Gold GouramiFamily: Osphronemidae Trichopodus trichopterusPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy David Brough
The beautiful color of the Gold Gourami makes this a very desirable addition to an aquarium, but it does get big and can become belligerent to small tank mates!
The Gold Gourami is a very attractive color-morph of the Three Spot Gourami Trichopodus trichopterus (previously Trichogaster trichopterus). It is one of the more vibrant colored varieties. It has a pretty gold tone and a deeper toned striped patterning along the back, but it lacks the two dark spots seen on its parentage. This pretty fish makes an attractive addition to the aquarium.
This gourami has been developed in captivity for the aquarium trade, first appearing in 1970. Breeders selectively pair individuals for their desired coloration and strengthened it over several generations. Other mutations include a silver blue variety with darker blue markings that was developed from the Blue Gourami. It is known as the Cosby Gourami after the American breeder named Cosby that developed it. The Cosby Gourami was further developed into the Opaline Gourami or Marbled Gourami. A silver color form called the Platinum Gourami also appeared in 1970.
These are Labyrinth fish, also called Anabantoids, which are distinguished by having a "labyrinth organ". This organ allows them to get air at the surface of the water. Like other fish they have the ability to pass water through their gills to obtain oxygen, but they are also able to breathe atmospheric oxygen. Another characteristic of the labyrinth fish is that of being a bubble nest builders. The male will build a bubble nest at the surface of the water and once the female lays the eggs, he will place them in his nest and guard them until they hatch.
Though the coloring is much different than their predecessors in most other aspects the Gold Gouramis is very similar. They are the same in size and care requirements, its only the temperament of the adults that is a bit more contentious. These are certainly some of the hardiest fish available to the aquarist, and make excellent first fish for people entering the hobby. They are long lived fish with each having a remarkably individual personality. They will use their pelvic fins to feel their environment and even feel their tank mates. They also seem to be quite aware of their owners.
This gourami is considered a good community fish when small, but that can change as they mature. Some will remain peaceful while others can become belligerent, sometimes attacking smaller fish. Among themselves the males are territorial and will squabble. The best tankmates are other fish that are of similar size and temperament.
They can get quite large, up to 6 inches (15 cm) in length, though most are a bit smaller than that in the aquarium. Juveniles will soon outgrow a small aquarium and then will need to be provided with more space. When young they can easily be housed in a 15 - 20 gallon aquarium, but adults will do better with at least 35 gallons. The tank should be decorated in a way which allows both the dominant and quieter personality type fish to live happily. Provide some densely planted areas to create a few hiding places and they will also appreciate the cover of floating plants for some shadowy areas.
For Information on keeping freshwater fish, see:
Freshwater Aquarium Guide: Aquarium Setup and Care
Gourami (trichogaster trichopterus) - Tropical Fish Profile
- Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner
- Size of fish - inches: 5.9 inches (15.01 cm)
- Minimum Tank Size: 35 gal (132 L)
- Temperament: Semi-aggressive
- Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
- Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C)
- My Aquarium - Enter your aquarium to see if this fish is compatible!
The Gold Gourami is a captive bred color-morph of the Three Spot Gourami that first appeared in the aquarium industry in 1970. The Three Spot Gourami Trichopodus trichopterus (previously Trichogaster trichopterus) was described by Pallas in 1770. It is found widespread throughout continental southeast Asia and Indonesia.
In nature the Three Spot Gouramis occur in lowland wetlands. They are found in marshes, swamps to peatlands, as well as flowing streams and canals. They inhabit shallow waters that are sluggish or standing still, but with a lot of aquatic vegetation. They are omnivorous in nature and feed on crustaceans, insect larvae, and zooplankton.
- Scientific Name: Trichopodus trichopterus
- Social Grouping: Groups - In nature this species lives communally with other peaceful species.
- IUCN Red List: NE - Not Evaluated or not listed - There are no wild populations of this color morph.
The Gold Gourami is an elongated fish and somewhat compressed laterally. The fins are rounded and relatively large. The ventral fins are threadlike and carry touch-sensitive cells that are extremely perceptive. This fish has a labyrinth organ, a part of the fish which allows it to absorb atmospheric oxygen directly into the bloodstream. It can reach about 6 inches (15 cm) in length, but will generally be a bit smaller in the aquarium. They will be able to breed at about 3 inches (7.5 cm). They have an average lifespan of 4 to 6 years, but can live longer with good care.
The body color is a pretty gold tone with a deeper toned striped patterning along the back. The two dark spots seen on the Three-spot Gourami are absent. White spots extend on to the fins, giving them a very attractive pattern.
- Size of fish - inches: 5.9 inches (15.01 cm) - They can reach almost 6" (15 cm), but are usually a bit smaller in the aquarium. They will breed at about 3" (7.5 cm).
- Lifespan: 4 years - The average lifespan is 4 - 6 years, but with proper care they can live longer.
This fish is undemanding and can tolerate a range of tank conditions. It will generally accept a wide variety of foods and is fairly easy to breed. However as these fish age they can become a bit nippy. Being quite hardy it can be a good choice for the first time fish keeper, but with its more aggressive tendencies as it matures, tankmates will to be selected with some care.
- Aquarium Hardiness: Very Hardy
- Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner - They are hardy, so good for a beginner in that respect, but they do become more aggressive as they mature, so tankmates need to be selected with some care.
The Gold Gouramis are omnivorous and will generally eat all kinds of live, fresh, and flake foods. To keep a good balance give them a quality flake or pellet food as the base to the diet. Supplementation should include white worms, blood worms, brine shrimp, or any other suitable substitute. Fresh vegetables can be offered as well, blanched lettuce being a good option for many aquarists. Generally feed once or twice a day.
An interesting characteristic of the Three-spot gourami varieties (as well as the Pearl Gourami), is that they are well known for eating hydra. The hydra is a tiny pest that has tentacles with a venom. They will capture very small fish and paralyze them with the venom and then hold them fast with the tentacles until eaten. If you have a hydra problem in your aquarium, here is your solution.
- Diet Type: Omnivore
- Flake Food: Yes
- Tablet / Pellet: Yes
- Live foods (fishes, shrimps, worms): Some of Diet
- Vegetable Food: Some of Diet
- Meaty Food: Some of Diet
- Feeding Frequency: Daily - Generally feed once or twice a day.
These gouramis are extremely hardy fish. Although the labyrinth organ allows the fish to survive in oxygen depleted water, it is a common misconception that this makes water changes unnecessary. This is hardly the case as these fish will suffer the same tissue damage from built up toxins as any other fish. Regular water changes are a must with 25% weekly being recommended.
- Water Changes: Weekly - Weekly water changes of 25% are recommended.
The Gold Gourami will swim in all parts of the tank. Juveniles can easily housed in a 15 - 20 gallon aquarium, but as they grow to adult size they will need at least 35 gallons or more. Keep the tank in a room with a temperature as close as possible to the tank water to prevent damaging the labyrinth organ. The tank should have an efficient filtration system but should not to create too much of a current. This fish will be bothered by a strong current in the tank, especially if the tank is small. Air stones can help provide well oxygenated water.
The tank should be decorated in a way which allows both the dominant and quieter personality type fish to live happily. This means the construction of a few hiding places and some dense plant cover. These gouramis will show their colors best on a dark substrate. They also like the cover of floating plants, however they will regularly breath air at the surface so its important to have some open areas.
- Minimum Tank Size: 35 gal (132 L) - Juveniles can be kept in a a 15 - 20 gallon aquarium, but adults need more space.
- Suitable for Nano Tank: Sometimes
- Substrate Type: Any
- Lighting Needs: Moderate - normal lighting
- Temperature: 73.0 to 82.0° F (22.8 to 27.8° C) - Keep the surrounding room temperature consistent with the water temperature will help avoid trauma to the labyrinth organ.
- Breeding Temperature: 80.0° F - They will breed with temperatures raised to about 80° F (26° C).
- Range ph: 6.0-8.8
- Hardness Range: 5 - 35 dGH
- Brackish: No
- Water Movement: Weak - This fish doesn't like a strong current in the tank, especially if the tank is small.
- Water Region: All - The Gold Gourami will spend time at all levels of the aquarium.
Although this fish is merely a color morph, it is a more belligerent fish in the community tank than the Blue Gourami and the males tend to fight amongst themselves. A community tank is not out of the question, but some thought must be put into selecting robust tankmates of a moderate size. Individuals will show varying degrees of aggression as they mature, with some being very belligerent and others being more peaceful. These species have been known to attack smaller fish. The aquarist should be prepared to adapt their tank to suit all personality types.
A mix of neutral personalities is an ideal goal for the range of tank mates. You should not include fish which will provoke this species into aggression as they are often passionate fighters. Fin nippers and gouramis should absolutely never be mixed. The trailing pelvic fins and generally slower movement of this gourami make it the perfect victim for nippers. Being skilled hunters, extremely small fish or fish fry rarely last long.
Good tankmates for this fish are robust cyprinid species like barbs, but avoid those that are notorious fin nippers like Tiger Barbs and Clown Barbs. Other good selections include larger characins, loricariid catfish from South America, and loaches. They can be kept with other medium to large gouramis, but bullying between gouramis is a likely scenario. These fish, which is typical of the family, are fixated on constantly working out the details of the hierarchy.
- Venomous: No
- Temperament: Semi-aggressive - This color morph of the Blue Gourami is comparatively more belligerent. This fish may be rough with smaller tankmates, increasingly so as it ages. It is also a skilled hunter so smaller tankmates will probably be consumed.
- Compatible with:
- Same species - conspecifics: Yes - As they mature some remain peaceful while other can become quite belligerent. Males are territorial and will tussle amongst themselves, becoming very aggressive when breeding.
- Peaceful fish (): Safe - Will need to monitor compatibility as the fish matures.
- Semi-Aggressive (): Monitor
- Aggressive (): Threat
- Large Semi-Aggressive (): Threat
- Large Aggressive, Predatory (): Threat
- Slow Swimmers & Eaters (): Monitor - Gouramis can be quick at feeding time. Make sure any fish that are not so quick get fed if you are keeping them with gouramis.
- Shrimps, Crabs, Snails: May be aggressive
- Plants: Safe
The male Gold Gourami has a longer and more pointed dorsal fin while the female's is shorter and rounded.
Like most Labyrinth fish, the Gold Gouramis are bubble nest builders. Breeding is fairly easy and providing a breeding tank that is to their liking is perhaps the biggest challenge. A pair will be most likely to spawn if there is a fair amount of plants, a good sized surface area, and the temperature is to their liking. Prior to spawning they should be well conditioned with small offerings of live and frozen foods several times a day. When well fed, females should begin filling out with eggs, appearing very plump.
An individual breeding tank of 10 to 20 gallons or more should be set up. A shallow water level is not as critical for this fish as it is for other Labyrinth fish species, but it can be kept at about 5 - 6" (13 - 15 cm). Normal water parameters are fine but raise the temperature to about 80° F (26° C). You can add a small gently air-powered sponge filter or some peat filtration, but the tank current should be minimal. Many aquarists find that floating plants, or stem plants grown to the surface, or any other floating debris will help keep the bubble nest in place.
A healthy pair of adults should be introduced into the breeding tank. The male will spend a lot of time building a large bubble nest, usually in a corner. Once the nest had been built the male will begin a courtship display to entice the female to spawn. He will swim back and forth, flaring his fins and raising his tail until the female allows him to wrap his body around hers and the two will spawn. Their eggs as well as the fry, are lighter than water and float to the top and be deposited in the nest. If the female was well filled out the spawn can be huge, between 700 to 800 eggs.
The female must be removed after the eggs are produced or she risks being killed by the male. The male will tend the nest and guard the eggs until they hatch. After hatching the fry will soon emerge from the nest and become free swimming. This is when the male should be removed or he might eat the fry which emerge from the nest. Free swimming fry can be fed infusoria or a liquid fry food until they are large enough to eat baby brine shrimp. See the description of breeding techniques in: Breeding Freshwater Fish: Anabantoids. Also see Fish Food for Fry for information about types of foods for raising the young.
- Ease of Breeding: Easy
Gold Gouramis are very hardy so disease is not usually a problem in a well maintained aquarium. Some diseases they are prone to are bacterial infections, constipation and Hole in the Head if good water quality, nutrition, and maintenance is not provided. With any additions to a tank such as new fish, plants, substrates, and decorations there is a risk of introducing disease. It's advisable to properly clean or quarantine anything that you want add to an established tank prior to introduction, so as not to upset the balance.
These fish are very resilient but knowing the signs of illness, and catching and treating them early makes a huge difference. An outbreak of disease can often be limited to just one or a few fishes if you deal with it at an early stage. The best way to proactively prevent disease is to give your fish the proper environment and a well balanced diet. The closer to their natural habitat the less stress the fish will have, making them healthier and happy. A stressed fish will is more likely to acquire disease. For information about freshwater fish diseases and illnesses, see Aquarium Fish Diseases and Treatments.
The Gold Gourami is readily available both in stores and online and is moderately priced.
- Animal-World References: Freshwater Fish and Plants
- Trichopodus trichopterus (Pallas, 1770) Three spot gourami, Fishbase.org
- Trichogaster lalius Dwarf Gourami, Seriously Fish, 2013
- Dr. Rudiger Riehl and Hans A. Baensch, Aquarium Atlas Vol. 1, Publisher Hans A. Baensch, 1991
- Joseph S. Nelson, Fishes of the World, Wiley, 2006.
- Greg Jennings (Editor), 500 Freshwater Aquarium Fish, Firefly Books Ltd, 2006.
- Glen S. Axelrod, Brian M. Scott, Neal Pronek, Encyclopedia Of Exotic Tropical Fishes For Freshwater Aquariums, TFH Publications, 2005
- David Alderton, Encyclopedia of Aquarium and Pond Fish , DK Publishing, Inc., 2005.
- Hans-Joachim Richter, Gouramis and Other Anabantoids, T.F.H Publications, Inc., 1988
- Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod, Aquarium Fishes of the World, TFH Publications, 1998