Gourami marble, a popular aquarium fish, cannot be found in wildlife. This species was obtained by the American breeder Cosby as a result of crossing the spotted and blue gourami. The fish not only received an interesting decorative color but also inherited the endurance of its ancestors.
The marble gourami belongs to the labyrinth fish. A distinctive feature of these fish is the presence of an additional respiratory organ – a labyrinth. It is located in the supraciliary region and is a system of plates with a dense network of capillaries, thanks to which the fish are able to use atmospheric air for breathing. They regularly swallow it, floating to the surface of the water.
The body of the marble gourami is oval, laterally compressed. The anal fin extends from the belly and widens at the tail. The pelvic fins are modified into thin filaments that serve as the organ of touch for the fish. The dorsal fin in males has an elongated and pointed shape, in females, it is short and rounded. The color of the marble gourami is very beautiful: a light gray or silvery body with dark spots of various shapes, reminiscent of marble, for which the species got its name. Numerous specks can be found on the fins. In an aquarium, marble gourami grows up to 10-13 cm.
Care and maintenance
Gourami marble is rightfully considered one of the most unpretentious fish. For its maintenance (taking into account the maximum size), an aquarium of 80 liters or more is recommended. Filtration is very desirable, in pure water gourami feel much better. You should not create a strong current in the aquarium, the fish do not like it. Gourami do not need forced aeration, but it is necessary for other fish and for the proper functioning of the nitrogen cycle. Basically, gourami stays in the upper and middle layers of the water.
It is recommended to cover the aquarium that contains marble gourami with a cover glass so that the air above the water surface does not get too cold. If the fish captures a portion of cold air, it can get sick. The optimal parameters for the content of marble gourami will be: temperature – 23-28 ° С; pH = 6.0-8.0; hardness – 5-25 °. It is recommended to change 1/5 of the water weekly.
It is better to use dark soil, on which the color of the fish will look more contrasting. It is recommended to create dense thickets of plants (Cryptocorynes, Elodea, Vallisneria, and others) along the back and sidewalls of the aquarium, plants floating on the surface of the water (Riccia, Pistia) will also be useful. It is advisable to arrange several shelters from snags, stones, or shards.
The average lifespan of marble gourami in an aquarium is 5-7 years.
Marble gourami is a contented, peaceful fish, but some males show aggression towards their relatives and other species, it all depends on the individual characteristics of the fish itself. It is desirable to keep in pairs or with a predominance of females. It is best to choose neighbors that are close in size and temperament (minors, scalars, apistograms, corridors, and others). You should not plant marble gourami with large and territorial cichlids, active barbs (they can bite off whiskers and fins). Keeping together with fry or small species would not be the best choice; they can easily become a victim of gourami.
Marble gourami is an extremely unpretentious fish in food. All types of dry, frozen, and live food are perfectly consumed. They do not disdain algae either. Left for several days without food, they perfectly destroy the parasites of the aquarium – hydras, and planaria, and can also eat snails.
When feeding fish, it is necessary that the food is of high quality, balanced and varied. Tetra dry food meets all these criteria. By purchasing them, you can be sure that the pets in the aquarium will receive all the necessary nutrients and vitamins. And thanks to the wide assortment, you can always find the perfect food for your fish. For feeding marble gourami, you can use, for example, the following types of feed:
- TetraMin is a universal flake food for all tropical fish. It is made from more than 40 types of raw materials and is perfect for the daily nutritious nutrition of marble gourami.
- TetraPro Energy is the staple food for all tropical fish in the form of chips. Thanks to the gentle low-temperature treatment, it preserves even more vitamins and a high nutritional value, and a special energy concentrate will increase the activity of your fish.
- TetraPhyll Granules is a complete food with a high content of plant components, especially suitable for gourami who like to eat greens in the aquarium. Slow sinking pellets are ideal for fish in the upper and middle water.
Breeding marble gourami is usually not a problem even for beginners. Sexual dimorphism in this species is well pronounced: the dorsal fin of the male is longer and sharper, while that of the female is shorter and rounded. Males are larger and have a brighter coloration.
At the age of 8-10 months, the fish become sexually mature. It is recommended to feed the fish with high-protein food 1-2 weeks before the expected spawning. The female gourami will be ready to spawn when her belly is full of eggs. It is advisable that the spawning tank has a volume of at least 30 liters. The water level in it should be 13-15 cm. The stimulus for spawning is an increase in temperature to 27-28 ° and a decrease in hardness to 10 ° DH.
The male marble gourami builds a nest from air bubbles, pieces of aquatic plants, and saliva. After completion of construction, the female is invited to spawn. The male hugs her and helps to lay eggs. The whole process is very much like a dance. In a few hours, the female is capable of producing up to several thousand eggs.
The fertilized eggs are placed in the nest by the male. From this point on, it is better to remove the female in order to prevent aggression from the male. For the next 24-36 hours, the newly-made father does not eat and actively looks after the eggs. During this time, it is important to maintain a stable temperature in the aquarium, as its sudden change can provoke the male to eat his offspring.
On the third day, the hatched fry are already able to swim. At this moment, it is worth planting the male: his parental instinct fades away, and the kids can become dinner. It is recommended to lower the water level to 6-10 cm until the labyrinth organ is developed in the fry. Weekly water changes and mild aeration are required. The fry grows unevenly and must be sorted regularly.