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Trichogaster fasciata

Banded Gourami


Osphronemidae. Subfamily: Luciocephalinae


Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Some reports state that it exists in a few colour forms, depending on locality.


Inhabits sluggish waters, most often with a covering of surface vegetation. Has also been introduced into rice paddies in many areas.

Maximum Standard Length

A fully grown male can measure over 4″ (10 cm). Females are usually a little smaller.

Aquarium SizeTop ↑

A tank of around 30″ x 12″ x 12″ (75cm x 30cm x 30cm) – 71 litres is big enough for a pair of these.


This is not a very vigorous species. To see it at its best keep it in a quiet, heavily planted tank with plenty of floating plants to provide shade. Add some pieces of driftwood and twisted branches for further cover, and use a dark substrate if possible. Keep water movement to a minimum, as neither fish nor plants will appreciate any strong currents.

Water Conditions

Temperature: 70-82°F (21-28°C)

pH: 6.0-7.5

Hardness: 5-15°H


Omnivorous and unfussy. Offer live and frozen foods regularly if you want it to develop the best colour and condition.

Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑

Suitable for most peaceful community tanks but it can be a bit aggressive when spawning. Males will fight amongst themselves in smaller tanks. Keep it with inoffensive species that don’t resemble it too much. Shoals of rasboras, danionins and barbs work well, as do loaches and smaller Bagrid catfish. In a big tank, you could keep it as part of a community of gourami species. One to avoid though is the Thick-lipped Gourami, Colisa labiosa, as the two species can hybridise.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males are much more colourful than females, and develop pointed dorsal and anal fins as they mature.


Like many Anabantoids it’s a bubble nest builder. Set up a separate tank for spawning purposes. This should contain shallow water of no more than 6-8″ in depth. Add plenty of floating plants and also some clumps of fine-leaved species to provide cover for the female. Water movement should be avoided. Either use an air-powered sponge filter bubbling gently in a corner, or leave it out altogether. Other parameters are not critical, provided they are within the limits suggested above. The tank should have the tightest-fitting cover you can find (some breeders use clingfilm instead, to ensure no gaps), as the fry need access to a layer of warm, humid air. Without this, the development of the labyrinth organ can be impaired.

It’s best to keep the sexes apart in the few weeks leading up to a spawning attempt. This will avoid any unwanted spawns, and will protect the female from the male until she is in condition. Feed them with lots of live and frozen foods during this period. When the female is noticeably round with eggs, transfer her to the spawning tank. Add the male a couple of days later. He should begin to intensify in colour almost immediately, and start work on a large bubble nest among the floating plants. This can be several inches in diameter. He will display to the female constantly as he goes. If she is responsive, she will approach the nest to spawn with him.

Spawning occurs under the nest in the typical anabantoid embrace, the male wrapping his body around his mate. As the eggs are released, they start to sink. They are immediately gathered in the male’s mouth and spat into the nest. Several more spawnings occur, with between 500-1000 eggs being produced. Once spawning has ended, the male takes responsibility for guarding and tending the brood. He becomes intolerant of his mate at this point, and she should be removed from the tank for her own safety.

The male then tends to the nest until the eggs hatch. This happens quickly, in around 24-36 hours. He can then also be removed. The fry become free swimming in another 3 days or so. They are very small, and should be fed infusoria or liquid fry food for the first week or so. After this, they are large enough to accept brine shrimp nauplii, microworm and powdered flake. Be sure to keep the tank very well covered throughout the initial stages, so that the labyrinth organ can develop properly.

NotesTop ↑

This species is a popular food fish in it’s native countries. It is not often seen for sale these days, although it is both beautiful and peaceful. The alternative common name of ‘Giant Gourami’ is not particularly apt, although it is the largest species in the genus.

Like others in the suborder Anabantoidei, the species possesses an accessory breathing organ known as the labyrinth organ. So-called due to its maze-like structure, this organ allows the fish to breathe atmospheric air to a certain extent. It is formed by a modification of the first gill arch, and consists of many highly vascularised, folded flaps of skin. The structure of the organ varies in complexity between species, tending to be more well-developed in those inhabiting particularly oxygen-deprived conditions.

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