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Croaking Gourami (Trichopsis Vittata) Overview & Care

Small fish for your display aquarium? Croaking Gourami is an adorable gourami species with a unique appearance and behavior. The freshwater species have bold coloration and patterns that attract viewers to the community tank.

Croaking gourami has become popular among aquarium traders and hobbyists. It can survive in an aquarium environment and requires considerably easy care. It’s not an endangered species and already bred in captivity so nothing can stop you to keep one.

Species Overview

Level of CareEasy
AppearanceThe iridescent coloration of blue, green, and red with  black or brown stripes on their sides
Life ExpectancyUp to five years
Size2.5 inches
Tank Size10-gallon or larger
Tank EnvironmentpH 6.8 to 7.8, the water hardness of 3-8 dkH. The temperature at 75- 80 F
Tank MatesLarge fish species Kept in the group need an even larger tank

Croaking gourami or Trichopsis vittata is a small freshwater labyrinth fish species and a member of the gourami family. The “croaking” name refers to the noise of their pectoral fins that sound croaking when used. They are native to Southeast Asian freshwaters and have been imported throughout the world for home aquariums.


Trichopsis vittata or croaking gourami inhabit the slow-moving waterways in the region. The labyrinth organ structure they have allows them to live in the natural environment with low oxygenation.

Croaking gourami can be largely found in the canals, ponds, or even paddy fields in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaya, and parts of Indonesia including Borneo, Java, and Sumatra. However, they have been largely bred in the tank and available in aquarium trades.

The natural habitat of Trichopsis vittata is a typically dense plantation, with a darker substrate, and water movement. Resembling the natural environment enables your fish to have the most vivid coloration. While they can fit in a nano aquarium, the larger tank is better to avoid quarrels between males as they can be quite territorial.



Croaking Gourami has a mix of iridescent coloration of blue, green, and red. Regardless of its small size, these can become the main attraction of your nano aquarium. The vibrant color makes it stand out from other gourami species for breeding and showing in aquariums.

You can notice up to four black or brown stripes on their sides while some specimens may have current rows of spots. Males have sharper iris coloration, longer anal fin, and more edgy dorsal fin.


You can expect them to live up to five years in the aquarium with proper care.

Behavior & Temperament

They are peaceful fish but the males can be territorial with their own kind.  Larger aquariums can reduce the conflict potential among croaking gourami if you want to keep them in groups. They can behave well in a community tank especially with peaceful invertebrates.

The peaceful and timid croaking gourami would behave distinctively when spawning time comes. The male would circle and dart the female without contact while the whole process they produce that croaking noise. They’re quite shy when kept in the community tank, which makes grouping even more important.

The croaking noises are typically shown in the breeding time and the male’s dominant expression. Such noise can also be heard when they make such specific movements.

Care & Tank Setup

Even though croaking gourami is only 2 inches in length, a 5-gallon tank is usable but a larger tank is preferable for some reasons.  A larger tank provides more space for them so it can reduce the conflict potential among males that can get territorial and aggressive when breeding.

Tank Size

The minimum size of the tank is 10-gallon but larger ones are ideal. A radius of 20-inch is the ideal territory for every pair of males. From there, you can calculate the minimum tank size to accommodate the number of Trichopsis vittata in a species or community tank.

These may prowl all areas of the tank actively in the daylight. They may rest on the backside and even not move at all in the evening.

Filtration & Air Pump

As a labyrinth fish, these can live in a low oxygenated water environment by breathing atmospheric oxygen on the surface whenever they need to. That’s why it’s not necessary to cover the top of the aquarium and you shouldn’t worry about these fish jumping out of the tank. If you using a cover, just ensure that it allows airflow into the water floor.

The use of a reliable air pump can improve the air quality on the water floor. However, a thermostat and heater are needed to keep the temperature slightly warm. Their labyrinth organ is susceptible to infection caused by cooler air.


You must set many hiding places in the tank and dense plantation that allow them to hide and reduce the stress condition. You can use darker substrates that not only make them more comfortable but also help to showcase their iridescent color.

Gouramis are prone to infections and illness and croaking gouramis are not an exception. You can adjust the water parameters for treatment purposes. For example, you can set a higher temperature to treat it.

Water Parameters

While they can adapt to a range of water parameters, you can resemble natural water conditions to create the best possible condition for your fish. You can keep the pH values around 6.8 to 7.8  and the water hardness of 3-8 dkH. Maintain the water temperature at 75- 80 F  and avoid lower temperatures while they may be tolerable in warmer water environments.

Keeping the best water conditions, you should do partial water changes with 25% of the water every two weeks or 10% weekly. You can use gravel cleaner, water changer, and water conditioner to support this task.  The tap water source must be treated and conditioned before being added to the tank.

Croaking gourami in a tank

Tank Mates

If you want to use a nano tank, it’s better to keep one male with several females. Males can be territorial and would be aggressive toward each other in a very limited space. You must use a larger, well-decorated aquarium if you want to keep more groups of Trichopsis vittata in a species or community tank.

Just like other gouramis, these are slow movers. It’s better kept with the same or similar sized species that are less active and not fin nippers.  Some advisable tank mates of croaking gourami include peaceful danios, guppies, angelfish, or larger tetras.

It’s a wise move to consult with experts about the tank mates. Despite the behaviors and interactions between these species, you may also consider their tank occupation, coloration, combination, and other factors.

Food & Diet

Croaking Gourami isn’t picky on foods as they can take live, frozen, and dry foods. Most importantly, you need to promote a balanced diet to support growth and well-being in the aquarium.

They are insectivorous that eat bug larvae and bugs in their natural habitat but they also eat shrimp, crustaceans, and sometimes, some plants.  They have different meal varieties in their natural environment, you can resemble them in the aquarium but you can set a weight-reduction diet to keep long well-being.

You can feed them with flakes and enrich the diet with bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and algae flakes would do a great job. Keep the feeding frequency high and split the portions or even scatter them. Let your croaking gourami naturally search for their foods in the aquarium.

Two-time feeding is also possible with the portion of what they can completely consume within two minutes. Sacred rule: Don’t overfeed gourami as any decaying leftover would contaminate gouramis for sure.

Two croaking gouramis

Croaking Gourami Breeding Guidelines

Breeding croaking gourami always starts with sexing which is, fortunately, not difficult. You can identify males with their pointed dorsal fins and females with their rounded dorsal fins. The male is a bubble nest builder that would nest from bubbles and mucus typically below a plantation.

Reduce the water by around 8 inches and keep the water temperature at 82 F. The spawning would take place below the bubble nest. While females burst out eggs,  males would seize them in the nest and add more bubbles when necessary. You can expect 100-200 laid in the tank.

It should be noted that males can be so territorial, protective, and even aggressive towards the females when guarding deposited eggs. This guardian is very determined until the hatching time to prevent eggs from being eaten.

Remove the female to another tank and let the eggs with their father for up to three days then the males can also be removed. Once hatched, you can feed the fry with infusoria, super fine floor flakes, or child brine shrimps. You can start feeding them with freeze-dried tablets as they’ve grown enough.

This procedure is very effective to prevent injury to the fry’s labyrinth which increases your chance to grow more fry into adulthood. Without the correct procedure, only tens of fry can survive in the environment.  However, it’s not impossible to breed croaking gourami as the ones you’ve bought are certainly captive-bred instead of imported from their natural habitat.