The croaking gourami is a member of the gourami family. It is compressed with a pointed snout and an upturned, protractile mouth. The upper and lower jaws have a band of fixed conical teeth. The anal fin is long with between four and eight spines and between 25 and 28 rays. The dorsal, anal, caudal and pelvic fins of adults often have long and filamentous rays. The body color is variable, but there are typically between two and four dark brown to grayish black stripes on the side that often extend anteriorly across the gill cover and cheek. The croaking gourami inhabits densely vegetated canals, drainage ditches, ponds and wet prairies with mud to sandy-mud bottoms.