Information, Freshwater fish, Gourami, Labyrinth fish, Species

Moonlight Gourami (Trichopodus microlepis)

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by Jason Matthews



In this article, we’ll explore the world of the Moonlight gourami, a species prized for its hypnotic beauty and peaceful nature. This species is ideal for new and experienced fish owners looking for a low-maintenance, attractive, and simple-to-care-for pet. 

Whether you’re a seasoned fish keeper or starting, this article will teach you everything you need to know about the Moonlight gourami. So, let’s get started and learn more about this fascinating species!


Scientific Name: Trichopodus microlepis
Common Names: Moonlight Gourami, Moonbeam Gourami
Life Expectancy: 4-6 years
Adult Size: 6 inches


HabitatFreshwater rivers, streams and swamp
OriginSoutheast Asia
Care LevelModerate
Tank LevelMiddle to top
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons (75 liters) or larger
Water pH6.0-7.5
Water Temperature75-82°F (24-28°C)
Water Hardness5-19 dGH
LightingModerate to high
Tank MatesPeaceful and non-aggressive fish of similar size

Fun Fact Corner

A fascinating fact about moonlight gouramis is that they have the ability to change color. While their base color is typically light silver or gray, they can switch to a pale yellow or greenish hue depending on their mood or environment. 


The Moonlight gourami is a freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, specifically the Mekong River basin of Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. This species was scientifically described for the first time in 1892 and has since become a popular choice for aquarium hobbyists worldwide. 

Appearance & Size

The Moonlight gourami gets its common name from its distinctive, iridescent blue color that shimmers in the light. The shimmering effect is caused by the microscopic scales that cover its body and reflect light in a captivating manner. The Moonlight gourami has a rounded belly and a flattened head, and its body is laterally compressed. 

It has long, delicate fins that are usually transparent or pale blue, with a dark border that adds to its beauty. The dorsal fin is elongated and flows gracefully, while the anal and caudal fins are rounded and give the fish a graceful appearance. 

The Moonlight gourami is a relatively small species, growing to an average length of 6 inches. This makes it an ideal choice for smaller aquariums, as it only requires a small amount of space to thrive. It is important to note that the size of the Moonlight gourami can vary depending on the environment and diet, so it is essential to provide it with the proper conditions to reach its full potential.


It is relatively easy to tell the difference between the males and females of Moonlight gourami. Male Moonlight gouramis are larger and more colorful than females, and their dorsal and anal fins are longer and more pointed. The male body is slimmer and more streamlined, whereas the female body is rounder and more robust. 

Furthermore, the male has a more prominent iridescent blue coloration, whereas the female is typically lighter in color with a silver or cream hue. These distinctions are especially noticeable during the breeding season when the male displays his full colors and courtesies the female.


The Moonlight gourami’s behavior is peaceful and graceful. It is a slow-swimming fish that spends most of its time near the water’s surface, where it can be easily observed. Despite its peaceful demeanor, the Moonlight gourami can sometimes be shy, hiding behind plants or other decorations when threatened.


When selecting tankmates for the Moonlight gourami, it is important to consider their peaceful and slow-moving nature. They do not tolerate aggressive or boisterous tankmates, and keeping them with species with similar temperaments and environmental requirements is best.

Here is a list of good tankmates for the Moonlight gourami:

Tank conditions

Several necessary tank conditions must be considered when keeping the Moonlight gourami in an aquarium. They require a stable and clean environment to thrive. A single fish needs a minimum tank size of 30 gallons, with an additional 10 gallons of water volume required for each extra fish.

It is also critical to keep the tank’s water parameters stable because the Moonlight gourami is sensitive to changes in temperature, pH, and water hardness. A temperature range of 72°F to 82°F is appropriate, with a pH of 7.0 to 7.5. The hardness of the water should be between 5 and 20 dKH. Maintaining stable water conditions with regular water changes and a high-quality aquarium filter will be easier.

The Moonlight gourami also appreciates plenty of hiding spots in the aquarium and a large open swimming area. This can be accomplished by including live or artificial plants, rocks, and other decorations and ensuring a good balance of light and shadow in the aquarium. Furthermore, good aeration and circulation in the tank are essential because the Moonlight gourami requires a steady oxygen supply to thrive.


In the wild, the Moonlight gourami is an omnivore with a varied diet, including small insects, crustaceans, and plant material. They can be fed both dry and wet foods in the aquarium.

To ensure that they receive all of the necessary nutrients, it is critical to provide a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods. A staple diet can consist of high-quality, dry pellets or flakes designed for omnivores. They can be fed live or frozen brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and dry food. Vegetable matter such as blanched lettuce or spinach can be offered to provide roughage.

Feeding them in small amounts two to three times per day rather than one large feeding is preferable. This not only mimics their natural feeding habits but also prevents overfeeding, which can lead to poor water quality and health issues.


For experienced aquarists, breeding the Moonlight gourami can be a rewarding experience. While relatively simple, certain conditions must be met to ensure success.

The first step in breeding the Moonlight gourami is to provide suitable water conditions, such as 78-82°F water temperature and a pH of 6.0-7.0. It is also critical to have a large tank with plenty of hiding spots for the female to retreat if necessary.

Once the conditions are favorable, a male-to-two or three-female ratio is recommended to increase the likelihood of successful breeding. The male will build a bubble nest, and court the females by flashing bright colors and tempting them with food.

Once the female has laid her eggs, the male will care for the eggs and fry. Keeping the breeding pair separate from any tankmates is critical to prevent them from eating the eggs or fry.


Like all fish, Moonlight gouramis are susceptible to a wide range of diseases. Ich, Fin Rot, and Swim Bladder Disorder are the most common diseases. Monitoring their health and maintaining good water conditions is critical to prevent disease spread. Furthermore, proper nutrition and tank maintenance can help lower the risk of illness.

If you suspect your moonlight gourami is ill, consult a veterinarian specializing in aquarium fish. They can diagnose the problem and recommend the best course of action. Medications may be required in some cases to treat the disease, while changes to the fish’s diet or living conditions may be necessary for others.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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