The Pearl Gourami, also known as lace gourami, is an attractive fish that is surprisingly easy to care for in captivity.
Pearl Gouramis can be kept on their own, in a small school, or with other fish in a community tank.
In this article, our Pearl Gourami enthusiasts give you an in-depth look at what it means to care for these excellent fish, what they eat, what tank setup they need in order to thrive, and how to breed them. You’ll also be treated to a lot more factoids as you read on about the graceful and happy-go-lucky Pearl Gourami.
|Scientific Name:||Trichopodus leerii|
|Other Names:||Mosaic Gourami, Red-Breast Gourami, Diamond Gourami|
|Behavior:||Excellent community fish|
|Lifespan:||4 – 5 years|
|Max Size:||up to five inches,|
|Water conditions:||Temperature: 68 – 85 F; pH: 5.5 – 7.5; hardness: Soft to hard, dH range: 5 – 19|
|Tank size:||At least 30 gallons|
Pearl Gourami Care: What You Need to Know
Whatever name you call them, these fish are undeniably beautiful and a welcome addition to most freshwater tanks. In this section, we’ll be covering some quick and proven tips that you can apply when caring for your Pearl Gouramis.
– Invest in a Heater and Filter
While Pearls make extremely adaptive aquarium fish, they prefer warm, slightly soft, and acidic water. Investing in a heater and filter for your tank in the early stages will do wonders for you later on, as these will help you keep the water conditions consistent and favorable.
– Pearl Gourami Diet – What Do They Eat?
Providing the best food for your new fish can be the difference between having them around for their maximum lifespan or watching them become prone to illnesses. Luckily, freshwater Pearl Gourami are not difficult to feed. They are omnivores that readily accept fish flakes or pellets. They would also greatly appreciate variations in their diet.
Here are some food items that our experts recommend you feed your Pearl Gouramis:
- Live food (especially hefty blood worms, brine shrimp, and insect larvae)
- Fish Flakes, Pellets, and Frozen food
- Leafy Vegetables (spinach or lettuce cuttings and blanched peas will do for treats; feed these sparingly)
Pearl Gourami Stats and Facts
Aside from knowing the primary care do’s and don’ts, you should also familiarize yourself with some of the most well-documented statistics and facts about the Pearl Gourami. Knowing these stats and facts by heart will help you provide a more holistic and effective care system for your new fish.
These white-studded fish, also called the Diamond Gourami or the Mosaic Gourami, originally hail from the Indonesian Archipelago. Some of the areas in which they were most abundant include the swamplands and rivers of Sumatra and Borneo.
Similar to their cousin gouramis and some of the bettas, Pearl Gouramis are classified as labyrinth fish. This classification refers to the so-called labyrinth organ that helps Pearl Gouramis take oxygen close to the water surface.
The average adult Pearl Gourami size ranges from 4 to 5 inches. However, do note that local fish stores carry Pearl Gourami younglings that are no longer than 2 to 3 inches, which is the size of Pearl Gouramis that you will most likely come home with.
– Physical Appearance
They are named Pearl Gouramis because of the silvery pearl-like dots found all over their bodies. These dots are also found on the caudal, dorsal, and pectoral fins of the Pearl Gourami. Moreover, these dots make the Pearl Gourami a shimmering spectacle to behold whenever it is in motion.
Aside from the pearl-like white spots on their body and their bright colorations, Pearl Gouramis are also known for the black band that extends all the way from their head to the junction between their body and caudal fin. This horizontal black marking might be tougher to spot in Pearl Gouramis that have a darker body coloration.
These fish are known for their relatively peaceful nature. They are neither boisterous nor overly nosy towards other fish. However, the male Pearl Gourami has a proven reputation of becoming increasingly aggressive and territorial during the mating season.
– Life Span
Though Pearl Gouramis are not a high-maintenance type of fish, their lives are relatively short compared to longer-lived fish such as loaches and some cichlids. The Pearl Gourami lifespan ranges from a short 4 to 5 years only.
– General Community Behavior
As mentioned earlier, Pearl Gouramis are generally peaceful fish. The males of this species tend to become more aggressive and territorial towards other males of the same species, or other fish in the same tank, during the mating season. However, this is easily remedied by pairing one male Pearl Gourami with several other female Pearl Gouramis per aquarium.
If you decide to keep only one Pearl Gourami in a large community tank, don’t be surprised if it exhibits a shyer and more anxious side. While they can be kept singularly, it is better to keep them in small schools to help them feel safer and less anxious. In turn, this will lead to your Pearl Gouramis being more confident, playful, and a lot happier in the tank.
The Perfect Pearl Gourami Tank
Depending on your available space and budget, you can choose to house Pearl Gouramis in a dedicated single-species tank or a bustling community tank. Either way, you should familiarize yourself with the tank parameters needed to create the best possible environment in which your Pearl Gouramis can thrive.
Here are some tips on preparing the perfect Pearl Gourami tank based on our experts’ experience raising these eye-catching fish.
– Tank Size
Novice fishkeepers often ask what tank size is the most adequate for their new Pearl Gouramis. As is the rule with most fish, supply the biggest tank you can afford and place it in your home.
To be more specific, an excellent starting Pearl Gourami tank size would be one with a capacity of at least 30 gallons. This range is the minimum tank size you want to use if you plan on keeping a single Pearl Gourami.
On the other hand, if you decide to keep a small Pearl Gourami school, be sure to add at least 10 to 15 more gallons per individual fish. This tank size will provide your Pearl Gouramis with enough space to grow and swim freely.
– Tank Setup
Pearl Gouramis are happiest in freshwater tanks that, like their natural habitat, have lots of plants and vegetation.
That said, you might want to consider adding live plants in all layers of your tank to make it feel more like home for your new Pearl Gouramis. You can start off with the ever-reliable Anacharis and Java Ferns. You can even add in floating Hornwort. Floating plants like Hornwort will be of big help later on when your Pearl Gouramis build bubble nests.
Another thing to note is that you should use dark sand, gravel, or soft-grained substrate when building a tank for Pearl Gouramis. This setup will mimic the conditions found in the riverbeds, lakes, and swamps from where they are most abundant.
– Water pH Level
Pearl Gouramis prefer to live in slightly acidic water. You should keep your tank’s pH level around the 5.5 to 7.7 range.
– Water Hardness
As for hardness, like a handful of tropical fish species, Pearl Gouramis come from water sources that are soft to moderately hard. However, they are known to be hardy adaptors to even aquariums with hard water. Still, it would be in your fish’s favor if you kept the tank’s water hardness level between the 5 to 15 dGH range.
Pearl Gouramis are known to tolerate cooler water temperatures as hardy fish compared to what they would naturally be found in. Our experts recommend that you set up your tank in such a way that you provide warmer water for your Pearl Gouramis.
This tip will not only make them happier but also healthier in the long run. As such, be sure to keep your tank’s water climate between 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve the ideal Pearl Gourami temperature.
– Light Level
Beginner aquarists sometimes overlook the light level of the tanks they build. The amount of light a tank gets can dictate whether the peaceful and shy fish of the community come out in the open to play or stick to the shadows of familiar hiding spots.
Pearl Gouramis are better off in dimly lit tanks. The floating plants you place in your tank can help regulate the amount of light that enters the water, but you can also just place the aquarium in a dim and quiet spot in your house.
You’ll find that your Pearl Gouramis are more comfortable in these kinds of setups than in brightly lit tanks placed in noisy areas.
Pearl Gourami Tank Mates: Best Tank Buddies
Lace Gouramis are among the easiest fish to include in a community tank. This info is especially true if the fish you are introducing in your tank are already established as a small school, with one or two males and four or five females.
Read on to find out which fish made it to the top three best tank mates for your Pearl Gouramis.
If you’re looking for an active and mischievous fish to balance out the shy and quiet personality of Pearl Gouramis, then look no further than the Rasboras.
These fish are naturally active during the daytime and can add a lot of pep to your tank without disturbing your small school of Pearl Gouramis. More specifically, you might want to consider adding a couple of Brilliant Rasboras or Harlequin Rasboras to your tank.
– Corydoras Catfish
The Corydoras Catfish, fondly called the Cory Catfish, is another peaceful aquarium inhabitant that will add interest to your tank without bothering your Pearly Gouramis.
As with other species of catfish, the Cory spends most of its time at the bottom of the tank, which leaves the rest of the tank wide open for your Pearl Gouramis to explore. You can’t go wrong with pairing these two types of fish in a community tank!
Known for their flashy colors and varying sizes, Tetras are another great fish to pair with your Pearl Gouramis. While Pearl Gouramis are generally peaceful fish, you’ll still have to keep an eye on them if you want to introduce baby Tetras to their tank.
On the other hand, pairing adult Tetras like the Neon Tetra and the Cardinal Tetra with young Pearl Gouramis won’t lead to any compatibility problems.
Pearl Gourami Breeding: Simplifying the Process
As with the other aspects of caring for this type of fish, Pearl Gouramis are pretty easy to breed in a home aquarium setup. There are, however, things that you should prepare for in advance to increase the chances of a peaceful and successful breeding season.
– Sexing Pearl Gouramis
One of the first things you should know before setting out to breed your Pearl Gouramis is how to sex them properly. That is, you should be familiar with the differences between male and female Pearl Gouramis before moving on to the next step of initiating the breeding process.
Keep in mind that it is easier to sex adult Pearl Gouramis over younger fish because their physical features and coloration will be much more pronounced.
Male Pearl Gouramis have elongated and pointed fins. They are thinner and smaller than the females. During the breeding season, male Pearl Gouramis will have a dark red coloration on their bellies and throats.
On the other hand, female Pearl Gouramis are rounder and plumper. This shape becomes quite evident when the females are ready to spawn. Their bodies will become fuller as they prepare to release eggs for fertilization. Female Pearl Gouramis also do not have the striking red coloration which males sport on their bellies and throats.
– Preparing for a Successful Breeding Season
Once you’ve successfully differentiated the male Pearl Gouramis from the females, you can begin preparations for a successful breeding season. Here are some proven tips compiled by our experts on how to breed Pearl Gouramis with ease and success.
– Select a Healthy Breeding Pair
Selecting a healthy breeding pair is a crucial step that could spell the difference between experiencing Pearl Gourami breeding success or having a pair of stressed fish. Choose a pair of Pearl Gouramis that are clearly dedicated to each other. Your selected breeding pair should also have a great appetite and should ideally have no history of illness.
– Invest in a Separate Breeding Tank
While it is possible to breed Pearls in a community tank, investing in a separate breeding tank is still the best way to go. This method will benefit both you and the breeding pair.
Your breeding pair will most likely build a bubble nest in a tank where they are the only residents, which will lead to a higher chance of having fertilized eggs later on. This also means that the fry that hatches from these eggs won’t be subjected to stress from other fish or an uncontrolled environment.
Keep the water soft and slightly acidic in your breeding tank, but ensure its temperature is warmer than the home tank (about 80 degrees Fahrenheit). Then, place rooted and floating plants in the tank to invite your Pearl Gouramis to build bubble nests.
– Help the Pearl Gourami Fry Thrive
Once the female has deposited her eggs into the bubble nest, remove her from the breeding tank. This step will prevent her from eating the eggs and prevent the male from chasing her around the tank.
You can expect the eggs to hatch within 24 to 48 hours. The male Pearl Gourami will continue caring for the eggs up until they hatch. The fry will then stay near the bubble nest for about three to five days or until they are big enough to swim freely.
Keep the tank water clean and provide the Pearl Gourami fry with baby brine shrimp to help them grow.
The Pearl Gourami growth rate is quite fast, so you can transfer them to the community tank once they have grown to about an inch long.
Some Last Words on the Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gouramis are incredibly gentle and graceful fish. They are one of the top fish choices for novice fishkeepers who want to get their feet wet in the hobby.
- Let’s recap the key points of this article to summarize what you’ve learned:
- Pearl Gouramis are peaceful freshwater fish.
- They prefer to live in planted tanks with fine gravel or sandy substrate.
- They are not fussy eaters; Pearl Gouramis can be fed a mix of pellets, flakes, and live food.
- Male Gouramis may become aggressive during the mating season.
- Pearl Gouramis are best paired with other peaceful fish in a community tank.
With your newfound knowledge, you should be able to provide your Pearl Gouramis with an excellent level of care that will keep them happy and healthy for the rest of their lives in your aquarium.
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