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Blue Gourami Fact Sheet

The species of Gourami called Trichogaster trichopterus has many common names.  Some of these different names are because of the different colour variations this fish comes in.  The English names for this fish include: Blue Gourami, Three spot Gourami, Two Spot Gourami, Opaline Gourami, Gold Gourami and Platinum Gourami.

Origin

The Blue Gourami is native to several countries in South East Asia, including Cambodia, The People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.  Naturally it is not native to all parts of these countries.  Indonesia has over 17,000 islands and of course this fish is not found on all of them.

It has been introduced to many other countries including the Philippines.  The Philippines also has a lot of islands.  It is difficult to rule out the possibility of the Blue Gourami being native to some part of the Philippines.

Size

I have seen Blue Gouramis up to 18 centimetres (7 inches) long.  Based on other people’s observations this is unusually big.  Some will only reach about 10 centimetres (4 inches).

Water Conditions

The Blue Gourami comes from soft, acidic water, but it is an adaptable fish.  Its natural range is tropical or equatorial and it cannot be expected to cope with low temperatures. 22 - 28 C (72 - 82 F) is suitable. They can tolerate a ph of between 6 and 8.  Although they come from soft water areas the adults can survive quite hard water in an aquarium, and can even take 35 degrees of general hardness.

This fish can grow up to about 18 centimetres long so it needs a good sized aquarium.  In our shop we keep these gouramis in a 140 litre aquarium.  This is near the smallest I would recommend for a fish as big as the Blue Gourami.

In the wild this fish normally lives in still or sluggishly moving water bodies, rather than fast flowing streams.

Food

The Blue Gourami is an easily fed omnivore.  They will eat any normal fish food, but like most animals they benefit from a variety of food.  The extra food should include vegetable based food like algae wafers, Duckweed and Zucchinis as well as live or frozen animal food like blood worms and Daphnia.

This fish mainly lives and eats in the upper part of the aquarium, but they are fully capable of eating from the gravel at the bottom.

Hydra

The hydra is a small freshwater relative of the jelly fish.  It spends its life attached to surfaces.  They eat small things like Daphnia and very small baby fish.  They do not appear to harm adult fish except by competing with them for food.  Most fish will not eat them, but one of the fish that will is the Blue Gourami.  They are capable of removing all the hydras from their tank.

Companions

The Blue Gourami is a reasonably big fish.  As it gets bigger it becomes a bit more aggressive.  I often have to advise people not to put them with small fish like Neon Tetras, or slow moving long finned fish like Siamese Fighting Fish.  On the other hand you also need to avoid putting the Blue Gourami with aggressive fish like many of the cichlids and freshwater grunters.  You should also avoid the fin nippers among the barbs and tetras.  However, many of the tetras are suitable companions as are fish like the Clown Loach, Scissortail Rasboras, Silver Sharks, Red Tailed Sharks and similarly sized fish of no more than minor aggression.  The corydoras catfish are also good with Blue Gouramis.

Mature male Blue Gouramis get territorial so unless you have a very big tank it is safest to only get one male.  While they are young it does not seem to matter.

Sexing

The male has a longer and more pointed dorsal fin than the female.  He may also have brighter colours, but the colours of this species vary, not only with individuals, but from day to day.  The female will get a distinctly more rounded belly when in breeding condition.

Breeding

This is an easy fish to breed, possibly the easiest of all the fish in its family.  While the adults can tolerate a wide range of hardness, you are better to spawn and raise this fish in soft, slightly acidic water.

The parents should be well conditioned with rich foods, preferably including some live foods.  The colours of both sexes become more vibrant when they are ready for breeding. 

Some Blue Gouramis are ready for breeding when they are only about 5 centimetres (2 inches) long, but it should be remembered that this is a bigger fish than many common aquarium fish.  The breeding tank needs to be big.  I suggest that 120 litres is suitable.  The tank needs to contain some hiding places; the male can get too enthusiastic and injure the female.

Nest

The Blue Gourami is a bubble nest breeder.  Normally it is the male which builds the nest.  He often builds the nest in the morning.  After the nest it prepared he swims back and forth under the nest, raising his tail and flaring his fins.  Generally at this time his colours are magnificent.  He is appears to be trying to encourage the female to come to him.  The female will signal her readiness by biting his back.

Spawning

The male takes the female in a nuptial embrace in which he wraps his body round her and together they turn on their sides or backs.  The vents are close together and the eggs can float straight up to the nest above them.   The pore in fish eggs that allows the sperm to enter is only open for a short time, and the sperm cannot live very long in the water, so fertilization needs to be completed within a few seconds.

This process can be repeated several times.  One female can produce thousands of eggs.  After the spawning, the male normally tries to drive the female away.  In an aquarium this is not possible and the female could get injured if she is not removed.

Egg Care

The male looks after the eggs in the nest.  If any eggs come out he will return them to the nest.  During this time he will direct streams of water from his mouth at the nest.  This probably has several effects.  It can improve the positioning of eggs in the nest.  Personally I think the most important thing this these streams of water do is to ensure that the eggs are properly supplied with oxygenated water.

The eggs usually hatch in about 30 hours.  The male is generally removed after the babies are free swimming.

Raising the Babies

After hatching the babies will eat infusoria.  Many of them can also eat slightly larger live food even just after hatching, and they grow quickly.  Soon all of the fry will be eating food as large as finely screened Daphnia, Microworms, vinegar eels and newly hatched Brine Shrimp.  The fish eat a lot andcareful partial water changes will help to prevent a dangerous build up of water products.

The labyrinth organ of the babies should become functional at about 3 weeks old.  At this time, a small stream of bubbles from an air pump is often used to prevent the build up of a surface film that could prevent the tiny fish from getting atmospheric air.

Breathing

The Blue Gourami is a labyrinth fish like the Siamese Fighting Fish and the Paradise Fish.  They can get Oxygen from the water with their gills and from the air with their labyrinth organ.

Food Fish

As well are being a popular aquarium fish, the Blue Gourami has some minor importance as a food fish.  At the back of my parents-in-law’s house in the Mindanao in the Philippines were fields growing rice and Kangkong (For the Pigs.  Only land grown Kangkong was used for Human consumption because of the danger of schistosomiasis).

The children would catch the small fish growing in the flooded fields and the fish would be boiled for soup.  In a country with a generally low protein diet, this food had some importance.  These small fish included the Blue Gourami.  This is apparently an introduced fish to the Philippines. 

In Indonesia, Blue Gouramis are used for fresh or dried fish.

Conservation Status

Trichogaster trichopterus has not been evaluated by the IUCN Red List, but anecdotal and commercial information suggest that this fish is thriving, both in the wild and in association with Humans.

Pest Fish

As with all species, precautions should be taken to prevent this fish from getting into natural waterways that it is not native to.

Common Names

This fish is called be many names.  Some of these reflect the variety of colours, some the popularity and some of them are from countries it is native to.  

In English it is called The “Blue Gourami”, “Opaline Gourami”, “Cosby Gourami”, “Gold Gourami”, “Golden Gourami”, “Siamese Gouramy”, “Three Spot Gourami”, “Two Spot Gourami” and “Two Spot Gouramy”.

In French it is Le “Gourami Bleu”.

Scientific Names

The accepted scientific name of this fish is “Trichogaster trichopterus”  (Pallas, 1770)  Other Scientific names that have been used include : “Labrus trichopterus” (Pallas, 1770); “Trichopodus trichopterus”  (Pallas, 1770) ; “Trichopus trichopterus”   (Pallas, 1770), “Trichopus sepat”   (Bleeker, 1845) ; “Stethochaetus biguttatus”   (Gronow, 1854); “Osphromenus siamensis”   (Günther, 1861) ; “Nemaphoerus maculosus”   (Kuhl & van Hasselt, 1879)  and   “Osphromenus insulatus”   (Seale, 1910). .

Sources
 
Pictures of Breeding Gouramis:

Fishbase: "http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4675&genusname=Trichogaster&speciesname=trichopterus&AT=Trichogaster+trichopterus&lang=English">http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/speciesSummary.php?ID=4675&genusname=Trichogaster&speciesname=trichopterus&AT=Trichogaster+trichopterus&lang=English

 
 
 










 


 

 
  



Gold Gourami
The wild colour of the Blue Gourami is a yellowish brown.  The wild type does have the spots that give this fish 2 of its common names.  The Gold Gourami is one of the many colour variations that have been developed.
 
Blue Gourami
This fish has two spots which gives it the name of Two Spot Gourami.  If you include the eye, it has three spots, and the Three Spot Gourami  is another common name for this species.  It has been speculated that the spots can confuse predators about which is the front of this fish.
 

Female Opaline Gourami
Note the short dorsal fin of a female.

The Opaline Colour variation is also called the Cosby Gourami.
This Fish is named Spirit.  It is owned and was photographed by Nicholas Wagler.  He has generously released the photograph under the Creative Commons License.  This means that the picture is not in the Public Domain like the other 3 pictures above; Mr. Wagler has reserved some rights to the picture.

Infusoria consists of many different microscopic or just visible creatures  One of the More important is Paramecium,  Here is a greatly magnified diagram of a
Paramecium:
 
Flooded Rice Fields at Sumbing on Java.  This is the type of water that the Blue Gourami would feel at home in.  The fish that live in the paddy fields often provide a welcome protein rich supplement to a rice based diet.