The pearl gourami (Trichogaster leeri) is from Thailand and belongs to the family Belontiidae. This fish has a labyrinth organ that allows it to breath atmospheric oxygen. The labyrinth organ evolved in species that frequently found themselves in low oxygenated water. You will frequently see gouramis come to the surface for gulps of air. Pearl gouramis need to obtain oxygen from both the water and the air to survive. Male gouramis also use the labyrinth organ for bubblenest building prior to spawning.
They reach a size of about 4 inches (10 cm) in length. They are peaceful fish that can be kept in a community tank. It is best to keep them in pairs (or even several pairs). They enjoy a planted aquarium with neutral a neutral pH of 7.0. The water temperature should be about 78 °F or 26 °C.
They will eat flakes, frozen, freeze-dried, and live foods.
Spawning and Fry
They are egglaying fish and will breed in the aquarium. You can easily tell the difference between adult male and female pearl gouramis because the males develop a red breast when they are ready to spawn. Male pearl gouramis develop beautiful coloration as adults. Juvenile male and female pearl gouramis look very similar to one another. The gouramis in the above photo are either both females, or males who have yet to develop their coloration.
If you want to breed gouramis you should place an adult male-female pair in a separate breeding tank. The male fish will build a bubblenest at the top of the aquarium. You should have lots of plants in this tank. Also, it is best to use a filter that doesn't provide too much turbulence to the water. Gouramis are more likely to spawn in still water. In addition, you don't want to use a filter that will suck the fry into it after they hatch. For this reason a sponge filter is best in a breeding tank.
The pair will spawn underneath the bubblenest. The male will place the eggs into the bubblenest.
Once spawning is over you should remove the female gourami and place her back into the main aquarium. The male gourami should remain in the breeding tank with the eggs and bubblenest. He will guard and care for the eggs, which will hatch in about 24 hours.
When the fry become free swimming in about 2-3 days remove the male or he may eat them. When the fry are free-swimming they should be fed liquid fry food for egg laying fish, infusoria, or rotifers if they are available. When the fry are about a week old you can give them newly hatched brine shrimp and powdered fry food.