The range of the Labyrinthfish extends from China and Korea, all through southern Asia including the Philippines and extending into Africa. Labyrinth fish are very popular with Aquarist because of their beautiful colors and interesting behavior. Many species, will demonstrate courtship, nest building and parental care right in a community tank setup. These and other reasons make them one of the long term favorites in the tropical fish hobby. Perhaps the most recognized fish in the world belongs to this group, Betta splendens.


Family statistics for Labyrinth fish
Do to the wide distribution and size of the suborder of Labyrinth fish these are just basic generalizations. You must research your particular species.
Size Generally small to medium-sized.
Aquarium Depends on species, minimum 10 gallons.
Strata All
PH 6.0 to 7.5
Hardness Soft to medium 2-15 dH
Temperature 72-82°F (22-28°C)
Food Frozen, live , flake and tablets.
Compatibility Most good Community fish.

Betta splendens

Distinguishing traits:

    1. The single most trait that distinguishes the Labyrinth fish from all others, is the organ they posses that gives them their name. The Labyrinth is located above the gills and consists of skin folds, called


    , which are filled with blood vessels, through which oxygen can be absorbed from the air. This feature allows the Labyrinth fish to survive in water with very low oxygen levels. The general body shape of the fish varies from elongated, with slight lateral compression (bettas) to leaf shaped.


Paradise fish


    In general, the Labyrinth fish are not difficult to keep. The tank should be well lit, but not be overly bright. The substrate should be a dark color with dense plantings including many floating plants. Some genera prefer the safety of caves. Feeding is not a problem as all flake food is readily accepted.

Dwarf Gourami

Chocolate Gourami

Water: and Behavior:

      1. In nature Labyrinthfish appear to prefer very weedy rivers, streams and ponds. Some are even found in irrigation ditches, flooded rice fields and even polluted waters. Almost all of the species are undemanding of water quality and will thrive and reproduce in slightly acidic ( pH ~ 6.5 ) and medium hard to soft water. The temperature range is also not overly important and can range between 68 – 80 degrees f. (20 – 27 c. ). Aeration and filtration is not needed, especially with the bubble nest builders. As you can see most Labyrinthfish are very undemanding and can be placed in just about any community tank setup. The most well known exception to this rule is the Chocolate Gourami which needs extremely acid water to live. Also members from the lesser known Parosphromenus genus have special needs.


Communities:Most labyrinth fish are calm and can be kept with schooling fish like the Tetras and some Barbs -no fin nippers. They also get along fine with the bottom dwelling fish like Catfish and Gobies. You should avoid most Cichlids due to their aggressive nature. When keeping different species of Labyrinth fish together the smaller fish will quickly succumb to the larger when a conflict arises.



    1. Many species build nest of small air bubbles. These nest are always built by the male and their size, shape and position depends on the species. The nest is made at the water surface among floating plants. Some fish incorporate plants into the nest and some are all bubbles. The male courts the female under the nest, where he curls around her and turns belly up. The eggs are extruded and fertilized from this position. They usually float up into the bubble nest and become almost invisible. This process is repeated several times and the larger species are very prolific. The male practices brood protection. This involves chasing away the female and any other intruder, concentrating the eggs in the nest, retrieving any eggs or fry that fall from the nest and keeping the nest in repair. He is one busy guy!. The eggs hatch in 25 to 36 hours. The fry are very small at first and must be fed the smallest of foods. They grow very fast. After the fry have been free swimming for about five days the male should be removed. The young are sensitive to low water temperatures for a period of two to three weeks when the Labyrinth is developing.
    Some of the Labyrinthfish, especially those living in moving water where a bubble nest would not work, practice a form of mouthbrooding. The Male takes full responsibility for the eggs and fry. Still others are open water breeders and perform no brood care at all. I Concentrated on the bubble nest type of breeding as it the most common type seen by home hobbyist.

Kim’s spawining powder Blue Dwarfs


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