The second male S. vaillanti was ultimately successful in carrying the eggs to term, holding eggs
in his gular pouch.
A five-day-old samurai gourami S. vaillanti.
A species caught by the author during his Indonesian expedition, Eirmotus octozona is
recommended as an appropriate tankmate for a samurai gourami setup.
very heavily, his mouth unable to close.
Just when I thought the young should be
released, the male suddenly died.
Necroscopy revealed a moldy lump
of fungused eggs in his gular pouch
(a throat pouch between the two gill
plates). This was undoubtedly the
source of a secondary infection that
killed the male.
Shortly afterward, the second male
had a distended throat pouch. I prepared
a 20-liter (5-gallon) tank for him with
clear, soft water, the type I usually use
for spawning cardinal tetras. I very
carefully transferred him into this tank,
using a glass rather than a net so that
he remained under water at all times.
The temperature was 24°C ( 75°F). The
male hid in the plants all the time
and did not take any food. His throat
continued to grow larger, but after the
three weeks had passed (the time the
literature indicates for the incubation
period) there still were no fry. So, I
slowly increased the water temperature
to 30°C ( 86°F). The day after, I could see
movement in his pouch, as if things were
rolling around in there. After a week at
the higher temperature, I discovered a
small school of babies one morning. The
fry swam around the male and looked
like 5-mm copies of the adult fish. As
soon as they are released, they are able
to eat baby brine shrimp.
I transferred the fry to another tank
with the same water and left the male
where he was. Overnight he released
another 18 babies, three of which did
not develop properly and stayed on the
bottom for two days before dying. The
rest of the 25 fry grew successfully,
and at the age of four weeks I could
see them take their first breaths of
The male recovered rather slowly from
his month-long fast. He did interact
with the females, but they did not spawn
again until seven weeks after he released
the first batch of young.
Sphaerichthys vaillanti is a rarity,
and a rarity it will stay. This fish
demands specific conditions and will
never be an acceptable candidate for
a typical ornamental aquarium, but a
blackwater biotope setup with several
pairs of Sphaerichthys vaillanti and
a small school of Eirmotus octozona
will surely warm the hearts of most