Gourami or Helostoma
of the family
Kissing gouramies inhabit the heavily
vegetated, shallow, slow-moving backwaters prominent in Thailand
Most of the fish
exported for the freshwater aquarium trade industry are commercially
fish farms throughout Southeast
Gouramies and the popular tropical fish the
betta fish are part of the suborder Anabantoidei more commonly referred
to as anabantoids
fish evolved in low oxygenated
environments. Part of this evolution included the development of
organ typically referred to as a labyrinth. The labyrinth is inundated
blood capillaries allowing for the absorption of atmospheric oxygen
blood system. The addition of this organ allows gouramies to survive
water longer than most other fish. Kissing gouramies have evolved to
where they need a combination of both atmospheric and dissolved oxygen
to survive. This is why you will frequently see gouramies and bettas
the surface of an aquarium to gulp in air. This gives them the ability
survive in less than ideal water conditions for extended periods of
are one of the largest gouramies kept in freshwater aquariums. They
an adult length of anywhere between 7.5-12 inches
even in the confines
aquarium. These fish have laterally compressed, slightly rounded
caudal fins are either rounded or concaved. Their most prominent
their mouths which protrude out characteristically outward from their
lips are lined with horney teeth. Their jaw assemblies lack teeth.
gouramies are commercially available in two colors. The one most
in home aquariums are white. White gouramies have a pearlescent sheen
bodies with a pink or orangish tinge and transparent pinkish fins.
also a dwarf variety available. Dwarf kissing gouramies are a mutated
pink gourami. They are frequently referred to as balloon gouramies
their smaller more rounded bodies.
gouramies for a sale at the local fish store are quite young. Juveniles
rapidly and will quickly outgrow a small aquarium. An adult kissing
requires a minimum tank size of 50 gallons. You will need a larger
a well populated community tank. These fish have semi-aggressive
generally mix well with fish of similar size and attitude. But they are
to bully smaller, more timid tank mates. They are generally tolerant of
conspecifics but males frequently challenge each other for
challenge consists of locking lips and engaging in a shoving match much
like a deer
will lock horns and attempt to force its challenger into submission.
gouramies have a habit of enjoying digging in aquarium substrate. The
to minimize this is by using larger, coarser gravel and larger rather
smaller rocks in your aquarium.
This is an
omnivorous species. Algae makes up a significant part of their diet.
extremely efficient tank cleaners. It is recommended that you do not
aquarium glass during routine tank cleaning. These gouramies will use
toothed lips to scrape algae off the surfaces of your aquarium. This
algae removal is commonly perceived as kissing. They will instinctively
on most aquarium plants. Ineatable plants such as java moss and java
fern work well
with kissing gouramies. Aside from these, plastic plants are highly
Algae pellets in addition to a good quality flake food make an
staple. They will also readily accept frozen and freeze-dried food
Brine shrimp and tubifex make wonderful protein supplements. Kissing
have an affinity toward blanched table vegetables. Lettuce leaves are
time favorite. Regular portions of vegetables will finish providing a
This fish thrives in
water temperatures between 72–82 °F.
function fine in pH
levels that vary slightly on either side of a neutral balance; 6.8-8.5.
proper care a kissing gourami should live between 5-7 years
are sexually dimorphic. Males and females are virtually identical with
exception that females tend to be a little larger and have a slightly
body than males.
diet and aquarium conditions will help
breeding cycle. A protein rich live diet such as brine shrimp will help
your gouramies for spawning. Raising the water temperature up to 80
simulates breeding season. Gouramies are more apt to breed in soft
The breeding process
is typically initiated by the female and takes place under the cover of
floating vegetation. Lettuce leaves provide the necessary camouflage to
perpetuate breeding. The breeding ritual begins by the couple circling
other. This quickly escalates to nudging each other, dancing and
frantic tail beating. Breeding commences when the male warps his body
the female and turns her upside down. The female will then release
hundred eggs. The male fertilizes the eggs as they rise to the surface.
eggs are buoyant and will float.
are open-water egg scatterers. Unlike many gouramies, these fish do not
bubble nest for their future offspring. Nor will they guard their eggs.
spawning has occurred, the adults should be removed from the breeding
avoid predation. The same lettuce leaves that provided a suitable
for spawning will now function as a breeding chamber of sorts. Gouarmi
will adhere to the lettuce. The eggs will hatch in approximately 24
lettuce provides a natural source of infusoria for the newly hatched
will be free swimming in about two days. Free swimming fry can be fed
crushed flake food or baby brine shrimp.
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