them into the open. When they make their appearances, they like to stay under a leaf. It's just the nature of the fish.
Shy, but darling unless they're circling and clicking! :)
They are extremely easy to feed. They like anything: flake, shrimp pellets, live brine shrimp, etc. They do NOT eat plants! I don't know how to sex them because they're so tiny. They build nests on the underneath side of plant leaves, so if you intend to spawn them, you'll need to be very careful about the current of the water and you'll need to be careful of the possibility of eggs on the plants when you do water changes. I have never seen BABIES, but I have seen bubble nests on the underside of leaves in my tank, and on the underneath side of some filtration items inside the tank. I do not know what their 'clicking' noises mean, but I'm assuming it has something to do with spawning. I could be very wrong about that, though.
I can't recommend these fish enough. They're sort of "brownish" and at first glance in the store they look very bland. Once you get them home and offer them the right environment, they get really great color and the iridiscent blue 'sparkles' start to show, and they become so beautiful you'll be glad you brought some home!
Only the males seem to croak and mine seem to assume a head down position when doing so - usually at a rival male but sometimes with a female. They are very loud for such a small fish! I was given a good tip on sexing them which so far has proved correct. The males have a bold row of reddish brown spots above the 'stripe' which runs along their side. In the females this row of spots is absent or insignificant. The babies are fairly easy to raise as long as they have lots of cover (duckweed, Riccia, and the like) and fine early food like green water, followed by vinegar worms and newly hatched mosquito larvae or brine shrimp. They grow quickly but both adults and young like it weedy, shallow, and on the warm side.
These are normally peaceful and shy fish, but I've discovered you cannot keep them with Betta splendens. Normally, you don't keep different labyrinth fish together anyway, but since these guys are so peaceful, I thought I'd experiment. I put one of my bettas in the planted tank, where the Sparklers live. The betta was fine. Very mellow and sweet. He didn't flare, which I thought he would. The Sparkling Gouramis, on the other hand, ganged up on the betta. All 5 of them surrounded the betta and as he was twisting and turning to keep an eye on them all, one Sparkler would swim in quickly and nip the betta's tail. The Sparklers flared at the betta and when he would go hide in the plants, the Sparklers forgot he was in the tank. As soon as the betta made another appearance, they would surround him again, and one would nip the tail. So, they are wonderful and shy, but can be nasty when they want to be. The betta is back in his own home again.