Fish Species Profile: Moonlight Gourami (Moonbeam Gourami)

Moonlight gourami (Trichopodus microlepis), also known as the mo

This tranquil is known by the popular name moonlight gourami. It has a silvery body with a somewhat greenish tinge, similar to the faint shine of moonlight. Trichogaster microlepis, like other labyrinth fish, has an unique organ that allows it to breathe air directly. It is fairly uncommon for this labyrinth organ to reach the surface to take in air. These fish can survive in low-oxygen environments because they can breathe air. In reality, if this fish is kept wet, it can survive for several hours without water. The moonlight gourami is distinguished from other by its concave head slope.

Species Overview

Common Names: Moonlight Gourami, moonbeam gourami

Scientific Name: Trichogaster microlepis

Adult Size: 6 inches

Life Expectancy: 4 years


Family Belontiidae
Origin Thailand, Cambodia
Social Peaceful, suitable for a community tank
Tank Level Top, Mid-dweller
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallon
Diet Omnivore, eats most foods

Egglayer-bubble nest

Care Intermediate
pH 6.0 to 7.0
Hardness 2 to 25 dGH
79 to 86 F / 26 to 30 C

Origin and Distribution

The moonlight gourami is native to Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia's tropical regions. Ponds, bogs, swamps, and lakes with abundant of vegetation are ideal habitats for this species. The fish can also be found in the Mekong River's floodplains. It has escaped from breeders and become an invasive species in both Singapore and Columbia as a result of being bred in captivity in various regions of the world. In Southeast Asia, this species is also raised for food. The majority of moonlit gouramis destined for aquariums are produced in captivity.

Colors and Markings

The moonlight gourami is long and flat, with a concave curvature in its head. It has long filaments on its ventral fins that are sensitive to touch; males have red pelvic fins, while females have yellow or colorless pelvic fins. It has thin silvery scales that produce a lovely greenish iridescence as it grows. The eyes are either red or orange in color.


Moonlight gouramis may be maintained in pairs or groups in a communal tank, as long as the least aggressive member of the group, who is occasionally harassed, has somewhere to hide. Other labyrinth fish and bigger species like redtail botia, corydoras, and can be tankmates.

Avoid fin-nipping species like clown barbs because the moonlight gourami's fins have long filaments that are particularly appealing. This is a fish that is hesitant even in optimum settings. Only non-aggressive tankmates should be kept with it.

Moonlight Gourami Habitat and Care

Strong vegetation, such as Java fern and Vallisneria, are good habitat options. Although it looks lovely in a communal tank, don't be shocked if it disappears frequently. Although it is undemanding of water, it thrives in soft acidic water. It's a fantastic starter fish since it can tolerate less-than-ideal water. To ensure excellent health, the water should be changed on a regular basis.

Moonlight Gourami Diet and Feeding

Flake, frozen, and live meals are all acceptable to the moonlit gourami. Serving a wide variety of live and flake meals can aid in maintaining excellent health. If you have other large fish in your community tank, ensure sure they don't scare the moonlight gourami away from the meal. Even if it is starving, this is a shy fish that will not battle for its meal.

Gender Differences

Females are broader and have more rounded anal and dorsal fins than males. The orange to red colour of the pelvic fins, as well as the lengthy dorsal fins that culminate in a point, distinguish males. Females have colorless to yellow pelvic fins, and their dorsal fins are shorter and rounder. Males' ventral fins transform from orange to crimson during spawning.

Breeding the Moonlight Gourami

The moonlight gourami, like other fish, is an egg layer who makes a bubble nest. This fish is simple to breed and fascinating to watch. Other fish will consider these eggs and little offspring (fry) a good diet, so keep them in a separate breeding tank.

The optimum breeding tank has soft water that has been decreased to roughly six inches in depth. To stimulate spawning, the pH should be somewhat acidic, and the temperature should be elevated to at least 80 degrees Fahrenheit over many days. To make the bubble nest, use dark gravel and plenty of floating plants. Before attempting to breed the breeding couple, feed them live meals to boost your chances of success.

The spawning process begins with the male meticulously creating a bubble nest. He then starts courting the female underneath it. This courting dance is an amazing show that you should not miss. During spawning, the male wraps himself around the female. The male flips the female onto her back while in this hug, causing her to release eggs. During the spawning, up to 2,000 eggs may be deposited, which the male fertilizes as they float up to the nest. The eggs incubate for two to three days in the protection of the bubble nest before hatching.

The fry must be given very little items several times daily once the eggs hatch. The majority of fry losses are caused by a lack of feeding or a cold water temperature. Daphnia, artemia, and rotifers are excellent live meals. Feeding the young can be done using finely chopped lettuce, banana peels, and finely ground flake food (and are usually easier to find). While the fry (small juveniles) are growing, keep the water temperature in the low to mid-80s.

More Pet Fish Species and Further Research

Because they use the upper layers of the water, gouramis are a pleasant addition to any aquarium. If you're looking for related species, go to:

Check out additional fish species profiles for more information on other  fish.