Many aquarium enthusiasts are proponents of keeping Gourami fish, due to their unique personalities and eye-catching appearances.
And while some members of the Gourami family do have territorial streaks, one of the best types for a fairly new fish keeper to raise is the Pearl Gourami.
This lovely little fish is gentle and placid, preferring to swim slowly around the aquarium and mingle with a few others of its species. But what else should you know about the Pearl Gourami before adding them to your fish tank?
Read on for everything you need to know about Pearl Gouramis and how to care for them!
Pearl Gourami: Origin And Appearance
Before we dive into their care and various tank requirements, let’s meet the Pearl Gourami properly and get familiar with where these flashy fish come from, as well as how they will look when swimming around inside your aquarium!
Where Do Pearl Gourami Fish Come From?
Like other types of Gouramis, this specific type is native to the waters of Southeast Asia. You can find Pearl Gourami fish in a variety of shallow water areas, such as slow streams or basins throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.
Now bred in captivity for fish keepers around the world, these lovely little fish are found in pet stores and aquarium suppliers for generally low prices, making them a favorite with many aquarists.
What Do Pearl Gourami Fish Look Like?
In appearance, the Pearl Gourami is quite distinctive from others in its family.
Their scales and overall hue form a dappled pattern of cream and light gold flecks that look reminiscent of a lacy overlay. They also sport a thin black stripe down their middle, from their nose to the base of their tail fin.
An opalescent sheen glimmers across their entire body as they swim methodically through the waters of your aquarium, accentuated by the short and slightly crimson or bronze fin that sweeps along their belly, extending in a graceful, trailing point.
You might notice their colorations deepen and become more vibrant during mating and spawning seasons, which is completely normal for a variety of Gourami fish!
How Big Do Pearl Gourami Fish Get?
Pearl Gouramis can grow to just under 5 inches in length, but they typically only reach 3 to 4 inches when maturing in most tanks.
However, if you want your Pearl Gouramis to grow to their maximum size, you should invest in an optimal aquarium setup including tropical freshwater, many plants, and a rich and properly scheduled diet.
Additionally, the males and females will typically grow to different sizes, with the male bodies being a bit longer and thinner, and the females being slightly shorter and wider in stature.
Though they can be smaller than other types within the Gourami family, you still need to make sure your Pearl Gouramis have plenty of room in the tank for exploring and keeping space from other species.
Pearl Gourami: Lifespan
The typical lifespan of a healthy, mature Pearl Gourami is around 5 years. However, they can live up to 7 or 8 years if well cared for, with a good diet and proper tank maintenance.
Keeping the tank clean and water levels at a consistent metric is important to keeping your Pearl Gourami healthy, particularly as these fish can be susceptible to diseases and illnesses that commonly plague other freshwater species.
Pearl Gourami: Behavior
Unlike some other types of Gouramis, the Pearl Gourami is a fairly placid and friendly individual.
You can expect your new addition to be fairly timid when first introduced to the tank, but they will quickly come into their own and showcase their quirky and unique personalities to both other fish and their owner.
Pearl Gourami: Compatibility
Most fish are typically community creatures, preferring to swim in schools than be on their own. However, there are also some types of fish that thrive in a more solitary setting.
But where does the Pearl Gourami fall on this spectrum?
While they are not complete loners, Pearl Gouramis don’t require a large amount of same-species friends to school with. They are quite content within a group of about four or five other Pearl Gouramis.
Are Pearl Gourami Fish A Communal Tank Fish?
Because of their peaceful temperaments, Pearl Gouramis make an excellent addition to a communal aquarium. The key to achieving a calm tank environment lies in selecting the proper types of fish to coexist with your Pearl Gouramis though.
You don’t want to mix Pearl Gouramis with species that tend to be more active than they are and might chase them away at mealtimes, as the Pearl Gourami is slow and placid.
Additionally, fish that are aggressive or nippy when it comes to other fishes’ fins are not suitable tank mates, as the Pearl Gourami is not very assertive and susceptible to bullying by others.
This also applies to the size of your chosen tank mates as well, as fish of larger stature than your Pearl Gouramis might see them as prey, and they are not well equipped to defend themselves.
Best Tank Mates For Pearl Gourami Fish
Keeping size and temperament restrictions in mind, there are still several types of fish that you can safely keep in the same aquarium as your Pearl Gouramis and still have them all get along!
Some of the best options for Pearl Gourami tank mates include the following species:
- Bristlenose Plecos.
- Cherry Barbs.
- Cory Catfish.
- Dwarf Cichlids.
- Dwarf Gouramis.
- Dwarf Rainbowfish.
- Harlequin Rasbora.
- Honey Gouramis.
- Kuhli Loaches.
- Neon Tetras.
- Otocinclus Catfish.
- Pearl Danios.
You can also keep invertebrates like Amano shrimp, dwarf crayfish, and mystery snails in the same tank as your Pearl Gourami fish, as long as they’re not a good deal smaller than the Gouramis.
Any medium-sized creatures will not be viewed as a food source for the semi-predatory Gourami, and will not be a snack in between meals.
Pearl Gourami: Habitat And Tank Requirements
Like other Gouramis tend to also have, Pearl Gouramis exhibit strong preferences for particular water temperatures and conditions.
And while they are fairly hardy and adaptable, you should always keep your fish tank at a stable level when it comes to water quality, hardness, and acidity to maintain the best health possible for your Pearl Gouramis.
Let’s take a moment to go over the specific requirements that Pearl Gouramis have regarding aquarium size, decor, and water that completes the setup.
Pearl Gourami Tank Size
Making sure your Pearl Gouramis have enough room in the tank is essential to proper fish care. That means your tank needs to be at least 30 gallons in size for just one Pearl Gourami, without taking into account the space needed for other types of fish or even more of the same.
In general, when it comes to aquarium sizes for Gouramis, bigger is always better.
Don’t opt for a tank that has a tightly fitted lid either, as your Pearl Gourami needs access to a strip of empty air between the surface of the water and the aquarium lid to supplement their oxygen intake from the water itself.
Pearl Gourami Water Requirements
As previously stated, Pearl Gouramis like to exist in a tank that maintains more or less the same water conditions. Mild fluctuations are tolerated, but any vast changes should be avoided, lest your Pearl Gouramis start to react badly to the new environment.
Their preferred water chemistry is a neutral pH level of around 6.2 to 8.2, which is slightly more acidic than other Gouramis sometimes like but is very normal for the Pearl Gourami.
Furthermore, keeping your tank at an intermediate water hardness level is essential, not allowing it to either rise or sink between the range of 5 to 15 dGH.
And in terms of temperature, this is likely the most adaptable metric you can apply to your Pearl Gourami fish. They will thrive in environments between 77°F and 82°F, which mimics the tropical water conditions of their native Southeast Asia.
Pearl Gourami Tank Setup
Because Pearl Gouramis can be shy with other fish and even you at first, it’s wise to make sure they have a tank that has plenty of plants and places to hide.
Outfit your aquarium with driftwood, rocks, and artificial hiding spots, as well as a variety of greenery. Pearl Gouramis love to weave around between rooted plants and under floating ones, but they are also known for nibbling on live plants, so keep that in mind.
Because of the high-nitrogen contents of the waste they produce, it can be a good idea to get a water filter for your Pearl Gourami tank. This will prevent the water levels from becoming too acidic due to any accumulated waste.
Do Pearl Gourami Fish Need An Air Filter?
No, like other types of Gourami fish, the Pearl Gourami has a special organ that allows them to breathe oxygen from the surface of the tank if necessary. This so-called labyrinth gland is a lung-like organ made for sipping ambient air from outside the water.
Because of this, Pearl Gourami fish do not require additional equipment to help them pull oxygen out of the water that fills their aquarium.
If they need more oxygen, Pearl Gouramis will simply surface and take in air from the top of the tank, just like Siamese Fighting Fish, which are a very popular type of labyrinth fish.
Pearl Gourami: Diet
Another type of fish that thrives on an omnivore diet, the Pearl Gourami needs to have a mixture of fresh and frozen foods to supplement their normal fish flakes or pellets.
That being said, Pearl Gouramis are also not known to be fussy, and will likely accept most types of food that you offer them.
Use blackworms, bloodworms, and brine shrimp—either fresh-frozen or freeze-dried—and little chunks of green vegetables to add variety to their diet. You can also add Spirulina to their tank for added nutrients and vitamins.
Pearl Gourami: Breeding
These fish are actually among some of the easiest to breed when it comes to freshwater aquarium species, which makes growing your Pearl Gourami collection fairly easy.
When breeding your Pearl Gouramis, they favor slightly more acidic water than normal, so you might want to move them into a separate tank during the process to avoid altering the water conditions too much for other fish in the aquarium.
Otherwise, they will take matters into their own hands! Pearl Gouramis are bubble nesters, so when the male and female successfully court and lay eggs, they will be fertilized in the nest where they will float on the surface.
After a couple of days, the eggs will hatch and your fry can be moved to a special growing tank until they are big enough to join the adult tank.
Pearl Gourami: Health And Wellness
As a freshwater aquarium fish, the Pearl Gourami can succumb to a variety of illnesses that are common among those types of fish.
In fact, Pearl Gouramis can be even more delicate in terms of health than some other types of fish in the same family, such as when they are compared to Blue Gouramis, for example.
Keep an eye out for some of the typical freshwater fish diseases among your Pearl Gourami, including costia infections, tail and fin rot, and even parasitic fish flukes.
Pearl Gouramis—a lively and vibrant little fish, as we have seen. However, you might have some additional musings after your initial introduction to this special species.
Read on for more information on commonly asked questions that people have about Pearl Gouramis!
Are Pearl Gouramis Good Community Fish?
In general, yes—Pearl Gouramis are a great addition to your community fish tank. However, this should also be done with caution, as the Pearl Gourami is quite calm in most cases, which can lead to them being bullied by more aggressive species.
Stick to fish of the same size and overall temperament as the Pearl Gouramis that you already have, and build your communal tank safely around their needs.
Are Pearl Gouramis Aggressive?
Among other types of Gouramis, Pearl Gouramis are fairly placid and peaceful fish that do not tend to be aggressive with other fish in the tank. However, if you keep these fish with other species that have temperamental issues, it can lead to fights.
This is also true of male Pearl Gouramis, who can show territorial or protective aggression to other males of their own species, particularly when there is a female involved or it is breeding season for the Gouramis.
How Can You Tell If A Pearl Gourami Is Male Or Female?
Gouramis are notoriously difficult to tell the gender of when comparing fish. This is because their bodies and markings are generally very similar in both female and male fish. But if you look closely at the shape of their fins, you can differentiate them.
The male Pearl Gourami will have larger fins than the females, and will be longer. Additionally, males have pointier anal and dorsal fins, as they extend into an angular, nearly-geometric shape at the ends.
Pearl Gourami females, in comparison, have shorter and thinner fins, without the extension at the tips. Their bodies are also more rounded and heavyset, particularly during the breeding season—but this can be quite difficult to notice as they dart quickly around the tank.
Additionally, the males of the species are more aggressive than the females, though not as pronounced as others in the Gourami family. But if you notice your Pearl Gourami chasing others around the tank or being territorial, it’s likely a male.
Can You Have 2 Male Gouramis Together?
Given that male Pearl Gouramis are the more aggressive gender when it comes to these fish, it should give you some pause before adding two males to the same tank. In fact, it is typically recommended not to keep two male Gouramis together.
While this is not the case in every aquarium situation, and you can generally have two male Pearl Gouramis in the same tank if it is big enough and there is enough space and hiding spots for them to keep their distance, it’s a good rule of thumb.
How Big Do Pearl Gouramis Get?
Pearl Gouramis are on the smaller end of the typical size for the Gourami family. Ranging between 2 and nearly 5 inches, a healthy and mature Pearl Gourami will grow to the higher end of this scale.
Males also grow slightly bigger than their female counterparts, aiding in the identification of the genders if you look closely enough.
When it comes to selecting the perfect fish for your home aquarium, the choices are nearly endless.
But in terms of freshwater fish that can get along well with a variety of other species and add a glorious shine to your tank, you really can’t go wrong with the Pearl Gourami!
These opalescent little individuals are gentle and peaceful, preferring to meander around your tank with a few of their friends and providing a lovely shine and presence to the aquarium.
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!