The blue gourami is a stunning freshwater fish that’s very fun to own. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re easy to care for as well!
However, it’s still necessary to research these fish before you go out and buy some for yourself. Even the most low-maintenance of species can still suffer when given incorrect care.
This guide will lay out all the basics of blue gourami care. Tank mates, diet, size, lifespan, and even breeding is covered!
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Sometimes referred to as the three-spot gourami or opaline gourami, the blue gourami (scientific name: Trichogaster trichopterus) is a vibrant species that can add a lot of beauty to your tank! One of the hardier species in the gourami family, these freshwater fish adapt well to life in captivity.
Blue gouramis have a pretty wide natural distribution. They are found in several Southeast Asian countries. Typically, they inhabit lowland marshes and swamps filled with vegetation.
This species is not particularly demanding when it comes to care requirements. However, their unique anatomy does call for a carefully planned and maintained habitat.
The blue gourami is certainly an interesting and colorful freshwater fish! It has the same profile as other species within the gourami family: a long flattened body with large rounded fins. These fish have an expansive anal fin and needle-like pectoral fins.
The most eye-catching characteristic, however, is the silvery-blue color. This color can deepen based on the fish’s mood and times of breeding. On many blue gourami specimens, you’ll notice some subtle marbling with shades of lighter blue. You might even see flecks of yellow here and there on the fins!
Another distinguishing feature is the two dark spots. One is located in the center of the body while the other is just in front of the tail. Despite the common name of three-spot gourami, there are only two visible spots. The third is actually the fish’s eye!
Author Note: Differences between males and females are subtle. Females tend to have a shorter rounded dorsal fin while males have a long pointed one. Female blue gouramis will also look a bit fuller around breeding season.
In the right living conditions, the typical blue gourami lifespan is around five years. This is a rather decent life expectancy, and will allow you to form a strong connection with your fish.
There’s a certain amount of luck involved when it comes to life expectancy. However, environmental factors will come into play as well.
Author Note: Poor water quality, a cramped tank, and a poor diet will certainly lead to health issues that could shorten the lifespan of your blue gourami.
Average Blue Gourami Size
The average blue gourami size is about five to six inches for adults. Females tend to be slightly bigger than males, but the difference isn’t very noticeable.
If you want to make sure your fish has a chance to grow as large as possible, provide them with great care and an optimal diet. Also, blue gourami that are purchased from reliable sellers usually have better genes (which can influence their size).
Blue gourami care isn’t too difficult. Compared to other species, these freshwater fish are considered to be relatively low-maintenance! This is thanks, in large part, to their hardy nature and adaptability.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you can wing it! Like any other species, these fish have their preferences and unique needs that you need to be aware of.
Here are some important care guidelines to follow:
Young juvenile blue gouramis (which are usually only a few inches long) can get by in a 20-gallon tank. If you have a single adult blue gourami, they can do fine in a tank of the same size.
However, we recommend using a tank that can hold closer to 30 to 35 gallons for adults. A tank of this size will provide more room and comfort for these active fish.
Author Note: If you want to keep a pair or group, definitely go bigger! While they aren’t the biggest fish around, blue gouramis spend a lot of time exploring the aquarium. This means more swimming space is always a plus.
Blue gouramis are quite hardy and can tolerate a decent range of parameters. That said, you must stick within the recommended water parameters to ensure their health.
The goal is to replicate the waters of their natural habitat. Taking the time to get their water conditions right will go a long way when it comes to the health of your fish.
- Water temperature: 72°F to 82°F (around 76 degrees is the sweet spot)
- pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0 (a neutral pH is best)
- Water hardness: 4 to 18 dKH
It’s also necessary to invest in a thermometer and accurate water test kit to ensure that your tank meets the following requirements. Set these up and check them regularly! That will allow you to catch any unwanted parameter changes before they become a problem.
What To Put In Their Tank
The blue gourami inhabits slow-moving waters that are teeming with plant life. They’re often seen in sluggish backwaters and areas that experience seasonal flooding.
When you’re decorating your tank, model it after those environments!
Start with a dark-colored substrate. The exact color and texture aren’t important, and you can use sand or gravel. Blue gourami rarely venture to the bottom of the tank, preferring to stick near the surface instead.
But a dark-colored substrate can do a lot to help their coloration pop! Trust us, it makes a big difference.
Next, add some live plants! Mix things up and add a nice variety of species to create a natural environment. But keep the surface relatively open.
Here’s why that’s important:
Blue gouramis are labyrinth fish. Like betta fish, they have a unique labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe fresh air from the surface. Don’t overcrowd the tank with floating plants since these fish need access to the surface.
Author Note: In addition to plants, you can also add rocks and driftwood to push that natural appearance even further.
Keep the water flow relatively low. These fish aren’t used to strong currents. It’s also a good idea to add a few air stones to improve water oxygenation.
Strong filtration is important as well. These fish aren’t notable waste-producers, but their side can lead to a large bioload if you have a group of gouramis. Make sure that your filter can cycle the tank efficiently to prevent a buildup of ammonia and nitrates.
Blue gouramis are at risk of suffering from all of the usual freshwater fish diseases.
It’s possible for them to come down with ich, which is a contagious parasitic disease. These fish can also suffer from parasitic skin flukes, fungal problems, Velvet disease, dropsy, and more.
The good news is that all of these conditions are easily avoidable with proper tank maintenance. Keep an eye on your fish’s color. Dull coloration can indicate metabolic stress caused by diseases.
Check water conditions regularly and don’t forget to perform periodic water changes. If you notice a blue gourami suffering from disease, quarantine them immediately and provide over-the-counter medications to bring them back to good health.
Food & Diet
This species is very easy to please when it comes to food! They are natural omnivores that willingly accept most food products. Blue gourami do just fine on balanced algae-based dry flakes or pellets.
However, you can always supplement their diet with higher quality foods as well. They enjoy live, frozen, or freeze-dried snacks. Brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and bloodworms are all great choices.
Author Note: Don’t be afraid to add some variety to your fish’s meal! This will improve their nutrient intake, enhance their color, and provide them with a great source of enrichment.
Behavior & Temperament
Blue gouramis are usually quite peaceful. However, you may encounter some in-fighting with groups or pairs.
Males tend to get a bit territorial (this is especially true in smaller tanks). After breeding, males can exhibit some aggressive behaviors towards females as well.
Aside from those minor issues, blue gouramis are pretty easy-going. They will explore the tank and may occasionally nip at plants to eat some algae.
These freshwater fish stay towards the top of the tank, so you can also observe them taking in sips of air from time to time!
Blue Gourami Tank Mates
The territorial behavior we mentioned earlier can extend to tank mates of a different species as well. That means it’s important to choose tank mates of a similar size to avoid potential issues.
To be clear, blue gouramis can definitely thrive in a community tank. However, you have to choose their tank mates carefully.
Avoid any species that are smaller than the blue gourami. You should also keep larger fish away, as these gouramis tend to get skittish.
Here are a few good tank mate choices that can coexist with blue gouramis:
The breeding process for blue gouramis can be fascinating to watch. These fish are egg-layers that like to produce bubble nests.
It’s best to breed the fish in a separate tank so that you can fine-tune parameters to induce spawning. Create a similar natural environment as the primary tank. However, make the water softer and slightly more acidic.
When the conditions are right, the male will create a bubble nest. You’ll see him blowing bubbles out of his mouth until a circular nest appears on the surface.
Then, he’ll swim back and forth to attract the female. After performing their mating ritual, the female will release her eggs while the male quickly fertilizes them. The eggs float to the top and collect in the bubble nest.
Remove the female blue gourami after she lays her eggs. The male can stay behind, as he will take care of the parental duties moving forward. He’ll tend to the eggs and make sure they stay within the nest.
Eggs hatch in about three days. Once the babies become free-swimming, you can provide infusoria and nauplii (crustacean larvae) or powdered fry food.
Author Note: Make sure to change the water frequently in the following weeks. The labyrinth organ is developing, so clean oxygenated water is a must!
Blue gourami care doesn’t require much experience to do properly. In fact, it’s more about your level of commitment than anything else!
As long as you know the recommended care guidelines and stay consistent, these gorgeous freshwater fish will thrive under your care.
Let us know if you have any questions about these fish that we didn’t cover above. We’re always happy to help!