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2773

CHOCOLATE GOURAMI (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides)

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Provided adequate cover and structure is available this species is unfussy with regards to décor with ceramic flowerpots, lengths of plastic piping and other artificial materials all useful additions. A more natural-looking arrangement might consist of a soft, sandy substrate with wood roots and branches placed such a way that plenty of shady spots and caves are formed.

The addition of dried leaf litter (beech, oak or Ketapang almond leaves are all suitable) would further emphasise the natural feel and with it the growth of beneficial microbe colonies as decomposition occurs. These can provide a valuable secondary food source for fry, whilst the tannins and other chemicals released by the decaying leaves will aid in the simulation of a blackwater environment. Leaves can be left in the tank to break down fully or removed and replaced every few weeks.

This species seems to do best under fairly dim lighting and plant species from genera such as Microsorum, Taxiphyllum, Cryptocoryne, and Anubias are recommended since they will grow under such conditions. A few patches of floating vegetation to diffuse the light even further may also prove effective.

It naturally inhabits sluggish or still environments therefore filtration, or at least water flow, should not be very strong. Very large water changes are best avoided with 10-15% weekly adequate provided the tank is lightly-stocked.