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. Learn all about this peaceful nano fish and their easy care requirements.
What are Honey Gouramis, you ask?
Trichogaster chuna comes from India and Bangladesh and is found in slow-moving ponds full of vegetation. The habitat is subject to sudden fluctuations in water chemical, which makes it a tough pet and great for beginners. Like many gouramis, the honey gourami has a flat, oblong-shaped body with two modified ventral fins that act like long, trailing whiskers.
Are honey gouramis the same as dwarf gouramis? The dwarf gourami, Trichogaster lelius, grows to 3 inches (8cm), while the honey gourami stays at 2 inches (5cm) in size. 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.
Honey gouramis of the yellow or gold variety are most commonly found in fish stores.
What types of honey gouramis are there? There are three main kinds: 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 grow up to 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm), so make sure you are buying the correct 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 does honey gouramis usually cost? It all depends on where you live and what color the gourami is.
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 prefer slow flowing water so filter your water with a slower flow.
Is honey gourami aggressive? Not at all. They are peaceful, social fish that get along well with everyone. If a semi-aggressive fish is established as the “tank boss”, the honey gourami may become shy and hide all the time. Honey gouramis can sometimes fight, especially if there is a male protecting 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 by itself? Both sexes are equally good-natured and can live alone or in a group. They are not schooling fish and do not tend to swim together if they are comfortable with their surroundings. If you keep a pair of them, make sure they have plenty of room and that one gourami is not dominating the other.
How can a honey gourami fish live with another fish? Their friendly personalities make it easy for them to get along with smaller fish in their community. 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 can also be kept with bottom dwellers such cory catfish and rosy 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. 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 does Honey Gouramis eat?
In the wild, they eat small bug larvae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates – similar to betta fish. They are not picky eaters and willingly eat an omnivore diet of flakes, nano pellets, Repashy gel food, freeze-dried foods, frozen foods, and live 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 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 methods to breed honeyguramis. The first is to ensure that you have at most one male and one woman. The male goes more vividly than the female when it comes to sexing honey gouramis. His throat becomes 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 temperature of the tank can determine the time it takes for eggs to hatch. Fry may become free-swimming after 1-2 days. 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. We recommend that they reach 2 weeks of age to be able to eat live baby salt shrimp. This is a highly nutritious food and we highly recommend it. 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. You might be interested in the world of gouramis. Check out our article on the Top 5 Peaceful Gouramis for a Community Tank.