Sphaerichthys Vaillanti Or Samurai Gourami Is The Uncommon Wild Fish – Samurai gourami is another exotic small peaceful labyrinth fish species under the osphronemidae family. The scientific name of them is Sphaerichthys vaillanti and also known as “chocolate samurai gourami” or “samurai zebra” or “vaillant’s chocolate gourami.”
These freshwater gourami species are endemic from Indonesia, West Kalimantan province, specifically around Nangah Sebroeng village. This village is in the south of Borneo island. They are commonly found in peat swamps, slow-moving forest streams, and typically black water rivers.
Their body shapes are closely related to their cousin “chocolate gourami,” which fish also come from Borneo island and have similar characteristics.
Sphaerichthys vaillanti is different from most other gourami types. They are uncommon tropical black water fish species (semi-endangered) and need unusual conditions to keep them, so they are not recommended to beginner fish keepers.
In the trades, the samurai gourami is quite rare and relatively expensive than common gourami fish.
Sphaerichthys Vaillanti Or Samurai Gourami Is The Uncommon Wild Fish
Samurai Gourami Appearance
Distinguishing between male and female is easy, there is some feature help to differentiating both sexes. The female tends to have red and green stripes on both sides of the body. The body part near the head section is dominated by green color, and the tail area tends to be reddish. The female head shape is more pointed and has a homogeneously straight lower jaw.
While the male generally is a pale gray or brownish tint and seems plainer than females. Their broad skin over the mouth can expand during mouthbrooding. Their lower jaw is slightly rounded and larger than females.
Further, the males have additional vertical bars within the dorsal and anal fins. The male’s color usually looks more intense when courting and spawning. Though, the females are always more colorful over the years. There is a dark stripe that running from the mouth until the eyes in both sexes.
Samurai zebra is a small gourami species and normally grows only around 2 inches in size. According to the information, they can live up to 8 years and be longer when kept in the right environmental condition.
Samurai Zebra Gourami Behavior And Temperament
These small gouramis are extremely timid fish that will not survive in the tank with high competition to get food because they move slowly. So, please do not put them with boisterous species of any kind.
Some aquarists report that vaillant’s chocolate gourami should be kept in the tank as the only inhabitant to minimalized the competition between the species. Besides, these freshwater gourami fish will grow better when put in small groups of about 6-8 fish, not just a pair. The tank with a 30-gallon size is enough to cover that fish amount.
They will develop interesting behaviors around themselves when keeping in a group tank. One group establishes tight hierarchies. When there are more species in the aquarium, they will be observed by the group that domination a certain place in the aquarium.
Another behavior is that the one group usually chases away other fish that are not in the group or other species.
It is important to control the number of group members and also help to maintain pairs during the spawning season.
Like most other types of gourami fish, the samurai gourami also has a special organ called the labyrinth organ. It t allow them to accept the oxygens direct from the air.
The labyrinth fish species tend to swim at the upper and middle areas in the aquarium that can help them reach the water surface easiest to take a breath.
Chocolate Samurai Gourami Housing, Tank Setup, And Care
The sphaerichthys vaillanti need a similar environment to their wild habitat, and it will help them survive successfully in the aquarium. You can keep them in solo, couple, group, and community. 20-gallon tank size is better for the pair, and like the statement above, you can use a 30-gallon tank size or larger for small groups and communities.
Adding dried oak or cattapa leaves to create blackwater conditions. These leave will decay and serve some necessary microorganisms that usually live in their natural habitat. It will offer extra food resources for the fish and fry.
Samurai gourami prefers a silent environment and slow-moving water, so you should maintain it by using high-quality and gentle water filtration systems.
Generally, they grow better under a subdued lighting system. Because these small gourami fish normally inhabit the blackwater streams located under the dense forests where only a small of sunlight can reach the water surface.
Putting some caves or coconut shells offer more hiding places and may give more decorations to your tank. Covering the surface with floating aquatic plants such as Salvinia natans creates more shady areas preferred by them.
Change the water regularly about 10-15% once a week is enough. Water change larger than it can turn the dissolved chemistries on the water that is not preferred for them and may stress the fish.
S. vaillanti need specific water parameters, and it must be followed as below:
- Temperature Level: 21-26°C
- pH Level: 4,0 – 6,0
- Hardness: 0 – 3 dGH
Vaillant’s Chocolate Gourami Tankmates
Choosing the tankmates for samurai gourami must be selective. If you are not, they may not be survived in the aquarium. The calm and peaceful fish with similar-sized with them is the right friends. It is like kuhli loaches, danios, most corydoras species, and small rasbora species.
Be sure to keep away them from aggressive, larger, territorial, and boisterous fish species such as betta fish or larger aggressive gourami species. It makes these fish can not lively safe and dead as a meal.
Sphaerichthys Vaillanti Diet And Feeding
In the wild, samurai gourami is actually a small predator and commonly feeds on tiny crustaceans, insect larvae, worms, and zooplankton. In the aquarium, they may become a slightly picky eater. Sometimes they do not eat some dried or instant food like flakes from fish stores. However, in many cases, they learn to accept it over time.
Although, they would be happier if you were given daily snacks of small live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, micro worm, daphnia, frozen meat shrimps, or other great meals. It will develop their coloration and conditions.
Read Also: The Ultimate Kissing Gourami Fish Care Sheet
Samurai Gourami Fish Breeding
This black water fish species is a paternal mouthbrooder, unlike most common gourami types. They can breed in a group or a single couple in the tank.
Prepare the breeding tank, and you can use around 30-gallon tank size with tranquil and mature water. Add plenty of floating vegetation in the tank and provide some uncovered areas on the surface for them to gulp air.
You could add some dried cattapa or Indian almond leaves in the breeding tank, and it will create black water effects where it is rich with infusoria later.
Raising the temperature level slowly to between 78 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit to stimulate them for spawning. Recommended to use a substrate with sandy form or without substrate and use dim lighting system.
The breeding should not contain an air block, it must be turned off, or the samurai gourami would not be bred as they need the water to be quiet.
Some fish breeders advise that aquarium breeding should be almost covered with cling film. Its function is to construct a high humidity level in the air at the top of the water surface. It contributes to the growth of the labyrinth organ of the young gouramis.
Ensure that there is enough space available for the CO2 to be replaced with oxygenated air, or the gourami will die.
The courting session is commonly initiated by the female or alpha female if many fishes are present. Their color will look brighter, but the female coloration is more intense than the male.
When spawning is begun, they will embrace each other, which remains positioned almost upright. It’s different from most gourami species which the female usually being turned upside down.
That process may take many hours with the female lay the eggs on the substrates or any natural object of the breeding tank. Then, the male will fertilize them and collect them up into his mouth directly.
The incubation period usually takes about 7 until 21 days until the fry hatched. In this period, the male-only eat for very little or without eating anything. He mostly refuges in the quiet zone of the aquarium, and the female will protect the male while brooding the eggs.
When the samurai gourami fry is released by the male, it normally ranges from 10 – 40. They can start to swim freely and start to prey on some microorganisms that exist in the tank.
At this point, the male and female can move to a separate tank to order prevent them predate the juveniles samurai zebra.
When the young sphaerichthys vaillanti is larger enough, micro worms and brine shrimps can be fed. The daily routine water change of about 10% is also performed to maintain the water quality and growth rate.