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

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

When it comes to freshwater fish that are fun to have in your aquarium, Pearl Gouramis are one of the best options that you can find. They have a fascinating appearance, which means that you will be delighted to watch them in the tank.

Moreover, caring for Pearl Gourami is a breeze, so you will have no problems there. They are hardy and resilient fish that can easily adapt to several conditions, and they don’t even require larger tanks to thrive in.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can just let go when you keep them in the tank. There are several things that you should know about before you bring them to your home aquarium, and this guide is filled with the information that you need to look after Pearl Gourami in an efficient manner.

This guide is also designed to acclimatize you with the habitat, water requirements, diet, tank mates, breeding, and much more.

Once you go through it, you will have a much deeper understanding of Pearl Gourami’s care and may also be able to decide whether you want to go about it.

Species Summary

Pearl Gourami belongs to the Osphronemidae family and has the scientific name Trichopodus leerii. They are a species of freshwater labyrinth fish that are native to Southeast Asia. You may also see them being referred to as the Lace Gourami or Mosaic Gourami by aquatic enthusiasts and experts.

Life SpanUp to 5 years
Color FormWhite spots with black stripe
Care levelMedium
CompatibilityPeaceful community
SizeUp to 4-5 inches
Tank SetupHeavily planted freshwater
Minimum Tank Size30 Gallons

These fish are particularly found in countries like Malaysia and Thailand, as well as the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia.

They are also found in the northern part of South America, mainly because some irresponsible aquarium owners tend to release them into the rivers and ponds when they can’t take care of them anymore.

In the wild, they are used to spending most of their time in the top and middle layers, and they are typically present in acidic waters like swamps. However, they may also be found in stagnant tributaries, low rivers, and lakes from time to time.

Overall, Pearl Gourami is a staple aquarium freshwater fish, and they are frequently bred in the aquatic community. Therefore, they are commonly found in pet stores all over the world.


On average, the lifespan of Pearl Gourami is between four and five years. Some experts have managed to prolong the lifespan of these fish up to six years, but this is a rare occurrence.

If you want them to live as long as possible, you should provide them with quality care and a proper environment that enables them to thrive. Although they are easy to take care of, their lifespan can be shorted by poor conditions.

Since Pearl Gourami are considered to be hardy, most aquarium owners think that they don’t need to be particular about the small care guidelines. However, if you are extra careful, you might see them live up to five or six years.


Pearl Gourami are highly unique and colorful freshwater fish, and you would be delighted to see them swim around in your tank. They are adaptable and easy to care for, and if you add their striking look to the list, you will certainly be fascinated.

They are given the name because of the little white dots that are spread all over their bodies, including their dorsal and caudal fins. They don’t have the dots on a small patch underneath their mouth that stretches down their belly.

These white dots look like pearls and shine when they are swimming in the aquarium. Another distinguishing feature is the black line that extends from their mouth to the end of their caudal fin. This line is quite noticeable, regardless of the coloration of Pearl Gourami.

They also have thin and flat bodies, but they are tall and long as well. This makes them look similar to a Dwarf Gourami.

They also have distinct ventral fins, which are long and thin. These fins dangle beside them as they swim, and they are long enough to extend past their caudal fins. This gives them a cute look.


On average, Pearl Gourami extends to a full size of four to five inches in length. This is the length that their body achieves when they reach maturity, but their ventral fins may give them a longer appearance.

There are several factors that affect the growth of a Pearl Gourami, including genetics, age, gender, and the quality of care that you subject them to.

Pearl Gourami Care

As mentioned above, it isn’t difficult to look after Pearl Gourami when you bring them to your home aquarium. They are resilient and low-maintenance freshwater fish that don’t require a lot of attention, which makes them preferable over several other species that have stringent care requirements.

However, you should know of the care guidelines regarding Pearl Gourami, and also follow them to the latter. This would ensure that your fish live long, happy, and healthy lives. We always encourage aquatic enthusiasts to learn all they can about caring for these fish so they aren’t in a fix.

Even if you get stuck at any time during the care regimen of Pearl Gourami, you can check back into our guide to seek help. Let’s have a look at the specifics of caring for these fish that you should know about.

Tank Size

When it comes to keeping Pearl Gourami in a home aquarium, you should have a tank that has a minimum capacity of 30 gallons. Although some aquatic experts might tell you that a 20-gallon tank will suffice, please don’t do so.

A 20-gallon tank can be too small for these fish. With a 30-gallon tank, you will be able to provide Mosaic Gourami with enough space to swim around comfortably. It would also give them the freedom to explore the tank and check out the plants and other accessories you may have added.

If you are planning on adding more Pearl Gourami to the aquarium, you should increase the tank size by 5-10 gallons for every fish. This would prevent them from feeling stressed or becoming ill.

Water Parameters

Water parameters are the most important factor when you are caring for Pearl Gourami. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation regarding the water parameters that you need to maintain, but we have the right guidelines for you to follow.

To start things off, the water temperature inside your tank should be set between 77°F to 82°F. This is because Pearl Gourami is used to warm waters in their natural habitat.

Moreover, the pH level should be set between 6.5 and 8, and the water hardness should be adjusted to lie between 5 and 25 dH.

Although these fish are accustomed to acidic waters, they are hardy and can also withstand less acidic conditions.

What to Put in Their Tank?

Regardless of the species of fish that you may have in your aquarium, you might be aware that replicating their natural habitat is one of the best ways to get them acclimatized with their surroundings in captivity.

Therefore, you should add things to their tank that are a part of their actual environment.

First and foremost, plants are a staple for any freshwater aquarium tank, and the same should be the case for Pearl Gourami. They are used to thick vegetation in the wild, so adding plants would make them feel comfortable in the tank.

Since these Gourami aren’t plant-eaters, you have a wide range of plants that you can place in the tank, such as hornwort or Brazilian waterweed. This doesn’t mean that you can’t select any other type of plant for the tank.

Apart from plants, you can also add rocks to the freshwater aquarium when you are planning on raising Pearl Gourami. They are used to these rocks in the low waters and swamps that they come from. Therefore, they will feel much at home when you add rocks to the tank.

Plus, you can also benefit from adding driftwood and logs to the aquarium and placing all of them on a soft and sandy substrate. Although they spend most of their time in the top and middle layers of the aquarium, you shouldn’t go with a rough substrate like gravel.

While you are setting up the tank for your Pearl Gourami, make sure that you don’t stuff the aquarium with too many accessories and plants, as this wouldn’t leave too much space for the fish to swim about freely.

When they start feeling cramped, the fish would feel stressed and eventually become ill as well. This would also affect their size growth and lifespan, so you shouldn’t do that at any cost.

Common Diseases

When it comes to illnesses, your Pearl Gourami are relatively hardy and don’t get sick as often as other species of freshwater fish do. However, one of the most common diseases they are susceptible to include fin rot.

Fin rot is a bacterial disease that causes their fins to become highly sensitive and fragile. Eventually, the edges of their fins start to damage and rot, and the problem starts to spread inwards.

The disease chips away at their fins and can even cause the entire tissue to break away if they aren’t treated proactively.

Although fin rot can be treated in Pearl Gourami, it is much easier for you to prevent it from happening altogether. One of the main causes of this disease is poor water conditions and quality.

Therefore, you should monitor the water quality from time to time, and you can buy a reliable water testing kit in order to do so.

If you see any anomalies in the water levels or conditions, you should change the water by 25-50% every few weeks in order to restore the balance.

Also, if the water is left unchecked for a long time, you run the risk of increasing levels of ammonia and nitrate in the water, which can be lethal for the Pearl Gourami. Therefore, partial water changes are highly important in order to avoid disease.

Another common cause for fin rot is other fish nipping away at the fins of your Pearl Gourami. This can injure the fins and make them prone to bacterial infection, which can result in fin rot.

Therefore, you should observe them regularly in the tank to check if they are into any trouble with other species.

Plus, if you notice any other fish attacking your Pearl Gourami, you should ideally separate the aggressive fish that are causing trouble inside the tank.

What Do Pearl Gourami Eat?

The diet of freshwater fish is crucial to their health and growth, which is why you should pay special attention to what you feed them.

Since they are natural omnivores, you get a wide range of options that you can feed them in the wild. The key tip is to maintain a balance and understand the required nutritional requirements for them to thrive popularly.

In the wild, they are used to snacking on insects, eggs, algae, and several others. Plus, they may also nibble on plants and algae sometimes, especially if they are hungry and haven’t received their food.

When you are feeding them in captivity, you need to start feeding them with commercial fish pellets and flake food that come with a reputed brand. Apart from this, you can also trust quality commercial fish food.

From time to time, it is also wise to add some live food to the aquarium for your Pearl Gourami. It will give them a boost of protein while also fulfilling their nutritional requirements.

Plus, live food will also be beneficial in bringing out their hunting instincts, which keep their stress levels at bay.

Some of the good options for live food for your Pearl Gourami include bloodworms, brine shrimp, blackworms, and even glass worms. You should also make sure not to overfeed them.

Although they will continue to eat as much as you put in the tank, this would lead to obesity and also cause them to become ill.

Observe your Pearl Gourami when you put food inside the aquarium, and if they are leaving any food uneaten, this means that you are overfeeding them.

The leftover food will convert into organic waste that eventually decays and ruins the quality of the water while also spiking the ammonia levels.

Behavior & Temperament

Pearl Gourami have a peaceful and mellow temperament. Plus, they are peaceful and also get along with other species of fish and aquatic critters.

However, you might notice them becoming aggressive during the mating and breeding process. This usually happens with the males, but the females are also on edge.

As mentioned above, these fish have a labyrinth organ that they use to breathe atmospheric air from the surface of the water. This organ works just like a lung, and this means that they need to swim to the surface every now and then.

You should know this if you plan to keep any floating plants in the aquarium because it will hinder their path to the surface.

Pearl Gourami Tank Mates

Since Pearl Gourami is peaceful species, they are compatible with a wide range of tank mates. They can cohabitate the tank with both smaller and larger fish, provided that they have a peaceful temperament.

Unless they are ready to spawn, these fish won’t cause any trouble with other fish in the tank. We have compiled some of the most suitable tank mates for Pearl Gourami, instead of naming every other species out there.

These are some of the best options that you can choose for your Pearl Gourami, and you should keep two things in mind. The first is the size of the fish that you select.

Generally, fish that are larger than the Gourami will cause them to feel intimidated and stressed.

Plus, the stress will hinder their enrichment and growth. Since they need to come up to the surface to breathe, larger fish will cause them to get scared every time they do so.

The second factor pertains to aggression. Any fish that has an aggressive temperament won’t be a good tank mate for Pearl Gourami.

Ideally, you should place species of the same kind in your tank. Pearl Gourami are shoaling fish, so you can have them in groups instead of keeping them alone.

When they are with their own kind, the fish will be happier and grow happier and healthier. Plus, it will be fascinating to see them swim around the tank.


Pearl Gourami differ from other species of fish in the way they breed. The male fish blow saliva-filled bubbles that float to the surface. After this, the male coaxes a female fish to join him underneath the bubble nest.

Once a pair reaches under the bubble, they will spawn, and the female will release her eggs, which are collected into the bubble nest. The male continues to guard his nest fiercely for a few days, after which the eggs hatch and the fry start moving around.

When the fry hatch, it is wise to move them to a grow tank where you can feed them properly and also maintain the ideal water conditions for their growth.

Final Thoughts

We bet you are already fascinated by Pearl Gourami, and you want to have them in your home aquarium as soon as possible.

Let us tell you that you can do so right away, and you just need to be mindful of the water parameters, tank conditions, and diet in order to keep them healthy and happy.

Whenever you get stuck, you always have our ultimate care guide to help you learn anything you need to know.