Rationale? One irate chocolate gourami fan accused me of downgrading chocolate gouramis. Why write an info sheet on fishes I do not recommend? I still believe most people should not buy these little cuties (or discus either). Our Iowa water is inimical to their successful husbandry. Translated: They die like flies for most people. Or at least they die like most people wish flies would die.
Not a Good Start. With a 40% death rate before opening their bag, this is not a propitious beginning to our research into chocolate gouramis. I’ll get some more so we have a larger and hopefully healthier population. Statisticians think we should sample with a minimum of 30, but who the heck practices statistics these days or even believes statistics -- especially on the internet? We’ll stick with anecdotal evidence.
Timid Little Rascals. When dropped in their 55-gallon tank, most of the six survivors found a hiding place. They were mixed with a dozen neons, six rams, and six two-inch discus. These other fish have similar water and temperature needs/preferences. All are well adapted and enthusiastic eaters of whatever they get fed. They recognize the food container when we approach their tank and start wagging their tails. Hopefully, the chocolate gouramis will fit in and do likewise.
New Guys in Town. New guys always hide. Five chocolate gouramis disappeared into the shrubbery for the nonce. Fairly typical for most small fishes. We’ll give them some time to adjust
Water Conditions. We did not put them in one of the “black water tanks” so often recommended for chocolate gouramis. Yes, they color up better in brown water, but so what? If you can’t see the little twerps, what’s the point in having them? Besides, unless you plan to breed them, you need not duplicate the Niger River invisibility standards. Yes, I know they don’t come from the Niger River. That’s just an idiomatic expression. Since the neons, rams, and discus are happy as oysters or scallops or whatever in this water, we figured the chocolate gouramis would adapt also.
Temperature. We can’t violate all the rules all the time and expect good results, so we keep this tank at 85o. Chocolate gouramis survive fairly well at 75o in some wholesaler’s tanks. But over the long haul, they need more BTUs in their water. You just can’t treat them like a blue gourami and expect to keep them.
Disease. We added six more Chocolate gouramis. These were 50% larger but still under one inch. They cost three times as much and came covered with ich. We just dropped them into the 85 degree water and put in a taste of ich cure. Ich usually just goes away at 85o. Anyway, this is just one more strike against these little runts.
Strike Out. Perhaps chocolates should be called croaking gouramis. They all died in less than a week.
Still Batting Zero. We added two more groups of ten each from this healthy batch. They survived less than two weeks.
Last Word. We still cannot recommend chocolate gouramis to most aquarists. Since we cannot keep them alive, we will not sell chocolates.