Gourami Fish – Care, Tank Mates, Feeding, Breeding & More

Also known as labyrinth fish, Gouramis are quite famous because of their peculiar nature. While they seem quite peaceful, they won’t hesitate to attack whoever ticks them off and can even go as far as killing them.

Additionally, these fishes have labyrinth organs (acting as lungs), which enables them to breathe even at the water surface.

In the wild, this adaptation allows them to inhabit shallow, stagnant, oxygen-poor water. The Gouramis fall under the fish families of Helostomatidae, Anabantidae, and Osphronemidae.

Regarding their natural habitats, they live in Southern and Eastern Asia, from East and North Korea, through China, the Malaysian archipelago, Vietnam, and as far as Thailand.

Gourami Fish – Care, Tank Mates, Feeding, Breeding

Gourami Fish – Care, Tank Mates, Feeding, Breeding

Now, depending on the kind of species you choose, keeping Gouramis can be an arduous endeavour. As such, you’ll need accurate insights on how to care for these aquatic animals.

With that said, check out the pointers below:

Gourami Fish Aquarium Requirements

With Gouramis, the rare the species, the more difficult it is to care for it. In other words, the more common types of Gouramis are relatively undemanding and can thrive in most community aquariums. Normally, a 30-gallon aquarium is enough for a pair of Gouramis.

Nonetheless, it’s advisable to go for a bigger tank if you can afford it. Also, take note that the aquarium should always have a tropical temperature environment. Water movement isn’t crucial for a gourami tank as these fish species are native to slow-flowing as well as still rivers and streams. As such, you don’t require a powerful filter for this aquarium.

If anything, a basic corner or hang-on filter will be sufficient. It’s important to note that these fish can thrive without an air-pump. Even so, you’ll need to invest in a heater to ensure that the water temperature stays above 72 °F. It’s vital to ensure that the room temperature doesn’t fall below 70 °F, especially during the winter.

For a 30-gallon tank, use a 150 watt aquarium heater. You’ll also need a thermometer to realize the tank’s temperature at any given moment. Once you get one, place it at your tank’s corner, away from the heater.

Also, gouramis prefer soft, acidic waters, but you can breed them in higher alkalinity and ph. Yes, they are adaptable to various environments because of the seasonal changes in water quality and quantity that occurs in their natural habitat. To maintain optimum water quality, you’ll need to conduct

When it comes to the substrate, fine pebbles or gravel will do best. While a lighter substrate is okay, the darker ones are more ideal. It’s also crucial to add floating plants to the aquarium to provide hiding spots and cover for your Gouramis.

Gourami Fish Tank Mates

Gourami Fish Tank Mates

Gourami Fish Tank Mates

Many kinds of fish can live harmoniously with the gouramis. But you’ll have to match the fish with the species of gouramis your housing. As you may know, different kinds of Gouramis have dissimilar demeanours and temperament.

Small Gouramis usually have a peace-full, non-fussy nature, making them excellent community fish. Some bigger species can often display a feisty temperament and thus lack many companions. With that said, here are some of the most popular gourami tanks mates:

– Panda Corydoras

Panda Corydoras

Panda Corydoras

Also known as the Cory Catfish, the corydoras are an active, peaceful, and fun-to-watch bottom-dweller species. As a result, they make some of the best tank mates for topwater layer gouramis.

What’s more, the panda corydoras enjoy similar water values with gouramis. That is slightly acidic and soft water.

– Glowlight Tetra

Without a doubt, many different kinds of tetras can live harmoniously with Gouramis. But one of the best tetra species to go for is the Glowlight tetra. This cheerful species features less ‘neon’ colours, which makes Gouramis to not see them as rivals.

– Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Kuhli Loach

Loaches from the Pangio genus family are other ideal tank mates for fish that need unobtrusive and peaceful company.

Being nocturnal, these loaches spend their daytime hiding, and their night time zooming all over the tank. Not to mention that they are bottom feeders.

– Harlequin Rasbora

The Harlequin Rasboras are colourful and active schooling fish that can add some life to your tank without bothering the Gouramis.

These small-sized Rasboras don’t require a large aquarium and they prefer water conditions that are similar to what Gouramis appreciate.

The best part is that they have a peaceful temperament.

– Bristlenose Pleco

Small Plecostomus catfish like the popular Bristlenose Pleco combine excellently with timid fish. Being somewhat inactive, these fishes spend a lot of time attached to the glass or sitting at the tank’s bottom. This makes them the perfect companions for larger Gourami species.

– Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp

Amano Shrimp

Unlike cherry shrimp or dwarf shrimp, the Amano shrimp is large enough to not get eaten or nipped by a Gourami.

Additionally, the Amano Shrimps love eating algae, a trait that will go a long way in maintaining your aquarium’s water quality. And they are not difficult to keep. All they require is plenty of veggie-based foods like algae wafers, algae, spinach and zucchini.

– Mystery Snail

Mystery snails are a useful and fun addition to any Gourami tank. On top of being entirely peaceful, these snails are big enough to withstand bites and nips. Mystery snails even tender to leftover foods, meaning that they can help keep your tank clean.

Other than the aquatic creatures mentioned above, you can also go for Cherry Barbs, Dwarf Crayfish, Otocinclus Catfish, Pygmy Corydoras, Guppy Fish, and Ember Tetras. All these species can live inoffensively with Gouramis.

Feeding Gourami Fish

Feeding Gourami Fish

Feeding Gourami Fish

Considering that they are omnivores, Gouramis can eat virtually all kinds of food. Even so, it’s crucial to vary their diet so that you balance the nutrition. A combination of frozen as well as dry and fresh/ live foods is enough to provide a well-rounded diet for your gouramis.

The only time you should slightly change the diet is when conditioning your pets for breeding. Yes, it’s advisable to breed only healthy and well-fed gouramis. During this period, you can put your gouramis on a diet of fresh vegetables such as spinach, cooked peas, and lettuce, as well as live foods like brine shrimp, glass worms, and black worms.

For the best results, rotate your Gourami’s diet daily. If you choose to feed them twice a day, give them only what they can consume in three minutes. For those that you feed once a day, give them an amount they can clear in under five minutes.

Remember to offer your gouramis floating foods as they are top-dwellers and will rarely swim to the tank’s bottom area to feed.

Caring for Gourami Fish

Gouramis are quite easy to care for because they are relatively hardy. You only need to provide the appropriate water conditions as well as diet. Still, it’s important to take note of the size of your species.

Gouramis come in various sizes and can measure a few inches (in length) to over 24 inches. For instance, the giant gouramis can reach over 2 feet in length while dwarf gouramis will grow to only about 1.5 inches. Thus, be aware of the gouramis’ growth potential before selecting the best species for your tank.

Breeding Gouramis in Captivity

Breeding Gouramis in Aquarium

Breeding Gouramis in Aquarium

Most gourami species are moderately easy to breed. Majorly, these fish either build bubble nests for their eggs or brood them in the males’ mouths (mouthbrooders). Still, some species of gouramis scatter their eggs on any surface inside the tank.

As such, the first step of breeding gouramis is figuring out your species as well as how it breeds. That said, you may have to set aside a tank for breeding. Breeding gouramis in a community tank can be a little tricky as they tend to get extremely aggressive.

Here are several vital considerations for a Gourami breeding tank:

  • Temperature – The breeding tank should always have a temperature ranging from 77°F to 82°F.
  • pH – For breeding, the aquarium’s pH should be around 6.6 to 7.5. You can raise the pH in any tank by adding coral, crushed limestone or any other safe carbonate materials. To lower the pH, simply add soft water.
  • Still waters – Many adult female guaramis can’t lay eggs moving water. It’s, therefore, paramount to install a sponge filter in the tank, instead of powerheads or air pumps. Also, ensure to maintain the water level at around six inches.
  • Lighting – A gourami breeding tank should have low lighting.
  • Floating objects – Place some floating plants or objects (leafs or a bubble wrap) that will act as adhering surfaces for the Gourami’s bubble nests.

After installing a breeding tank, the next step is choosing the right pair to breed. If anything, it’s better to breed one female and one male at a time. So how do you spot your Gourami’s sexes?

Females usually feature anal fins (the ones that run along the bottom and the spine) as well as more rounded dorsal fins. On the other hand, males possess more pointed fins than females. Once you’ve selected the best gourami female and male from the community, you can now transfer them to the breeding tank.

It’s best to first move the female to allow it to acclimate with the tank’s conditions and locate hiding spots. You can then introduce the male into the tank after several hours. When you successfully place your breeders in the breeding tank, watch them closely to ensure that the male doesn’t harass the female.

Gourami Fish Fry

Gourami Fish Fry

If you notice any funny behaviours, consider adding a second female to the breeding tank as this might distract the male. Now, it may take a couple of days for breeding to occur, so be patient. Females tend to adopt a swelled-up shape when they start carrying eggs.

With nest-building species, you may notice that the male is constructing a bubble nest within the floating plants or objects. This happens when the female is about to lay her eggs, which can be hundreds or even thousands of eggs. Take into account that you should remove the female as soon as she lays eggs to prevent her from eating them.

Funny enough, only males should remain in the breeding tank as it’s their duty to care for the fry.

Gourami Fish Types

Here’s a list of some of the more common Gouramis:

  1. Pearl Gourami – It’s the hardiest, yet the most attractive gourami species. The Pearl Gourami do extremely well in a tank featuring a dark substrate and subdue lights.
  2. Banded Gourami –           Also known as rainbow gouramis, the banded gouramis are sturdy fish that prefer eating vegetable matter.
  3. Kissing Gourami – With this species, males snap their mouths together when duelling. Hence the name kissing gourami.
  4. Moonlight Gourami – These fishes are arguably the shyest members of the Gourami family.  What’s more, they feature a distinct body shape that makes them appear different from other Gouramis.
  5. Dwarf Gourami – Just as the name suggests, these a tiny fish that come in a variety of colours, and they are quite sociable.
  6. Blue Gourami – This is one of the most popular Gourami species because it changes colour according to its mood. When spawning, they darken their skin.

Other species of Gourami include the Opaline Gourami, Honey Gourami, Red Gourami, Sunset Gourami, Snakeskin Gourami, Thick lipped Gourami, Leeri Gourami, and Banded Gourami.

Can You Keep Multiple Gouramis Together?

It’s important to realize that male gouramis are often territorial aggressive towards each other, so you ought to keep them individually.

Female gouramis tolerate each other, meaning that you can keep as many as your tank size allows. Therefore, the best thing is to keep one male and several females in a single 10-gallon tank.

Also, it’s not advisable to mix the species as some can be extremely feisty.

How Big do Gourami Fish Grow?

As mentioned earlier, the biggest Gourami species can grow up to a maximum of 2 inches (in length).

What Should You Do When Gouramis Jump Out of Water?

Consider investing in a sizable tank lid to prevent your gouramis from jumping out of the tank.

What is the Lifespan of a Gourami fish?

Depending on the species you possess, Gouramis can live for as long as 6 years. But most of them get to 4 years.


There you have it guys. That’s everything you need to know about keeping gouramis. Just make sure to have the right food for Gourami babies before breeding the parents as they can’t eat normal foods.

Gouramis   Updated: November 19, 2019
avatar Hey, I'm Fabian, chief editor at Aquarium Nexus. I really enjoy the aquarium hobby and love sharing my experience with others. If you have any questions feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.

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