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Aquatics: Fish Profile: Pearl Gouramis

Updated on September 17, 2010

Sub-adult Female Pearl Gouramis

The Unknown Favorite

Pearl gouramis (Trichogaster leeri) are very stately fish, and a solid favorite of those in the know. Pearl gouramis are in the trichogaster family with the more popular blue/gold gouramis and moonlight gouramis, but unlike their feisty cousins, pearl gouramis are extremely peaceful for their size.

Pearl gouramis are labyrinth fish, meaning that they are related to betta fish, breathe air from the surface of the water, and make bubblenests for breeding. This also means they tend to hang around the top of the water and have long "feelers" they use to check things out in their environment.

The reason they don't generally sell well is juveniles are fairly dull and shy in the store. However, adult males are spectacular with red throats, long, lacy fins, and beautiful white spots down the flank over a bold black stripe.

Adult size: 4-5" or 10.2-12.7cm

Temperament: extremely peaceful

Life Span: 5-8 years

Tank size: 29 gallons+ or 110L+

Breeding: Easy

Availability: Private local fish stores

Price: Inexpensive

Quick Facts

Common name(s):

  • Pearl gourami
  • Mosaic gourami
  • Lace gourami
  • Diamond gourami

Scientific name: Trichogaster leeri

Distribution: Southeast Asia

pH: 6.0-8.0

Temperature: 75-82F or 24-28C


Care for the pearl gourami is very simple. They are undemanding about water values or quality, and even ammonia and nitrite do little to affect them because they can breathe air from the surface.

Since they are carnivores, a good flake supplemented with frozen or freeze dried blood worms or brine shrimp is an appropriate diet. Pearl gouramis also appreciate live blackworms and live flightless fruit flies.

How you set up the tank is unimportant to them provided they have places to stake out territories and hide from one another. Pearl gouramis appreciate live plants, especially floating live plants, and will not eat or destroy them.

Sub-adult Male (with developing red breast)

Personal Experience

My personal experience with these lovely gouramis is that they are completely peaceful. Even putting two males in a tank with enough room doesn't result in vicious fights. I had a quartet with 1 male and 3 females in a 40 hex with zero fighting or chasing.

They ignore other fish, including other labyrinth fish, such as female bettas and chocolate gouramis. I housed them with gold barbs, cory catfish, loaches, dwarf cichlids, and other labyrinth fish without any issues.

Since they spend a lot of time at the surface of the water, they really appreciate floating plants, such as duckweed or frogbit or hornwort. Floating plants are also incorporated into the male's bubblenest, making it stronger and more durable.

Pearl gouramis are also very aware and "beg" for food. They definitely have "intelligence" and awareness that reaches outside the glass box, much like cichlids do.

Male Pearl Gourami


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