This species is found in ponds and swamps. It occurs in shallow, sluggish, or standing water habitats with a lot of aquatic vegetation. It is also common in the floodplain of the lower Mekong.
These fish are silvery colored with a slightly greenish hue similar to the soft glow of moonlight. The moonlight gourami’s concavely sloped head distinguishes it from other gourami varieties. The males can be identified by the orange to red coloration of the pelvic fins, as well as the long dorsal fins which ends in a point. In females, the pelvic fins are colorless to yellow, and the dorsal fins are shorter and rounder. During spawning, in males, the orange thread-like ventral fins will intensify and become red.
Like all labyrinth fish, the moonlight gourami has a special lung-like organ that allows it to breathe air directly. Because of this labyrinth organ, it is not unusual to see it go to the surface and gulp air. The ability to breathe air allows the Moonlight Gourami to survive in very low oxygen situations. In fact, if it remains moist it can actually survive out of water for up to several hours.
As with other labyrinth fish, these species are oviparous and employ bubble nests in reproduction and care of fry. The male moonlight gourami begins the spawning process by carefully preparing a bubble nest; this bubble nest tends not to incorporate much plant matter and the bubbles may float around freely. It will then begin to court the female under it by performing a "courtship dance" behavior. Spawning culminates when the male finally wraps itself around the female. While in this embrace, the male turns the female on to her back triggering the female to release her eggs. Up to 2000 eggs may be laid during spawning. The male will fertilize the eggs as they float up to the prepared bubble nest. In the safety of the bubble nest the eggs will incubate for about two to three days before finally hatching.
It thrives in a heavily planted aquarium. Preferable vegetation are the sturdy Java fern and Vallisneria. The moonlight gourami are social and peaceful fish that are suitable for community tanks. However, large specimens, particularly males, may attack others of the same or closely-related species. On the other hand, the moonlight gourami could be a shy and timid fish that regularly hides behind vegetation and gets bullied by more aggressive tank mates. The moonlight gourami is also a top or middle tank-level dweller. Minimum tank size requirement is 20 gallons.
The moonlight gourami will accept flakes, frozen and live foods. However, in the case of community tanks, other large, fast fish can scare the moonlight gourami away from food as the timid gourami does not compete well for its meal even if starving.
Once the eggs hatch, the fry must be fed very fine foods several times daily. The fry are tiny and delicate for the first few weeks of their lives. Most losses of fry are due to the lack of adequate food or low water temperature. Live foods such as daphnia, artemia and rotifers are ideal. However, very finely chopped lettuce, banana skins, and finely ground flake food can also be used to feed the young. The water temperature in the low to middle 80 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal while the fry are growing.