Gourami

Blue Gourami

Blue Gouramis, also known as Three-Spot Gouramis, are enchanting freshwater fish related to the popular Betta fish. With their appealing blue and brown coloration, they have won the hearts of many aquarists. These semi-aggressive fish demand moderate maintenance, making them a fitting choice for community aquariums with sufficient space.

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Care DIfficulty

Moderate

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Temperament

Semi-Aggressive

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Origin

Southeast Asia

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Size

6 inches (15 cm)

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Lifespan

6 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Blue Gourami, or Trichopodus trichopterus, often referred to as the Three-Spot Gourami, is a beloved freshwater fish originating from Southeast Asia, primarily in regions like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. These fish typically inhabit slow-moving, densely vegetated waters such as swamps, marshes, and ponds.

In their natural habitats, Blue Gouramis are often found in quiet, stagnant waters abundant with plant life. These plants serve not just as hiding spots but also as a food source, while the murky waters emphasize their striking colors. These fish are relatively peaceful but can be territorial, especially during breeding.

Their natural environment features warm, moderately hard, and slightly acidic to neutral water. The temperature typically ranges from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 28 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0, and water hardness between 5 to 20 dGH. To recreate a similar environment in your aquarium, aim for consistent water temperature, a reliable filtration system, and include live plants and hiding spots.

By replicating the Blue Gourami's natural habitat and ensuring appropriate water conditions, you'll facilitate your fish's healthy and content life in your aquarium.

Blue Gouramis are admired for their striking blue bodies, accented by a dark brown to black 'spots' which give them the name Three-Spot Gourami. These striking colors make them a captivating centerpiece in aquariums. Despite being larger than most community tank fish, measuring up to about 6 inches (15 cm) in size, their unique coloration and calm demeanor make them an excellent choice for those seeking a peaceful, captivating aquatic display. These elegant fish delight onlookers as they gracefully navigate the tank, earning them a special place among hobbyists of all skill levels.

With appropriate care, Blue Gouramis can live up to four to six years. They are semi-aggressive fish and require a spacious tank to establish their territories. To support their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's crucial to provide a spacious aquarium with plenty of hiding spots, as well as a varied diet consisting of quality flakes, pellets, live, and frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Now that we have covered the appearance and lifespan of Blue Gouramis, let's delve into some intriguing facts about these impressive fish that make them a unique presence in the aquarium hobby. From their intriguing coloration to their territorial behavior, Blue Gouramis are full of surprises and are sure to enchant any aquarium enthusiast.

  • Labyrinth organ: In their natural habitat, Blue Gouramis often reside in oxygen-depleted waters. To survive in such conditions, they have developed a special organ called the labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric air. This adaptation helps them thrive in various environmental conditions, both in the wild and in aquariums.
  • Color variations: While the Blue Gourami is known for its blue and brown colors, it's not uncommon to see different color variants due to selective breeding. Some popular varieties include the Gold Gourami and the Opaline Gourami, each showcasing a unique color palette that adds to their appeal.
  • Bubble nests: Blue Gouramis, like other gourami species, are bubble nest builders. During breeding, the male creates a bubble nest on the water surface, where the female will lay her eggs. This unique breeding behavior is a fascinating spectacle to observe in an aquarium setting.
  • Mood-induced color changes: Blue Gouramis have the ability to alter the intensity of their colors in response to their environment, mood, or health. In stressful situations or when unwell, their colors may fade. Conversely, when they are content and healthy, their hues become more pronounced, making them a striking presence in an aquarium.
  • Territorial tendencies: Unlike most community fish, Blue Gouramis can be quite territorial, especially during breeding. They prefer to have their own space in the tank and can exhibit aggressive behavior if they feel threatened. However, with sufficient space and appropriate tank mates, they generally coexist peacefully.

Now that you've unearthed some intriguing facts about Blue Gouramis, you'll be better equipped to appreciate their distinct qualities and intricacies in your aquarium. In the next section, we'll provide guidelines on tank setups, ensuring your Blue Gouramis have an optimal environment to thrive and exhibit their captivating features.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup encompasses the essential components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—ensuring that you can design a suitable environment for Blue Gouramis and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you progress from economical to premium setups, you will also enjoy more options for personalization, aesthetics, and advanced capabilities. Blue Gouramis, being larger and semi-aggressive, usually need a more spacious environment compared to schooling fish. Typically, Blue Gouramis are priced between $4 and $8 per fish, although prices can fluctuate based on factors such as size, quality, and availability.

Economical setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 30-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy‍ ($50 - $80)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 30 gallons ($30 - $50)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($20 - $35)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($25 - $55)
  • Substrate: Budget-friendly aquarium sand or small gravel ($15 - $25)
  • Decor: Some pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with affordable live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($25 - $45)
  • Fish: 1 to 2 Blue Gouramis ($8 - $16)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Mid-tier setup (around $400 - $650):

  • Tank: 40-50 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($80 - $150)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($70 - $150)
  • Heater: 150-200 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($30 - $60)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($60 - $160)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($25 - $45)
  • Decor: A blend of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($50 - $100)
  • Fish: 1 to 2 Blue Gouramis ($8 - $16)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Luxury setup (above $800):

  • Tank: 50-60 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($150 - $300)
  • Filter: High-quality canister filter rated for the tank size ($120 - $250)
  • Heater: 200-300 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($50 - $100)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($200 - $350)
  • Substrate: Premium aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, with added root tabs for additional plant nutrition ($35 - $70)
  • Decor: A combination of driftwood, rocks, and live plants to create a natural aquascape, featuring plant species such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, Cryptocoryne species, and carpeting plants like Dwarf Hairgrass or Monte Carlo ($70 - $180)
  • Fish: 1 to 2 Blue Gouramis ($8 - $16)
  • Thermometer: $3 - $10
  • Substrate Vacuum: $10 - $25
  • Fish Net: $2 - $10
  • Algae Scraper or Magnetic Cleaner: $5 - $20
  • Siphon and Bucket: $15 - $30
  • Test Kit: $15 - $50
  • Fish Food: $5 - $20
  • Water Conditioner: $5 - $15

Please remember that these figures are merely recommendations, and you should take into account other aspects such as tank mates and individual fish temperaments when deciding on how many Blue Gouramis to house in your aquarium. Prices may differ depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

We've previously explored the recommended tank configurations for your Blue Gourami. Now that you're more familiar with what's needed, it's time to discuss the detailed procedure of establishing your aquarium. These instructions will assist you in identifying an ideal location for your tank, cleaning and setting up the tank, putting in crucial equipment, and water cycling to foster a healthy atmosphere for your fish. We will also go through the right acclimation process to ensure your Blue Gourami transitions smoothly into their new environment. Adhering to these guidelines will set you on the path to creating a prosperous aquatic habitat where your fish can thrive.

  • Step #1: Select an optimal location for your aquarium, avoiding direct sunlight, drafts, and heating appliances. The chosen surface should be even and robust enough to bear the weight of your filled tank. If a stand is necessary for your aquarium, set it up as per the manufacturer's guidelines and then place the empty tank on top.
  • Step #2: Proceed by cleaning the tank. Rinse it with pure water (steer clear of soap or chemicals) to eliminate dust or any debris. Afterward, dry the inside with a spotless cloth or a paper towel. Rinse the substrate (gravel or sand) thoroughly in a bucket until the water is clear, then scatter it uniformly at the bottom of the tank, creating a subtle slope towards the back to add visual depth.
  • Step #3: Before you start filling the tank with water, design your aquarium's layout, including the equipment's placement like heaters and filters. This will simplify both the setup and maintenance of the tank in the future. Install the filter and heater as per the manufacturer's directions. If you're utilizing a sponge or under-gravel filter, position it beneath the substrate prior to adding water.
  • Step #4: Use rocks, driftwood, and plants to decorate the tank, ensuring there are open spaces for your fish to swim. This setup also provides hiding spots and an aesthetically pleasing environment. Be mindful when arranging the decorations, ensuring they won't interfere with or damage the equipment. Anchor plants to rocks or driftwood for better stability.
  • Step #5: Fill the tank with water that has been treated with a water conditioner if your tap water has chlorine or chloramines. While filling, put a clean plate or plastic bag on the substrate to avoid disturbance. Fill the tank until it's approximately 2/3 full. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy as per the manufacturer's guidelines. A timer for your aquarium light can be handy to maintain a regular day and night cycle, crucial for both fish and plants. Connect the heater, filter, and any additional equipment (like an air pump, CO2 system) to power sources, and install the thermometer at an easy-to-see spot.
  • Step #6: Complete filling the water, leaving room between the water surface and the tank's top for oxygen exchange. Activate the filter, heater, and other equipment. Check the water temperature and adjust the heater if required. Let the tank cycle for about 4-6 weeks to cultivate beneficial bacteria and stabilize the water parameters. You can add a bacterial starter culture during this phase to accelerate the development of beneficial bacteria. Use an aquarium test kit to keep track of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels.
  • Step #7: Once the tank has cycled and the water parameters are stable, gradually acclimate your Blue Gourami to the tank's conditions before introducing them. Start by floating the unopened fish bag in the tank for around 15-20 minutes to equate the temperature. Then open the bag and introduce a bit of tank water into it. Keep adding a small quantity of tank water to the bag every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes, allowing the fish to gradually adjust to the new water chemistry. Use a net to gently transfer the fish from the bag to the tank, ensuring minimal stress and avoiding exposure to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: After all the fish are comfortably in their new home, create a consistent daily feeding schedule, offering nutritious food suitable for your Blue Gourami. Regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) are essential and remember to monitor water parameters using a test kit to maintain a healthy environment. Watch your fish closely for any signs of distress or disease, particularly during the initial weeks after their introduction. If needed, be ready to intervene, such as altering water parameters or seeking advice from an expert aquarist.

By adhering to this step-by-step guide and incorporating the additional setup advice, you can create a vibrant aquatic habitat that will allow your Blue Gourami and other fish to thrive in their new home.

Recommended Water Parameters

In order to ensure the health and well-being of your Blue Gourami, it's crucial to sustain particular water parameters in your aquarium. The following are the ideal conditions:

  • Temperature: The water should be maintained between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 28°C) for the most comfortable environment.
  • pH: A neutral to slightly acidic pH, between 6.0 and 8.0, is ideal for these fish, ensuring gradual changes if any.
  • Hardness: A range from soft to moderately hard water (4-18 dGH) is recommended, though they are adaptable to various conditions.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Aim to keep ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, and try to maintain nitrate levels below 40 ppm.
  • Lighting: Moderate to bright lighting conditions are preferred, but make sure there are places for the fish to hide.
  • Water movement: Blue Gouramis are adapted to slow-moving waters, so a moderate water flow is best.Testing your aquarium water consistently and performing necessary water changes is essential to sustain a stable environment.

Routine Water Maintenance

Regular water changes are critical for a healthy Blue Gourami tank. They assist in eliminating surplus nutrients, waste, and toxins. Here's an optimal routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Replace 25-30% of the tank water on a weekly basis.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly monitor pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: During water changes, clean the substrate to remove excess waste.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Always treat tap water with a water conditioner before introducing it to the aquarium.
  • Match temperature and pH: Make sure the fresh water matches the tank water in both temperature and pH.
  • Acclimate the fish: Allow your fish time to adjust to new conditions after water changes.

In addition to routine water maintenance, consider the following practices to maintain the health of your fish and the overall appearance of your aquarium:

  • Monitor lighting duration: Be aware of the duration your aquarium lights are on daily, aiming for a consistent 10-12 hour period. Excessive light can lead to the proliferation of algae.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly prune live plants to keep them healthy and aesthetically pleasing. Remove any dead plant material to avoid compromising water quality.
  • Filter maintenance: Clean or replace filter media as recommended by the manufacturer, typically every 3-4 weeks. Do not replace all filter media simultaneously, as this could disturb beneficial bacteria and cause water quality issues.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Blue Gouramis are omnivorous and require a varied diet. Below are some feeding tips:

  • Flakes and pellets: High-quality flake or pellet food designed for omnivorous tropical fish is suitable.
  • Frozen and live foods: Treat your fish with brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia on occasion.
  • Vegetable matter: Supplement their diet with blanched vegetables such as spinach, peas, or zucchini for added nutrients.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed moderate quantities one to two times a day, taking care not to overfeed.

Stress and Diseases

Blue Gouramis can experience stress from various factors, like poor water conditions, aggression, or improper tank conditions. Recognizing and managing these stressors is essential for the health of your fish:

  • Watch for stress signs: Monitor your Blue Gouramis for any abnormal behavior, such as hiding, sluggishness, loss of color, or fast breathing, which may signal stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test your aquarium water to make sure it falls within the ideal parameters, and carry out regular water changes to uphold a healthy environment.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure that your Blue Gouramis aren't being bullied or attacked by other fish and remove any aggressive tank mates if necessary.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide plenty of hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a properly sized tank for your fish.

While Blue Gouramis are relatively resilient, they can be prone to certain common fish diseases, such as:

  • Ich (white spot disease): A common parasitic infection causing white spots on the body and fins, lethargy, and loss of appetite. Ich can be treated with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication and by raising the water temperature to around 82°F (28°C).
  • Fin rot: This bacterial infection leads to frayed or discolored fins and tail. Fin rot can be treated with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and an antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: A parasitic infection causing a yellow or brownish velvet-like coating on the fish's body. Treat velvet disease with an anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: This condition causes fish to have trouble maintaining their buoyancy. Swim bladder disease can be treated by fasting the fish and feeding them blanched peas. If necessary, consider using an antibacterial medication.

To prevent diseases in Blue Gouramis, maintain excellent water quality, avoid overfeeding, and provide a balanced diet. Quarantine new fish before introducing them to the main tank and promptly address any signs of illness.

Breeding

Breeding Blue Gouramis can be a rewarding experience for aquarists, though it does require specific conditions and care. Here are some steps to breed Blue Gouramis:

  • Step #1: Set up a suitable breeding environment with a separate 20-gallon or larger breeding tank, a pH level of around 7.0, and a temperature of about 80°F (27°C). The water should be soft to moderately hard and include ample plant life for shelter.
  • Step #2: Choose healthy, mature male and female Blue Gouramis for breeding. You can tell the sexes apart by their dorsal fins – males have a pointed dorsal fin, while females' are rounded.
  • Step #3: Feed the breeding pair a high-protein diet of live or frozen foods for a few weeks to help them gain strength and vitality.
  • Step #4: Trigger spawning by introducing the pair to the breeding tank, slightly raising the water temperature, and reducing the lighting. The male will build a bubble nest at the water surface where the female will deposit her eggs.
  • Step #5: Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, remove the female from the tank. The male will guard the bubble nest until the eggs hatch, usually within 24-30 hours. After hatching, remove the male as well to prevent predation on the fry.
  • Step #6: Feed the fry infusoria or liquid fry food initially, then gradually introduce finely crushed flake food as they grow. Monitor their growth and development and separate them by size if necessary to prevent larger fry from preying on smaller ones.

Breeding Blue Gouramis can provide an enriching experience for experienced aquarists. Patience and the right conditions are key to success.



Recommended Tank Mates

The following are the top 10 suggested companions for Blue Gouramis:

  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Zebra Danios
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Swordtails
  • Plecos
  • Kuhli Loaches
  • Ghost Shrimp
  • Mystery Snails
  • Corydoras Catfish

It's crucial to avoid housing Blue Gouramis with aggressive fish such as cichlids, bettas, or larger predatory species, as they may pose a threat to the Gouramis. Always monitor the behavior of newly introduced fish to ensure they're not causing any stress or displaying aggression towards the Blue Gouramis.

Conclusion

Blue Gouramis are an attractive species of freshwater fish known for their vibrant colors and resilience. These fish demand specific water conditions, a well-rounded diet, and an appropriate environment to flourish in captivity. With the right care, they can live up to five years, making a beautiful addition to any aquarium. When choosing tank mates, it's essential to select peaceful and non-aggressive species to maintain a tranquil community. Breeding Blue Gouramis can be an enriching but challenging endeavor for experienced aquarists, requiring patience and optimal conditions for success. Overall, Blue Gouramis are a delightful and active species that can enrich any aquarium with their striking colors and engaging behaviors.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Blue Gouramis?

Blue Gouramis thrive in a tank that's at least 20 gallons in size for a pair, giving them ample space to swim and explore.

How many Blue Gouramis should be kept together?

While Blue Gouramis can be kept alone or in pairs, they tend to show their best behavior and coloration when kept in small groups. However, note that males can become territorial.

What water parameters do Blue Gouramis require?

Blue Gouramis prefer water temperatures between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 28°C), a pH between 6.0 and 8.0, and moderately hard water with a hardness between 5 and 20 dGH.

What do Blue Gouramis eat?

Blue Gouramis are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. Feed them a mix of high-quality flake or pellet food, complemented by live or frozen foods like brine shrimp and bloodworms.

Are Blue Gouramis compatible with other fish?

Yes, Blue Gouramis are generally peaceful and can coexist with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish species. Ideal tank mates include small to medium-sized community fish.

How can I distinguish between male and female Blue Gouramis?

Male Blue Gouramis generally have a more pointed dorsal fin and are more vibrantly colored, whereas females have a more rounded dorsal fin and are slightly larger.

How long do Blue Gouramis live?

With proper care and optimal tank conditions, Blue Gouramis can live for 4 to 6 years.

How do I breed Blue Gouramis?

Breeding Blue Gouramis requires specific water conditions and a separate breeding tank. The male will build a bubble nest for the female to lay her eggs in. Once hatched, both parents should be removed to prevent them from eating the fry.

Do Blue Gouramis require a planted tank?

Although not absolutely necessary, a planted tank is highly recommended for Blue Gouramis. Live plants provide shelter, improve water quality, and create a more natural environment that closely resembles their native habitat.

Can Blue Gouramis change color?

Indeed, Blue Gouramis can change color in response to a variety of factors, such as stress, illness, or changes in water conditions. If you notice your Blue Gouramis showing a loss of color, it's essential to check the water parameters and closely monitor their health.