A variety of types of gouramis. Hardy and easy to care for, recommended for beginner aquarists. Min tank size: 80 litres, adult size 5 – 7 cm.
Gouramis are a group of fish in the families Osphronemidae, Helostomatidae and Anabantidae. They have a labyrinth organ that acts sort of like a lung, which allows them to breathe air at the surface. In nature this adaptation enables them to live in shallow, stagnant, oxygen-poor water. Gouramis are found throughout eastern and southern Asia, from Pakistan through Thailand, Vietnam, the Malaysian Archipelago, China and as far north and east as Korea and Japan. They live in slow-moving rivers, swamps, marshes, canals, wetlands and temporary pools.
Behavior Behavior can vary between individuals, but they’re relatively social and active animals. Although the paradise gourami can be particularly aggressive. Most of the time they’ll just be swimming around the middle and upper levels of the tank.
Tank Conditions Across Asia, they’re usually found in slow-moving, shallow waters, that can vary in condition. This means a wide range of pH and temperature. Something that’s a little more consistent is the abundance of vegetation. These fish prefer densely planted environments that offer both food and shelter.
As fish that swim in the upper levels of the tank, the type of substrate you use isn’t that important. A sandy substrate would most closely resemble their natural habitat. The plants are a lot more important. Your tank needs planted areas to act as hiding spots. Hornwort is a good option since it can cope with being eaten now and then. It can be used as a floating plant too which adds a little variety. You can use rocks to make some caves along the bottom of the tank, but they’ll be empty most of the time.
Keep the tank clean and keep nitrate levels as close to zero as possible by performing 25% water changes every couple of weeks. You don’t need any special equipment, just a filter and a heater. Some people add air pumps to their tanks, but this isn’t important because these gourami aren’t used to strong currents and get some oxygen from the air at the surface.
Typically gouramis need at least a 80 litre tank. If you are keeping a small group you will need at least a 120 litre tank. Plan on 20 litres per additional gourami.
Compatibility Female gouramis usually tolerate each other well. Mixing different species or color varieties of gouramis should only be done in larger, well decorated tanks. Gouramis are slow moving and are best kept with similar sized fish that are not fin nippers or too active. Larger tetras, livebearers other than fancy guppies, peaceful barbs, most danios and angelfish, can all be good choices.
You can mix in some other gourami species (avoid paradise gouramis), like pearls or dwarfs. Large goldfish (like comets) shouldn’t be attacked, as well as geophagus cichlids.
You can try bristlenose or cuckoo catfish and yo-yo or clown loaches. A general rule is to avoid slow swimmers and fish with long fins that can get bitten. This rules out most fancy goldfish and bettas.
Adding shrimp or snails can be risky, some individuals will eat them and others won’t. It’s best not to add any if you’re worried about losing them.
Feeding Most gouramis are omnivorous and will thrive on tropical flakes, color flakes, tropical granules and shrimp pellets. Even though they will eat both plant and animal matter, they should be given a high protein diet. Live and frozen foods are a good way to introduce protein into their diet. Things like brine shrimp, mosquito larvae and bloodworms will be happily accepted. There are lots of choices for vegetation. Algae wafers and green vegetables are fine. Your plants could get attacked from time to time but they should survive, especially if you’ve picked a hardy species.
Twice a day, feed your fish whatever they can eat within a couple of minutes. Breaking up the feeds makes it easier on their digestive system. Remove any excess food to prevent it rotting in the tank and hurting the water quality.
Care Gouramis can get diseases just like any other fish. One that aquarists sometimes see soon after getting them is lymphocystis disease. Pin-pricks growths start to form on the fins. Sometimes this is mistaken for Ich (which causes white spots across the body). It’s usually triggered by stress and eventually the fish will be unable to swim.
Most of these diseases can be avoided by keeping the water conditions optimal, carrying out regular water changes and ensuring the fish aren’t stressed.
These fish are quite a hardy species and very adaptable, so they can fend off disease better than others. Constipation can be a problem if you feed them too much or use low quality foods, so stick with the diet advice above to ensure they don’t become constipated.Signs of constipation include stringy feces, lethargy, lack of appetite and difficulty swimming.
|Adult Size:||5 – 7 cm|
|Aquarist Experience Level:||Intermediate|
|Minimum Tank Size:||80 litres|
|Tank Level:||Mid dweller|
|Diet:||Omnivore, eats most foods|
|Lifespan:||8 – 10 Years|
|Temperature:||24 to 27°C|
|pH:||6 – 8|