Pearl Gourami: Care Guide, Breeding, Tank Size, & Diseases

Pearl Gourami Overview

The Pearl Gourami is a favorite aquarium fish amongst some aquarists due to its amazing appearance. It is also known as lace Gourami or mosaic Gourami. It is one of the easiest of the Gourami species to care for. The populations of the Gouramis in their natural habitat appear to be on the decline. The fish is native to a variety of nations in the East Asia region which are; Sumatra, Borneo, Thailand, and parts of Malaysia. It likes to live in lowland swampy areas or coastal waterways in the wild. It is mostly drawn to heavily vegetated and shaded areas while in the wild.

In the wild, the fish is usually found living in waters that are acidic although it can also live in waters that are less acidic because it is now being reared in fish farms with less acidic water. In home aquariums the pearl Gouramis will not grow too large and will reach a maximum of five inches long in size. Basically, the fish will just live between 4-5 years when being kept in an aquarium but they are instances where they have lived as long as eight or even nine years in aquariums!

Information ChartPearl Gourami
Scientific Name: Trichopodus Leerii
Family: Osphronemidae
Care Level: Peaceful and docile
Color: Small white pearl-like spots with a distinct black line in the middle
Lifespan: 4-5 years
Size: 4-5 inches
Diet: Omnivorous
Minimum Tank Size: 20-30 gallon
Temperature: 22-28°C
Water Conditions: Soft and slightly acidic water
Tank Mate Compatibility Can survive with numerous tank mates

Appearance of Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gourami

The Pearl Gourami has a body that exhibits a rather unique silver-brownish color. It is covered in a rather pearl-like pattern with a unique black line that runs from its head, finally thinning towards its caudal fin. The fish’s males and females have distinct bodily features. The males of the fish are generally large and are usually more colorful than the females.

Pearl Gourami Lifespan

In the home aquarium, the Gourami may only live for five years, although there are special cases where some have lived as long as nine years. 

Exceptional living conditions can make your fish hit the upper-end of the lifespan range. Try to mimic their natural wild living conditions inside the tank to help them live healthy for longer years. 

Pearl Gourami Size

In-home aquariums, the pearl Gouramis will not grow too large and reach five inches long in size. This includes the only body length of their body. Any extra inches they gain from their ventral fins add to a few more inches. Genetics, care, gender, and age are significant factors contributing to the growth of this fish.

Pearl Gourami Natural Habitat And Origin

Pearl Gourami have its natural habitat in the East Asian nations of Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, and Thailand.

Recent reports show that the fish populations in the wild have drastically started to decline, an occurrence to which most environmentalists should give much attention. You will find the fish species in swampy lowland areas or even coastal waterways. It thrives in shaded and highly vegetated areas in the wild, thus providing as many vegetables in their captive habitats to make them feel like home will be best. Their waters are more acidic in their natural habitats, but they can also survive in less acidic waters. 

Pearl Gourami Care And Tank Setup

Tank Size And Specifications

Pearl Gourami Care And Tank Setup

The Gouramis have a great reputation as hardy aquarium fish owing to their undemanding nature for aquarium rearing. It doesn’t mean that the fish should be kept in stressful conditions. If you wish to keep just a couple of these fish species, then a tank that holds up to 20 gallons of water can do.

Additionally, ensure that the tank is properly installed with proper filtration, lighting, and adequate decoration. Lastly, ensure that the tank conditions are clean and tidy for them to thrive even well.

Optimum Tank Size For Pearl Gouramis

For a small group of 6 Pearl Gouramis, a minimum tank size of 20-30 gallons of water may do for a start. Starting with a 30-gallon tank is great for your fish as it will get enough space to move freely and explore the plants and objects inside the tank. Add 5-10 gallons of extra water if you want to increase by one fish in the tank.

Tank Shape For Pearl Gourami

A rectangular tank is the best tank for Pearl Gouramis. This tank shape provides a large surface area of the water for a better exchange of gasses. It also enhances breathing conditions for the fish inside.

Filter Type

Exposing the tank surface to fresh air is highly advised as this helps to ensure the proper functioning of the fishes’ labyrinth organ. The filter should be strong enough to throw out the waste excreted by the fish and other impurities in the water. Solid impurities can contaminate the water by releasing ammonia, which is very toxic for the fish. 

Optimum Tank Size For Pearl Gouramis

To maintain proper filtration, change 10% of the water every week, or 25% every two weeks. You can also use an Aquarium Water Changer and a Vacuum Gravel Cleaner. 


Rocks are the best substrate for pearl gouramis. The natural habitat of the fish comprises low waters and swamps filled with rocks and gravel. Using rocks as a substrate will create similar living conditions for the fish. You can also use small logs and driftwood to fill up the tank space.

How Many Pearl Gouramis In A 20 Gallon Tank?

If you wish to keep just a couple of these fish species, then a tank that holds up to 20 gallons of water can do. However, it is safe to add 5-10 gallons of extra water for every additional fish in the tank.

They also look really good in small groups. 4 or more fish can comfortably stay together. Try keeping one male pearl gourami for every three females.

Water Parameters for Pearl Gouramis Tank

Water Temperature

The ideal tank temperature for pearl gourami is between 22-28°C, which should be measured with a proper aquarium thermometer. They are very sensitive to sudden temperature changes. Give them sufficient time to adjust to new water conditions before subjecting them to rapid developments. 

Water Parameters for Pearl Gouramis Tank

Water Flow Rate

It is safe to keep pearl gouramis in a water tank with a high flow rate. 

pH level

The preferred pH level of the water for a pearl gourami tank is somewhere between 6.5 to 8. In the wild, the fish is usually found living in acidic waters, although it can also live in less acidic waters because it is now being reared in fish farms with less acidic water. 

Water Hardness

The water’s hardness in a pearl gourami tank should be between 5-23dH.

Pearl Gourami Tank Landscape

Best Plants For Pearl Gourami Tank

Pearl Gouramis originate from a rich swampy vegetation habitat. It is instinctive for them to interact with plants. Plants provide shelter and comfort and replicate their natural environment inside the tank. You can include a variety of plants inside a pearl gourami tank as they are not plant-eaters.

Pearl Gourami Tank Landscape

Some plants for a Pearl Gourami fish tank are

Worst Plants For Pearl Gourami Tank

Overactive fishes are not great tank mates for Pearl Gouramis. They will exhaust your Pearls and make them hide under shelters. This can also cause a pale coloration, stress, anxiety, and other severe health problems in gouramis.

Pearl Gouramis have large attractive fins. These fins will make them an easy target for fin-nippers like tiger barbs. 

Avoid such fishes as their tank mates.

Decorations For Pearl Gourami Tank

Small logs and driftwood are great options to decorate the tank of pearl gourami. These fishes enjoy some decorations inside the tank, but it is unnecessary. However, they will enjoy playing and exploring some caves and shelters you put inside the tank. 

Don’t go overboard with the decorations, as they can fill up free space inside the tank. Keep it simple and easy for the fish to move effortlessly in the waters. 

Lighting For Pearl Gourami Tank

Adequate natural lighting is sufficient for a Pearl Gourami tank.

Feeding Pearl Gourami

Best Diet For Pearl Gourami

The Gouramis are omnivorous; they feed on both plants and meat. The major diet of the fish in the wild includes; plant matter, algae, invertebrates, and even worms. While in the home aquarium, ensure that you replicate this diet as much as possible for the fish. If you have a problem finding live food, you can use high-quality flake food, frozen foods, or varied vegetable feeds. Occasionally feeding live brine shrimp can also work best with Pearl Gourami. You can also feed them mosquito larvae, blood worms, and daphnia. 

Feeding Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gouramis will eat anything you give them. Do not overfeed them, as they will look for any leftover scraps and eat them. Take note of the amount of uneaten food and serve them accordingly. Uneaten food turns into organic waste that worsens the water quality and increases ammonia levels.

How Often Should You Feed Pearl Gourami?

It is best to serve your Pearl Gouramis two or three feedings a day.

Pearl Gourami Behavior And Temperament

These fishes have a peaceful and warm temperament. They can stay with several other tank mates in harmony. Pearl Gouramis prefers swimming in the mid and upper levels of the tank. Sometimes they can move up to the surface for better availability of oxygen.

Pearl Gouramis can only become highly aggressive during the breeding process. Male gouramis fight over the female species and scare off other fishes. Females can also seem to be on edge a lot during spawning. 

Pearl Gourami Behavior And Temperament

If you desire to keep the fish with other tank mates of different species, ensure you provide proper care and be observant. Never put other fish species too aggressive with your Gouramis because this may disturb their peaceful co-existence.

Are Pearl Gouramis Lonely Or Societal In Nature?

Pearl Gouramis stay together in groups of four or more. They are very social, and many of their natural characteristics are only brought out when they move in a shoal. Keeping them in a group also enhances their beautiful iridescent colors and adds to the beauty of your tank.

However, restrict the number of males in a group as they tend to bother the females a lot during spawning.

Pearl Gourami Tank Mates

Because the fish is territorial, when putting it in the same tank with other fish, ensure that you place it with fish of the same sizes. Avoid keeping other aggressive fishes with the Gourami in the same tank. Gouramis are shy, and if they are put together with aggressive fish, they may just get stressed. 

Pearl Gourami Tank Mates

Small, peace-loving fishes like pearl danios are great tank mates for pearl gouramis. It is safe to keep them with large fishes if they are not territorial. Some leeches and catfish are also great additions to a pearl gourami fish tank. They will mostly stay at the lower levels of the tank and will not come in contact with your gouramis swimming above.

Ideal Pearl Gourami Tank Mates 

Worst Pearl Gourami Tank Mates

Overactive fishes are not great tank mates for Pearl Gouramis. They will exhaust your Pearls and make them hide under shelters. This can also cause a pale coloration, stress, anxiety, and other severe health problems in gouramis.

Pearl Gouramis have large attractive fins. These fins will make them an easy target for fin-nippers like tiger barbs. 

Avoid such fishes as their tank mates.

Breeding Pearl Gourami

Interestingly, the Pearl Gourami is relatively easy to breed, and in most instances, they breed without much of an aquarist intervening. You may need to condition the fish in the aquarium for breeding like many other fish species. Feeding the fish live or frozen foods may help to encourage their breeding process. It takes about one week or so for the fish in the aquarium to start breeding by feeding live foods.

Breeding Pearl Gourami

It is very easy to distinguish the males from the females, especially during breeding time. The males will exhibit a rather bright orange stripe around their neck, while the females will appear somewhat plumper due to eggs within them.

Breeding Level


Sexual Dimorphism

Pearl Gouramis have distinct sexual features that differentiate males from females.

In the throat region of the males, you will notice a bright orange coloring which becomes even brighter during the breeding season. It is claimed that this characteristic brighter orange color in the neck area of the males is what they use to attract and court the females. You will also notice an orange tinge coloring in their fins except for their tail fins. The fins of the males are generally longer, with their dorsal fins looking more pointed than the females.

The females are not as colored as the males. The females have smaller bodies and lack the characteristic orange coloration that the males exhibit on their throat regions.

Preparation of the tank for breeding at a glance:

Raise the tank temperature to at least 80°C with numerous floating plants. These plants will provide the fish with materials to make bubble nest which they like when breeding.

Once the mating has occurred, for three days the male will guard the fertilized eggs which will also hatch in a period of 3 days. You will notice the fry of the fish trying to swim freely in the tank water. You can then remove the males at this point.

Keep on feeding the fry until they grow to a point they will easily fend for themselves.

Common Diseases And Their Treatment

Pearl Gouramis are hardy fishes that are not prone to many diseases. However, their long beautiful fins are frequently affected by fin rot. Fin rot is a bacterial disease that damages and decays the tissues of the fins. It starts at the edge of the fin and spreads inwards. It can develop and affect the entire fin pretty quickly if left untreated.

Pearl Gourami suffering from diseases

The prevention of this disease is much easier than actually curing it. The bacteria causing fin rot can only survive in poor water conditions. Hence, perform regular water checks and maintain water quality to prevent the growth of this bacteria inside the tank.

Interesting Facts About Pearl Gourami

  • Pearl Gourami is a freshwater fish from the Osphronemidae family.
  • Like codfish and paddlefish, Pearl Gourami belongs to the class of Actinopterygii of the Animalia kingdom.
  • These freshwater fishes are predominantly found in South Asia, particularly in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo, and Sumatra.
  • They are accustomed to slightly acidic water in the fish tank.
  • Pearl Gouramis are compatible with countless other peaceful fishes like neon tetras, corydoras, dwarf cichlids, guppies, platies, etc.
  • Guppies can easily survive for 4-5 years, given proper living conditions.
  • Pearls are tiny iridescent fishes that are only about 10-13 long.
Healthy Pearl Gourami


How Many Pearl Gouramis Should Be Kept Together?

It is safe to keep four or more Pearl Gouramis together in a 30-gallon tank. They are very social and enjoy the company of other peaceful fishes. A group of Pearls swimming in groups is very eye-catching and impressive. 

What Are Pearl Gouramis Sensitive Towards?

Pearl Gouramis are extremely sensitive to temperature changes and water conditions. They are very demanding and require proper tank conditions to survive properly.

How To Take Care Of A Pearl Gourami?

Pearl Gouramis are not very hard to maintain. They like floating plants, minimal lighting, and a dark substrate like sand or gravel. They want soft water but with proper filtration. Mimicking their natural habitat inside the fish tank will help them live longer lives.

Are Pearl Gouramis Good Community Fish?

Pearl Gouramis are wonderful community fishes. They have a peaceful and docile nature and can survive in various water conditions. These beautiful fishes are compatible with countless other tank mates and are quite easy to maintain for a beginner. 


If you are looking for a beautiful addition to your fish tank, which is low-maintenance but attractive, Pearl Gourami is the best choice. They are relatively peaceful and friendly. You can keep them with several other fish without much hassle. Being omnivorous, they are not very difficult to feed as well.

Pearls are perfect for a small fish tank. Keep 4-6 Pearl Gouramis in a 30-gallon tank and look at them swimming effortlessly all across the tank. These are also great additions to a community tank as they move in small groups creating the effect of numerous moving pearls inside the water.

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