Licorice Gourami (Parosphromenus deissneri)

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Licorice Gourami

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Licorice Gourami

Parosphromenus deissneri

19 Litres (5 US G.)

4-5 cm (1.6-2")




3 - 7

23 -28 °C (73.4-82.4°F)

0-2 °d

1:1 M:F

Live Foods

3-5 years



Additional names

Licorice Gourami

Additional scientific names

Osphromenus deissneri


The genus parosphromenus is found on several islands in southeastern asia, and are always found in extremely acidic peat swamps or the remnants of such swamps.


Males have longer fins and darker colors than the females.

Tank compatibility

Extremely shy fish that should not be kept with other species in view of their precarious wild condition.


Very picky carnivores that will not accept flake or pellet, and will only unreliably take frozen. Small live foods are necessary to keep these fish in good condition.

Feeding regime

Typical once or twice a day feeding regime.

Environment specifics

A specialized occupant of the bottoms of acidic, flowing blackwaters in the wild, where the lighting is dim and the ground is covered by dead branches and leaves. In the aquarium, the water must have low TDS, very low PH, low or even negligible hardness, and tannins in order to keep this fish successfully and breed them.


Unlike most labryinth fish, licorice gouramies do not normally use their labryinth organ, using their gills instead. They are bottom dwellers that hide and breed in caves. Males build a rudimentary bubble nest in the cave and attract the female with a head-down, flaring display before mating. The male then guards the resultant eggs until the fry are free swimming: the fry are unexpectedly large and can take baby brine shrimp and microworms from birth.


There are 20 species of licorice gourami, all of which are critically endangered due to habitat destruction; they should not be kept by beginning aquarium keepers due to both this and their specific requirements. Their small size and unusually slender build makes them unlikely to be confused with any other anabantoids: however, distinguishing the individual licorice gourami species is far more challenging. Ironically, deissneri itself has only rarely been traded: instead, several other similar species have been traded under its name. If the fish is indeed deissneri, they will grow larger than most other licorice gouramies (most of whom stop growing at 4cm) and the males will have a up to 1cm long caudal fin fillament: furthermore, the unpaired fins on males have a set of parallel black lines.


External links