Honey Gouramis Care Guide – 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. Find out more about these peaceful nanofish and how to care for them.
What are Honey Gouramis, you ask?
Trichogaster chuna comes from India and Bangladesh and is found in slow-moving ponds full of vegetation. Because of the seasonal monsoon rains, its habitat experiences sudden fluctuations in water chemistry, making it a hardy pet that is great for beginners. 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.
Yellow or gold type honey gouramis are the most common variety found at fish stores.
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 is my honey gourami turning black? They are mostly solid-colored, but the throat and belly of a male gourami can turn dark blue-black when courting a female.
How much do honey gouramis cost? In the United States, they usually range from $5 to $10, depending on your location and the color variety of the gourami.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Honey Gouramis
Honey gouramis can live in a variety of environments, including pH of 6.0 to 8.0, temperatures between 74 and82 degrees F (23 to 28degC) and soft to hard 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.
Are honey gouramis aggressive? No, they are considered to be peaceful community fish that get along with everyone. In fact, if you have a semi-aggressive fish that establishes itself as the “tank boss,” the honey gourami can become quite shy and start hiding all the time. That being said, honey gouramis sometimes squabble amongst themselves, especially if you have a male defending his territory during breeding periods. We’ve also witnessed a dominant female chase another female during mealtimes. To minimize minor quarreling, spread out the fish food and provide plenty of cover.
Can I keep a honey-gourami by itself? Both sexes can live together or separately. They don’t like swimming together and aren’t interested in schooling fish. If you keep a pair of them, make sure they have plenty of room and that one gourami is not dominating the other.
Can a honey gourami live with fish? They are friendly and get along well with other fish of similar size. 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. We have kept them with a betta fish before, but it only worked out if the betta was not as aggressive so be prepared to separate them if necessary. Finally, although they don’t seem to be interested in adult amano and cherry shrimp, they will eat any babies that they find.
Trichogaster chuna, a gourami is calm and easy to get along.
What does Honey Gouramis eat?
They consume small bug larvae and crustaceans in the wild. This is similar to bettafish. They don’t eat picky foods and will happily eat an omnivore diet consisting of flakes and nano pellets, Repashy food, frozen foods, frozen foods and freeze-dried food. 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 are fun fish to breed, especially if you have never bred bubble nesters before. (And unlike betta fish breeding projects, there is no need to separate the juveniles into individual jars or containers because of aggression issues.) 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.
In the breeding tank, add a male honey gourami and a female honey gourami pair. Feed them lots of frozen food and live foods such as baby brine shrimps to prepare 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. He will then chase anyone who gets in his way, including the mother.
The eggs can hatch depending on the temperature in the tank. After 24-36 hours, the fry may be free to swim after another 1-2 day. The father can be removed from the tank once his children have left the bubble nest. Honey gouramis are capable of laying hundreds of eggs. However, the fry mortality rate is high within the first 2 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.