Caring for Golden Gouramis

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Golden gouramis (Trichopodus trichopterus var. golden) can breathe air, thanks to a specialized structure in their gills called a labyrinth organ. This organ allows the gourami to survive in stagnant pools in its native range, the Mekong Basin of Vietnam, though it cannot survive outside of water. The organ also makes the gourami a hardy aquarium fish.

Tank Setup

A gourami tank should have at least 20 gallons' capacity. Gouramis prefer a heavily planted tank, a tank with enough real or plastic aquarium plants for these fish to feel safe. These plants should be both rooted and floating, since golden gouramis like to swim near the surface of the water. Male gouramis may use floating plants to construct nests when breeding. The tank should also include open areas for swimming.

Water Conditions

Since golden gouramis can breathe air, they tend to be very tolerant of a wide range of water conditions. This ability allows them to live in poorly oxygenated, stagnant pools in the wild. In terms of pH they will live comfortably in a larger range than most fish, from 5.5 to 8.5. Gouramis do require tropical temperatures between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and this point is less negotiable. While gouramis can tolerate poor water conditions, you should still maintain the aquarium for the other inhabitants' sake and to discourage unsightly algae.

Feeding

In keeping with their hardiness, golden gouramis are generalized omnivores that will eat just about everything you provide them. They will nibble on plants and algae, but usually not to an extent that damages plants or controls algae. You can give your fish the occasional treat like live brine shrimp. You can hatch brine shrimp yourself or get them from pet shops.

Tankmates

In general, golden gouramis get along with other fish in a community fish tank. Some adult gouramis get more aggressive and territorial when they age, though; with this in mind, select hardy tank-mates of similar size. Plecos, large tetras and other medium-size aquarium fish will comfortably share a tank with golden gouramis. At the same time, avoid fin-nippers, since gouramis make great targets with their long fins. Avoid keeping more than a male-female pair of one species of gourami, as they are most aggressive toward members of their own species.

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