How to Breed Pearl Gouramis

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Pearl Gourami Factoids

Origin

Java, Sumatra, Borneo,Thailand

Maximum Size

4+ inches

Breeding Size

Three inches

Housing

10-gallons and up

Temperature

70 to 85o

Attitude

Regular community but sometimes shy

Foods

Loves all foods

Water

Not picky

Breeding Style

Bubble nester

Number of Young

Hundreds of floating eggs

Fry Food

Infusoria or “green water”

LA Pic
Nice male finnage on this pearl gourami.  Note the long fins.  No adult coloration yet.  

Name:  Pearl gouramis are completely covered by a delicate “pearl” pattern of iridescent dots.  Some people call them lace gouramis because of this reticulated pattern.

LA Pic
Once pearl gouramis start coloring up, you gotta get them.

Temperament:  Never a bully, pearl gouramis belong in every community tank.  Yours may even be a bit shy when first introduced.  Do not mix your pearls with aggressive fishes.  Pearls mix quite well with fishes half their size.

LA
Recently arrived 2.5-inch pearls.  Big enough to breed but not feeling up to par.

Origins:  Pearl gouramis originally came from slow moving waters in Java, Sumatra, Malaysia, Borneo, and Thailand.  These warm, low oxygen waters abound in anabantids (air-breathing fishes) that absorb oxygen thru a labyrinth in their heads.  You see them come to the surface to gulp air every so often.

Water Conditions:  As long as it’s clean, they’ll like your water.  Keep it around 75o although they can stand it cooler or warmer.  They survive in dirty water but it makes them susceptible to velvet -- a nasty parasite.

LA Pic
Male pearl gouramis really color up.  You won't see much color when you first buy them.

Appeal:  Pearls are flat out beautiful when mature – especially the males.  Mature males sport some of the brightest colors found in freshwater fish.  Once you see a mature pearl gourami, you won’t forget it.  We saw a striking gold male pearl gourami in Tampa years ago and still remember it.  Unfortunately, we never saw the strain commercialized.  Pearls sport great colors.  You’ll also enjoy watching them “touch” each other with their delicate “antennae-like” pectoral fins.  Their Latin name Trichogaster refers to these as belly hairs.

 

LA Pic
Young male pearl gourami just starting to color up.

Size:   Pearls get a little larger than four inches.  Most pearls appear on the market at under two inches.  You can’t tell their sexes or potential colors until they reach at least two inches.  

Foods:   Pearl gouramis eagerly eat whatever you feed them.  They love live foods and frozen foods.  Color foods make a striking difference on pearl gouramis.  Researchers use pearl gouramis to measure the effectiveness of different “color foods.”  By the way, it takes more than one feeding to color them up.

LA Pic
You can easily tell the sexes in mature pearl gouramis.  Note egg-filled belly of the female.

LA Pic
Male finnage with no orange chest color.

Sexing:  You’ll see little difference between males and females until they reach two inches.  At this size males sport a top fin twice as long as the female’s.  He also starts developing a gold chest – a mere hint of his striking adult coloration.

 

LA Pic
Nearly all gouramis build a bubble nest to hide their eggs -- ditto pearl gouramis. 

Bubble Nesters:  Breed your pearl gouramis like bettas.  Give the male a half-filled covered tank at 80o.  Provide floating vegetation or a Styrofoam cup sliced in half lengthwise.  Use no bubblers or you break up the male’s bubble nest.  He’ll coax her under his bubble dome and “squeeze out” hundreds of tiny, floating eggs.  Once the eggs appear, you can remove the parents.  The eggs and fry float (because of a tiny bit of oil in each yolk sac).

LA Pic Eggs and newly hatched pearl gourami fry. 

Fry Foods:  Baby pearl gouramis (the size of an eyelash)  need infusoria or euglena (green water).  Read our Infusoria Fact Sheet if you need more info.  After they grow a bit, the fry love newly hatched shrimps.  Since the little guys bob to the surface, microworms are not practical.  They fall to the bottom too fast.  All fry grow best when fed several times a day.  Add snails to clean up any excess.  Use an under gravel or sponge filter.  Sponge filters also grow rotifers on their surface.

Summary:  Want beautiful fish?  Try a pair of pearl gouramis.  LA.

More Pearl Pictures

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