Giant red fin gourami, Osphronemus laticlavius

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The Osphronemus genus now contains several relatively new additions, including the stunning Osphronemus laticlavius, as Matt Clarke explains.

Common name: Giant red fin goramy

Scientific name: Osphronemus laticlavius

Origin: Indonesia and Malaysia.

Size: Up to about 50cm/20" and several kg in weight.

Diet: Herbivorous, so aquatic and terrestrial plants. Captive fish take most bulky foods, including pellets and frozen peas.

Water: Neutral or slightly acidic, but will adapt to harder, more alkaline conditions.

Aquarium: Huge quarters and a greatly oversized filtration system. An adult needs a tank of 180 x 60 x 60cm/6' x 2' x 2' as an absolute minimum but something in the region of 3m x 1m x 1m/10' x 39" x 39" would be our recommendation. Adults are usually fairly placid; juveniles can be a little feisty. I had a 45cm/18" specimen which lived happily alongside some large barbs and catfishes.

Adult colour: This fish is still a youngster. When mature, it will turn an attractive steely-blue grey (and sometimes black), and develop stunning red, filamentous extensions to the caudal fin, and red margins to the other fins.

Breeding: Not known to have been bred in captivity. Probably spawns in a similar manner to its cousin O. goramy, which is a bubblenester.

Similar species: Four species including O. goramy. O. laticlavius was described in 1992 with O. septemfasciatus. The bizarre and toothy O. exodon (recently imported into the UK) was described two years later.

Identification: Ten dorsal spines; 13-14 branched rays; 11-12 anal spines and 16-18 anal branched rays.

Availability: Small ones have started turning up. This fish was on sale at Wharf Aquatics in Nottinghamshire.

Price: On sale for 79.95.

This article was first published in the October 2004 issue of Practical Fishkeeping magazine.