18 Most Beautiful Gourami Fish and How to Care for Them

Gouramis are a group of freshwater fish from the families Osphronemidae, Helostomatidae and Anabantidae.

There are many different types of gouramis, coming in different sizes and colors. But most of them have a similarly shaped body, and have the labyrinth organ (which allows them to take oxygen from the air).

Some species are small, such as the dwarf gouramis, and others can grow up to 28 inches, such as the giant gourami!

In this article we share 18 of the most beautiful fish from these families and how to care for them.

18 Most Beautiful Gourami Fish

Paradise Gourami (Macropodus opercularis)

Paradise Gourami

Paradise gouramis are popular aquarium fish and there are three different species that are kept in home aquariums. They can be distinguished by their tails:

  • One has a forked tail (Macropodus operculari)
  • One has a rounded tail (Macropodus chinensis)
  • One has pointed tail with rays spreading outwards from the middle (Macropodus cupanus)

They all have vivid bright stripes which are green or blue, with interspersed orange/red stripes. They also have small metallic blue/black spots all over their body.

These fish can be very aggressive and like to live alone (very similar to Bettas). They can be kept in a community tank which is a minimum of 20 gallons as long as there are no other dominant fish.

Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus leerii)

Pearl Gourami

The pearl is one of the most popular varieties. They have beautiful white pearl like spots across their bodies with a black stripe that runs through the middle.

They like heavily planted aquariums, and will require at least a 30 gallon tank. This fish prefers a sandy substrate with plenty of plants, rocks and driftwood to mimic their natural environment.

Being a peaceful fish, they should be kept with other small peaceful fish such as dwarf cichlids, small tetras, danios and guppies.

They are omnivores so will eat pretty much anything you give them. However the ideal diet would be a staple of quality flake food, with the occasional meaty or plant based treat.

Sunset Gourami (Trichogaster labiosa)

The sunset variety comes from the strain of the thick-lipped gourami.

This fish has been selectively bred for its orange/gold color.

It should be kept in a tank which is at least 20 gallons, and grows to around 4 inches in length. This hardy fish can be kept by both beginners and experts, as long as the tank is regularly cleaned and water changes are performed.

You can use dark substrate to show off their color; also include lots of plants to give them places to hide. They are quite a shy fish and may take time to come out of hiding once they have been added to your tank.

They can be kept with other peaceful fish such as danios, rasboras and small loaches.

Samurai Gourami (Sphaerichthys vaillanti)

This fish is quite rare and whilst not quite as hard to keep as the Sphaerichthys osphromenoides, they do still require a high level of care.

They need plenty of floating plants to provide shelter and shade, as well as low level lighting to help them to feel secure in the aquarium.

The aquarium should be at least 30 gallons, and you can keep a small group of 6 to 8 fish in a tank that size.

They can also be picky eaters.

Powder Blue Gourami (Trichogaster lalius)

Powder Blue Gourami
The powder blue gourami is a colored variant of the Trichogaster lalius.

It has an iridescent powder blue color with very faint vertical red stripes.

This variant was developed by breeders to create a beautiful fish, but other than its color, it is very much the same as the dwarf.

They need at least a 10 gallon tank, and depending on how much extra space you have, they can be housed with tank mates.

Ideal tank mates include other small peaceful fish such as guppies, tetras, barbs and platies.

Snakeskin Gourami (Trichopodus pectoralis)

Snakeskin Gourami

Named after their snakeskin like appearance, these snakeskin fish are olive gray to light yellow/brown in color. They have a broken black line which runs along their body and a few diagonal stripes.

This fish is very hardy so makes a great fish for beginners. They need to be kept in at least a 35 gallon tank; it should have plenty of open areas for swimming.

They are very peaceful and can be kept with a wide range of other community fish as long as they won’t be intimidated by their size (they can grow up to 8 inches).

They’re also easy to breed which again makes them popular amongst beginners.

Three Spot Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

Three Spot Gourami

Three spot gouramis typically grow to around 5 inches in the aquarium, but can grow slightly larger in the wild.

There are a few different color varieties of this species; opaline, gold and blue. It is named after the two spots on each side of its body which are in line with the eye (the third spot). This is a hardy fish which can be housed with a variety of tank mates as long as they are a similar size and temperament.

Like other members of this family, if you want to keep a group, you should keep one male and a few females.

They need a tank which is at least 20 gallons with plenty of live plants, driftwood and caves.

Chocolate Gourami (Sphaerichthys osphromenoides)

Chocolate Gourami
Photo Credit: Flickr – Brian Gratwicke

The chocolate gourami, also known as the four-eyed fish, has very particular care needs and is sensitive to water changes.

Their natural habitat is very low in pH, sometimes below 4.0. and the water is very soft and typically dark due to decaying organic matter.

In a tank, they need dark areas and lots of plants. The water also needs to be conditioned with peat extract, or filtered through peat. They should be kept in a tank which is a minimum of 30 gallons.

Because they are slow moving, they are easily intimidated so should only be kept with peaceful community fish such as harlequin rasboras and danios.

Moonlight Gourami (Trichogaster microlepis)

Moonlight Gourami

The moonlight is a beautiful fish. It has a silver iridescent body which almost seems to glow even in low lighting. As they mature, their body has a slight green coloring, and the males develop an orangey/red color in their pelvic and dorsal fin.

Their long fins make tempting targets for fin nippers so these fish should be kept with other peaceful tank mates, and be given plenty of swimming space.

Keep them in a tank at least 20 gallons, and ensure it is well planted. To bring out their coloring, use a dark substrate.

Licorice Gourami (Parosphromenus deissneri)

Licorice Gourami
Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

This species is one of the smallest, but most beautifully colored. The males have black and silver stripes with iridescent turquoise and red on their fins and tail. The females on the other hand, are brown with black edging around their fins.

This fish needs at least a 20 gallon tank, the tank should also have hiding spots and be well planted.

Most people who keep this fish, do so to breed them. If you are breeding them, they should be kept in a species specific tank.

Alternatively they can be kept in community tanks with other peaceful fish.

Gold Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

Gold Gourami

Here we have another color variation of the three spot. The gold variant has a gold colored body with a deep gold striped pattern running across the upper side of their body.

Unlike the three spot though, this fish doesn’t have the two dark spots on their body. Whilst they are different in coloring and markings, they are very much the same in other aspects such as their size and care requirements.

As juveniles they are quite peaceful, but as they mature some are known to stay peaceful whereas others become more aggressive.

They are best suited to fish of a similar size and temperament and they require a tank which is at least 35 gallons.

Opaline Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

Opaline Gourami

The Opaline is a beautiful color variation of the three spot gourami. It has a light blue body with dark blue marble like patterning stretched across its body; this is why it’s sometimes known as the marbled one.

They grow up to 6 inches in size, and live between 4 to 6 years. They require a minimum tank size of 10 gallons, and it should be densely planted with a dark substrate.

Like most other family members, this fish is peaceful and can be kept with other peaceful calm tank mates such as guppies, tetras and danios.

Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy)

Giant Gourami

These giant fish can grow up to 28 inches in length and can live for over 20 years in captivity. However, not many people can keep them due to the size of the tank they require.

They need a tank which is at least 300 gallons; this will give them enough space to swim around comfortably.

We all too often hear from people who have bought this species as a cute little juvenile in the store, only to later find out how big they get.

Ideal tank mates include knifefish, loricariids and large catfish, however if they are kept in a tank which is too small for them they will become aggressive.

Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temminkii)

Kissing Gourami

These fish get their name because of their kissing behavior, but it’s still not known why they display this behavior.

They can grow up to 12 inches in size so they need a large aquarium (minimum 75 gallons). They can be long living fish, and whist they usually live until around 7, some have been known to live for up to 25 years.

There are three common color variations; pink, silvery-green and mottled/piebald. The silvery-green species is the most popular and widely available.

They shouldn’t be kept with smaller fish, but other medium/large community fish make ideal tank mates. Examples include large tetras, loaches and some catfish.

Blue Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

Blue Gourami

Blue gouramis, as you might expect, are a beautiful silvery blue color.

This fish is actually a color variation of the three spot one which we covered earlier.

Their spots are good indications of the health of your fish. If they start to fade, it’s a sign they are either stressed or unwell.

They reach up to 5 inches in length and can be territorial. They shouldn’t be kept with dwarfs, guppies or angelfish.

More ideal tank mates include barbs, mollies, danios and tetras.

This species is one of the hardiest of the family; however, they require a larger tank of at least 35 gallons.

Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna)

Honey Gourami

This fish is perhaps a little blander in color than the other fish listed here, however their colors will develop the happier and more comfortable they feel in their surroundings.

Trichogaster chuna have a deep honey color and are very playful, happy fish.

Most Dwarf Gouramis are known to be susceptible to Iridovirus, however this species is not as susceptible to the virus, and so, are generally great for beginners.

Whilst they are small, they still need space to explore so they don’t become bored. A 20 gallon tank will be ok.

You can keep them with other gouramis, and any small peaceful fish like tetras, guppies and barbs.

Sparkling Gourami (Trichopsis pumila)

Sparkling Gourami

The Trichopsis pumila, is one of the least well known species. It is not often seen in home aquariums.

They grow to about 1.6 inches and have blue spots all over their brown body. They have light blue fins with red patterns and edging, as well as blue eyes with a red outline.

Whilst they are not schooling fish, these fish like to be kept in small groups and you can keep a group of four in a ten gallon tank. Make sure the tank is heavily planted. You can use live plants such as java fern to create lots of shade.

They can be kept with other small fish such as guppies, platies or even some shrimp.

Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius)

Dwarf Gourami

This peaceful and shy fish only grows to around two inches in length, hence the name Dwarf.

They are from the Osphronemidae family.

Males are usually larger and brighter than females. They come in a variety of colors, some of which are mentioned later on in this list.

They can be kept with other peaceful species of a similar size, their most preferred tank mates are peaceful small schooling fish such as neon tetras.

They require a minimum tank size of 10 gallons, with dark substrate and plenty of hiding places which create other dark areas.

Care Guide

After reading about the breeds above you will know that the size of the aquarium needed is completely dependent on the species you pick.

The water conditions and suitable tank mates also depend on the species you want to keep. However, there are a number of things that all gouramis need. Live plants provide lots of places to shelter and hide, and some species even use them as a food source. Most species require a heavily planted tank.

You will also need to clean your tank out. Regular water changes are needed to remove the buildup of nitrates which can become dangerous to fish in high quantities.

Common Diseases

Dwarf gourami disease is a viral infection which currently doesn’t have a cure and can be fatal. Your fish will lose body weight and appetite, and might start swimming in circles.

They are also susceptible to other common diseases such as:

  • Ich – white grain like bumps all over the body, cloudy eyes, loss of appetite and fast breathing.
  • Fin Rot – torn and ripped looking fins which is the result of a bacterial infection.
  • Fungal Diseases – growths on the skin, fins, gills and eyes.
  • Fish Flukes – parasitic worms which live in the body of a fish, draining all of its nutrients, making the fish weak.

Most of these diseases are preventable as long as you keep the tank clean and the fish calm and happy. If your fish do ever get one of these diseases, they are usually curable with medication.

Summary

We hope you enjoyed our round up of eighteen of the most popular gouramis.

These beautiful, colorful fish come in many different sizes and colors, each with their own personality’s and specific set of requirements.

They are a beautiful group of fish, and there is one to suit each and every person – whether you’re just starting out with fishkeeping or whether you’ve been an experienced aquarist for years.

Which species is your favorite, or have we missed your favorite out? Let us know in the comments section below…

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