Size: Can grow to 6 inches
Temp Range: 72°F to 82°F
pH Level: 6.0 to 8.0
Lifespan: 5 to 6 years
Tank Size: 20 gallons
Diet: Pellet, Flake, Frozen
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
This beautiful fish comes from Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo. They are usually found in lowland swamps.
Provide these fish with lots of open swimming space in the middle of the tank. They like little or no current in the water with tall plants for cover.
Having more than one male in your aquarium will encourage aggressiveness. Some females may even become aggressive to their own kind.
Pearl Gourami are best kept in small groups. Two females and a male tend to get along nicely. Keeping them with other species of Gourami, especially Dwarf Gourami, is not advised. The male will become aggressive and try to establish dominance.
You should not keep known fin nippers with these fish. They tend to have long flowing fins when they are full grown which tempt smaller fish like the Tiger Barb.
Males have a longer and more pointed dorsal fin. They also have a vivid red chest area. Females are usually fatter than the males.
Pearl Gourami have a labyrinth organ and go to the surface to breath. They can swim very fast and will sometimes chase other fish when feeding. Generally they swim slowly in the middle of the aquarium. They have long narrow pelvic fins that they use to feel with when there is no light or they are in cloudy water.
They tend to graze the bottom for food quite a bit and will nibble plants. They also nibble on long algae growths, though not enough for them to be helpful in keeping algae out of your aquarium.
The females like to hide among the plants during daytime hours.
You can tell if the female is ready to spawn when she has a fatter than normal belly. These fish spawn on a monthly basis under the right tank conditions. Males will be noticably more aggressive when they are ready to spawn.
The male Pearl Gourami will build a bubble nest just before spawning activity begins. He usually does this early in the day. After building the bubble nest, the male will court the female by swimming back and forth flaring his fins and raising his tail at her. The female responds by biting the male's back. He then brushes his back on her belly and they will begin to spawn. Quivering signals that spawning is near completion.
Once the eggs are laid, the female should be removed from the aquarium because the male will become aggressive toward her if she gets to close to the bubble nest. The male will maintain the eggs in the nest and spit water to herd them all together.
The eggs will hatch in about 30 hours and the fry will start swimming soon after. The fry should be fed baby brine shrimp and curshed flake food. Excellent water quality is important at this stage and frequent water changes should be done. Keep the water level close to your hood. The fry need a layer of moist air for their labyrinth organs to develop correctly.
For more information, go to Wikipedia's Pearl Gourami page.