|Distribution||Bangka Island, Indonesia|
|Sexual Dimorphism||Difficult to sex due to ability to change colour rapidly. However, settled males are usually much more colourful with black anal, dorsal, and caudal fins that are punctuated with a series of electric blue oval shaped markings along their lengths. These fins are also bordered with a thin bluish-white margin.|
|Maximum Size||4.5cm (1.8")|
|Temperature||24-28 deg C (75-82 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||Very soft & acidic. pH: 3.5-6.5, dH: up to 5 degrees.|
|Compatibility||Specialist softwater community|
|Lighting||Dim (can be brighter if diffused by plants)|
The Licorice Gourami is known from heavily vegetated, slow-flowing, blackwater rainforest streams. Here the water is acidic, has negligible hardness, and is tannin stained from decaying plant matter. The aquarium must be biologically mature before this delicate species is added. Provide them with a myriad of hiding places amongst tangles of bogwood, rocky caves, and dense planting, including floating species to help diffuse the light. A dark coloured substrate and background will also help the fish to feel more confident and will bring out their best colours. Filtration should be efficient but water movement gentle, and we'd suggest the use of aquarium peat as a filter medium to help emulate the natural water conditions. The addition of leaf litter would further help in this respect - dried Indian Almond leaves (Terminalia catappa) are ideal and are readily available. Much attention must be paid to water quality since Licorice Gouramis will not tolerate elevated nitrates or swings in water chemistry; small partial water changes should be carried out on a frequent basis. These fish are best maintained in pairs or small groups. If tankmates are desired, they should be small, peaceful, and thrive under soft, acidic conditions. Good companions could include shoals of small cyprinids such as Boraras spp., Eirmotus octozona, Kuhli loaches (Pangio spp.), Sundadanio spp., or Trigonostigma spp. Acclimatise very carefully. May also be seen on sale as Liquorice Gourami.
Small live or frozen foods such as bloodworm, white mosquito larvae, vitamin-enriched brineshrimp, daphnia etc. Unlikely to take dried foods.
This species has been bred in the home aquarium. The male will find a suitable cave amongst the decor (heaped up leaf litter is sometimes chosen) and builds a bubble-nest within. With heightened colouration, he will then display to passing females to try and entice them into spawning. If a female is receptive, the pair will embrace with the male wrapping its body around the female, with eggs and milt released simultaneously. The pair then attach the eggs to the bubble-nest in the ceiling of the cave. Each pairing usually produces 10-15 eggs, and this process will repeat until 40-100 eggs are laid/placed in the bubble-nest. When the female is spent of eggs, the male will drive her away and takes on brood care by himself. The eggs should hatch within 24-72 hours, with the fry free-swimming some 5-7 days later. The young will require infusoria followed by baby brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii) as they grow. In a densely planted tank, some fry may survive, but if you wish to raise larger numbers, they should be separated from the parents once free-swimming. It is of extreme importance to maintain a warm layer of air between the surface of the water and the coverslides at all times whilst the fry are developing their labyrinth organ, critical during the first few weeks of their life.