P. harveyi, displaying ♂ with pale coloured ♀ in the background in front of the cave (photo: K. Weissenberg)

Brown 1987

First descrip­tion: B. Brown,Special announce­ment – two new ana­ban­toid species.Aquar­ist and Pond­keeper, 1987 (June): 34.- Here the same applies as has already been said about the ini­tial descrip­tion of P. allani (s.d.). This “spe­cial announce­ment” is valid, despite the lack of pre­cise tax­o­nomic infor­ma­tion and a stored holo­type. How­ever, in 1984 the Browns con­served some spec­i­mens, which were clas­si­fied as “syn­types” by Peter Ng. He and Kot­te­lat selected one of these as a “lec­to­type in 2005.

Char­ac­ter­is­tics: Max­i­mum length 4.0 cm. For­mu­las fins: dor­sal XI-​XIII, 57, total 1718, anal XI-​XIII, 811, total 2022. Round-​tail-​type. In nup­tial plumage the ♂ is dis­tin­guished from most of the other round-​tailed licorice gouramis (with the excep­tion of some vari­ants of the Bin­tan com­plex) by the absence of any red por­tions in its colour and its strik­ing iri­des­cent blue-​green lumi­nes­cent bands in the unpaired fins. Another char­ac­ter­is­tic for this species is also the black band at the edge of its tail fin that is wider than in most of the other sim­i­lar types. The dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of the ♀ from the other round tail-​type species is prob­lem­atic as usual. Dur­ing courtship the female gets the species-​typical pale colour while the oth­er­wise glass-​clear trans­par­ent unpaired fins take on a brown­ish colour .

Sim­i­lar species: risk of con­fu­sion is low for the males; pos­si­bly it can be con­fused with some vari­ants from the bin­tan group (e.g. spec. “blue line”). How­ever, usu­ally the dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion is easy due to the lack of any red or brown colour por­tion, the fin for­mula and/​or the broad black seam of the cau­dal fin. The iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the females is hardly pos­si­bly with­out pre­cise measurements.

Occur­rence /​Dis­tri­b­u­tion: West Malaysia, type local­ity Batu Arang. This wet­land area is now largely destroyed. The species still exists in suit­able rem­nants of marshes of the for­merly large jun­gle of Selan­gor (about 100 km north of Batu Arang. No fur­ther occur­rences are known.

Threat: Very high. After the type local­ity has been dried up almost com­pletely, de-​forested and thus made barely inhab­it­able for licorice gouramis, the species appears to have adjourned into the for­merly extended nature pro­tec­tion area “Selan­gor For­est”. But despite its pro­tected sta­tus this area too has been drained in large parts and has been trans­formed to plan­ta­tions. P. Har­veyi tries to sur­vive in some of the drainage canals and in remain­ing black water swamps of the relict jungle.

Discovery/​First import: A. und B.Brown to Europe 1984 und 1985.

Trade: The species appeared very rarely in trade; even less fre­quently after the almost entire destruc­tion of its habi­tat. Most of the fish, dis­trib­uted among hob­by­ists, go back to a few pri­vate imports. Because of the risk of con­fu­sion with the fre­quently traded species of the bintan-​group (spec. “blue line” etc.), fish labelled as “har­veyi” should be exam­ined more closely. On the other hand it has real har­veyi may have been traded under the wrong appela­tion “deiss­neri” (prob­a­bly from cap­tive breed­ing in the hobby?).

Care /​Breed­ing: Typ­i­cal black water region licorice gourami. pH should not exceed 6.0, but may be at 4.0. Rather low (2224) tem­per­a­tures (not C 2728 C degrees!). Con­duc­tiv­ity of the water should be def­i­nitely less than 100 micro Siemens /​cm, KH should not be detectable. Clutches do often not have more then 40 eggs. Foam nest usu­ally con­sists of only a few bub­bles. Not a beginner’s fish.

Behav­iour /​Par­tic­u­lar­i­ties: dis­tinct head-​down courtship. Good pairs mate, spawn and brood care almost con­tin­u­ously if the con­di­tions are suit­able. Medium-​size clutches.


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