Among the many fish available for aquarists to add to their collection of fishy friends, the Blue Gourami is one of the most striking and entertaining you can find.
This fish may not be for the faint-hearted though, as they have very unique personalities and needs, and can be easily angered by other fish in the tank. Blue Gouramis are a delightful pet for experienced keepers who want a feisty little aquatic buddy.
Let’s spend some time getting to know this unique fish a little bit better!
Blue Gourami: Origin And Appearance
While there are actually quite a few types of Gourami fish, the Blue Gourami is among the most easily identifiable, due to their attractive coloring and vaguely iridescent periwinkle hue.
But what else do we know about the family tree of this special freshwater fish? Let’s dive deeper into an exploration of the origins and appearance of the Blue Gourami.
Where Do Blue Gourami Fish Come From?
In its native origin, the Blue Gourami is common among the rivers and lakes of Southeast Asia.
These bright little fish are primarily found in the extensive Mekong River basin, which stretches from the southern border of China and into Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and several other countries on its way to join the South China Sea by way of the coast of Thailand.
Blue Gouramis are also found in the Philippines, Taiwan, and even the Reunion Islands, as they have been introduced there and flourished in recent decades.
They can often be found in marshland and other shallow areas, including peatlands and swamps, as well as canals, small rivers, and streams.
What Do Blue Gourami Fish Look Like?
One of the flashier types of Gourami fish, the Blue Gourami is easily identified by the combination of signature coloring and scale pattern that it sports.
These fish have a shimmering periwinkle hue that covers the whole of their bodies, often with ripples of darker blue interchanging with white that gives them the appearance of tides against the shore.
Their fins are dotted with light white spots that fade into transparency at the end of the tail fin, and into dark blue edges on the dorsal and belly fins.
Interestingly, it has been noted that the coloration of Blue Gouramis can change at different times. This includes when their hues darken and become more pronounced during mating and spawning seasons, or even when their mood changes from day to day, which can affect their color.
How Big Do Blue Gourami Fish Get?
There is a slight size difference between the male Blue Gourami and the female of the species. Both fish grow to about 5 or 6 inches in length, but the female tends to grow a little bigger than her male counterpart. They have long, wide bodies that are typically quite thin when viewing them head-on, with large round eyes.
Blue Gourami: Lifespan
Your Blue Gourami fish will live for a decent amount of time if cared for properly and fed a healthy diet. Their lifespan is generally around 4 years for most individuals, but some can even live up to 6 or 7 years under the right circumstances!
Blue Gourami: Behavior
Some aquarists tend to view Blue Gouramis as nippy fish, but their tempers can be managed by pairing them with the right tank mates and giving them enough space in the aquarium.
Apart from that, Blue Gouramis are very active fish with individual and unique personalities, capable of recognizing and interacting with their keepers. They can get more aggressive during breeding, but are generally placid fish under the correct conditions.
Blue Gourami: Compatibility
Though commonly classed as semi-aggressive, the Blue Gourami is not necessarily a loner fish and is still able to live in an aquarium with specific tank mates. They are territorial and males can be possessive over females, but enough space in the tank can mitigate tempers.
Best Tank Mates For Blue Gourami Fish
Some of the best fish to pair with Blue Gouramis include species that are of similar size to your Gouramis and will not pick fights with them. These types of fish include:
- Scavenger Catfish.
Worst Tank Mates For Blue Gourami Fish
Either due to their size or similarly aggressive temperaments, the following fish types are not recommended to put in with your Blue Gourami fish if you want everyone in the tank to come out unscathed:
- Betta Fish.
- Dwarf Gouramis.
Blue Gourami: Habitat And Tank Requirements
Blue Gourami are fairly hardy fish that can withstand some fluctuations in their tank and water conditions. However, like most other freshwater fish, these alterations need to be kept to a minimum to ensure the good health of all aquarium inhabitants.
That being said, the Blue Gourami does have some specific preferences when it comes to water, decor, and tank setup that are important to note before bringing home your new Blue Gourami fish.
Blue Gourami Tank Size
Due to a combination of their size and overall temperament, Blue Gourami fish should be kept in a 20-gallon tank at the very smallest.
This is only suitable for a pair of Blue Gouramis as well, because for each additional Gourami that you add to the setup you should expand the tank size by 5 gallons.
And because the typical amount of Blue Gouramis that should be kept together in the same aquarium is about 3 fish, that means your tank should be 35 gallons or more if you plan on adding other species.
Blue Gourami Water Requirements
While keeping your water conditions—such as acidity and temperature—within specific metrics is important for any species of fish to keep them healthy, Blue Gouramis definitely need a stable environment when it comes to their requirements.
For temperature, keep your tank between 72°F to 82°F, and within a dKH range of 4 to 18.
And most importantly, keeping your water’s acidity levels maintained is key to your Blue Gouramis living long and stress-free lives. To do so, make sure the pH levels in the aquarium are between 6.0 to 8.0, and keep them at a stable rate.
Blue Gourami Fish And Tank Acidity
Interestingly, Blue Gouramis seem to need slightly specific acidity conditions, as too low or high on the pH scale leads to distress in the fish. This is one of the reasons why Blue Gouramis are not typically a beginner fish, and will be easier to care for by someone with experience.
Keeping the pH levels between 6.0 and 8.0 is important, but other factors in the tank can quite easily influence these levels to fluctuate, even if you are keeping a close eye on the aquarium. This includes food decaying in the tank, or not enough vegetation to remove excess acidity.
If the pH begins to rise in the tank and your Blue Gouramis are beginning to appear distressed, try a safer, natural method to lower the levels instead of relying on a chemical re-balance that could swing tank conditions to the opposite extreme. Add in some peat moss or catappa leaves to encourage reverse osmosis in the acidity levels.
Blue Gourami Tank Setup
Due to their natural habitat in Southeast Asia being within streams, marshes, and other lowland waters, Blue Gouramis prefer to live in thickly vegetated areas.
Thus, it’s important to provide your fish with a variety of aquarium plants, including rooted and floating greenery. Some of the best plant life for your Blue Gourami fish include Hornwort, Water Wisteria, and Java Ferns.
Additionally, you should provide driftwood, rocks, and artificial hides for your Gouramis to explore and hide inside.
Blue Gourami: Diet
Like many other types of freshwater fish, the Blue Gourami thrives best on an omnivore diet. This includes live or frozen foods as well as fish flakes or pellets to supplement the proper nutrients.
Feed your Gouramis bits of green vegetables along with brine shrimp, blood worms, or even small snails to round out their cuisine requirements, with meals being provided once or twice a day.
Blue Gourami: Breeding
When it comes to reproducing, the Blue Gourami is a bubble nester. This involves the male creating a nest for the female, which will be the resting place for their fertilized eggs after a successful courtship.
The amount of eggs released by the female is generally between 800 to 3000, but the timing for the male’s part is critical, as he can only fertilize the eggs for a short period of time.
However, when this is complete, the successful eggs will hatch within a couple of days and you can feed the Blue Gourami fry with nauplii and other small organisms.
Blue Gourami: Health And Wellness
In terms of their wellbeing, Blue Gouramis are susceptible to the common illnesses that other freshwater fish can contract. These health issues include fungal infections, dropsy, and even velvet disease.
The key is to look out for a variety of noticeable symptoms, including a drastic change in color or lack of activity in the tank.
It’s also important to keep your new Blue Gouramis in a quarantine tank before adding them to the larger aquarium, to ensure that no diseases are transferred.
If you keep their tank clean and the water conditions to the correct specifications, you can likely prevent these hardy and adaptable fish from becoming sick.
Now that we have learned more about the Blue Gourami, let’s check out some of the most common questions that other fish keepers have regarding this freshwater aquarium addition. Read on for the answers to your watery wonderings!
Are Blue Gouramis Aggressive?
Blue Gouramis are not among the most aggressive fish out there, but they can have behavioral issues when their tank environment is not right for them. This includes tank mates, habitat, feeding, and other important aspects for keeping a Blue Gourami.
The male Blue Gourami is more aggressive than the female and has been known to chase other males and nip at their fins. If you want to avoid these behaviors in your tank, keeping multiple males together should be avoided to prevent territorial issues or fights over a female.
How Big Do Blue Gouramis Get?
Not the smallest freshwater fish, Blue Gouramis are average-sized fish, growing up to about 5 or 6 inches in length when fully mature. The female Blue Gourami can reach slightly longer measurements, usually around half an inch longer than their male counterpart.
To help them reach their full size, feeding your fish the best diet possible, maintaining optimal tank conditions, and caring for them is essential. These fish can be difficult to manage for a beginner aquarist, but experienced keepers can nurture Blue Gouramis to healthy maturity.
What Is The Lifespan Of A Blue Gourami?
The Blue Gourami will live for an average of 4 years when healthy and happy. However, this lifespan has been known to extend to around 7 years if the fish are cared for meticulously, and any typical freshwater fish illnesses are immediately dealt with.
Though Blue Gouramis are known to be fairly hardy fish that can withstand some variation in their tank or water conditions, it’s very important to keep their diet schedule and care routine consistent.
Though resilient, too many fluctuations will lead to damage to their bodies and shortened lifespans.
Do Gouramis Need Air Pump?
No, Blue Gouramis do not need an air pump within their aquarium to be kept healthy.
While many fish types do require added equipment that helps pump more oxygen into the tank water, the Blue Gourami has a special organ that allows them to breathe air from the surface if necessary. This labyrinth organ works like a lung, and lets Gouramis gulp down additional air when needed.
This ability is similar to that of some Corydoras species, Endlers, and even Blind Cave Tetras, all of which have the lung-like labyrinth gland that makes surface air sippable for these fish, without the need for air pumps or additional equipment.
How Many Gouramis Should Be Kept Together?
In most cases, 2 or 3 Blue Gouramis can be safely kept together in a large enough tank.
While these fish are not solitary creatures, they are also not commonly schooling fish that require many friends in the same species. Just make sure there is enough room in the tank for all of them.
This is because Blue Gouramis are semi-aggressive fish, depending on their gender and the circumstances. For instance, males have been known to nip at each other over territory or female disputes, particularly during the breeding season.
Given their size and temperament, most aquarists recommend a 20-gallon tank as the minimum size for a pair of Blue Gouramis, expanding the tank by 10 gallons for each additional fish you add to the setup.
Blue Gouramis are an interesting and unique fish for your home aquarium setup, with perky and prevalent personalities that will keep you entertained while watching their antics.
They are not particularly difficult to maintain in terms of feeding and tank conditions, but the Blue Gourami might be more suited for an experienced fish keeper due to their semi-aggressive tendencies and pickiness when it comes to tank mates.
Regardless, these fish are sparkly and vibrant little individuals that, if you have the means to add to your at-home tank, you definitely should!
Hi, my name is Adam and I’m an aquarium enthusiast! I didn’t discover the joys of being an ‘aquarium fanatic’ (as some of my friends call me!) until I was in my 20’s. When I first started out I found it difficult to find all the information I needed so I started this website to compile all the useful information I can think of. Enjoy!