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Gourami Care Sheet

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

gourami care sheet

This care sheet covers a variety of gourami species, including:

  • Blue gourami
  • Gold gourami
  • Opaline gourami
  • Pink kissing gourami
  • Dwarf gourami
  • Neon blue dwarf gourami
  • Dwarf flame gourami
  • Pearl gourami
  • Honey gourami
  • Moonlight gourami
  • Sparkling gourami



Scientific names: Trichogaster trichopterus, Helostoma temminckii, Trichogaster lalius, Trichogaster leeri, Trichogaster chuna, Trichogaster microlepis, Trichopsis pumila.

Originating from slow-moving water environments of Asia, most gouramis are being aquacultured for the home aquarium. Gouramis belong to a group of fish that contain a labyrinth organ, performing like a lung allowing the fish to breathe air from the water’s surface. These tropical, freshwater fish vary greatly in size, depending on species and feeding habits. Gouramis consist of a mix of mouthbrooders or bubble nesters when breeding.



Care Difficulty Beginner
Average Life Span Up to 20 years with proper care, depending on species
Average Adult Size 1 1/2 to 24+ inches long, depending on species
Diet Omnivore
Minimum Habitat Size 10+ gallons, depending on species
Water Temperature 72-82°F



Habitat size

Keep gourami in an appropriate size aquarium. A minimum of 10 gallons, depending on the adult size of the species, is recommended. 

Building your habitat

Water health

  • Provide proper filtration to ensure optimal water quality to help maintain health. Slow to moderate water circulation should be provided to mimic water currents found in the gourami’s natural habitat. Stable water quality (pH, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite) and water temperature are critical to the health of aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality, bring a sample to Petco for free testing
  • An aquatic heater should be used to stabilize water temperature, ensuring it does not fluctuate more than 2 degrees in either direction in a 24-hour period
  • Many gouramis will benefit from the addition of freshwater salt to the aquarium; the specific gravity should be kept at 1.004. Always research your species-specific needs before adding freshwater aquarium salt. Do not allow specific gravity to fluctuate more than 0.001 in either direction in a 24-hour period

Décor - Provide plants, rocks and decor for hiding places, caves and plenty of room for swimming



A well-balanced gourami diet consists of:

  • Food may be pellets, flakes, freeze-dried or frozen
  • Avoid exclusive food which is not nutritionally complete

Things to remember when feeding your gourami:

  • Depending on species and size, feed small amounts 1-2 times daily, no more than fish will eat in 1-2 minutes
  • Thaw frozen food before feeding

Gourami care

Maintaining great water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration is important to help keep your gouramis healthy

  • Daily: Check filter, water temperature and other equipment
  • Weekly: Test water quality at least once a week
  • Weekly to monthly: Change 10–25% of the total volume of water every 2–4 weeks, or as needed; change filter media monthly

Avoid overcrowded conditions, which are a major cause of stress and disease


Where to buy gouramis

Various gouramis are available for purchase at Petco online and in-store; availability varies by location. If visiting your local Petco Pet Care Center location, please call ahead to check availability.




Tank mates

May become aggressive toward other gouramis in a smaller aquarium



Signs of a healthy fish

  • Clear eyes
  • Healthy appetite
  • Bright, even coloring
  • Fins completely intact and undamaged
  • Regular breathing
  • Good coloration
  • Free of parasites or disease


Red flags (If you notice any of these signs, contact your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian)

  • Loss of color
  • Spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • Erratic swimming
  • Labored breathing
  • Frayed fins
  • Elevated scales
  • Weight loss
  • Bloating
  • Cloudy eyes or pop-eye
  • Loss of appetite

Common health issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health IssueFin rot Symptoms or CausesFrayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueIch Symptoms or CausesWhite spots appear on fins and body; fish rubs against hard objects or swims awkwardly. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish immediately; add freshwater aquarium salt and use a commercial ich remedy; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.
Health IssueFungus Symptoms or CausesWhite cottony growth and/or discoloration of the eyes. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish; use a commercial antifungal remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment
Health IssueBacterial infections Symptoms or CausesCloudy eyes, open sores and/or reddening of the skin. Suggested ActionImprove water quality; add freshwater aquarium salt; use a commercial antibacterial remedy as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment
Health IssueCottonmouth or columnaris Symptoms or CausesCottony white growths along the body and/or gills, frayed fins and gills turn brown and necrotic in late stages; caused by bacterial infection. Suggested ActionQuarantine fish; improve water quality; lower aquarium temperature to 72°F to deter bacteria from growing; medicate as directed; consult your local aquatic specialist or aquatic veterinarian for treatment.



  • How big do gouramis get? Gourami size will vary by species and can range from 1 ½” for the sparkling gourami to 24”+ for the giant gourami
  • What do gouramis eat? Gouramis are omnivores and can be offered a variety of foods, including pellets, flakes, freeze-dried and frozen diets. Always provide a varied diet.
  • How many dwarf gouramis can live in a 10-gallon tank? Dwarf gouramis average 3.5” when adults, and no more than 3 should be housed in a 10-gallon aquarium.
  • How many gouramis can live together? Gouramis can do well in small groups of 3 to 4 with one male and the remaining females.
  • Can gourami live with koi? Koi are a cold-water species and would not make good tank mates with tropical fish like gouramis.
  • Can gourami fish live with angelfish? Dwarf gourami will usually live well together with angelfish in an appropriately sized aquarium.
  • What fish are compatible with gouramis? Most gouramis are peaceful and will do well with most species, including catfish, danios, sharks, tetras, livebearers, rasboras and rainbows.


Additional care sheets


Notes and resources

Ask a Pet Care Center store employee about Petco's selection of products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all aquatic life are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as atypical mycobacterium and salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your aquatic life and/or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of diseases.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing and/or caring for aquatic life and should consider not having aquatic life as a pet.

Go to the Centers for Disease Control at for more information about aquatic life and disease.


The information on this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please contact your veterinarian as appropriate.