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Pygmy gourami being territorial yet no nest?

Chris_Homan

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14 May 2021
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17
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St Albans
One of my 6 pygmy gourami is being extremely territorial in the top back corner of my planted tank. I can’t see any fry or nest amongst the floaters. What’s going on?
 

zozo

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16 Apr 2015
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I guess you have Trichopsis pumila? They are little active rascals and indeed territorial and competitive. Buying them without being able to sex them properly then it could be you have a larger number of males than females. Then the males are likely competing over a few or maybe only 1 female... That can be the issue with buying small numbers to house in small tanks... As small as they are they have a large ego and still need quite some space preferably with enough broken lines of sight.

Sexing them isn't that difficult once you know what to look for. But you need to take them out in a separate small container and shine a light through them. Then you can see the ovaries from the females. AFAIK this is the only way to definitively ID females when they still are younger. Once they get older the colour might reveal which are the males.

But most LFS don't even bother to do this and sell them as they come.

 

Chris_Homan

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14 May 2021
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St Albans
Thanks Zozo, or as I see you’re a fellow countryman, bedankt. Yes, they are T pumila and as far as I can tell, there are 3 males and 3 females. Just waiting to see what’s happening, the one male is definitely the boss.
 

zozo

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16 Apr 2015
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7,929
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Netherlands
Thanks Zozo, or as I see you’re a fellow countryman, bedankt. Yes, they are T pumila and as far as I can tell, there are 3 males and 3 females. Just waiting to see what’s happening, the one male is definitely the boss.

Ok, jij ook bedankt... :)

I've kept a few dozens of T. pumila over the years and even got them to breed and had some surviving fry. Adult males don't even shy back from charging much bigger fish than themselves when in protective mode. They are like Chihuahua suffering from megalomania and are very big dogs in small bodies. They also will harras and nibble on shrimps similar to their own size and will hunt shrimp fry for dinner.

They are extremely beautiful and interesting fish species especially when they start croaking. The downside is about all available in the trade are wild-caught and have a rather short lifespan. The ones that were born in my tank lived about 3 years all the ones I bought less than 2 years for the strong and healthy. Quite a lot didn't make it past 1 year. I guess this is the issue with wild-caught specimens we can never know their age. Size doesn't say it all, the ones born in my tank stayed rather small all their life.
 
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