Care Guide for Honey Gouramis – Our Favorite Peaceful Gourami
Looking for a beautiful centerpiece fish that is similar to a betta but isn’t as aggressive and plays well with other tank mates? The honey gourami is a great choice. Like betta fish, honey gouramis are brightly colored, make bubble nests to house their eggs, and have a special labyrinth organ that allows them to absorb oxygen directly from the air. Find out more about these peaceful nanofish and how to care for them.
What is Honey Gouramis and how do they work?
Trichogaster Chuna is a Trichogaster from India and Bangladesh. It can be found in slow-moving, lush ponds. It is a great pet for beginners because it can withstand sudden changes in water chemistry due to the seasonal monsoon rainfalls. Like many gouramis, the honey gourami has a flat, oblong-shaped body with two modified ventral fins that act like long, trailing whiskers.
Is a honey gourami the same as a dwarf gourami? No, the dwarf gourami is a different species called Trichogaster lalius that grows to 3 inches (8 cm), whereas the honey gourami is smaller in size and stays around 2 inches (5 cm). While dwarf gouramis have a greater number of color varieties to choose from, their feisty nature means that they can be more prone to bullying other fish in the aquarium.
The most popular honey gouramis found in fish shops are yellow or gold types.
What are the different types of honey gouramis? The most common kinds are wild type, yellow gold, and red. Sometimes the latter type is called “sunset honey gourami,” but that common name is often confused with the sunset thick-lipped gourami (Trichogaster labiosa). Thick-lipped Gouramis can reach 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm), so ensure you’re buying the correct species.
Why is my honey-gourami turning black? Although they are mostly solid-colored, the throat and belly of a male can become dark blue-black during a courtship with a female.
How Much Do Honey Gouramis Cost? This depends on the location and the kind of honey gourami.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Honey Gouramis
As mentioned before, honey gouramis are used to living in a wide range of conditions, such as pH of 6.0-8.0, temperatures between 74-82degF (23-28degC), and soft to hard water hardness (or GH). A single honey gourami can live in a 5- or 10-gallon tank, but a group of three gouramis would do better in a 20-gallon aquarium.
Honeygouramis prefer slow flowing water so make sure to use a filter that is slower.
Are honey gouramis hostile? They are peaceful fish who get along with everyone. Honey gouramis can be shy if they have a semi-aggressive fish who establishes himself as the tank boss. Honey gouramis can sometimes fight, especially if there is a male protecting his territory during breeding. We have witnessed dominant females chase away other females at mealtimes. If this happens, make sure to spread the fish food out and provide enough cover to prevent any minor disputes.
Can I keep a honey gourami alone? Both sexes are equally friendly and can live separately or together. They are not schooling fish and do not tend to swim together if they are comfortable with their surroundings. If you keep a pair of them, make sure they have plenty of room and that one gourami is not dominating the other.
Can a honey gourami live with fish? They are friendly and get along well with other fish of similar size. Their classic yellow color really stands out in a lushly planted aquarium with schooling fish of a contrasting color, such as green neon tetras or blue neon rasboras (Sundadanio axelrodi ‘blue’). They also do well with bottom dwellers like cory catfish, rosy loaches, and kuhli loaches. We have previously kept them with a Betta fish but that only worked if they were not as aggressive. So be ready to remove them if needed. They will not eat cherry shrimp or adult amano but will eat any babies that they find.
For a gourami, Trichogaster chuna is very peaceful and easy to get along with.
What does Honey Gouramis eat?
They eat small bugs larvae, crustaceans and other invertebrates, similar to bettafish. They aren’t picky eaters and will happily eat an omnivore diet consisting of flakes and nano pellets, Repashy food, frozen foods, frozen foods and freeze-dried foods. While many labyrinth fish (or anabantoids) like to hang around the middle to top layers of the aquarium, we find that our honey gouramis swim all over the tank and readily eat both floating and sinking foods.
How to Breed Honey Gouramis
Honey gouramis can be fun to breed, especially if your experience with bubble nesters is limited. Because of aggression issues, you don’t have to separate the juveniles from their parents. This is unlike betta fish breeding. There are many different ways to breed honey gouramis, but the first step is to ensure you have at least one male and one female. Sexing gouramis are more vibrant in color than the female. Also, his throat turns dark blue black during courtship.
Male honey gourami in breeding dress
We prepared a 10-gallon aquarium with approximately 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) of water, a heater set to 82degF (28degC), and a gentle sponge filter with minimal surface agitation. Add plenty of floating plants like water sprite and water wisteria so the male has good places to anchor his bubble nest. Also, many hobbyists recommend sealing the aquarium lid with plastic wrap to increase the humidity and ensure proper labyrinth organ development in the babies.
The breeding tank should be stocked with a male-female pair of honey gouramis. To prepare them for spawning, feed them lots of frozen foods as well as live foods such baby brine shrimp. After the male makes a suitable bubble nest and courts the female, he will embrace the female multiple times and collect the eggs she drops with his mouth, carefully placing them in the bubble nest. The male will chase the mother and guard his eggs with ferocity, and then he will remove the female from the nest.
Depending on the temperature of the tank, the eggs may hatch after 24-36 hours and the fry become free swimming after another 1-2 days. It is safe for the father to be removed from the tank after the baby has left the bubble nest. Honey gouramis are capable of laying hundreds of eggs. However, the fry mortality rate is high within the first 2 weeks. The babies are very tiny and require constant access to miniscule foods like infusoria, vinegar eels, and powdered fry food. They should reach the age of 2 weeks and be able to eat baby brine shrimp, which is highly nutritious. Veteran breeders recommend small meals, multiple times per day, and daily, small water changes in order to give fry enough food to keep them full without leaving behind rotting leftovers.
We hope you get a chance to enjoy this hardy and colorful beginner fish in a planted aquarium. We have a great article about the Top 5 Peaceful Gouramis for Community Tanks.