Honey Gouramis Care Guide – 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? We recommend the honey gourami. Like bettafish, honey gouramis can be brightly colored. They make bubble nests for their eggs and have a labyrinth system that allows them absorb oxygen directly from air. Find out more about these peaceful nanofish and how to care for them.
What are Honey Gouramis?
Trichogaster, also known as Trichogaster chuna, is from India and Bangladesh. They can be found in slow moving ponds with lots of vegetation. It is a great pet for beginners because it can withstand sudden changes in water chemistry due to the seasonal monsoon rainfalls. Honey gouramis are similar to many other gouramis. They have a flat, oval-shaped body and two modified ventral Fins that act as 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.
Honey gouramis of the yellow or gold variety are most commonly found in fish stores.
What are the different types of honey gouramis? The most common kinds are wild type, yellow gold, and red. The latter is sometimes called “sunset honey gurami”, but this common name is often mistaken for the sunset thick-lipped urami (Trichogaster lebiosa). Thick-lipped Gouramis can reach 3.5-4 inches (9-10 cm), so ensure you’re buying the right species.
Why are my honey gouramis turning black? While they are mostly solid-colored. However, the throat or belly of a male gourami may turn dark blue-black when he is attempting to court a woman.
How much does honey gouramis usually cost? It all depends on where you live and what color the gourami is.
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Honey Gouramis
Honey gouramis can live in a variety of environments, including pH of 6.0 to 8.0, temperatures between 74 and82 degrees F (23 to 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 thrive in slow-moving waters. Use a filter that has a slower flow.
Are honey gouramis aggressive? No, they are considered to be peaceful community fish that get along with everyone. If a semi-aggressive fish is established as the “tank boss”, the honey gourami may become shy and hide all the time. That being said, honey gouramis sometimes squabble amongst themselves, especially if you have a male defending his territory during breeding periods. We have also seen a dominant female chase away another female during mealtimes, so spread out the fish food and provide lots of cover to minimize any minor quarreling.
Can I keep a honey gourami alone? Both sexes are equally good-natured and can live alone or in a group. They do not like to be surrounded by other fish and will not swim together. Make sure you have enough room for them both and that the one gourami does not dominate 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 can also be kept with bottom dwellers such cory catfish and rosy loaches. They have been kept with betta fish in the past, but this only worked if the betta wasn’t as aggressive. If they are not, be ready to separate them. They won’t eat adult cherry shrimp or amano, but they will eat any baby they find.
Trichogaster chuna, a gourami is calm and easy to get along.
What are Honey Gouramis’ Favorite Foods?
In the wild, they eat small bug larvae, crustaceans, and other invertebrates – similar to betta fish. They don’t have a preference for food and will eat a variety of foods including flakes, nano pellets (Repashy gel food), freeze-dried foods and frozen 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 make great fish, especially if you’ve never tried to breed bubble nesters. You don’t need to separate the young fish into different containers or jars due to aggression issues. 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. When it comes to sexing gouramis, the male is usually more vibrant in coloration than the female, and his throat turns dark blue-black during courtship.
Male bee honey gourami in breeding gown
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. You can add lots of floating plants such as water sprite or water wisteria to give the male a place to build 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.
In the breeding tank, add a male honey gourami and a female honey gourami pair. Feed them lots of frozen food and live foods such as baby brine shrimps to prepare them for spawning. 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. He will then chase anyone who gets in his way, including the mother.
The temperature of the tank can determine the time it takes for eggs to hatch. Fry may become free-swimming after 1-2 days. The father can be removed from the tank once his children have 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. Babies are tiny and need to be fed small foods such as vinegar eels and infusoria. Around the 2-week mark, they should be big enough to eat live baby brine shrimp as their primary food, which we highly recommend due to its densely nutritious content. Veteran breeders recommend small meals, multiple times per day, and daily water changes to ensure that fry are able to eat enough without having to waste water from 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.