Giant Gourami: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding, & More)

Giant gourami swimming in tank.

All species of the Gourami family are highly sought after in the aquarium community because of their peaceful temperament and ease of care. The same is with Giant Gourami, which is significantly larger than other members of the same group.

Giant Gourami are freshwater aquarium fish, and they are fascinating and interesting to watch. They sound like a great option for aquarium owners that are looking to take their experience to the next level.

However, aquarists often comment that their larger than usual size may make caring for them a bit more challenging.

Giant Gourami is the largest among the Gourami family, and they would make a wonderful addition to your aquarium, provided that you adhere to the care and tank requirements.

This is why we have compiled this super helpful guide that you can make use of to learn everything about Giant Gourami, including their habitat, water requirements, diet, tank mates, breeding, and much more.

Species Summary

Giant Gourami are members of the Osphronemidae family, and they are also known by their scientific name, Osphronemusgoramy. They are native to the slow-moving waters, streams, lakes, marshes, and swamps of Southeast Asia.

CategoryRating
TemperamentPeaceful
Life Span2-5 years
FamilyOsphronemidae
DietOmnivore
Color FormGolden yellow with blue stripes
Care levelEasy
CompatibilityPeaceful and similar sized species
SizeUp to 20 inches
Tank SetupFreshwater with live plants
Minimum Tank Size200 gallons

They are mostly found in countries like Thailand and Indonesia, including Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula. Some of the rivers they frequent include the lower Mekong of Cambodia and Vietnam and the Chao Phraya and Mae Klong in Thailand.

Apart from being popular in the aquarium community, these fish are also commercially popular as food fish, because of which they are farmed.

Generally, Giant Gourami are hardy and adaptable species that are comfortable with a varied environment. However, they have a large body that calls for stricter care guidelines.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of the magnificent Giant Gourami is roughly 20 years, which is mighty impressive and much longer than any other species in the Osphronemidae family.

Therefore, if you take proper care of them, you will have a long-term and fulfilling relationship with them.

Although the average lifespan of these fish is around 20 years, the pink-colored species are known to have a lower life expectancy, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule.

Having said that, if you subject your Giant Gourami to poor tank conditions or water quality, you will run the risk of shortening their lifespan by a greater degree.

Appearance

As their name suggests, Giant Gourami is much larger as compared to other species of the Gourami family. They have a pale body with soft yellow or gold scales, along with pale blue or silvery-blue stripes all over them.

They have a large and rounded body, along with pointed snouts and unique flat heads. This is a distinctive feature for these fish, and it also helps people in identifying them.

Like several other types of Gourami, the male fish have smaller and much more streamlined bodies as compared to the females. Moreover, the female fish have a rounded dorsal fin, whereas the males have a pointed one.

Moreover, the female Giant Gourami have rounded stomachs, which also helps you in sexing them, especially when it comes to breeding. Among these species, there are also a couple of differences that you can find in various specimens.

For starters, some of these fish have flat heads, with the top only slightly curved rather than rounded. Moreover, when you look at them while they are facing you, they appear to have flat bodies.

Size

The average size of Giant Gourami stretches out to be 20 inches long, because of which you need a large tank to accommodate them comfortably. However, when you go to buy them in pet stores, you would find them to be much smaller.

This is because pet and aquarium stores sell these fish as juveniles, which is why they haven’t grown to their full size. Throughout their lifespan, they keep growing regularly, and once they are fully mature, they reach their full size.

By that time, they will outgrow any tank that you put them in. So, if you are looking to keep them in a smaller tank, thinking that you will upgrade them once they grow older, that might not be the best idea.

Keep in mind that while they are known to be giant fish, their growth is largely dependent on how well you take care of them. Apart from tank size and water conditions, a healthy diet also contributes to their growth.

Giant Gourami Care

When it comes to Giant Gourami care, you won’t have much of a problem, but only if you follow the detailed care guidelines that we have provided in this guide. Although they are hardy and resilient, not maintaining the proper conditions can cause them to get sick and stressed.

Therefore, make sure to read up on the care instructions thoroughly before you decide to get your Giant Gourami from a pet store that sells them.

Tank Size

As mentioned in the previous section, Giant Gourami needs a large tank in order to thrive and live comfortably. Since they are in captivity, you owe it to them to provide them with a comfortable and healthy living environment.

The minimum tank size for these fish is 200 gallons, which is enough to scare off any inexperienced or less interested aquarium owner. Having a 200-gallon tank in your home can be quite a challenging task, which is why you should be absolutely invested in their care if you bring them home.

If you don’t provide them with a large enough tank, this will cause them to become distressed and maybe even lose their appetite. From there, it is a steep slope to several diseases and even death.

Water Parameters

Since Giant Gourami is freshwater fish, they are native to lakes, swamps, marshes, and streams. They are hardy and resilient, so they have a higher tolerance for a range of water temperatures. You can keep the temperature between 68°F and 86°F, which is as wide as the range would go for any fish.

However, make sure that you keep the temperature as constant as possible, as the slightest changes can cause them to get stressed easily. When you set up the tank, you can use tap water and leave it to settle for a few days.

Next comes the pH level, which should be kept between 6.8 and 7.8. Therefore, it should be neither acidic nor alkaline. Also, the water hardness can be kept between 5 and 25 dGH.

Make sure to monitor the water conditions from time to time so that you can keep them healthy. Therefore, you can buy a water testing kit and also perform partial water changes in order to keep the ammonia and nitrate levels at bay.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Since they are native to swamps, marshes, lakes, and streams, you need to mimic the natural environment in order to keep Giant Gourami happy and healthy. To start with, you can place a substrate made from sand or gravel, ideally a dark one. This would allow for the beautiful pale coloration of these fish to pop.

Next, come the plants. Giant Gourami thrives with vegetation present, so you can place live plants in the tank. You have a variety of plants to choose from, including Anubias, Java fern, Amazon sword, and Water wisteria.

These fish love to nibble on live plants, which means that soft plants might not stand a chance in the tank. Therefore, you should choose more robust plants.

Apart from plants, decoration is also a must. You can layer the substrate with bits of logs and driftwood here and there. Make sure you don’t add any large accessories or decorations since they will take up a lot of space and take away room from them.

Another thing to note is that Giant Gourami have a labyrinth organ inside their bodies, which enables them to draw in air from the atmosphere. Due to this, they swim up to the surface of the water to breathe and then make their way downwards.

However, they don’t go to the bottom because they usually spend time in the middle or top layers.

Last but not least, filtration is also key for Giant Gouramis since they produce a lot of waste. You don’t need to add any bubblers, but since they thrive in slow-moving and calm waters, you can add a high-quality filter with a slow flow.

Common Diseases

Giant Gourami are generally hardy fish, so they aren’t affected by many of the freshwater diseases that affect most of the other species. As long as your aquarium is clean and the tank conditions are maintained, your fish will be healthy.

However, this doesn’t mean that they can’t get affected by bacterial infections, constipation, and Hole in the Head disease. They are caused by poor water conditions and improper feeding.

If they are sick, you will notice them feeling sluggish or not coming up for air frequently enough. When you notice any of these symptoms, make sure to quarantine the infected fish to a different tank for two weeks.

Meanwhile, you can change the water a few times so that the water conditions are reset. Depending on their condition, you may have to administer over-the-counter medication to them. Once you have eliminated any signs of disease, you can put them back into the main tank.

Another wise thing to do is to rinse all of your plants and tank accessories with an anti-bacterial solution before you put them back into the tank.

What Do Giant Gourami Eat?

Giant Gourami are omnivores, and they feast on smaller fish and algae when they are in the wild. They also eat frogs, worms, or other kinds of dead creatures they can find in their natural habitat.

You can feed them with cooked foods, such as meat, boiled potatoes, vegetables, and other commercial fish foods.

You can also give them frozen or live foods every now and then, including brine shrimp, bloodworms, etc. Generally, you can train them to eat different kinds of foods when they are in captivity. Just make sure that you don’t overfeed them because it can cause a lot of health problems.

When you have brought them into the aquarium, don’t start off with food that they aren’t familiar with because it would increase the likelihood of food rejection and will keep your fish distressed.

Behavior & Temperament

Giant Gourami can be called a community species of fish, but they also do well on their own, even when there is only one of them. They can cohabitate the tank with other species, but when you keep them with their own kind, they may not be comfortable.

The male fish can be quite aggressive, especially during the breeding season. Moreover, a smaller tank size can also bring out their aggressive side, so make sure that the tank is large enough.

When they stay in the same environment for a long time, they make it their home. This also fosters territorial instincts in them.

The smaller Giant Gourami, especially the juvenile ones, are more aggressive and territorial as compared to the older species. As they grow up to become adults, their aggression level goes down, thus making them suitable tank mates.

Giant Gourami Tank Mates

As mentioned above, Giant Gourami are quite peaceful and easy-going, especially when they are grown up. Moreover, they get along well with a wide range of tank mates, except their own kind.

Even if they exhibit signs of aggression, their outbursts will be short-lived. If you are looking to keep 4-5 fish in the same tank, not only does it have to be quite large, but you will have to account for their territorial behavior.

If you are placing them in a community tank, you should avoid smaller fish since they will be devoured the very first day. Therefore, you should keep them with similar-sized species, especially those that share the same temperament.

Ideally, you can place Giant Gourami with larger fish like cichlids and catfish so that they get along well. These fish like to go about their own business, so they won’t incite any trouble or fight with them.

Therefore, if you are looking for suitable tank mates, here are some suitable options:

We can’t stress it enough, but you shouldn’t keep them with smaller fish, even if they are peaceful. Even if they aren’t eaten, they would be continuously stressed by Giant Gourami, which would hinder their growth and also reduce their lifespan.

Breeding

One of the key things for breeding is sexing Giant Gourami, which is made easier by the difference in their anal and dorsal fins. Moreover, the female fish have thicker lips than the male species.

When the breeding period starts, the males build a nest from plant pieces in the wild. They might also do the same in the aquarium, but you will need a massive tank for this purpose, which is a major challenge.

Giant Gourami starts reaching maturity around six months, and the female starts laying mature eggs that number between 1,500 and 3,000. The eggs float on the surface of the water. The male captures all the eggs in their mouth and places them in the nest.

The eggs hatch within 40 hours, and the male keeps protecting the fry for two weeks. In another week, the fry will start to grow and move freely, at which point you can give them baby fish foods.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a large-sized species of fish with a very long lifespan and easier care requirements, then Giant Gourami is the best solution for you. Since they have a massive size, they are often misunderstood for being hunters and dangerous fish.

However, they are just as peaceful as any other fish in the Gourami family. Therefore, you can go out and get them right away, provided that you have understood our care guide well.

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