Gouramis: How to Identify Males and Females -- Identifying Gourami Gender, the First Step to Breeding

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One of the most popular aquarium fish is the gourami, which is known for being easy to keep, its bright colors, and ease of breeding. Gouramis are a type of anabantoid; this type of fish actually breathes air from the surface of the water. Another popular anabantoid is the betta fish, sometimes known as the Siamese fighting fish. Both of these fish are quite easy to breed in your home aquarium. If you are thinking about breeding gouramis, you need to understand how to tell the difference between the male and female.

There are two main breeding categories of gourami. The first type of breeding category includes fish such as the kissing gourami. It will be very difficult to determine the sex of these fish and much more difficult to breed than other gouramis. If you are going to attempt to identify the sex of your kissing gourami, you will need to go through a process of observation and comparison. Watch your gouramis to see if they are “kissing.” Your fish will be trying to dominate each other. These will likely be two males. If you want to identify the sex of the fish by comparison, you can look at the fish from above. Males will be flat-sided, while females will be slightly rounded on the side.

If you have a gold, opaline, blue, or paradise gourami, then you are in luck. It will be very easy to determine the sex of this type of gourami. Even novice fish owners will be able to tell the difference between the male and female. You can easily recognize the female by their curved dorsal fin. This fin is not pointed, giving the fin a more wavy shape. Females are usually less colorful than males and mature females are often larger than mature males. The female paradise gourami is typically grey and red and they are larger and longer than males.

The dorsal fin of male gouramis comes to a point, creating a distinct v-shape. These fins are usually speckled or spotted. If you gourami is a gold, blue, or opaline variety, the males will exhibit rings around their spots. The coloring of a male paradise gourami is usually red, blue, or green as opposed to the lackluster coloring of females which tend to be red or grey.

If you plan on breeding your gouramis, it is best to know if the specific variety breeds better as a pair or trio. There are some gouramis that will not do well in a one-to-one scenario. This can cause the male to be overly aggressive toward the female, and in some cases this can cause harm to the female. For first-time breeders, make sure you purchase gouramis which can be easily sexed. There are many varieties available at your local pet store.

If you provide the right environment and have enough space in your aquarium, then breeding gouramis can be a pleasant experience.

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