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Bettas and other Gouramis – Key Facts


Half-moon Betta

This article provides an overview into the world of air-breathing, freshwater tropical fish including Bettas and other Gouramis.

Are Bettas and other Gouramis easy to care for? In this article, I have provided the key facts about Bettas and other Gouramis to ensure that you can care for these beautiful fishes and each species covered links to a much more detailed article about that particular species.

Overview

In general, most of the Gourami family sees the male as the dominant fish and his colouring tends to be richer and deeper, especially during breeding.

In the main part, it is the male who will care for the nest and he will drive away the female (and any other species) to protect his nest.

Most members of the Gourami family are bubble-nesters, where the male builds a nest of bubbles, usually on the surface of the water and preferably under a floating leaf.

The Gourami family tend to live in slow-moving water, dense with plants and because they generally live in regions of rain forest they prefer subdued lighting.

The water in their natural habitat tends to be low in oxygen but the Gouramis have developed a labyrinthine chamber (a sort of primitive lung) which enables them to gulp air from above the surface of the water. This is particularly noticeable when the (usually) male is making his bubble-nest.

The male Gourami is somewhat territorial, especially during breeding and has a tendency to nip at the fins of other species with elaborate finnage. That said, most members of the Gourami family are good community species.

Contents

Please click on the link for each species to be taken to the key facts for that species. From the key facts, you will be able to jump to the detailed article about that species.

Bettas

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Bettas
Siamese Fighting Fish
Japenese Fighting Fish
Scientific nameBetta Splendens
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia, specifically the Mekong basin of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.
Care requiredModerate
TemperamentIn the wrong environment the Betta can be highly aggressive.
In the right environment the Betta can be a perfect community fish.
Colour & FormAvailable in a huge variety of colours and finnage styles
LifespanApproximately 3 to 5 years
Adult size2.25 inches to 3 inches
DietCarnivore or Betta food
Aquarium size10 gallon minimum recommended
Compatible withPeaceful and shoaling species
Avoid keeping withAggressive fish
Bigger Gouramis
Fin nippers (e.g. Tiger Barbs)
Never put 2 male Bettas together
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Less than 25 dGH

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Blue Gourami

Blue Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Blue Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopodus trichopterus
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including the Mekong in China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormMarbles body of blue and silver – deeper colours in male, especially during breeding
LifespanUp to 5 years
Adult sizeUp to 6 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallons minimum, 40 gallons recommended
Compatible withBarbs, Danios, Mollies and Tetras
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Guppies, especially any of the Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 82 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)5 to 20 dGH

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Chocolate Gourami

Chocolate Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Chocolate Gourami
Scientific nameSphaerichthys osphromenoides
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromBorneo, the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra
Care requiredRequire specialized care and conditions
TemperamentVery placid species
Colour & FormBrown body usually with four gold or silver, vertical stripes
LifespanApproximately 8 years
Adult size2.5 inches
DietOmnivorous – tends to reject flake food
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 30 gallons recommended
Compatible with Small rasboras, danios, loaches (such as the Kuhli) and, perhaps surprisingly, can be kept with Discus
Avoid keeping withAny aggressive species
BreedingMouth-breeder – female will look after eggs and fry until free-swimming and male will protect female
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH4.0 to 6.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 8 dGH

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Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Dwarf Gourami includes variants known as:
Flame Gourami
Neon Blue Gourami
Powder Blue Gourami
Red Gourami
Turquoise Gourami
Scientific nameTrichogaster lalius
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromIndian sub-continent, specifically from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant if breeding but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormA range of colour combinations
LifespanApproximately 5 years
Adult size2.5 inches (but can attain 3.5 inches)
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallons or more recommended
Compatible withMost community species
Avoid keeping withBigger Gouramis, Fantail Guppies, Swordtails, male Bettas and similarly elaborate fishes
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.8 to 7.8
Water hardness (dGH or dH)3 to 8 dGH

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Giant Gourami

Giant Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Giant Gourami
Scientific nameOsphronemus goramy
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia, especially the regions around Borneo, Java and Sumatra
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMay well eat small fish but okay with medium to large species
Colour & FormGrey to silver-grey – fades as fish ages
LifespanApproximately 20 years
Adult size28 inches (but typically 18 inches in aquarium)
DietOmnivorous but largely herbivorous.
Aquarium size175 to 200 gallon minimum
Compatible withLarger species
Avoid keeping withSmall species, as they may be eaten
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp70 – 85 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.5 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 25 dGH

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Gold Gourami

Gold Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Gold Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopodus trichopterus
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including the Mekong in China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormGold and grey/green stripes above the lateral line, gold/yellow in fins
LifespanApproximately 5 years
Adult size6 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withBarbs, Danios, Mollies and Tetras.
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Guppies, especially any of the Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)5 to 20 dGH

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Honey Gourami

Honey Gourami - Male

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Honey Gourami
Scientific nameTrichogaster chuna
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromIndian sub-continent, specifically from India and Bangladesh
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the community
Colour & FormHoney gold over the back, fading towards belly, spiny fins
Lifespan4 to 8 years
Adult size3 inches (male), 2 inches (female)
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallons or larger recommended
Compatible withBarbs, Danios, Mollies and Tetras.
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Guppies, especially any of the Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)5 to 20 dGH

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Kissing Gourami

Kissing Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Kissing Gourami
Scientific nameHelostoma temminkii
FamilyHelostomatidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia ranging from Thailand to Indonesia
Care requiredWill acclimatize to a wide range of water types
TemperamentBest kept in large-species tank
Colour & FormSilver, perhaps with pink or green tinge
Lifespan7 to 20 years
Adult sizeUp to 12 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size75 gallon minimum
Compatible withLarge species
Avoid keeping withSmall species
BreedingEgg-scatterer – eggs float to surface and adhere to floating leaves, etc.
Water temp75 – 82 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.8 to 8.5
Water hardness (dGH or dH)5 to 30 dGH

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Licorice (Liquorice) Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Licorice (Liquorice) Gourami
Scientific nameParosphromenus
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromPeat swamps of southeast Asia – endangered in wild
Care requiredSpecialist care required
TemperamentSingle species tank preferred but can be kept with Chocolate Gourami
Colour & Form20+ species identified. Can change colour quickly, difficult to sex unless in breeding mode
LifespanApproximately 5 years
Adult size1.8 inches
DietOmnivorous but prefer small, live food preferred
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withChocolate Gouramis
Avoid keeping withEverything else
BreedingCave-breeder – builds bubble-nest at bottom of tank on underside of cave roof
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH3.5 to 5.5
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 5 dGH

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Moonlight Gourami

Moonlight Gouramis - Pair

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Moonlight Gourami
Scientific nameTrichogaster microlepis
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including the Mekong in Cambodia and Vietnam as well as in the Chao Fraya basins
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormMale Moonlight Gouramis have red pelvic fins whilst those of the female are yellow or colourless. 
LifespanApproximately 4 years
Adult size6 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withBarbs, Danios, Mollies and Tetras.
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Guppies, especially any of the Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish) and any fish that might target its long pelvic fins
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp78 to 85 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 7.5
Water hardness (dGH or dH)2 to 20 dGH

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Opaline Gourami

Opaline Gourami Male

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Opaline Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopodus trichopterus
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including the Mekong in China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormBlue, marbled body in the male, paler marbling in the female.
LifespanApproximately 5 years
Adult size6 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withBarbs, Danios, Mollies and Tetras.
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Guppies, especially any of the Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 82 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)5 to 20 dGH

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Paradise Gourami

Paradise Gourami
CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Paradise Gourami
Scientific nameMacropodus opercularis
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromChina, Taiwan, Vietnam and surrounding areas
Care requiredAggressive, similar to Bettas
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant and may eat smaller fishes but can be good in the right community
Colour & FormThree distinct species (see main article)
Black spots over gold over its back
Orange and green stripes on flanks
Orange to red Caudal fin
LifespanApproximately 8 to 10 years
Adult size2.5 to 3.5 inches, can attain 4 inches
DietOmnivorous but prefers live insects and invertebrates
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withGouramis of similar size, Mollies and catfish.
Avoid keeping withSmaller species (which may be eaten) or larger species (which may bully the Paradise Gourami
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp65 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 25 dGH

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Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gouramis
CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Pearl Gourami – aka:
Lace Gourami
Mosaic Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopodus leerii
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including Borneo, Malaysia Sumatra and Thailand
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community but can “fin-nip” species with elaborate finnage
Colour & FormSilver and tan, resembling lace or mother of pearl
LifespanApproximately 5 years
Adult size5 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withMost species of similar size or smaller
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 20 dGH

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Samurai Gourami

Samurai Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Samurai Gourami
Scientific nameSphaerichthys vaillanti
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromBorneo; specifically in an area around a village named Nangah Sebroeang
Care requiredVery specialized care required – rare species.
TemperamentVery placid species – the female is the dominant of the two
Colour & FormRed and green vertical stripes on flank of female with leaf-like body shape; male is the less colourful of the sexes
LifespanApproximately 8 years
Adult size2 inches
DietOmnivorous but prefers live or freeze-dried live food
Aquarium size30 gallon minimum
Compatible withSmall rasboras, danios, loaches (such as the Kuhli)
Avoid keeping withShould not be kept with boisterous species of any kind
BreedingFemale lays eggs on substrate of aquarium, male fertilizes them then mouth-broods them (without eating anything) until fry are free-swimming (7 to 21 days)
Water temp70 – 78 Fahrenheit
Water pH3.0 to 5.0 filtered through aquatic peat (or peat extract)
Water hardness (dGH or dH)0 to 3.2 dGH

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Snakeskin Gourami

Snakeskin Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Snakeskin Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopodus pectoralis
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia in the Mekong and Chao Phraya basin of Cambodia, Laos, Southern Vietnam and Thailand
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentDespite being larger than average, is considered to be an excellent community fish
Colour & FormOlive green over dorsal area fading to pale silver/white on belly with broken black lateral line. Slender in depth relative to other Gouramis.
LifespanApproximately 4 to 6 years
Adult sizeUp to 10 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size30 gallon minimum, large aquarium preferred
Compatible withExcellent community species
Avoid keeping withNo species to avoid in general
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp73 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 20 dGH

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Sparkling Gourami or Pygmy Gourami

Sparkling Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Sparkling Gourami – aka:
Pygmy Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopsis pumila
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentPassive species
Colour & FormBody sparkles with red, green and blue hues, finnage appears to shimmer. Blue eyes in correct light.
LifespanApproximately 4 to 5 years
Adult size1.6 inches
DietOmnivorous but favours small insects and zooplankton
Aquarium size5 gallons minimum
Compatible withMost peaceful, community species
Avoid keeping withTiger Barbs, Danios, Bettas and similar or species which may prey on them
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface. Adults do not predate eggs or young
Water temp75 – 82 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 7.0
Water hardness (dGH or dH)Up to 20 dGH

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Sunset Gourami

Sunset Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Sunset Gourami – aka:
Golden Thicklip Gourami
Orange Thicklip Gourami
Sunset Thicklip Gourami
Yellow Honey Sunset Gourami
Scientific nameTrichogaster labiosa
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSouth Asia, specifically from the rivers, streams and swamps of Burma (now known as Myanmar)
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormRich, golden, honey colour
LifespanApproximately 4 to 7 years
Adult size4 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size10 gallon minimum
Compatible withMost community species
Avoid keeping withFantail Guppies, Swordtails, male Bettas and similarly elaborate fishes
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.0 to 7.5
Water hardness (dGH or dH)4 to 15 dGH

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Three Spot Gourami

Three Spot Gourami

Key Facts

CategoryKey Facts
Common name(s)Three Spot Gourami
Scientific nameTrichopodus trichopterus
FamilyOsphronemidae
Originate fromSoutheast Asia including the Mekong in China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam
Care requiredModerate – reasonably easy to care for
TemperamentMales can be quite dominant but generally good in the right community
Colour & FormSilver body with a spot mid-body on lateral line, by Caudal fin and the eye is the third spot
LifespanApproximately 5 years or more
Adult size6 inches
DietOmnivorous
Aquarium size20 gallon minimum, 40 gallons for adults recommended
Compatible withBarbs, Danios, Mollies and Tetras.
Avoid keeping withDwarf Gouramis, Guppies, especially any of the Fantail Guppies, Angel Fish or male Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
BreedingEasy if you put the fish in the right environment.
Male builds a bubble-nest on the water surface.
Water temp75 – 80 Fahrenheit
Water pH6.8 to 7.8
Water hardness (dGH or dH)3 to 8 dGH

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Mike Wheeler

I started keeping freshwater tropical fish in 1972 and it has been something of a passion ever since. In this website, my aim is to build up an everyman's guide to help the everyday aquarist get the best from this inspiring and entertaining hobby.

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