What is Gourami?

Gouramis are a type of freshwater anabantiform fish that belong to the Osphronemidae family. The gourami fish are native to Asia, with populations ranging from Pakistan and India to Southeast Asia and northeastern Korea. At the front of each of their pelvic fins, many gouramis feature an extended, feeler-like ray. There are currently 133 species classified into four subfamilies and 15 genera. Gourami fishes have a lung-like labyrinth organ that permits them to swallow air and use ambient oxygen as labyrinth fishes. This organ is crucial for fish that live in warm, shallow, oxygen-depleted water.


Taxonomy of Gourami Fish

Here we will look at the scientific classification of gourami fish.

  • The gourami belongs to the kingdom Animalia.

  • The phylum of gourami fish is Chordata.

  • They belong to the class Actinopterygii.

  • The order of gourami is Anabantiformes and suborder is Anabantoidei.

  • The family of gourami fish is Osphronemidae.

  • The scientific name of gourami fish is Trichogaster trichopterus.

  • There are five subfamilies of gourami fish which are as follows: 

  • Belontiinae 

  • Osphroneminae

  • Luciocephalinae

  • Macropodusinae

  • Trichogastrinae

  • There are around 90 different gourami fish types.


Characteristics of Gourami Fish

  • Gourami fish are resilient freshwater fish that are ideal for most intermediate aquarists.

  • The aquarium gourami fish size is around 25 cm whereas the giant gourami fish size is varying from 45-65 cm.

  • They have two thread-like long pelvic fins and a square, narrow, compressed body.

  • Gourami aquarium fish, like Betta fish, breathe through a specific organ called the labyrinth. Because of this odd trait, they spend a significant amount of time near the surface of the water, both in their native habitat and in aquariums, in order to breathe.

  • A Labyrinth fish will frequently climb to the top of the tank and swallow air from the water's surface. To allow oxygen to be absorbed, the air is pumped into the labyrinthine organ.

  • There are several small labyrinthine compartments of thin, bony plates called lamellae inside the labyrinth. The lamellas are protected by ultra-thin membranes that allow oxygen to pass through. The oxygen is absorbed by the blood inside the membranes and transported throughout the body.

  • If a labyrinth fish is exposed to little or no water, it can survive for a long time if it is kept wet.

  • Some labyrinthine fish can crawl across the land to a different body of water quickly. 

  • The fact that fish are not born with a completely functional labyrinthine organ is an intriguing feature of this organ. The labyrinth organ, on the other hand, develops progressively as the fish matures.

  • At the front of each of their pelvic fins, several Gourami fish have an extended ray that resembles an eyelid. Because some fish are oral incubated, and males care for their offspring by holding them within their mouth for a long time, this species provides parental care.


Gourami Fish Types

In this section, we will learn about major gourami types along with gourami fish images.

1. Blue Gourami or Three spot gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

  • The three-spot gourami, also known as the opaline gourami, blue gourami, or gold gourami, is a fish that is native to Southeast Asia but has been imported to other parts of the world.

  • The three-spot gourami gets its name from the two spots on either side of its body that are in line with each other, with the eye being the third spot.

  • This species is farmed and has a small commercial relevance as a food fish in its natural region. It's also very popular in the aquarium industry.

  • The three-spot gourami fish size is 10 to 15 cm.

  • Three spot gourami are native to stationary or slow-moving freshwater environments in southeastern Asia, ranging from Yunnan (China) to Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam on the mainland.

  • Outside of their native habitat, they have been widely introduced to places including the Philippines, India, Sulawesi, and southwestern Trinidad.

  • Marshes, swamps, canals, and lowland wetlands are all home to these fish. During the flood season, they migrate from permanent water sources to flooded places, such as the middle and lower Mekong's seasonally flooded forests. They return to these permanent water bodies during the dry season.

  • The three-spot gourami is an omnivore, meaning it eats both algae and meat. These fish get their nutrition from algae-based flake food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms, and brine shrimp. Mosquito larvae and daphnia larvae are both useful live meals.

  • The three-spot gourami is a tough fish to catch. They get along with a wide range of tank mates of comparable size and temperament. Males can be territorial amongst themselves, but they become wary of other, more aggressive fish.

  • Male gouramis are known to be aggressive, and they may nip at other fish's fins or otherwise harass other fish in the aquarium. Because they display long tails and brilliant colours, they often show hostility toward species with long, flowing fins, such as male guppies, goldfish, and bettas, which create competition for impressing female gourami. Female gourami will occasionally harass other fish, but they tend to stay to themselves.

  • Though it is recommended that aquarists do not house several gouramis together, three spot gouramis that have been raised together in pairs, usually females, especially if they are siblings and have stable personalities, can live effectively if there is adequate room to swim. 

  • Aquarists have achieved this, albeit it varies depending on individual personalities. In such scenarios, one may assume a more dominating role and grow larger, while the smaller subservient fish is occasionally teased or chased around, but both are normally tolerant and cooperative toward one another.

  • When they are under a lot of stress or are not kept in good conditions, three spot gourami are known to change colour.

  • Two bright black spots appear on either side of a healthy fish's body, but these disappear with age.

  • Opaline with a marbled pattern, platinum, blue, golden, and lavender are the most commonly available selectively bred variants in the aquarium trade.


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2. Honey Gourami (Trichogaster Chuna)

  • In its native range of India and Bangladesh, the honey gourami is often found in rivers and lakes.

  • It lives in densely vegetated places with soft, low-mineralized water. This fish loves the water's upper and intermediate levels.

  • Their bodies are orange in colour. This species can grow up to 7 cm in length.

  • Male gouramis are often more colourful than female gouramis, which is typical of many gouramis. They have brilliant orange colouration around the throat area, which grows significantly stronger during the breeding season and is used to attract the female.

  • With the exception of the caudal fin, males' fins have an orange colour. The male has a pointed dorsal fin and expanded anal fin rays, as well as longer fins.

  • A red-orange variation known as sunset or robin red, as well as a lighter variation known as gold, have been deliberately bred.

  • The honey gourami is a non-aggressive community fish that is well-suited to small aquariums. Male honey gouramis, like other gouramis, can be hostile toward one another. As a result, unless the tank is large enough for the males to form territories, they should be kept separated. To offer enough cover, a tank containing this fish should be planted and decorated.

  • The water temperature should be kept between 22-28 °C (71-82 °F). Although the chemistry of the water is unimportant, extremes should be avoided.

  • The honey gourami is a bubble nest builder that relies on plants to keep the bubbles together. During spawning, the water level should be decreased to 8 inches, the temperature should be around 28 °C (82 °F), and the pH should be around 7. To make breeding easier, it is best to put the gouramis in a different tank.


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3. Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster Lalius)

  • Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh are home to the dwarf gourami. Outside of its native range, however, it has become widely dispersed.

  • It prefers slow-moving waters such as rivulets, streams, and lakes, and it can be found in densely forested places.

  • This species can grow up to 8.8 cm in length.

  • In the wild, male dwarf gouramis have diagonal stripes of alternating blue and red colours, while females are silvery. The dorsal fin, in addition to the colour difference, can be used to establish the sex. The female's dorsal fin is rounded or curved, whereas the males are pointed.

  • On their thread-like pelvic fins, they have touch-sensitive cells.

  • Dwarf gouramis typically survive for four to six years, but with proper care, they can live even longer. Unlike the much bigger regular gourami, which can become aggressive, dwarf gouramis are normally docile fish.

  • Dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish that use their labyrinth organ when necessary. They are frequently found swimming in the middle or upper areas of the aquarium.

  • Large, aggressive fish are not good for dwarf gouramis. Dwarf gouramis are so docile that rather than fighting back, they will allow themselves to be bullied to death. Dwarf gouramis may be attacked by males of other gourami species, as well as male Siamese fighting fish.

  • Dwarf gouramis can withstand a wide range of temperatures. Temperatures as high as 27 °C (81 °F) are tolerable.

  • The dwarf gourami, which is an omnivore that loves both algae-based and meaty diets, requires a diversified diet. These fish will be well-fed with algae-based flake food, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp.

  • The eggs are placed in a floating bubble nest built by the male. Males, unlike other bubble nest builders, may integrate bits of plants, twigs, and other debris into the nest, which helps to keep it together. During spawning, the water level should be decreased to 7–10 cm and the temperature should be at 28–30 °C (86 °F).


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4. Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus Leerii)

  • The pearl gourami grows to be about 12 centimetres long. The body is a brownish-silver colour with a pearl-like pattern and a distinct black line that runs from the fish's head to the caudal fin, gradually thinning.

  • The lace gourami and the mosaic gourami are two popular names for this fish based on their appearance.

  • Male gouramis are generally larger and more colourful than female gouramis, as is the case with many other gouramis.

  • They have brilliant orange colouration around the throat area, which grows significantly stronger during the breeding season and is used to woo the female.

  • With the exception of the caudal (tail) fin, males fins have an orange tinge. Longer fins, a more pointed dorsal fin, and extended anal fin rays distinguish the male.

  • The pearl gourami can be found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. It can be found in acidic lowland swamps. This fish loves the water's upper and intermediate levels.

  • A tank with a volume of 120 litres or more is generally recommended for a pair of pearl gouramis, though anything larger is highly recommended, as these fish can show signs of stress, abnormal aggression, and illness if kept in a small space.

  • Temperatures in the tank should be between 22–28°C (72–82°F). The pearl gourami's labyrinth organ requires tanks with surfaces exposed to fresh, humid air to function properly.

  • The pearl gourami is a bubble nest builder that relies on plants to keep the bubbles together. During spawning, the water level should be reduced to 20 cm, the temperature should be around 28 °C (82 °F), and the pH should be around 7. Both adults cannot be kept together after they have spawned. After two days, the eggs hatch, and three days later, the fry is free to swim.


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5. Moonlight Gourami (Trichopodus Microlepis)

  • The moonlight gourami, also known as the moonbeam gourami, is a labyrinth fish native to Indochina that belongs to the Osphronemidae family. A popular aquarium fish, this peaceful and attractive species is a popular choice.

  • An adult moonlight gourami can grow up to 13 centimetres in length.

  • These silvery fish have a slightly greenish hue that resembles the soft glow of moonlight.

  • The moonlight gourami is distinguished from other gourami varieties by its concavely sloped head.

  • The orange to red colouration of the pelvic fins, as well as the long dorsal fins that end in a point, distinguish males.

  • Females have colourless to yellow pelvic fins, and their dorsal fins are shorter and rounder.

  • The moonlight gourami is found in the Mekong River basins in Cambodia and Vietnam, as well as the Chao Phraya basins in Thailand. This species has been introduced to Thailand's Mekong River basin. Due to escapes from aquarium rearing facilities, it has also been introduced into Colombia.

  • Ponds and swamps are home to this species. It thrives in shallow, sluggish, or standing water environments with abundant aquatic vegetation. It's also common in the lower Mekong's floodplain.

  • Insects, crustaceans, and zooplankton are all eaten by the moonlight gourami.

  • The moonlight gourami, like all labyrinth fish, has a peculiar lung-like mechanism that allows it to breathe air directly. It is fairly uncommon for this labyrinth organ to rise to the surface and suck air. The moonlight gourami's capacity to breathe air helps it to survive in low-oxygen environments.

  • These species, like other labyrinth fish, are oviparous and use bubble nests for reproduction and care of their fry. The male moonlight gourami begins the spawning process by meticulously creating a bubble nest; this bubble nest does not contain many plant materials, and the bubbles are free to float around.


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6. Giant Gourami (Osphronemus Goramy)

  • The giant gourami is a huge gourami species native to Southeast Asia's freshwater ecosystems, yet it has spread to other parts of the world due to importation.

  • This species is farmed and is commercially important as a food fish. It's also available in the aquarium trade.

  • Because the giant gourami is a voracious herbivore, it has been employed to manage weeds, including extremely invasive aquatic plants like Salvinia molesta.

  • It can survive for long periods of time without water since it can breathe damp air.

  • It is substantially larger than other gouramis, reaching a maximum standard length of 70 cm, despite the fact that most are just 45 cm long.

  • Giant gourami is a pale to golden yellow colour with silvery, pastel blue stripes that run vertically down its body. Females are distinguished by larger lips. Giant gouramis use weeds and twigs to construct their nests. Some have white stripes sometimes referred to as white gourami fish.


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Conclusion

Gourami fish are perciform fish that belong to the Osphronemidae family, though they are also known as Polyacanthidae. They are native to Asia, with populations ranging from Pakistan and India to the Malay Archipelago and northeast to Korea. Gouramis have a lung-like labyrinth organ that permits them to swallow air and use ambient oxygen as labyrinth fishes. This organ is crucial for fish that live in warm, shallow, oxygen-depleted water. Because of its thick meat, pleasing texture, and delectable flavour, gourami is highly recognised as a delicacy in Asian cuisine.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is a Gourami Fish?

Ans: Gourami fish are relatives of Betta fish and belong to the medium to large fish family. They are typically aquarium fish that have been bred in captivity. The giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy), a Southeast Asian fish that is caught or raised for food and has been introduced elsewhere, is one of the most well-known gourami species.

2. What is the Scientific Name of Gourami Fish?

Ans: The scientific name of the gourami fish is Trichogaster trichopterus. There are five subfamilies of gourami fish: Belontiinae, Osphroneminae, Luciocephalinae, Macropodusinae, Trichogastrinae. There are around 90 different gourami fish types.

3. Can We Keep Gouramis in the Aquarium?

Ans: Yes we can breed gourami fish in an aquarium. Sparkling, croaking, honey, and dwarf gouramis can be kept in tanks as small as 10 gallons, white pearl, blue, gold, opaline, and moonlight gouramis, as well as paradise fish, require a 30-gallon aquarium or larger. In a well-decorated aquarium, they will be less stressed and show their best colours.