Chocolate gourami - Sphaerichthys osphromenoides

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The Chocolate gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides) belongs to the family Osphronemidae.
These chocolate gourami species are native to Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia.

Taxonomy of Chocolate gourami

  • Scientific Name: Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
  • Common Name: Chocolate gourami
  • German: Malaiischer Gurami; Russian: Shokoladnyi gurami; Chinese: 鋸蓋足鱸
  • Other names: Sphaerichthys, osphromenoides, osphromenoides Canestrini, 1860
  • Family: Osphronemidae › Perciformes › Actinopterygii › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: Canestrini, 1860
Sphaerichthys osphromenoides is closely related to Sphaerichthys vaillanti (Samurai Gourami), Sphaerichthys selatanensis (crossband chocolate gourami) and S. acrostoma (Giant chocolate gourami).


The chocolate gourami is a small gourami growing up to 2 to 2.4 inches (5-6 cm) in length. It is chocolate brown in color, with 3-4 vertical, whitish, light-yellow or golden bands on the sides. The caudal fin (tail) is almost transparent. The local populations may have varying degrees of bluish or reddish tinge, particularly on the unpaired fins. These species are air breathing fish and have labyrinth organ.


The chocolate gourami mostly inhabits peat swamps (having large amount of decaying plant matter) associated with forests and mangroves. In such environments, the water is poor in mineral content, with a pH range of 4-6 and hardness values of 0.5-6 DH. It prefers warm temperatures around 25–27°C (77–81°F).

Feeding habits

The S.osphromenoides gourami is an omnivore and feeds on decaying plant and algal material as well as small aquatic insects, crustaceans, worms, insect larvae and other zooplankton.


The gourami lay about 20-40 eggs on the substrate and the male fertilizes them. The fertilized eggs are collected by female for mouth-brooding. The female S.osphromenoides have the lower jaw slightly rounded and protruding due to the presence of extensible skin that is expanded during mouth-brooding. The brooding goes on for about 15-20 days and then fully-formed juveniles are released for their independent life. The males in some populations may have caudal fin more forked when compared to females. The dorsal and anal fins may also appear extended.


These S.osphromenoides species are naturally distributed in Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Borneo. Though they were known to exist in Singapore, their present status is not known.

Status and conservation

The status of wild S.osphromenoides population has not been evaluated and so it is unknown. However, the destruction of its natural habitats and reclamation for human use as well as deforestation are the major threats to the survival of these S.osphromenoides species. The chocolate gourami may get affected by parasites such as sporozoa, protozoa, Tetrahymena and worms. It may also get affected by fungal and bacterial infections.
Gourami - Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
Chocolate gourami - Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
Chocolate gourami - Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
Chocolate gourami - Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
Quick chocolate gourami facts and biological classification of Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
Species:S. osphromenoides
Binomial name:Sphaerichthys osphromenoides
Distribution:S.osphromenoides are naturally distributed in Malaysia, Thailand and Sumatra and Borneo in Indonesia;
Feeding habits:Chocolates gourami are omnivorous and feed on partially decayed vegetation or organic matter, algae, small aquatic insects, small crustaceans, aquatic larvae and worms.
IUCN status listing:Not evaluated

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References on S.osphromenoides: 1.

1.Image source:
Image by: kestrel360 / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 (as on 2016-04-28)
2..Image source:
2.Image by: Tsunamicarlos / public domain
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