Waters of the sea are home to some of the most amazing creatures. The kissing gourami is one unique wonder worth keeping in a home aquarium. With extended lips as though waiting for a hearty kiss, this fish can be an interesting addition to the home tank.
Gouramis belong to the family of Osphronemidae. It consists of more than 95 fish species and at least 15 genera. They are native to Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and parts of India.
Appearance of Kissing Gourami
They exhibit some of the most amazing features. Unlike most fish with simple lips, the kissing gourami has outwardly pointed lips. It is not unusual to find their lips locked together in a strange pose. This is perhaps one of the reasons people find these fish exciting and a must tank addition. It is from this strange phenomenon that they got their name.
The kisser fish, as it is commonly known, comes in three main colors. The most distinct one is silver green. Some are pink while others are of the mottled variety.
Pink is not as common as green. It is said that as the fish lives, it loses its pigmentation. This pink kisser fish is often bred in an aquarium because hobbyists love its color.
Green is the most common color. Bordering the anal and dorsal fins is a dark bar. Due to the distinct color difference between green and pink, some people think they belong to different species yet this is not the case.
The mottled kisser is less popular than the other two, however, there are hobbyists who only look for it and want nothing less. Other noticeable features of the fish include:
- Elongated bodies which are laterally compressed
- Can grow to be 12cm in length. As experienced with other types of fish, the gourami is bigger in the wild as opposed to captivity
- Dorsal and anal fins are nearly the same length. At the end though, they are elongated slightly
- Pectoral fins found behind both sides of the gills are round and a little large. On the other hand, pelvic fins found near the belly are long. Its caudal fins are round-shaped
- Their lips are fleshy and often pouting. The same lips have white, long teeth lined therein. This is the most distinct feature of these fish
- Their lifespan is about 6-8 years, though some may live up to 20 years
The kissing gourami is a wide swimmer. A wide space is therefore ideal for its happiness. The following requirements are necessary:
- The tank should contain at least 75 gallons or 280 liters of water for the adult gourami. The juvenile may require less water
- The fish needs normal to moderate lighting
- Temperatures of between 22 to 28 degrees are ideal (72-82 degrees Fahrenheit)
- The substrate should be large gravel and huge rocks to give it the opportunity to hide when running away from an aggressive pursuant
- pH range of 6.0-8.8 is the most suitable
Moderate water movement is required as it gives them opportunity to lock their lips during their lip-locking ritual. They also gulp lots of water to keep sufficient oxygen supply. Lots of water movement can stress the gouramis too. For these three major reasons, ensure the movement of water is just right. Typically, kissing gouramis swim in all parts of the aquarium but prefer to be at the top or middle of the tank. They are unlikely to interfere with the rocks and gravel at the bottom of the tank
Plants are naturally the gourami’s favorite meal and should be included in the tank. Plenty of algae must also be added as most fish do well with their presence. In fact, fish colors are best highlighted when there is plenty of algae in the tank. Not to forget is Java Moss as it normally floats on water. The gouramis often appreciate plant cover. Good news is, they hardly ever eat the moss. Leave a tiny gap between the cover-slide and water surface to give the fish opportunity to take in atmospheric air
They are herbivores that appreciate a plant diet. They love algae more and suck the rocks for these. Kissing Gourami may also be fed on frozen and dried flakes. Tubifex, bloodworms and brine shrimp are another specialty.
They have an affinity for live worms, earthworms and glassworms. Cooked peas, lettuce as well as zucchini can be offered too. Always remember to offer just enough feeds. In case there are some leftovers, they ought to be removed as the tank may have a foul smell.
In a home tank, breeding kissing gourami may be hectic. For one, differentiating the males and females is not an easy feat. However, when the female is full of eggs, it becomes more round and huge.
Unlike most other fish, the kisser fish does not build a bubble nest. Instead, it lays its eggs under a leaf, sometimes even scattering them in the pond. To be successful in breeding them, one could try the following:
- Acquire a number of the kisser fish because there are high chances of having mixed sexes
- Offer a larger tank when they are of good size that can spawn
- Provide enough water cover in terms of more large leaves (this offers them privacy)
- Feeding during this period should be thorough
- Select the fish that are more rounded as they are likely to be the females. If there are other fish varieties, they can be shifted to other tanks to give the gourami a chance to have its fry
- The gourami releases eggs in their hundreds until they may hit or surpass a million. The eggs float on water
- The fish are known to eat their own eggs. If this happens more than it should, they can be shifted to give the eggs time to hatch
Other Fun Facts
People often think the kissing fiasco is some show of love or affection. This is hardly the case. The ritual is normally a show of might. They are aggressive fish and may not tolerate other species, especially if their tank mates are smaller in size. The kissing gouramis are hardy and rarely fall ill if the tank conditions are just right. The kissing gourami is an interesting fish to keep in the tank. After knowing how to keep it healthy, there is no reason not to add it to the tank.