Help sexing sparkling gourami and breeding


New Member
Apr 8, 2022
Reaction score
Hello all! This is my first post here so forgive me if I made any errors.

So, I have a few questions regarding sparkling gourami that I would love if some experts could help me out.

Off the bat, I know they can be tricky to sex. I think I have an idea on their genders but would like conformation if at all possible. Saw on a video that the dark spot on sparkling gourami is a key way to sexing them; females will have a larger and more triangular dark spot because this is where their ovaries are, whereas males dark spots will be smaller and round. I know “dark spot” is not the correct terminology, so please forgive me.

This is the fish I believe is female. “She” the largest out of all of them currently and she seems more rounded.


These two I believe are male. They are both smaller, but the second “male” is significantly smaller than the both of the other two. The first male (one only circled in red) is the most colorful fish in the tank.



Now to get into my other questions.

If my sexing guess is correct, I believe that the female and the first male have formed a pair. I’m not sure if these are signs that fish have paired, but I will list them anyways to see if anyone can confirm if they are.

They seem to always be together.
They follow each other often (not in a chasing way, just near each other.)
They will circle around each other? The other “male” does not do this with either one.
They both chase the other smaller “male” away from them when together.

Ideally, I would like these fish to breed. I don’t need them to, but I would like to have the chance to raise fry. I have heard of them breeding without intervention quite a few times and would like to know if my current setup will promote breeding behavior. Obviously I know that temperature and ph are factors, but I am willing to stimulate breeding conditions if needed. I also know that the chances of the fry surviving in my current tank may be slim; I would like to have it more heavily planted sometime in the near future, as well as adding humic substances and doing a leaf litter bottom.


Okay, final question. This fish is the oddball other “male.” Like stated earlier, he is much smaller and seems to be getting chased away from the other two. He is eating well and is usually out and about swimming amongst the tank with the others. His tail seems clamped to me though, so I am wondering if the “pair” picking on him is stressing him out. It has been like this since the day I got him and I can’t tell if his tail is appearing clamped because he is so small and not fully matured, or he is stressed.

So, to some everything up, the fish circled blue is "female", the fish circled red are "males" and the one circled with red and black is the fish I believe is not apart of the pair and may be stressed.

Thank you in advance to anyone who replies, and I apologize if this was too long or confusing in any way.
I always sexed mine by slender/not slender, and it was accurate. The females were rounder bellied. Males also had longer, pointier fins, but not by a lot.

Mine always spawned under Cryptocoryne leaves. It seemed no other plant was popular with them. I never tried to raise the fry though.
I can't help much, but according to Baensch, females are wider from above, ripe females have yellowish sides (the eggs are yellowish), and mature males are a bit more colourful and grow longer dorsal fins.

I would guess you have a pair from their behaviour.

They prefer to spawn on the underside of broad leaves near the surface. If you don't have any broad leaves at the surface you could cut one off and let it float ..
Last edited:

Most reactions