This is the smallest member of the Trichogaster genus with a maximum length of 5 centimetres. It comes from the Indian sub-continent. Its body shape is typically “gourami” including the characteristic long threadlike extensions of the ventral fins (which actually house its taste buds). Females remain silver-grey to light yellow and develop a dark longitudinal stripe along their midline when excited (e.g. breeding season).
When stressed, males lose their beautiful colour and resemble females. Otherwise, a relaxed, mature male develops a beautiful golden colour over most of the body with a brighter gold through the dorsal and pitch black along its underside including its mouth and face.
Trichogaster chuna is a very shy peaceful little fish ideally suited for a small peaceful community tank with low or no water circulation. It appreciates a well planted, sunny warm (22-26 C.) tank with lots of floating plant cover. They relish live food from brine shrimp nauplii to grindal worms and HYDRA! They will generally accept small pelleted and flake foods too.
Spawning can be achieved in a small (2.5 gal.), shallow (4-6 inches deep), well planted sunny tank. If an air source is supplied, it should be a slow, gentle corner sponge suspended up off the bottom 1/2 inch and away from the sides.
The tank should be kept covered. If a group is used, a female will become heavy with eggs. One male will leave the group and construct a small insignificant bubble nest in a corner incorporating leaves such as water sprite. The male then displays his colours to attract the female under his nest. As she approaches, they “feel” each other with their “feelers”. After a few approaches, spawning takes place in the usual anabantoid fashion (i.e. the male wraps around the female and, as they roll over, the eggs are expelled and simultaneously fertilised. The female is released and sinks to the bottom as the male gathers the eggs and puts them up into his nest. Then the activity is repeated until the egg supply is depleted). The male then guards the nest and tends to it, repairing and rebuilding it as needed. The female leaves the area completely.
At this point, I remove the female and any other fish so the male can concentrate on his nest exclusively. (I haven’t seen the male ever attack the female as some anabantoids are notorious for).
Hatching and rairing the Honey Gourami fry
The eggs hatch in 24-36 hours at which point I remove the male too. The fry hang from the nest for 24-48 hours and then become free swimming. They are very tiny. They do well on infusoria and Liquifry for their first few days after free swimming.
By one week of age, they can accept newly hatched brine shrimp and emulsified powder. Snails are a good addition at this point as they help keep leftovers in check. Small daily water changes should be done with a syringe or air stone. Take care to match the temp. and avoid air drafts (especially at 4-6 weeks of age) over the water when the cover is removed. Also avoid overfeeding as fouled water happens quickly and is quite lethal to these fry. Growth is slow but steady.
They also remain quite sensitive to sudden changes in their surroundings (i.e. water pH, currents, lighting, new tankmates, etc.) for quite a while longer than other gouramis I’ve kept. Nonetheless, these are definitely one of my favorites.
Publication: Fins and Friends, Regina Aquarium Society, Canada
Source: Aquarticles (no longer available)