How to keep the Opaline Gourami

The opaline gourami in a planted tank

Click here to see the video on this fish

I want to talk about an old favorite. The Opaline Gourami.

I hadn’t kept these fish since I was just getting started with aquariums in the late 1970s.

Shows you how long I’ve been keeping fish!

I want to give you an update on this tank because it’s been a pretty successful planted tank – but I’ve had a few issues.

I had a bit of a bad run after introducing these gouramis, which I ordered from my wholesaler. Of course, I was too impatient to quarantine, and so many of the fish got some sort of internal parasites and died.

Ironically, the gouramis never got sick and have done just fine. Anybody know any illnesses that attack many fish but leave gouramis alone? Please add in the comment section.

At any rate, I have two opaline gouramis and three pearl gouramis. While many of the fish were dying, my guppies reproduced for the first time in two years. Or maybe the fry survived for the first time – since my Apistos went to the great river in the sky!

There are bunches of different plecos in the aquarium. All of them seemed to have survived the plague. I had a school of 7 snakeskin barbs, and that’s down to three.

The horsehead loach is doing great and feeds actively even with the light on – which is great because they can be nocturnal.

So what I have is kind of a high-end version of a community tank. It’s been set up for a long time, the plants are growing well, and mysterious illness hasn’t claimed any lives in a long time.

The opaline gourami is a beautiful, easy to keep fish.

The opaline gourami is a beautiful, easy to keep fish.

The opaline is a beautiful fish. There aren’t many truly blue fish, and this one is inexpensive and easy to keep.

You gotta love the long pectoral fins that they use to explore their environment and even occasionally other fish.

They have been line bred which means that fish breeders have done selective breeding to get the most beautiful fish and now they are available all the time looking like this. They are originally descended from the three spot Gourami – which is also readily available.

The Gold gourami and Platinum variety are close cousins!  Basically the same fish in a different color morph.

My fish are about 3” long, but they can grow up to six inches. At that point they can become a little less peaceful – so be careful.

Mine have not attempted to eat the baby guppies – but I suspect a 6” gourami might make a meal of them.

A lot has been written about how the larger gouramis become friendly with their owner, following them around the tank, begging for food and so forth. I’ve seen that behavior with cichlids and Oscars in particular. But so far I haven’t noticed that with these guys… but it’s only been a couple of months. If that happens it will be a bonus!

The Opaline Gourami is an easy fish to keep in the aquarium.

The ph can be from 6.0 to 8.0.

Temperatures in the ’70s are fine up to about 82 degrees.

It’s an omnivore – so give it a good mixed flake or pellet food

Start out with a tank no smaller than 20 gallons and be prepared to grow with the fish. I keep mine in a 55.

They like plants and hiding places. Live plants are a bonus, but honestly, they would be just as happy living with a plastic pirate ship or other decorations.

They get along well with other community fish – but beware of fin nippers like tiger barbs.

This fish breeds with bubble nests created by the male, which will have a longer dorsal fin than the female. It’s considered one of the easier fish to breed.

So far I have not been able to determine the sex of my fish. But they have behaved well. Remember the barbs in my tank are Snakeskin barbs – not tiger barbs – and they are not fin nippers.

I hate that I lost so many fish including a pair of apistogrammas and a school of neons that I had had for years.

On the other hand the tank is looking good and has stableized.  The opalines are very happy as are the Pearl Gouramis.

I guess I’m down to planted 55 gallon 2.0.

















John Carlin is a fish geek who is also a local newscaster. Fish+Newscaster=Fincaster.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)