Pearl Gouramis: Size And Growth

how big do pearl gouramis get

Pearl gouramis are a species of freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They are a popular choice for home aquariums due to their striking appearance, with a collection of white spots and long, delicate fins across their bodies. These fish typically grow to a size of around 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) and have an average lifespan of about 4-5 years. However, with optimal care and conditions, they can reach up to 6 years of age.

Characteristics Values
Scientific Name Trichopodus leerii
Common Names Pearl gourami, mosaic gourami, lace gourami, diamond gourami, leeri gourami
Adult Size 4-5 inches (10-13 cm)
Lifespan 4 to 5 years
Origin Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, and Thailand
Habitat Acidic waters such as swamps, low rivers, and lakes
Water Temperature 77°F to 82°F (25°C to 28°C)
Water Hardness 5-25 dH
Water pH 6-8
Minimum Tank Size 30 gallons
Recommended Water Parameters Water temperature: 77°F to 82°F; Water hardness: 5-25 dH; pH: 6-8
Diet Omnivores; flake food, freeze-dried food, frozen food, live food, vegetables
Breeding Temperature 80°F
Breeding Process Male builds a bubble nest; female releases eggs which float up into the bubble nest; male fertilizes the eggs


Male pearl gouramis are larger and more colourful than females

Male pearl gouramis are generally larger and more colourful than females. Male pearl gouramis have thinner, more angular bodies than females, with slightly longer fins. They also have a red breast, which gets brighter when mating, and turns them into one of the most colourful fish around. The dorsal fins of male pearl gouramis are also longer and more pointed.

Male pearl gouramis exhibit bright orange colouring around the throat region, which becomes much brighter during breeding time and is used to court the female. Males also exhibit somewhat of an orange tinge in their fins, with the exception of the caudal (tail) fin.

The average pearl gourami size is somewhere between 4 and 5 inches, or 10 to 12 centimetres, although they can grow up to 4.7 inches in length. This measurement applies to their body and doesn't count any bonus length they might get from their ventral fins, which can be nearly as long as their body.

The size of the pearl gourami can be impacted by a number of factors, such as diet, water temperature, and water quality. For example, if you maintain perfect water conditions at all times and feed quality foods, you may see a pearl gourami live longer than average.

Male pearl gouramis are easy to distinguish from females by their deep red-orange coloration on the throat and breast. Another clue is the dorsal fin, which is longer and more pointed on the male than the female. When ready to spawn, the female will have a much plumper body than the male.

Pearl gouramis are generally peaceful fish, but males may be territorial, especially during the breeding or mating process. This occurs primarily with the males, but the female pearl gourami will also act more on edge during this time.

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They are native to Southeast Asia

Pearl gouramis are native to Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Malaysia, and the Indonesian islands of Sumatra and Borneo. They can be found in the acidic waters of lowland swamps near the sea, as well as in rivers and lakes. These habitats tend to be shallow and heavily vegetated, providing the perfect environment for the pearl gourami to thrive.

In their natural habitat, pearl gouramis feed on plant matter, algae, invertebrates, and worms. They are known to spend most of their time in the upper half of the water column, occasionally venturing to the surface to gulp air. This behaviour is due to their ability to breathe air through a labyrinth organ, a unique characteristic that sets them apart from other fish.

While pearl gouramis are now found all over the world due to captive breeding, their native range in Southeast Asia faces threats. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species lists the pearl gourami as Near Threatened due to damming, water management, logging, and direct harvesting of wild populations.

The pearl gourami has become a staple in the freshwater aquarium trade, prized for its attractive coloration and hardy nature. They are known by various common names, including diamond gourami, lace gourami, and mosaic gourami, reflecting the intricate patterns of spots and stripes on their bodies.

In captivity, pearl gouramis do well in community aquariums with peaceful tank mates of similar size. They prefer a well-planted aquarium that mimics their natural habitat, with subdued lighting and a dark substrate. Providing optimal care, including a balanced diet and suitable water conditions, can ensure these fish live a long and healthy life, reaching their full size of around 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12 centimetres) in length.

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They are easy to breed in captivity

Pearl gouramis are a unique and colourful freshwater fish species that are native to Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia, Thailand, and the Indonesian islands of Borneo and Sumatra. They are known for their attractive appearance, with pearl-like dots covering their bodies and a distinctive black line running down the middle. These fish are not only beautiful but also fairly low-maintenance, making them a popular choice for home aquariums.

Breeding pearl gouramis in captivity is a relatively simple process, even for those new to breeding egg-laying fish. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you successfully breed pearl gouramis:

Step 1: Set Up a Separate Breeding Tank

Firstly, it is important to set up a separate breeding aquarium, as adult pearl gouramis can eat their own eggs and fry. A 10-gallon tank is sufficient for a single breeding pair. Ensure the tank has plenty of hiding spots, such as plants or other constructions, to provide shelter for the female, as male gouramis can become aggressive during the breeding process. A small plastic lid floating on the surface can also be provided, as the male will appreciate the shelter and may build his nest underneath it.

Step 2: Prepare the Breeding Pair

When introducing the pair to the breeding tank, start with the female and allow her to get accustomed to the new environment before introducing the male. This can help reduce the male's aggression, as he won't have claimed the tank as his territory yet. Gradually increase the water temperature to around 80°F (77°F-82°F is the ideal range) to induce spawning and improve the fry's survival rate.

Step 3: Condition the Pair

Offer the breeding pair a variety of meaty and high-quality foods, such as a combination of flake food, frozen food, or live food. Live foods such as blackworms, brine shrimp, and glass worms are ideal for conditioning. The male will develop an orange colour during the breeding period, and the female's body will become plumper as she fills with eggs.

Step 4: Bubble Nest Building

The male pearl gourami will build a delicate bubble nest prior to spawning. Avoid vigorous water movements that can destroy the nest. Provide plants or other constructions for the male to anchor the nest, mimicking the natural process in the wild. Once the nest is complete, the male will try to attract the female to the nest by displaying to her.

Step 5: Spawning

During spawning, the male and female will touch each other with their pelvic fin feelers. The male will wrap his body around the female, and she will release hundreds of eggs, which he will fertilise. The eggs will float upwards into the bubble nest, and the male will chase away the female to prevent her from eating the eggs. It is best to remove the female at this point to ensure her safety.

Step 6: Egg Hatching and Fry Care

The male will guard the eggs in the bubble nest and tend to any strays. After approximately four days, the eggs will hatch, and the fry will start swimming freely within a few days. At this point, remove the male to avoid him mistaking the fry for food. Feed the fry liquid food or infusoria culture several times a day, and perform water changes every two to three days to maintain optimal water quality. As the fry grow, distribute them into multiple tanks to prevent waste buildup and ensure sufficient space for growth.

Breeding pearl gouramis in captivity is a rewarding experience, and with the right knowledge and care, you can successfully raise these beautiful fish. Remember to always provide optimal habitat conditions and a nutritious diet to promote the health and longevity of your pearl gouramis.

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They are omnivores

Pearl gouramis are omnivores, which means they have a varied diet and will eat most things you put in their tank. In the wild, they tend to snack on insects and other protein-rich foods like eggs and algae, but they also eat plants.

In captivity, you can feed them a good base of fish food, such as pellets or flake food. It's also beneficial to mix in some live food, like brine shrimp, black worms, mosquito larvae, and daphnia. This will give them a high-quality source of protein and provide enrichment. Live food is a great way to trigger hunting instincts, which reduces stress levels.

You can also offer fresh vegetables as part of a balanced diet. Good options include romaine lettuce, cooked peas, spinach, blanched zucchini, cucumber medallions, and shelled peas.

It's important to feed your pearl gourami small amounts 2-3 times a day so that you don't overload their digestive system. Only give them as much food as they can eat in a couple of minutes and remove any leftovers to prevent decay and water contamination.

Overall, pearl gouramis are not picky eaters, and their omnivorous diet makes them easy to care for.

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They are peaceful fish

Pearl gouramis are generally peaceful fish, making them a popular choice for community aquariums. They are known for their calm temperament and can get along with a wide range of other aquatic creatures. However, like all fish, their behaviour can be influenced by factors such as tank size, water parameters, and the presence of other fish.

Pearl gouramis are native to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, where they live in shallow tropical waters with plenty of vegetation and acidic water. They are also found in Singapore and Colombia due to human intervention. In their natural habitat, they spend most of their time in the upper half of the water, often in acidic waters such as swamps, but they have been known to venture out to more stagnant tributaries, low rivers, and lakes.

They are labyrinth fish, which means they can breathe air at the surface of the water in addition to using their gills. They have a labyrinth organ that enables them to gulp air, similar to a lung. This is why you will often see them swimming in the upper half of the tank. They need access to the surface, so be careful not to block their path with floating plants.

Pearl gouramis are omnivores and are not picky eaters. In the wild, they eat insects, eggs, algae, and sometimes plants. In captivity, they will eat fish food such as pellets or flake food, as well as live food such as brine shrimp and glass worms.

They are a durable species and not prone to many diseases, but they can be susceptible to fin rot, which is caused by poor water quality or fin-nipping by other fish.

When it comes to tank mates, pearl gouramis are compatible with small or large fish, as long as their companions are not aggressive. They are a shoaling species and are happier in small groups, but it's important to limit the number of male pearl gouramis in a tank to manage aggression.

Overall, pearl gouramis are peaceful fish that can be a beautiful and relatively low-maintenance addition to a community aquarium.

Frequently asked questions

Pearl gouramis can grow to around 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length.

Pearl gouramis have an average lifespan of 4-5 years, but they can live up to 6 years or more with proper care.

A single pearl gourami should be kept in a tank of at least 20 gallons, while a group of pearl gouramis requires a 30-gallon tank or larger.

Pearl gouramis prefer slightly acidic water with a pH between 6 and 8, and a water temperature between 77-82°F (25-28°C).

Pearl gouramis are omnivores and will accept a variety of foods, including fish flakes, freeze-dried or frozen foods, live foods such as brine shrimp and worms, and fresh vegetables like lettuce, peas, and spinach.

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