Licorice gourami breeding question - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Licorice gourami breeding question

I found a pair of Licorice gourami at my LFS recently, they looked very pale and unhappy, housed with a lot of much larger and active fish with nowhere to hide...I had to buy them!
I had read about them in the past and remembered that they liked very soft water (which I have), but I have to admit it was something of an impulse buy.

Since getting them however, I've been reading and reading...and watching them...and have totally fallen in love! I lucked out and they seem to be a male/female pair.
At the moment they are in my 20 long (with some boraras and pygmy cories) but I am in the process of setting up another 20 long blackwater biotope for them.

I've read that boraras species work well with them, (I believe b.maculatus co occurs with them in the wild) and make them less shy. I was just wondering if anyone on here has bred Licorice gourami/breeds them currently?
If so, do you think that a small school (7 or so) of boraras maculatus in the planned blackwater tank alongside the gouramis would be ok? I.e: would they eat any licorice gourami fry that (may) appear? Would it be better to keep it a species tank?


Some pics! Male gourami displaying to the female, and a shot of their current tank.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 04:44 PM
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I happen to have 8 parosphromenus sp 'sentang' in a 5 gallon, 5 of which were born in my tank Anyhow, the boraras are fine as tank mates but will almost invariably hunt down any fry...Paroes breed sufficiently unpredictably (and are sufficiently imperiled in the wild, especially compared to the very popular boraras sp) that they really are best kept in a cover rich species tank where at least some of the fry can survive (I have yet to find any way to trigger spawning...they breed when they want to, making it hard to use breeding tanks unless they are virtually permanent).

A few other details you may find helpful; I am currently feeding them BBS and microworms three times a week, with weekly 2 gallon water changes with distilled water, a decaffeinated black tea bag (brewed beforehand for the tannins), and a very small amount of sodium bisulfate to reduce the PH (this tank has a PH in the mid to high 4's...note, though, that the fry were born before I started using the bisulfate and thus at a PH closer to 6, so you can probably skip that in most cases). One more note...in spite of their tropical origins, paroes are quite capable of taking temps into the mid 60's. Mine are regularly exposed to such temps and aren't phased at all. I got this idea from a certain Mike of Mike's mini fishes, who regularly breeds paroes himself.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 05:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grah the great View Post
I happen to have 8 parosphromenus sp 'sentang' in a 5 gallon....

Thanks for the reply! Since this post I have done a LOT more reading in these guys....They have actually already spawned, as soon as I put in a few small PVC pipes, the male claimed one of them, and there were a ton of eggs stuck on the roof yesterday, as well as the female swimming around totally pale and with that very distinctive 'sexy eye' black bar. As of today however the eggs are gone, so I'm guessing water parameters are not acidic enough for the eggs to survive, and they probably fell down and were eaten. Am already half way through setting up the paros their own tank, complete with a ton of oak leaf litter, branches, java ferns/moss etc.

I already have microworm, grindal worm, and fruit fly (I use the grubs) cultures, and some BBS on the go! Do the adults still eat microworms?

The water parameters are the next biggest thing to tackle: Tap water here is pH 7, GH 2, KH 1, and water conductivity 45 μS/cm. Because it is already so soft, I'm not sure if distilled/RO water is necessary? Perhaps just oak leaf extract/alder cones etc will bring down the KH and pH enough?

Interesting that you keep them at such low temps! My fish room usually sits at at 65-70 so it's good to know that running the tank heaterless is an option
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by myrrhiam View Post
Thanks for the reply! Since this post I have done a LOT more reading in these guys....They have actually already spawned, as soon as I put in a few small PVC pipes, the male claimed one of them, and there were a ton of eggs stuck on the roof yesterday, as well as the female swimming around totally pale and with that very distinctive 'sexy eye' black bar. As of today however the eggs are gone, so I'm guessing water parameters are not acidic enough for the eggs to survive, and they probably fell down and were eaten. Am already half way through setting up the paros their own tank, complete with a ton of oak leaf litter, branches, java ferns/moss etc.

I already have microworm, grindal worm, and fruit fly (I use the grubs) cultures, and some BBS on the go! Do the adults still eat microworms?

The water parameters are the next biggest thing to tackle: Tap water here is pH 7, GH 2, KH 1, and water conductivity 45 μS/cm. Because it is already so soft, I'm not sure if distilled/RO water is necessary? Perhaps just oak leaf extract/alder cones etc will bring down the KH and pH enough?

Interesting that you keep them at such low temps! My fish room usually sits at at 65-70 so it's good to know that running the tank heaterless is an option
GH and especially KH need to be zero or very close for the eggs to survive. The PH really should be at least 6, if not lower (paroes can sometimes be found in water with a PH lower than 3 in their native environment!). Your conductivity is fine for now...there's some debate as to how low the conductivity needs to be for paroes, but something below 50 is almost always sufficient. I have occasionally observed adults eating microworms, but they do not do so with the same enthusiasm as brine shrimp (in contrast to most other small fishes I keep/have kept). I had grindal worms in the past, but these crashed and I haven't replaced them yet. Side note...a surprisingly large number of plants thrive in good paro conditions. In my experience, dwarf lilies, cabomba, duckweed, water lettuce, java moss, round pellia, and java ferns all do reasonably well for me under paro conditions (cabomba and water lettuce grow feverishly). The parosphromenus project would be a good place to go for more information.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-17-2017, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Grah the great View Post
GH and especially KH need to be zero or very close for the eggs to survive.....
Yes, I have read every single forum post over at the paro. project! I've just posted on there as well asking a similar question about water.... I am going to experiment and see if adding enough oak leaves/alder cones etc to tap water brings my KH and pH down enough. pH in my current tank is already around 6.2 from just a few small almond leaves/driftwood, so I'm thinking this may be possible.

Thanks for letting me know some more paro-compatible plants! over at the paro project a lot of the posters seem to say that no plants other than java moss/fern/water sprite/floaters can survive paro conditions Nice to hear something different, I'll definitely try the round pellia, cabomba and dwarf water lilies. I'm also tempted to try to get some small tropical marginal pond plants and grow them in a corner emersed...
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 04:54 PM
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Remember that most substrates will send the conductivity shooting into ranges paroes don't appreciate...I like using peat moss, preferably capped with inert sand (peat moss floats for several days otherwise). I let the lilies form floating pads to make their lives easier (I would highly recommend a glass or otherwise see-through lid in this case...I recently started to use plastic wrap attached to a foam frame). Do note that cabomba, while a superb grower under these conditions (as long as it's not shaded by anything), tends to get quite leggy. If this helps, I try to use 1000 lumens of plant-growing light (somewhere between 5000k and 10000k light temperature) per 5 gallons of paro tank. In theory, Mayaca fluvitalis and Barclaya sp should also work, as both are blackwater plants in their native habitats; I've had mixed luck with swords (I tried a red flame sword, and while it didn't die back, neither did it put on much growth...a species sword may work better than a cultivar).
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, I have used inert sand as a thin substrate with a large amount of oak leaf litter on top. I'm not using peat, as I'd like to see if I can achieve the requisite softness/pH with just oak leaves/IAL/alder cones. We shall see. Glass lid already in place will have to play around with plants/lights. never seen any of those blackwater plants for sale around here, but I'll keep my eye out for sure
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