Honey Gourami

Honey Gouramis are enchanting freshwater fish that share a close kinship with other Gourami species. Their soothing honey color and peaceful demeanor have made them a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists. These undemanding fish require basic maintenance, making them a perfect fit for community aquariums.

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Care DIfficulty


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Eastern India and Bangladesh

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2 inches (5 cm)

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4 to 8 years

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Table of contents

Origin, Appearance, Size, and Lifespan

The Honey Gourami, or Trichogaster chuna, originates from the Ganges Basin in Eastern India and Bangladesh. They are typically found in slow-moving, densely vegetated bodies of water such as ponds and marshes.

In their natural habitat, Honey Gouramis are most frequently found in tranquil, shallow waters rich with plant life. These plants not only offer refuge but also serve as a food source, while the dark substrates enhance their warm colors. These solitary fish are generally seen alone or in pairs.

Their natural environment features warm, mildly acidic to neutral water. The temperature usually ranges from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 to 28 degrees Celsius), with a pH level of 6.0 to 7.5, and water hardness between 4 to 15 dGH. To replicate a similar environment in your aquarium, aim to maintain a stable water temperature, utilize a high-quality filtration system, and incorporate live plants and rocks or driftwood.

By closely replicating the Honey Gourami's natural habitat and ensuring the correct water conditions, you'll be setting your fish up for a content and healthy life in your aquarium.

Honey Gouramis are prized for their warm honey-like color that decorates their bodies, providing them an irresistible and charming feature in aquariums. Despite their small stature, typically reaching about 2 inches (5 cm) in length, their unique color and calm demeanor make them an ideal choice for those seeking a serene, colorful aquatic showcase. These delightful fish provide a calming effect as they gently move through the tank, making them a treasured favorite among hobbyists of all experience levels.

With proper care, Honey Gouramis can have a lifespan of up to 4-8 years. As solitary beings, they are usually kept alone or in pairs. To support their well-being and ensure a long life in captivity, it's crucial to provide an aquarium with plenty of hiding spots amongst plants, as well as a diverse diet consisting of high-quality flakes, pellets, and live or frozen foods.

Fun Facts

Having gained insight into the appearance and lifespan of Honey Gouramis, we will now share some riveting facts about these charming fish that make them unique in the aquarium community. From their appealing coloration to their solitary behavior, Honey Gouramis are full of interesting traits sure to fascinate any aquarist.

  • Nest builders: In the wild, Honey Gouramis are known to construct bubble nests on the water surface using plant debris and bubbles. This behavior is primarily exhibited by males during breeding, ensuring a safe place for the fertilized eggs.
  • Adapted to low-oxygen waters: Honey Gouramis have a unique organ called the labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air directly. This adaptation helps them survive in stagnant or low-oxygen waters, common in their natural habitats.
  • Gourami family ties: Despite their calm demeanor, Honey Gouramis belong to the Gourami family (family Osphronemidae), which also includes more aggressive species like the Three Spot Gourami. Honey Gouramis, however, are known for their peaceful nature and compatibility with other quiet tankmates.
  • Color-changing capabilities: Honey Gouramis can modify the intensity of their colors based on their surroundings, mood, or health. In dull light conditions or when stressed, their colors may appear muted. On the other hand, when they feel safe and healthy, their colors become more vibrant, enhancing their presence in an aquarium setting.
  • Solitary behavior: Unlike many fish species that prefer to swim in groups, Honey Gouramis are solitary fish. They appreciate their personal space, and their tranquil movements can add a sense of peace to your aquarium.

Having explored some intriguing facts about Honey Gouramis, you will be better equipped to understand their charm and complexities in your aquarium. In the subsequent section, we'll provide suggestions on tank setups, ensuring your Honey Gouramis have the perfect environment to flourish and display their calming attributes.

Recommended Tank Setups

Each setup includes the fundamental components—tank, filter, heater, lighting, substrate, and more—making certain you can establish a suitable environment for Honey Gouramis and other compatible freshwater fish species in your aquarium. As you progress from economical to high-end setups, you will also gain more options for customization, aesthetics, and advanced features. Honey Gouramis are solitary fish but can live peacefully with other quiet tank mates. Typically, Honey Gouramis are priced between $3 and $5 per fish, although prices can fluctuate based on factors such as size, quality, and availability.

Economical setup (around $200):

  • Tank: 20-gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($40 - $70)
  • Filter: Hang-on-back (HOB) or sponge filter rated for 20 gallons ($20 - $40)
  • Heater: 50-100 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($15 - $30)
  • Lighting: Basic LED aquarium light ($20 - $50)
  • Substrate: Economical aquarium sand or small gravel ($10 - $20)
  • Decor: A few pieces of driftwood and rocks, along with low-cost live plants like Java Fern and Anubias ($20 - $40)
  • Fish: 2-4 Honey Gouramis ($10 - $20)
  • 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

Intermediate setup (around $400 - $650):

  • Tank: 20-30 gallon aquarium with a hood or glass canopy ($60 - $120)
  • Filter: Canister filter or high-quality HOB filter rated for the tank size ($60 - $150)
  • Heater: 100-150 watt adjustable aquarium heater ($25 - $50)
  • Lighting: LED aquarium light with adjustable settings for plant growth and color enhancement ($50 - $150)
  • Substrate: Nutrient-rich aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks ($20 - $40)
  • Decor: A mix of driftwood, rocks, and live plants such as Amazon Swords, Java Fern, Anubias, and Cryptocoryne species ($40 - $80)
  • Fish: 4-6 Honey Gouramis ($15 - $30)
  • 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

Premium setup (above $800):

  • Tank: 30-40 gallon rimless aquarium with a glass canopy ($120 - $250)
  • Filter: Top-grade canister filter rated for the tank size ($100 - $250)
  • Heater: 150-200 watt adjustable aquarium heater with an external temperature controller ($40 - $80)
  • Lighting: Advanced LED lighting system with customizable settings for plant growth, color enhancement, and day/night cycles ($150 - $300)
  • Substrate: High-end aquarium substrate designed for planted tanks, supplemented with root tabs for additional plant nutrition ($30 - $60)
  • Decor: A composition 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 ($60 - $150)
  • Fish: 4-8 Honey Gouramis ($20 - $40)
  • 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 bear in mind that these figures are just suggestions, and you should take into account other factors such as tank mates and individual fish temperaments when deciding how many Honey Gouramis to keep in your aquarium. Prices may vary depending on location, brand, and availability.

Set Up Your Tank

As we've explored the specific needs of Honey Gouramis in the previous section, it's time to translate that knowledge into action. In this part, we'll walk you through the comprehensive process of setting up your aquarium. From identifying the best location for your tank, to cleaning and setting it up, installing the necessary equipment, and conditioning the water for a healthy biosphere, we've got it all covered. We'll also touch upon the correct method to acclimate your Honey Gouramis to their new environment. By adhering to these instructions, you'll lay the groundwork for a vibrant aquatic habitat where your Honey Gouramis can thrive.

  • Step #1: First, you need to identify an ideal location for your tank. It should be away from direct sunlight, drafts, and heat sources. Make sure the surface is stable and can handle the weight of a fully stocked tank. If your tank needs a stand, follow the manufacturer's guidelines to assemble it and then position your empty tank on it.
  • Step #2: Once your tank is in place, give it a thorough cleaning. Using clean water (avoid soap or any chemicals), rinse the tank to eliminate any dust or residue. A clean, non-abrasive cloth or paper towel can be used to wipe the interior. Rinse your chosen substrate (be it sand or gravel) in a bucket until the water runs clear. Now, add it to the tank, creating a gentle slope towards the back to give the tank a sense of depth.
  • Step #3: Before you add water to your tank, plot out your aquarium's layout, including the placement of vital equipment such as heaters and filters. This will simplify both the setup and future maintenance of your aquarium. Install your heater and filter as per the instructions provided by the manufacturer. If you're using an under-gravel filter or sponge filter, it should be positioned beneath the substrate before you add water.
  • Step #4: Now, it's time to add some personality to your tank. Use rocks, driftwood, and plants to create an engaging and visually pleasing environment for your Honey Gouramis. Remember to leave open spaces for the fish to swim freely. Ensure your decorations don't hinder or damage any equipment. You can anchor plants to rocks or driftwood to keep them in place.
  • Step #5: Fill up your tank with water that's been treated with a water conditioner, especially if your tap water contains chlorine or chloramines. To prevent the substrate from being disturbed, place a clean plate or plastic bag on it while filling up the tank. Fill it up to about two-thirds of its capacity. Attach the aquarium light to the hood or canopy as instructed by the manufacturer. It might be beneficial to use a timer for your aquarium light to ensure a regular day and night cycle. Connect your heater, filter, and any other equipment to the power source and install the thermometer where it's easily visible.
  • Step #6: Top up the tank with water, leaving some room between the water surface and the top for air exchange. Switch on the heater, filter, and other equipment. Adjust the temperature using the heater as required. Let the tank cycle for 4-6 weeks to allow beneficial bacteria to form and stabilize the water parameters. To speed up the cycling process, consider adding a bacterial starter culture. Use a test kit to regularly monitor the levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  • Step #7: Once your tank has cycled and the water parameters have stabilized, you can introduce your Honey Gouramis to their new home. Start by floating the unopened bag with the fish in the tank for about 15-20 minutes to equalize the temperature. After the temperature has been equalized, open the bag and gradually add a bit of tank water into it. Repeat this every 5-10 minutes for at least 30-60 minutes. This will allow the fish to slowly acclimatize to the new water chemistry. Use a net to gently move the fish from the bag to the tank, taking care to avoid causing them undue stress or exposing them to the water from the bag.
  • Step #8: Once all your Honey Gouramis are safely in the tank, establish a regular feeding routine, offering high-quality food that's suitable for their species. Regular water changes (20-30% every 1-2 weeks) and constant monitoring of the water parameters with a test kit are vital to maintain a healthy environment. Pay close attention to your fish for any signs of stress or disease, especially in the initial few weeks after introduction. If needed, be ready to intervene by adjusting the water parameters or seeking advice from a seasoned aquarist.

By sticking to this step-by-step guide and incorporating these additional setup tips, you'll be able to create a thriving aquatic environment that will help your Honey Gouramis prosper in their new surroundings.

Recommended Water Parameters

Catering to the specific water requirements of your Honey Gouramis will ensure their wellbeing and happiness. Here's what you should focus on:

  • Temperature: The water should be kept between 72°F and 82°F (22°C to 28°C) to ensure the comfort of these tropical fish.
  • pH: Aim for a neutral to slightly acidic pH of 6.0 to 7.5. Gradual changes within this range can be tolerated.
  • Hardness: Honey Gouramis do well in soft to moderately hard water, around 4-15 dGH.
  • Ammonia, Nitrite, and Nitrate: Ammonia and nitrite levels should always be 0 ppm, while nitrate levels should be kept below 20 ppm.
  • Lighting: Moderate lighting is best, as it mimics their natural habitat. Also, having live plants can help provide shade.
  • Water movement: These fish prefer slow-moving water. Strong currents can stress them out.Consistently test your tank water and carry out the necessary water changes to maintain a stable environment for your fish.

Routine Water Maintenance

Regular water maintenance is crucial for a flourishing Honey Gourami tank, helping to get rid of excess nutrients and waste. Here's a proposed routine:

  • Weekly water changes: Substitute 20-25% of the tank water on a weekly basis.
  • Test water parameters: Regularly examine pH, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and hardness.
  • Use a gravel vacuum: This tool is helpful for cleaning the substrate during water changes.
  • Dechlorinate the water: Ensure tap water is treated with a water conditioner before it's added to the tank.
  • Match temperature and pH: New water added to the tank should match the current water conditions.
  • Acclimate the fish: After water changes, allow your fish time to adjust to the new water conditions.Also, remember to:
  • Monitor lighting duration: Consistently aim for an 8-10 hour photoperiod to avoid excessive algae growth.
  • Plant maintenance: Regularly trim plants and remove any dead leaves or plant matter to avoid compromising water quality.
  • Filter maintenance: Adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning or replacing the filter media, typically every 4-6 weeks.

Diet and Feeding Schedule

Honey Gouramis are omnivores and thrive on a varied diet. Here's a guide on what to feed them:

  • Flakes and pellets: High-quality flake or pellet food specifically made for tropical fish is a good staple.
  • Frozen and live foods: Enhance their diet with occasional treats like brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms.
  • Vegetable matter: Occasionally include blanched veggies such as spinach, zucchini, or cucumber.
  • Feeding frequency: Feed them small portions twice or thrice a day, taking care to avoid overfeeding.

Stress and Diseases

Honey Gouramis can be affected by stress due to poor water quality, aggression from tank mates, or unsuitable tank conditions. Watch out for these signs and take the necessary measures:

  • Watch for stress signs: Look out for abnormal behavior such as hiding, lethargy, or rapid breathing as these could indicate stress.
  • Check water quality: Regularly test your water and maintain ideal parameters.
  • Monitor tank mates: Ensure your Honey Gouramis are not being bullied or attacked by other fish.
  • Create a suitable habitat: Provide sufficient hiding spots, appropriate lighting, and a tank of suitable size.

Honey Gouramis can be prone to diseases like:

  • Ich (white spot disease): This common parasitic infection can cause white spots, lethargy, and loss of appetite. You can treat Ich with aquarium salt or anti-parasitic medication, and by increasing the water temperature to around 86°F (30°C).
  • Fin rot: This bacterial disease leads to discolored and frayed fins. Treat fin rot with a partial water change, aquarium salt, and antibacterial medication containing erythromycin or tetracycline.
  • Velvet disease: This parasitic infection can cause a yellowish or brownish velvet-like coating on the body. Treatment includes anti-parasitic medication containing copper sulfate or formalin.
  • Swim bladder disease: If your fish have trouble swimming upright, they may be suffering from swim bladder disease. Treat this by fasting the fish and then feeding them blanched peas, and consider using an antibacterial medication if necessary.

Prevent diseases by maintaining excellent water quality, feeding a balanced diet, and avoiding overfeeding. Always quarantine new fish before introducing them to your main tank and address any signs of illness promptly.


Breeding Honey Gouramis can be a fulfilling experience. Here are some steps to help you breed your fish successfully:

  • Step #1: Set up a separate breeding tank with a 5 to 10-gallon capacity. Maintain a slightly acidic pH of around 6.0 to 6.5 and a temperature of about 80°F (27°C). Keep the water soft (4-10 dGH) and provide plenty of plants for cover.
  • Step #2: Choose healthy adult Honey Gouramis for breeding. Males are usually slimmer and more brightly colored than females.
  • Step #3: Condition the breeding pair with a protein-rich diet of live or frozen foods for a few weeks to help them develop the necessary energy.
  • Step #4: Encourage spawning by slowly increasing the water temperature and reducing the lighting. The male will build a bubble nest among the plants where the eggs will be deposited.
  • Step #5: After spawning, remove the parents from the tank. The eggs will hatch in about 24-36 hours, and the fry will be free-swimming after a few days. Feed them infusoria or liquid fry food initially, then gradually introduce crushed flake food.
  • Step #6: Keep an eye on the growth of the fry and separate them by size if needed to prevent cannibalism.Breeding Honey Gouramis can be a rewarding experience, but it requires patience and the right conditions.

Recommended Tank Mates

Here are the top 10 suggested companions for Honey Gouramis:

  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Zebra Danios
  • Platies
  • Mollies
  • Guppies
  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Cherry Shrimp
  • Nerite Snails
  • Kuhli Loaches
  • Otocinclus Catfish

Make sure to steer clear of large, aggressive fish such as Oscars, large Cichlids, and predatory species, which could intimidate or harm the Honey Gouramis. Always monitor the behavior of newly introduced fish to ensure they are not causing any stress or hostility towards the Honey Gouramis.


In conclusion, Honey Gouramis are an enchanting freshwater fish species, known for their vibrant coloration and straightforward care requirements. These fish require certain water conditions, a balanced diet, and an appropriate habitat to prosper in captivity. However, given the right environment, they can live up to 8 years and make a wonderful addition to any aquarium. When choosing tank mates, it's essential to pick peaceful and non-aggressive species to ensure a serene community. Breeding Honey Gouramis can be a challenging but rewarding experience for experienced aquarists, and patience coupled with the right conditions are vital for success. Overall, Honey Gouramis are a beautiful and active species that can add a splash of color and liveliness to any aquatic display.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the ideal tank size for Honey Gouramis?

A 20-gallon tank is the smallest recommended size for housing Honey Gouramis, ideally housing a pair. Larger tanks are always preferable as they provide ample swimming space and help maintain stable water conditions.

How many Honey Gouramis should be kept together?

Honey Gouramis are generally peaceful and can be kept in pairs or small groups. However, it is important to maintain a balance between males and females, as males can become territorial.

What water parameters do Honey Gouramis require?

Honey Gouramis do well in water temperatures between 72°F and 82°F (22°C and 28°C), a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, and moderately hard water with a hardness between 4 and 15 dGH.

What do Honey Gouramis eat?

Honey Gouramis are omnivorous and appreciate a diverse diet. You can feed them high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms.

Are Honey Gouramis compatible with other fish?

Yes, Honey Gouramis are peaceful and can coexist with other similar-sized, non-aggressive fish species. Suitable tank mates include small tetras, rasboras, corydoras catfish, and small plecos.

How can I tell the difference between male and female Honey Gouramis?

Male Honey Gouramis are generally brighter in color and have a more pointed dorsal fin compared to females.

How long do Honey Gouramis live?

With the proper care and ideal tank conditions, Honey Gouramis can live up to 8 years.

How do I breed Honey Gouramis?

Breeding Honey Gouramis requires specific water conditions, including soft, slightly acidic water, and a dimly lit environment. A separate breeding tank is recommended, and males and females should be conditioned with a high-protein diet before introducing them for spawning.

Do Honey Gouramis require a planted tank?

While not a strict necessity, a planted tank is highly recommended for Honey Gouramis. Live plants offer hiding spots, enhance water quality, and establish a more natural environment, closely mimicking their native habitat.

Can Honey Gouramis change color?

Yes, Honey Gouramis can experience color changes due to various factors such as stress, illness, or changes in water conditions. If you notice your Honey Gouramis losing color, it's crucial to check the water parameters and monitor their health closely.