Kissing Gourami Care: Complete Guide for Beginners

The Kissing Gourami is a very interesting fish species, with unique lips that are used to kiss each other.  In this guide, you’ll learn how to care for and set up an ideal environment and maintain a healthy lifestyle for these unique fish. From tank setups to breeding, discover the essentials of caring for your Kissing Gourami.

kissing gourami

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Kissing Gourami Species Profile and Identification

Kissing Gouramis, also known as Helostoma temminckii, are freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia. They belong to the family Helostomatidae and are one of the most popular fish species among aquarium enthusiasts.

Identification Features:

  • Kissing Gouramis are medium-sized, growing up to six inches in length.
  • Their color may range from greenish to silvery pink.

One distinctive characteristic of Kissing Gouramis is their “kissing” behavior, which is actually a form of aggression or competition for dominance amongst fish. This action is performed with their unique lips, which are well adapted for scraping off algae from surfaces.

Physical Features

  • The Kissing Gourami has a laterally compressed body, which is typical of most gouramis.
  • Their dorsal and anal fins are long and almost identical in size and shape.

In addition to their unique lips, Kissing Gouramis also have specialized teeth that are comb-like and fused, perfect for their diet of algae and other plant materials.

Sexual Dimorphism:

  • Kissing Gouramis are difficult to sex, with males and females exhibiting similar physical features.
  • The only noticeable difference is that, during the breeding season, the female’s belly will appear slightly more rounded than the male’s.

Kissing Gouramis are identifiable by their medium size, unique “kissing” lips, and laterally compressed body. The color variations, along with the specialized fused, comb-like teeth, make Kissing Gouramis a fascinating addition to your aquarium.

Kissing Gourami Supplies

To start your Kissing Gourami care journey, it’s essential to gather all the necessary supplies. Below is a list of recommended items that’ll help ensure your fish are well taken care of.

Tank and Equipment

  • Tank: A 30-gallon tank or larger for two to three Kissing Gouramis. (Recommended size: 50 gallons for best results)
  • Filtration System: A high-quality, quiet, and efficient filter that can handle the bioload of these fish.
  • Heater: Adjustable submersible heater to maintain stable water temperature.
  • Thermometer: Monitor water temperature accurately to keep fish healthy.
  • Air Pump and Sponge Filter: Promotes surface area for beneficial bacteria and maintains oxygen levels for the fish.

Aquarium Décor

  • Driftwood: Adds a natural touch and becomes an essential hiding place for Kissing Gourami.
  • Live or Artificial Plants: Provide cover, hiding spots, and promotes a well-rounded environment.
  • Substrate: Sand or fine gravel suitable for live plants makes an ideal base for these fish.

Care and Maintenance

  • Water Test Kit: Ensure water quality remains optimal for fish health.
  • Fish Net: Gently transfer fish to and from their tank during maintenance.
  • Algae Scraper/Pads: Regular cleaning helps maintain pristine tank conditions.
  • Bucket and Siphon: Important for frequent water changes.


  • Balanced Fish Food: High-quality pellets or flakes are suitable for Kissing Gourami’s everyday diet.
  • Occasional Supplements: Spirulina, freeze-dried food (like brine shrimp), or blanched vegetables add variety to the diet.

By having these supplies handy, you’ll be equipped to properly care for your Kissing Gouramis and provide them with a comfortable and healthy environment.

Kissing Gourami Tank Setup

Tank size is crucial when setting up a home for your Kissing Gourami. For one or two fish, you’ll need a minimum of a 30-gallon tank; however, for larger groups, a 50-gallon tank is ideal. These gouramis grow relatively large and display territorial behaviors, so adequate space is essential.

When it comes to substrate, choose a soft, fine-grained option like aquarium sand. Kissing Gourami dig and sift through the substrate, and a rough surface might lead to injuries. Additionally, it easily supports live plants which provide hiding spaces and mimic their natural habitat.

Incorporate these elements in your tank setup:

  • Driftwood or rocks for hiding places and climbing
  • Live plants, such as java moss or Amazon swords, for grazing and shelter
  • Stable water temperature between 74-82°F facilitated by an adjustable heater
  • gentle water current produced by a suitable filter system, avoiding excessive agitation of the water surface

Always cover the tank with a lid to prevent any surprise escapes. Gouramis can jump out of small, open spaces.

Maintaining good lighting conditions is also important. Emulate the natural environment by providing moderate lighting with the help of an LED or fluorescent lamp. Furthermore, implementing a natural day-night cycle will ensure your Kissing Gourami thrives.

Creating a suitable, optimal tank environment for your Kissing Gourami is essential for their well-being. Prioritize their needs for space, substrate, hiding places, temperature, lighting conditions, and water flow.

Kissing Gourami Water Requirements

When it comes to water requirements, Kissing Gouramis are relatively low-maintenance and adaptable, making them perfect for beginner aquarists. However, there are still a few key factors to consider when maintaining proper water conditions for these fish.

  • Temperature: Kissing Gouramis thrive in water temperatures between 72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C). It’s important to maintain a stable temperature using a reliable aquarium heater and regularly checking with an aquarium thermometer.
  • pH Level: These fish prefer a pH range of 6.0 to 8.0. You can use a pH test kit to monitor and maintain ideal pH levels in your aquarium.
  • Water Hardness: The ideal water hardness for Kissing Gouramis is between 5 to 20 dGH. Softened tap water usually works well, but it’s essential to test your water’s hardness to ensure it meets the required level.

It’s crucial to maintain water quality by performing regular water changes, typically 10% to 20% every two weeks. This helps remove excess waste, ammonia, and nitrate levels that can be harmful to your Kissing Gouramis. Additionally, installing an efficient filter that provides both mechanical and biological filtration is essential for maintaining the water’s cleanliness.

Finally, proper aeration is crucial for the health and well-being of Kissing Gouramis. As labyrinth fish, they prefer well-oxygenated water. Therefore, incorporating an air stone or sponge filter can ensure sufficient oxygen levels in the tank, allowing your fish to thrive.

By providing the right water conditions for your Kissing Gouramis, you’ll ensure a healthy environment for them to grow and flourish.

Kissing Gourami Diet and Feeding

Kissing Gouramis are omnivorous fish, which means they eat both plant-based and animal-based foods. To meet their nutritional needs, provide them with a mix of pellets or flakes, live or frozen foods, and plant-based options.

kissing gourami feeding

  • Pellets or flakes: Choose high-quality pellets or flakes formulated specifically for Kissing Gouramis or similar species. Feed them twice a day, offering only as much as they can eat within a few minutes.
  • Live or frozen foods: Supplement their diet with live or frozen foods, like brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia. These foods provide essential proteins and can be fed once or twice a week in place of pellets or flakes.
  • Plant-based options: Kissing Gouramis enjoy nibbling on plants and will appreciate some fresh veggies as part of their diet. Offer blanched spinach, lettuce, or zucchini once or twice a week.

To ensure your Kissing Gourami stays happy and healthy, always remove any uneaten food after feeding sessions. Regularly change up their menu to prevent boredom and help them maintain a balanced diet.

Food Type Frequency
Pellets or flakes Twice daily, only as much as they can eat within a few minutes
Live or frozen foods Once or twice a week, in place of pellets or flakes
Plant-based options (e.g., spinach, lettuce, zucchini) Once or twice a week

Giving your Kissing Gourami a balanced and varied diet will promote a healthy immune system and ensure they reach their maximum potential size. Don’t forget to clean the tank and water regularly to maintain pristine living conditions for your fish.

Kissing Gourami Care Schedule

Having a consistent care schedule for your Kissing Gourami is essential for it to thrive. Let’s break down the key aspects of a care schedule and discuss how frequently you need to attend to each task.

Daily tasks:

  • Feeding: Feed your Kissing Gourami two times a day, offering only as much food as they can consume in two to three minutes. Overfeeding can cause dirty water and stress to the fish.
  • Observation: Spend some time observing your fish every day to monitor their behavior, health, and ensure they’re in a suitable environment.

Weekly tasks:

  • Water testing: Test the tank water weekly to ensure parameters such as pH, ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels are within appropriate ranges.
  • Partial water change: Replace 10-15% of the water in the tank with fresh, treated water every week to control the accumulation of waste and maintain balance in the aquarium.

Monthly tasks:

  • Cleaning: Clean the tank’s glass, filter, and decor once a month, making sure to remove any algae build-up or debris.
  • Filter maintenance: Check the filter and replace or clean the filter media according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, typically every 4 to 8 weeks.

By sticking to this care schedule, you’ll ensure your Kissing Gourami is kept healthy and happy. Regular maintenance also helps prevent illnesses and stress-related issues, allowing your fish to live a long, vibrant life.

Kissing Gourami Health Problems

Kissing gouramis, like any other fish, can experience health problems. It is crucial to identify and address these issues as soon as possible to prevent them from spreading to other fish in the tank.

  • Parasitic infections: One common issue is parasitic infections such as Ich (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) and velvet (Oodinium pilularis). Symptoms of Ich include small white spots on the fish’s body, labored breathing, and rubbing against objects. For velvet, you may notice a yellow or gold dust-like coating on the fish, along with rapid breathing and loss of appetite. To treat Ich, raise the water temperature to 86°F (30°C) and use a medication containing malachite green. For velvet, a copper-based medication is effective.
  • Bacterial infections: Bacterial infections such as fin rot and columnaris can also affect kissing gouramis. Fin rot appears as frayed or disintegrating fins, while columnaris appears as white or gray patches on the body, gills, and fins. To treat, perform a partial water change and use a broad-spectrum antibiotic recommended for fish.
  • Fungal infections: Fungal infections can manifest as fluffy white patches on the fish’s body. Reduce the risk by maintaining good water quality and promptly treating any wounds or injuries. If you suspect a fungal infection, use an antifungal medication as recommended by your local fish store.

Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining the health of your kissing gouramis. Maintain excellent water quality, keep the tank clean, and provide a balanced diet to minimize the risk of health problems.

Kissing Gourami Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates for your Kissing Gourami is essential in ensuring a harmonious and stress-free environment. Due to their unique behavior of “kissing,” it is important to select compatible tank mates.

kissing gourami tank mates

Suitable Tank Mates

The ideal tank mates for Kissing Gouramis are:

  • Other Kissing Gouramis: Keeping them in a group of 5-6 will help disperse aggression.
  • Medium-Large Sized Fish: Boisterous or semi-aggressive fish, such as Barbs, Gouramis, and Rainbowfish, can hold their own with Kissing Gouramis.

Unsuitable Tank Mates

On the other hand, you should avoid:

  • Small and Timid Fish: Kissing Gouramis may harass or eat fish such as Neon Tetras.
  • Slow Swimmers and Fish with Long Fins: Avoid fish like Angelfish, as they may get nipped by Kissing Gouramis.

Tank Mate Compatibility Table

Suitable Tank Mates Unsuitable Tank Mates
Other Kissing Gouramis Small and Timid Fish
Medium-Large Sized Fish Slow Swimmers with Long Fins

Remember, it’s always best to observe and monitor your Kissing Gourami’s behavior when introducing new tank mates to ensure their compatibility. Introducing tank mates gradually and providing ample hiding spots can help in establishing a peaceful community.

Kissing Gourami Breeding

Breeding Kissing Gouramis can be quite tricky, especially for beginners. However, with the right knowledge and approach, you can successfully breed these fascinating fish.

First and foremost, be prepared to separate the breeding pair. A separate tank specifically for breeding ensures a stress-free and controlled environment, improving the chances of successful mating. The breeding tank should be around 20-30 gallons with plenty of plants and hiding places.

kissing gourami breeding

  • Water parameters are crucial for breeding; maintain a temperature of 77-82°F, pH levels between 6-7, and a soft water hardness.
  • Introduce your mature breeding pair (roughly one year old) into the tank, and let them acclimate in the breeding environment.
  • Providing the pair with a nutritious diet is essential to encourage breeding; feed them live or frozen foods like brine shrimp, tubiflex worms, and bloodworms.
  • Monitor the pair for the unique breeding behaviors; the male will encircle the female, and both will swim in a zigzag motion close to the water surface.

Once you see the breeding behaviors, do additional water changes and add more live plants. After a successful spawn, the female will lay her eggs that will adhere to the plants.

  • Transfer the adult fish to the main tank; they might eat the eggs otherwise.

The eggs will hatch after around 24 hours. You will need to feed the fry with infusoria or commercially available fry food. Keep a close eye on the water parameters in the breeding tank, as maintaining an ideal environment ensures the fry’s survival.

After a few weeks, the fry will start to grow, and you can feed them crushed flake food until they are ready to be introduced to the main tank or a more extensive grow-out tank.


By following this beginner’s guide, you can confidently start caring for and enjoying your very own Kissing Gourami. These amazing fish will surely bring color, movement, and excitement to your aquarium. We hope you found this guide helpful, and please feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions or experiences to share.

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