Parosphromenus harveyi (Harvey licourice gourami)

parosphromenus harveyi

Last updated on August 18th, 2022 at 03:57 pm

Parosphromenus harveyi (Harvey Licourice Gourami) is a species of gourami native to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It inhabits river basins and lake tributaries at elevations from 0–50 m. This species grows to a maximum length of 6 cm (2.4 in). It has been introduced into many countries in South Asia, the Pacific Islands, and the Americas, where it has become an invasive species.

The Parosphromenus harveyi (Harvey Licourice Gourami or Harvey’s Licorice Gourami) is an aquarium fish from Southeast Asia that can be found in the aquarium trade. It has been recorded from the Mekong and Chao Phraya basins, as well as in Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and Papua New Guinea. It occurs in streams with slow to fast-flowing water, usually in shallow and clear areas with sandy or muddy bottoms.

it is one of many species of freshwater fish in the family Osphronemidae that originate from Southeast Asia.

Origin and description

parosphromenus harveyi

Parosphromenus harveyi is a species of fish in the family Osphronemidae, commonly known as gouramis. It is native to Sri Lanka, where it is found in clean and clear mountain streams of Sinharaja rain forest. Parosphromenus harveyi gets its name from Dr. Michael Harvey who discovered them near Kuruwita when he was working with Ekanayake Saman De Silva at Suka Kotuwa.

Most specimens are found near Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi, but some have been found as far north as Southern Thailand and Malaysia and several hundred kilometers south of Papua New Guinea.

The body coloration of Parosphromenus harveyi is grayish-white with a dark stripe from its snout to the caudal peduncle; it has a prominent black spot on base of its tail fin and stripes at anal-fin base. Its dorsal and pectoral fins are yellow, sometimes becoming orange or blue in males when they mature.

The maximum length recorded for Parosphromenus harveyi harveyi is 6 centimeters, but usually, these fish do not exceed 3 – 4 cm, making them an ideal size for aquarists to keep as pets.

Species profile

parosphromenus harveyi

Parosphromenus harveyi is an endangered species of gourami. The unique markings on its scales earned it another nickname — the zebra gourami. It was once popular in aquariums because of its bright colors and distinctive appearance. Unfortunately, aquarium enthusiasts overharvested these fish during collection trips to Indonesia; as a result, Parosphromenus Harvey’s numbers have declined sharply.

Clown Killifish Care "Rocket Killifish"

Although not yet officially declared extinct, there are few sightings and little hope for survival due to habitat loss. Because of their coloration, they will be difficult to reproduce in captivity. Some sources say that this fish was named after Richard Francis Franny Harvie-Brown who died while leading one of his collection expeditions.

Others believe that William Troughton Harvey is actually responsible for discovering P. Harvie-Browni, but misspelled his own name while writing it down before passing away due to malaria soon afterward in 1887.


They are found in slow-moving tropical freshwater habitats with sandy or rocky substrate. The water should be soft to slightly acidic and well-oxygenated, with an ideal temperature of 72 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit. When kept as pets, these fish are best housed in individual tanks.

Parosphromenus Harveyi, like other Labyrinth fishes, must be provided with hiding places among live rock structures where they can retreat if frightened. They feed on crustaceans and worms that they sift from areas of gravel substrate by using their modified gill covers as a set of baleen plates; I have also seen them eat small shrimp whole without disturbing their exoskeletons.

Parosphromenus harveyi size

They can reach a maximum length of 3 – 4 cm (30 – 40 mm, or 1.1 – 1.5 inches)

Parosphromenus harveyi tank size

Although a larger tank is preferred, it’s possible to keep a single Harvey Licourice Gourami in a smaller tank as long as it’s well-filtered, highly oxygenated, and has plenty of room for swimming. A minimum of 5 gallon tank would be suitable for a pair, larger is better to please the fish.

Parosphromenus harveyi tank set up

For a 10-gallon tank, I recommend an efficient filtration system, some plants, and hardy fish. A good filter will remove uneaten food from your tank quickly and provide adequate oxygen for your fish. To do so, you’ll need to replace or clean its media every two weeks at most. Choose a filter that has plenty of space for larger fish, but also allows smaller ones to pass through safely — like my favorite HOB filters.

Tetra Glofish

And don’t forget about plants! They not only look great in tanks; they help keep water healthy by absorbing toxic ammonia and nitrites into their tissues before they have a chance to kill your fish. They can even help keep the pH levels steady throughout fluctuations in temperature. Different species work best in different kinds of tanks, though; ask an employee from your local store if you’re not sure what kind is right for yours!

Always pick healthy plants with vibrant leaves; dull leaves are usually a sign that something is wrong with them. What type of substrate should you choose? Fine sand is always a safe bet because it helps slow down algae growth while giving fish and invertebrates something soft to hide in.

You can also choose smooth rocks like slate or limestone to place on top of your sand bed as hiding spots for small fry and other shy fish; just be careful when choosing which rocks to use — some are softer than others, which means that heavy stones could topple over onto any unsuspecting inhabitants below.


parosphromenus harveyi

Breeding occurs in leaf litter or in small caves, where the pair forms momentary bonds with the male taking sole responsibility for brood and eggs.

This species of Parasphromenus. During courtship, males display different kinds of behaviors, such as a ‘down’ position, a ‘up’ position, or a ‘horizontal’ position.

During nuptial displays, Parosphromenus harveyi males display splayed fins and low head positions, which place them within a more specious subgroup of nuptial displays.

Leaf litter is a characteristic of natural caves, which house sexually active males. Although any structure can be used to accommodate an aquarium (see ‘Maintenance’), there is a certain amount of flexibility.

During the displays, women near the cave are then drawn to the cave by the spectacular displays. After embracing the female several times, the male releases batches of eggs and milt.

Males sometimes construct a rudimentary bubble nest in the cave, while females sometimes do not, however after the eggs hatch, both struggle to attach them to the ceiling.

As they learn how to spawn, inexperienced adults may simply eat eggs that are thrown out during subsequent embraces, which may require patience. Upon successful spawning, the female leaves the cave and defends the surrounding area, while the male tends to the brood.

Julidochromis Ornatus (Golden Julie) Care Guide

Fry emerges from the egg within four days of incubation, which typically lasts 24 to 36 hours.

Their parents will gather and return them to the nest when they begin swimming without direction, but after 3-5 days, they are fully free-swimming and leave the cave, at which time their parental care ends.

In the beginning, they may need Paramecium, rotifers, or other similar foods, but they quickly adapt to Artemia nauplii and other similar foods. A well-structured aquarium can sometimes allow them to grow alongside their parents, but in less basic aquariums, they must be separated and grown elsewhere.

Are Parosphromenus harveyi aggressive or peaceful?

Harvey licourice gouramis are primarily peaceful but can be aggressive if overstressed or threatened.

Parosphromenus harveyi care

parosphromenus harveyi

The ideal water temperature for Parosphromenus harveyi is between 75 and 80°F. Also, make sure that your tank is well-filtered. This species has a reputation for being very messy eaters, so you’ll want to set up a large filtration system to prevent deteriorating water quality.

Also, Harvey licourice gouramis need plenty of rocks in their aquariums. They love to bury themselves under them during the day and will use them as cover while they patrol their territory at night. You should never clean these out from your rockwork without making sure that any inhabitants are safely tucked away, though!

These fish also do best when kept with other gouramis as they enjoy a good pecking order in their social hierarchy; therefore, it is recommended that you keep several individuals together at once.

What do Parosphromenus harveyi eat?

Parosphromenus harveyi is omnivorous and will eat just about anything it can get its mouth around.

They mostly eat brine shrimp, Mysis shrimp, other small shrimp, and chopped fish food. They like most sinking pellet foods designed for algae eaters as well as freeze-dried bloodworms and tubifex worms. Parosphromenus are good jumpers so make sure their tank is securely covered to prevent escape.

Hara Jerdoni (Asian Stone Catfish)

Water parameters

The ideal water condition must have a pH of 6 – 7;  water hardness dH of 0.5 – 1.5; a temperature of 24 – 27 degrees C (75 – 80 degrees F); oxygenation: normal to good; tanks with lots of plants and hiding places, preferably with open top; should be kept in groups of one male to three or four females.

Parosphromenus harveyi lifespan

The lifespan of most varieties of parosphromenus is about 5 – 7 years, but it can be shortened by poor care. This fish typically dies due to illness or a water condition that cannot be controlled.

Parasites and diseases

Diseases can be caused by environmental issues, poor nutrition, stress, and lack of vitamins. Parasites like worms or flukes can also cause disease if left untreated. You should always keep your fish tank clean and well maintained to help prevent the disease from developing.

When treating your fish for a disease, it is important to treat all of them at once because even though you only see one sick fish, chances are some of your other fish have contracted a similar ailment.


The larger fish of most tanks will enjoy toying with and eating these gouramis. I have seen Harveys in a tank together with a Bala shark, for example, and it doesn’t end well for them! One of my own adult Harvey’s was eaten by my Betta when they were housed together.

Do Parosphromenus harveyi make good pets?

Yes, they make good pets. They have been popular among aquarists for a long time. If you are interested in keeping fish, then it is a great idea to consider some species of gouramis. There are numerous different species with different color patterns and personalities to choose from.

Due to their small size, Parosphromenus harveyi require very little space and minimal care making them ideal for most beginner aquarists.