Gouramis come in a variety of colors and shapes. One of the liveliest among fishes, the Gourami will add life to an aquarium. Among Gouramis, there are three popular species: the Giant Gourami, the Blue Gourami and the Kissing Gourami.
- Giant Gouramis: Male and female giant gouramis can be easily distinguished from their dorsal fin, body colour and nuchal hump. The males have a more pointed dorsal fin, a more pronounced nuchal hump (a lump of swollen tissues on the head, above the eyes) and turns darker during spawning. Although Gaint Gouramis prefer to be herbivores, they eat meat as well. The fries in such cases like larvae of butterflies. Fish tanks should be filled with a very low depth of water, preferably 20 cm, for breeding the giant gourami. Summer is the best time for breeding. Also make sure you fill the tank with lots of aquatic vegetation, like hydrillas.
- Blue Gouramis: Another species in the Gourami family is the Blue gourami which are known to be hardy and durable. They are a part of the three spot gourami family. Like all three spot gouramis, the Blue gouramis have two dark spots on its side, with its eye being considered the third spot, and thus the name. Much like blue gouramis, there are white and golden three-spot gouramis. The female Blue gourami produces 200 to a 1000 eggs in a single go. The one most sure way to distinguish the male and female of the species is to check the dorsal fin. Males have a more pointed dorsal and anal fin, compared to the females. Another less pronounced difference is their size. The males tend to be slightly larger than the females, but this cannot be taken as a definite indication of the sex.
- Kissing Gouramis: The Kissing Gourami get their name from the fact that the males of the species lock lips when challenging each other. Kissing gourami fishes are found in pink and grayish-green colors. They grow up to 30 cm in length. Their food is mainly algae, but they require meat in their diet as well. Another peculiar feature among these gouramis is the fact that the eggs as well as the fries are lighter than water and will always float to the surface.
Breeding: Gourami breeding is relatively easy and can be done by beginners. When they are ready for spawning, the male fish creates a bubble nest on the surface of the tank, most probably under some floating leaf. The males then try to persuade the females to lay eggs in this nest. Once the female has laid eggs, they have to be removed from the tank. This is because the males switch to ‘nurturing parent’ mode and become extremely protective of the eggs and sometimes attack the females in the process. The eggs hatch in one day, and the fries start swimming in four days. This is when the male fish has to be removed as well. Since the gourami produces up to a 1000 eggs in a single go, these fishes are a good source of income for fish farmers.