Care Guide for Honey Gouramis – Our Favorite Peaceful Gourami
Looking for a beautiful centerpiece fish that is similar to a betta but isn’t as aggressive and plays well with other tank mates? We recommend the honey gourami. Like betta fish, honey gouramis are brightly colored, make bubble nests to house their eggs, and have a special labyrinth organ that allows them to absorb oxygen directly from the air. This peaceful nano fish is easy to care for.
What are Honey Gouramis, you ask?
Trichogaster, also known as Trichogaster chuna, is from India and Bangladesh. They can be found in slow moving ponds with lots of vegetation. It is a great pet for beginners because it can withstand sudden changes in water chemistry due to the seasonal monsoon rainfalls. Honey gouramis are similar to many other gouramis. They have a flat, oval-shaped body and two modified ventral Fins that act as long, trailing, whiskers.
Is a Honey Gourami the same thing as a Dwarf Gourami? No. The dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius) is a different species and can grow to 3 inches (8cm), whereas the honey goesurami grows to 2 inches (5cm). While dwarf gouramis have a greater number of color varieties to choose from, their feisty nature means that they can be more prone to bullying other fish in the aquarium.
The most popular honey gouramis found in fish shops are yellow or gold types.
What are the different types of honey gouramis? The most common kinds are wild type, yellow gold, and red. This latter type is sometimes called “sunset Honey Gourami”, but it is often confused with Trichogaster labiosa, which is a sunset thick-lipped. Thick-lipped Gouramis can reach 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm), so ensure you’re buying the right species.
Why are my honey gouramis turning black? While they are mostly solid-colored. However, the throat or belly of a male gourami may turn dark blue-black when he is attempting to court a woman.
How much are honey gouramis worth? Prices vary depending on where they’re located and the type of gourami.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Honey Gouramis
Honey gouramis, as mentioned, can survive in a wide variety of environments. They are accustomed to temperatures between 74-82degF (23-30degC), pH of 6.0-8.0, and hard to soft water hardness (or GH). A single honey gourami can live in a 5- or 10-gallon tank, but a group of three gouramis would do better in a 20-gallon aquarium.
Honeygouramis thrive in slow-moving waters. Use a filter that has a slower flow.
Is honey gourami aggressive? Not at all. They are peaceful, social fish that get along well with everyone. Honey gouramis can be shy if they have a semi-aggressive fish who establishes himself as the tank boss. However, honey gouramis do sometimes get into a fight with each other, especially when there’s a male who is trying to protect his territory during breeding. We have seen dominant females chase down other females during mealtimes. Spread out the fish and provide ample cover to reduce any minor quarreling.
Can I keep a honey gourami all by myself? Both sexes are equally good-natured and can live alone or in a group. They do not like to be surrounded by other fish and will not swim together. Make sure you have enough room for them both and that the one gourami does not dominate the other.
What fish can live with a honey gourami? Their agreeable personalities mean that they get along with similar-sized community fish. Their classic yellow color really stands out in a lushly planted aquarium with schooling fish of a contrasting color, such as green neon tetras or blue neon rasboras (Sundadanio axelrodi ‘blue’). They also do well with bottom dwellers like cory catfish, rosy loaches, and kuhli loaches. Although we have had them before with a betta fish, it was only possible if the betta were less aggressive. Be prepared to separate them if necessary. They won’t eat adult cherry shrimp or amano, but they will eat any baby they find.
For a gourami, Trichogaster chuna is very peaceful and easy to get along with.
What are Honey Gouramis’ Favorite Foods?
They consume small bug larvae and crustaceans in the wild. This is similar to bettafish. They don’t have a preference for food and will eat a variety of foods including flakes, nano pellets (Repashy gel food), freeze-dried foods and frozen foods. While many labyrinth fish (or anabantoids) like to hang around the middle to top layers of the aquarium, we find that our honey gouramis swim all over the tank and readily eat both floating and sinking foods.
How to Breed Honey Gouramis
Honey gouramis make great fish, especially if you’ve never tried to breed bubble nesters. Because of aggression issues, you don’t have to separate the juveniles from their parents. This is unlike betta fish breeding. There are many different ways to breed honey gouramis, but the first step is to ensure you have at least one male and one female. In terms of sex, gouramis are more vibrantly colored than their female counterparts. His throat also turns dark blue-black during courtship.
Male Honey Gourami in Breeding Dress
We prepared a 10-gallon aquarium with approximately 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) of water, a heater set to 82degF (28degC), and a gentle sponge filter with minimal surface agitation. You can add lots of floating plants such as water sprite or water wisteria to give the male a place to build his bubble nest. Also, many hobbyists recommend sealing the aquarium lid with plastic wrap to increase the humidity and ensure proper labyrinth organ development in the babies.
Add a male and female pair of honey gouramis to the breeding tank, and feed lots of frozen foods and live foods like baby brine shrimp to condition them for spawning. After the male makes a suitable bubble nest and courts the female, he will embrace the female multiple times and collect the eggs she drops with his mouth, carefully placing them in the bubble nest. Then he will ferociously guard his clutch and chase away anyone that gets near, including the mother, so you can remove the female at this point.
Depending on the temperature of the tank, the eggs may hatch after 24-36 hours and the fry become free swimming after another 1-2 days. It is safe to remove the father as well once the babies have left the bubble nest. Although honey gouramis can lay many eggs, there is a high rate of fry mortality within the first two weeks. The babies are very tiny and require constant access to miniscule foods like infusoria, vinegar eels, and powdered fry food. They should reach the age of 2 weeks and be able to eat baby brine shrimp, which is highly nutritious. Veteran breeders recommend feeding little meals multiple times a day and doing daily, small water changes to ensure the fry have enough to eat without fouling the water with rotting leftovers.
We hope you get a chance to enjoy this hardy and colorful beginner fish in a planted aquarium. If you are intrigued by the fascinating world of gouramis, check out our article on the Top 5 Peaceful Gouramis for a Community Tank.