Fares best in a well-planted, shady set-up with plenty of surface cover in the form of tall stem or floating plants.
Driftwood can also be used and other plants such as Microsorum or Taxiphyllum spp. can be attached to it. Small clay plant pots, lengths of plastic piping or empty camera film cases can also be included to provide further shelter.
The addition of some dried leaf litter (beech, oak or Ketapang almond leaves are all suitable) is also recommended. In addition to offering additional shelter for the fish it brings with it the establishment of microbe colonies as decomposition occurs. These microorganisms can provide a valuable secondary food source for fry, whilst the tannins and other chemicals released by the decaying leaves are also thought beneficial.
As it naturally inhabits sluggish waters filtration should not be too strong, with an air-powered sponge filter set to turn over gently adequate. Keep the tank well-covered and do not fill it to the top as like all osphronemids it requires occasional access to the layer of humid air that will form above the water surface, and may jump on occasion.
Tankmates must be chosen with care since this species is slow-moving and will easily be intimidated or outcompeted for food by larger or more vigorous tankmates.
Peaceful, pelagic cyprinids make good choices as do less active loaches such as Pangio spp. or certain nemacheilids. Territorial or otherwise aggressive species are best omitted.
Though not gregarious in the sense of schooling fishes it does seem to require interaction with conspecifics and displays more interesting behaviour when maintained in numbers, meaning the purchase of no less than 4-6 specimens is recommended. Groups develop noticeable hierarchies and you’ll often see dominant individuals chasing away their rivals at feeding time or when occupying their favourite spot.