Do you know that snakeskin gourami or Siamese gourami (sepat siam, in Malay) is a species of gourami that is important both as a food fish and as an aquarium fish. They are common in the Mekong and Chao Phraya basin of Cambodia, Thailand, Southern Vietnam, and Laos. They have also been introduced in the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and New Caledonia. In the Philippines, they are commonly found in Lake Bombon in Taal, from Lake Mainit in Mindanao, in Laguna de Bay and Lake Buluan. In Malaysia, they can be found in rice paddies, shallow ponds, swamps and the drains too. It is quite easy to spot one in shallow, sluggish, or standing water habitats with a lot of aquatic vegetation.Snakeskin gourami generally feed on aquatic plants. But sometimes you can fsh them with bait like worms or bread crumbs too. Like other labyrinth fish, it can breathe air directly, as well as absorb oxygen from water through its gills.
Compared to other gourami species, the snakeskin gourami is less frequently sold as aquarium fish but is more commonly used as food fish in their native lands. The snakeskin gourami is a highly economic species that is captured and cultured for food and for export for the aquarium trade. It is one of the five most important aquacultured freshwater species in Thailand. The flesh is of good quality, and may be grilled or used for fish soup. In Thailand, there is a trade of dried snakeskin gourami for the benefit of people in areas where the live fish is not available.
They are a hardy species recommended for a beginner in the fishkeeping hobby because, despite growing to a relatively large size, they are peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank. They can be mixed with barbs, danios, tetras, Corydoras, angelfish, loaches, Loricariids and other gourami. A snakeskin gourami is a bottom and middle tank level dweller.
A snakeskin gourami can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) in captivity and its spawns are also unusually large.Snakeskin gouramies, being omnivores, eat live food such as Tubifex worms, insects, insect larvae and crustaceans. They also consume flakes, pellets, chopped spinach and lettuce. They are not picky and will accept any food offered.
Breeding snakeskin gourami is not difficult. They will breed when they reach 5 inches (12.5 cm) length. It is the most prolific among all the gourami species. There can be as many as 5,000 fry from a single spawning period. The males are relatively nonaggressive, even at spawning times, which is unlike other labyrinth fishes. And don't you worry, the parents will not eat the fry.