Samurai Gourami (Sphaerichthys vaillanti)

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Samurai Gourami

Sphaerichthys vaillanti5672.jpg

Sphaerichthys vaillanti

57 Litres (15 US G.)

4-5 cm (1.6-2")




4.0 - 6.5

25 -30 °C (77-86°F)

0-5 °d

1:1 M:F

Live Foods

4-10 years




Native to the Indonesian part of Borneo, where it is usually found in peat swamps or the remnants of those swamps.


Like all chocolate gouramies, this species is quite shy and should only be mixed with gentle species. Reportedly they are more willing to take prepared food if mixed with less picky dither fishes, such as Boraras species. These fish do best in groups of six or more.

Tank setup

Needs to be kept in a soft, acidic, warm blackwater tank with significant tannin levels and low nitrate levels. Lighting is best either kept low or shaded by floating plants. Temperatures are best kept in the low 80's fahrenheit; lower temperatures may result in the males dying while holding fry, and higher temperatures can cause major aggression problems in these fishes.


Wild specimens usually require live food at first, though they can often be weaned onto frozen foods. Wild specimens seldom take dry food; in any case, feeding small amounts of live food will minimize the accumulation of nitrates in the tank, to which these fish are sensitive.


This fish possesses spectacular reverse sexual dimorphism; when settled in, the females are a striking iridescent green color with red/yellow vertical bars, while the males are always brown whether or not they are spawning. In contrast to the common chocolate gourami, this species is a paternal (vs maternal) mouthbrooder, but their reproduction is otherwise fairly similar, with newborn fry (released after 1-3 weeks) being similar in size to guppy fry and capable of taking baby brine shrimp or microworms right away. If only the parents are present, fry will often succeed in growing up alongside the adults; otherwise the adult fish should be removed to another tank for the fry's safety.


Usually considered the most hardy of the chocolate gouramies, and universally considered the most colorful; however, this fish is still not an ideal beginner's fish. Chocolate gouramies in general ship poorly and often need to be treated for opportunistic pathogens after arriving at their forever home.

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