One of the most hardy fish for a beginners tank is Gourami. These are beautiful fish who have a colorful and active personality. These fish have the ability to tolerate a range of aquatic conditions, and will thrive even on a fish flake diet. They are freshwater fish who are compatible with saltwater tropical fish placed in the same tank. There are many species, each with a different look, pattern, color as well as behavior. They belong to the Labyrinths group of fish. These fish have a specialized organ called the labyrinth behind their gills that helps them breath in oxygen from air. The following paragraphs will help you learn all that is necessary for caring for Gourami fish.
Caring for these fish basically requires an owner to keep in mind some of the basic needs of the fish. We shall have a quick look at some of the species to species care requirement later in the article. But before that we take a look at how to care for them
As mentioned above, these are not a very demanding fish. They are semi-aggressive to aggressive in nature and therefore, can do well in community tank. Thus, make sure you choose a semi-aggressive species. The tank substrate should be fine or medium in size. Choose neutral colored substrates. The optimum temperature range of the water should be about 74 to 79º F. The water should be neutral or slightly acidic in nature. Also, soft water is preferable for housing a Gourami. Place some natural vegetation around the tank. Your Gourami will love Cryptocoryne, Vallisneria as well as Java Ferns planted in this personal water garden.
They can tend to be a bit aggressive against a few fish. Thus, make sure you get home tankmates that are similar sized like the Gouramis. They are usually peaceful, but they tend to lose their patience when around angelfish, bettas, even other fish of the same species. So, you can place them with rasboras, livebearers, tetras, barbs, loaches, plecos, danios, rainbowfish, and scavenger catfish, etc. Place the fish together and see their interaction. If your Gourami does not mind their presence, well and good. Otherwise, you will need to place these fish in separate tanks, or with the help of a glass partition in the tank.
When it comes to food, these fish are not choosers. They may eat up your tiny fish in the tank, when they turn on their psycho mode! Anyway, you can feed them fish flakes, live worms, frozen foods as well as brine shrimp. They love eating black worms and glass worms as well. If their breeding mode needs to be switched on, you can try feeding them a few lettuce leaves, cooked peas, and even spinach. Any leftovers should be removed immediately, or else you will end up with a murky water tank.
They lay eggs in bubble nests. These bubble nests help them in spawning and raising their baby Gouramis. If you are interested in breeding these fish, you need to keep the water level as low as six inches. The light intensity should be lowered and the water temperature should be gradually increased to the mid 80's. This temperature increase should be carried out over several days. Once the bubble nest is formed, do not disturb the water. Make sure you provide plenty of hiding places for the female, as males tend to be very aggressive during the spawning period.
There are many Gourami species, of which I shall discuss care tips for a few. Blue Gouramis reach a size of about 5 inches in length. The females are slightly larger than males. These fish can tolerate a range of temperatures. They prefer soft water, and the pH should be slightly acidic during breeding period.
Dwarf Gourami fish require a pH of about 7. The pH should never go lower than 6, or rise above 8. The temperature range is about 70 - 82.5° F. Like all Gouramis they are omnivorous in nature and will eat flake food, frozen foods as well as live foods. The males are very brightly colored and females are a bit on the duller size. Thus, it is easier to make pairs and induce breeding.
Caring for Giant Gourami fish is slightly different from other Gouramis. This is because these fish reach a size of about 70 cm in length. They are omnivores who turn out to be voracious predators. They need to be fed mostly live fish. They need to be fed dried food as soon as you bring them home. Or else you will have to pay for huge bills for live fish. They require a 68 to 86° F temperature and a pH of about 6.5 to 8.0.
They are beautiful fish, who do not ask for special treatments. Just make sure you provide them with their basic needs and these fish will continue to swim happily in your tank.