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Male Parosphromenus nagyi.

Parosphromenus nagyi, together with bintan is a good starting place if you want to try keeping and breeding licorice gourami.

The very first licorice gourami that I found in the aquarium shops were nagyi. They survived my initial ignorance on their care.

Give them clean soft acidic water, living foods, a small cave, and they will probably spawn without your doing anything more than that.

My first spawning pair of nagyi still occupy their original aquarium and continue to go through their spawning ritual regularly.

Should you wish to try keeping licorice gourami, my suggestion is to begin with nagyi or bintan. You will learn a lot about the specialist's fish; the Parosphromenus.


Clean soft acid water with low lighting suits nagyi. As with all licorice gourami, you will need live foods.

These are the water parameters within which I keep my nagyi and bintan.

  • pH between 4 and 5.5.
  • GH as low as possible.
  • KH as low as possible.
  • 26° Celsius (78° Fahrenheit).

Filtration is a small air operated biological sponge filter. I prefer to turn down the bubbles to a minimal flow-through, yet still enough to circulate the water to prevent temperature layering.

The sponge filter will become home to some very slow growing and helpful micro-organisms. These micro-organisms play a big part in water quality by consuming nutrients in the water released from fish urine and faeces.

A cave should be provided for the males to set up home within. The males will then court the females with their courtship displays. That is when they are at their best colouring and most interesting behaviour.

Lighting should not be too bright. If you don't see your bintan out and about, try lowering the lighting intensity or add some floating plants.

Feeding is live foods only. I feed mine mosquito larvae, newly hatched (rinsed) brine shrimp, micro worms and grindle worms.

Maintenance is general housecleaning and regular water changes. I aim for a 20 percent water change per week as a combined pH adjustment and nutrient lowering.


When young and in good condition, the males can show blue on the fins. In the aquarium stores as young fish, I find it impossible to tell males from females. It is only when I bring them home and bring up their condition that sexual differences begin to show.


When well kept, nagyi will breed in the aquarium as a normal part of life.

Where bintan simply sticks the eggs onto the cave wall, nagyi builds a bubblenest within the cave.



Eggs in a bubble nest within their chosen cave.


First view of fry after leaving the nest.
(Photo by Josaphina Sluik)



Young male nagyi beginning to show blue on the fins.


Young female nagyi from the same spawning.

I have seen the females hunt and eat the fry, though not the males. Even with the predation of the females, one or two fry may sometimes survive to grow into adulthood.


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Suggested Reading

parosphromenus project logoParosphromenus Project (external link)

Parosphromenus Project (external link)

The Parosphromenus Project was founded in 2005 in Germany and has grown to be a worldwide project to study and preserve the licorice gourami within the aquarium hobby.

There you will find everything about the keeping and breeding of the licorice gourami.

Highly recommended as essential reading if you wish to keep the Parosphromenus.

The Science of Aquariums (external link)

An easy read practical explanation of the science behind aquarium keeping and water chemistry. Written by a chemist who is also an aquarist.


You can contact the author of this website by emailing: Albert Sluik.



This website is my little corner of the web where I can indulge my interests of coding websites, breeding challenging tropical fish and taking photographs of said challenging subjects.

It is also a place where I can share knowledge gained.

I am enjoying myself.

That is what this website is all about.