Belontiidae – Gourami (Trichogaster & Colisa)

Updated on November 20, 2020 by

Relatively hardy species, they are suitable for most aquarists. Generally peaceful fish, but can turn territorial when not given adequate space.

Gouramis are omnivores and love a diet of flake or pellet based aquarium foods. They will also devour most types of worms and insect larvae

Quick stats – Gourami

CategoryInfo
OriginSouth East Asia
Max sizeFrom 3.5” (Dwarf Gourami) to 28” (Giant Gourami)
AquariumMin 20-30 gallons / 90 liters
Water71-82° F / 20-26° C

KH 4-10, pH 6.0-8.0

Care levelEasy
BehaviourMostly peaceful
DietOmnivore
FamilyBelontiidae
ColorsGold, red, blue

Gourami description

Belonging to the families of Helostomatidae, Osphronemidae, and Anabantidae, and originating from freshwater rivers and streams, Gouramis are of different types with dissimilar shapes, sizes and colors. Some are peaceful and easy to care for, while others can turn aggressive and are more difficult to care for.

Some are as small as the Dwarf Gourami, while some are huge as the giant Gourami, growing up to 28 inches. Some possess the special labyrinth organs, thereby enabling them to receive oxygen above the water level.

Owing to the fact that there are different types of Gouramis having dissimilar characteristics, buying a Gourami is one thing, then taking care of it is another. This requires that you need to have proper knowledge of the type of Gourami you wish to keep and how to best care for them.

Let’s take a quick look at the common Gourami widely found among aquarists.

Powder Blue or Dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia)

Dwarf Gourami - Colisa lalia

Dwarf Gourami in the ideal tank

The Powder Blue Gourami is a dwarf breed of the Trichogaster Lalius. Just as the name implies, It comes in a magnificent powder blue color with faint red stripes. Being a dwarf species, they can only grow up to 3.5 inches, and thus will require just a 10 gallon tank to house 2-3 Dwarf Gouramis.

The water should have a pH ranging 6.8 to 7.8 and a temperature between 75-80° F (depending on the room temperature, might be that a heater is required).

A rocky substrate with thick vegetations provides great comfort to the Dwarf Gourami.

Owing to the fact that they are peaceful species, Dwarf Gourami are most suitable with other small peaceful species like Guppies, Tetras and Barbs.

Dwarf Gourami feeding

As omnivores, the best food for Dwarf Gourami can consist of meaty and vegetable foods with occasional flaked meals to spice up their diet.

Dwarf Gourami breeding

Breeding the Dwarf Gourami is very easy. A breeding tank should be set up, then one male and one or male female can be introduced. Breeding can be induced by feeding them several times a day with small live or frozen food.

The Dwarf Gourami male can be observed building a bubble nest towards the upper layer of the water. After this is done, he will start a courtship display. This is observed by flaring up its dorsal fin and swimming around the female. If the female is interested, she will circle him and approach the male to notify him that she’s ready to spawn.

Then the male wraps himself around the female and she begins to release the eggs, while the male fertilizes them and takes them to the bubble nest.

After the female is done spawning, she should be removed from the tank as the male has parental instincts over the eggs and can be overly aggressive until the hatching occurs.

However if there are more than one female, the male can spawn with them all.

Depending on the temperature, the eggs will hatch in 12-26 hours, but will remain in their yolk-sac. After about 3 days, the fry are free to swim. They fry can be fed with liquid fry food until they are large enough to eat small brine shrimp.

Though they have a rather short lifespan, with proper care, Dwarf Gouramis can live up to 4 years.

Pearl Gourami (Trichogaster Leeri)

Pearl Gourami - Trichogaster leeri

The Pearl Gourami is one of the most peaceful breeds of Gourami originating from the southeastern Asian countries of Borneo, Malaysia and Sumatra.

They have adorable white pearl-like spots all over their body with a black stripe that runs through the middle. They have a somewhat streamlined body shape which enables them to maneuver predators and to also catch prey.

Pearl Gourami in the ideal tank

Setting up an aquarium for the Pearl Gourami would require a well filtered 20-30 gallon tank having a pH in the range of 6.5-8.5, and a water temperature between 74-82° F (depending on the room temperature, might be that a heater is required).

In the wild, the Pearl Gourami are found in areas with thick vegetation. So the tank should be heavily planted with a rocky substrate to provide comfort to the Pearl Gourami.

As peaceful species, Pearl Gourami will suitably coexist with similar small and peaceful species such as small Tetras, Danios, Guppies and dwarf Cichlids.

Pearl Gourami feeding

As omnivores, Pearl Gourami can feed on meaty, vegetable, and flaked foods to name their best food. They can be fussy eaters, and as such should be fed with just as much they can finish in 2-3 minutes.

Pearl Gourami breeding

During breeding, a male and female Pearl Gourami pair is introduced into a breeding tank. Spawning is observed when the breeding pairs start to quiver.

The male builds a bubble nest after which the female begins to release the eggs. The male fertilizes the eggs while carrying them to the bubble nest.

This breeding process can go for some hours. After the female is exhausted, she should be taken out of the breeding tank, as the male can display aggressive behavior while being over protective of the eggs and might even attack the female in that regard.

The eggs will hatch in about 30 hours after which the male can also be removed from the tank.

The fry should be fed with small foods such as baby brine shrimp, infusoria or nauplii until it is mature enough to eat larger foods and to meet other aquarium worlds.

With proper care, the Pearl Gourami can live up to 8 years, growing up to 4.5 inches long.

Three Spot Gourami (Trichopodus Trichopterus)

Three Spot Gourami - Trichopodus Trichopterus

Owing to the name, the Three Spot Gourami has three spots on its body – two spots on the body and the eyes’ spot, almost in line with the other two spots of the body.

They are found in different colors such as gold, opaline, silver, and blue. They are hardy fish and are aggressive in nature.

Three Spot Gourami in the ideal tank

Setting up an aquarium for these species would require a slightly acidic 30 gallon tank having a pH range of 6.0-8.0 and temperature of 72-82° F (depending on the room temperature, might be that a heater is required).

They love thick vegetation, this requires that the tank should be decorated with plenty of live plants and driftwood.

Three Spot Gourami feeding

The Three Spot Gourami are omnivores and should be fed meaty and vegetable foods with high quality flake food and pellets.

Three Spot Gourami breeding

When they are ready to breed, a breeding tank should be set up. The male builds a bubble nest and begins the courtship display trying to entice the female. If the female is ready to spawn, she begins to circle the bubble nest.

The male embraces the female whilst she releases about 800 eggs while the male fertilizes them and takes them to the bubble nest.

After the female is exhausted, she should be separated from the tank as the male would become overly protective towards the eggs until they hatch and might even attack the female.

After the eggs hatch, the male loses interest over the fry, and can be removed from the tank.

After hatching, the fry should be adequately fed and the water should be frequently changed and treated as this might impede the development of the labyrinth organ.

The Three Spot Gourami can grow up to 5.9 inch whilst living up to 4-6 years.

Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna)

Honey Gourami Trichogaster chuna

As the name implies these species have a rather deep honey color which becomes brighter when they are happy and comfortable in an environment.

This is a hardy fish and is not susceptible to the common virus (iridovirus) associated with most Dwarf Gourami, this makes it extremely suitable for beginners.

Setting up a tank for the Honey Gourami will require a minimum 20 gallon with varying pH of 6.5-7.5, and temperature of 70-81° F.

As with most Dwarf Gouramis, they are omnivores and should be adequately fed with meaty foods, vegetable foods and high quality flaked meals.

They are peaceful, playful and happy species and should be housed with species with similar characteristics, including Tetras, Guppies and Barbs.

Sunset Gourami (Trichogaster Labiosa)

Just as the name implies, these species come in half yellow and half orange color, just like the sun. They have thick lips and are found in areas with moderate temperature, thick vegetation and a lot of floating plants.

Sunset Gourami in the ideal tank

Setting up a tank for these species would require a minimum 20 gallon having a temperature of 71-80° F and a pH ranging between 6.0-7.5. The tank should be built with thick vegetation, a lot of floating trees to provide comfort to this species.

As a passive and shy fish, the tank should have lots of hiding places and caves too.
As a peaceful species, the Sunset Gourami should be housed with peaceful species alike such as Rasboras, Danios and small Loaches.

Sunset Gourami feeding

Feeding the Sunset Gourami is not a hassle, as they are omnivores and can feed on both meaty and vegetable foods.
Enriched flaked food can be used to supplement and balance their diets.

With proper care, the Sunset Gourami can live up to 4-8 years, whilst growing up to 4 inch.

Snakeskin Gourami (Trichopodus Pectoralis)

Snakeskin Gourami - Trichopodus Pectoralis

As the name implies these species of Gouramis have a snake-like skin, possessing a half-shredded appearance on its skin. They can be found in varying colors including olive gray, brown and light yellow with black broken lines running through the entire body.

Snakesin Gourami in the ideal tank

As a sensitive fish prone to bacterial and fungal diseases, setting up an aquarium for the Snakeskin Gourami would require a well filtered and clean minimum 35 gallon with pH in the 5.8-8.5 range, and a temperature between 72-86° F.

As a passive and peaceful species, they require lots of hiding places. The Snakeskin Gourami are comfortable with thick vegetation and floating trees, so the tank should be decorated to mimic their natural habitat.

Suitable tank mates for the Snakeskin Gourami would be other small peaceful species such as the Guppies, Tetras, and Danios.

Snakesin Gourami feeding

The Snakesin Gourami are omnivores and can feed on tiny meaty, vegetables and flaked foods.

With proper care, the Snakeskin Gourami can group up to 8 inches and can live up to 4-6 years.

Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy)

Giant Gourami - Osphronemus goramy

These are the giant species of the Gourami family. They can grow to an amazing size of 28 inches. This discourages many people from housing this species as they can grow to exceeding sizes and would require a large tank to keep them.

Giant Gourami in the ideal tank

Setting up an aquarium for this species would require at least a 300 gallon tank having a pH in the range of 6.5-8.0 and temperature of about 82° F.

They are comfortable with rocky substrates and the tank should be built as such.

They are aggressive in nature and as such would require large tank mates such as the Large Catfish, Loricariids and Knifefish. But enough space must be provided to house them as they would become very aggressive in a smaller tank.

Giant Gourami feeding

Giant Gourami are omnivores and can feed on meaty, vegetables and flaked foods. They are also predator fishes and can prey on smaller fish.

With proper care and in a suitable environment, the Giant Gourami can live up to 20 years.

To conclude

Gouramis are prone to some diseases such as fin rot, ich and fungal infections, this requires that their water should be always clean, and the water should be changed every two weeks, replacing up to 40% of the water.

They can be fussy eaters, but should not be overfed, as this might lead to a disease called fish flukes. Any leftover food should be removed as soon as they are done eating.

Most of the Gouramis require a heavily planted tank with a lot of live plants which can provide shelter to some species and can even serve as a food source to some others.

However, the tank size would depend on the type of species you wish to keep. But a large enough tank should be provided to give them the comfort of their natural habitat and give enough room for the hiding places of the passive and peaceful species.

They usually have similar breeding patterns. A breeding tank can be set up, and the breeding mates conditioned to induce breeding. After spawning, the female should be removed as the males are usually aggressive and overly protective towards the eggs.

As soon the egg hatches, the fry should be properly fed and conditioned until they are mature enough to explore other aquarium worlds.

Gouramis are a group of beautiful fish species that will certainly brighten up your home.

They come in different colors, patterns and personalities and there is always a Gourami suitable for everyone, whether newbie or experienced aquarists.

Gourami FAQs

How long can the Gourami fish live?

Some can live barely 4-5 years like the Dwarf Gourami, while others can live up to 20 years (Giant Gourami).

What is the maximum size of the Gourami fish?

The Dwarf Gourami can grow up to 4 inches, while the giant Gourami can grow up to 28 inches.

What is the best food for Gourami fish?
Gourami are omnivores hence prefer both algae-based food as well as meaty foods. Flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp are all good choices and will provide proper nutrition. Dwarf gouramis are fairly good feeders but lose their appetite when stressed.