The pearl gourami is a beautiful fish with impressive color and an unbeatable character. Respect the vegetation and if something can complain the amateur who has them in his aquarium is perhaps of his excessive shyness.
It belongs to the Belontiidae family, just like betas, and like these, it has a cephalic breathing auxiliary organ called the labyrinth.
This system helps them survive in the muddy and warm lagoons poor in oxygen that are their natural habitat.
Characteristics of Pearl Gourami:
The adult specimens in this species can reach a size of 11 centimeters. Rarely, some specimens reach 12.5 centimeters.
It has the flattened and wide body of other species of gourami. The background color is silver, brown tending to violet, with lighter dotting that covers the entire body.
A thick black line begins in the mouth and extends to three-quarters of the length of the body.
They usually have a black spot at the base of the tail. There is sexual dimorphism, which is all the clearer the more mature the fish is.
In the male, the dorsal fin is much more elongated than in the female and ends in a tip, while the anal fin is much more developed and has a frayed appearance.
“In addition, in mature specimens and during the breeding season, the area of the throat and belly take on the male an impressive orange color.”
They are not as resistant as their cousins the blue gourami, but their greater color more than compensates this defective.
Anyway, you can not say that they are far from delicate fish. If the conditions of hardness, pH, and temperature are adequate, they have proven to be very resistant and easy to reproduce.
There are also many cases of amateurs who have maintained without major problems even reproduced these fish in hard and alkaline waters. You may also like to read Cherry Barb
This animal was first imported as an aquarium fish in 1933. Pearl gourami has never been a fish as frequent as blue, which justifies that there are not as many mutations as for the latter.
However, selective breeding and hybridization between different species of gourami are giving rise to the appearance of new varieties and hybrids.
As we have said, their main defect is their shyness, if they are not comfortable in our aquarium they will have dull colors and usually a short life.
When they get scared or are very excited they jump.
The temperature of Pearl Gourami :
The temperature of the aquarium should be between 24 ° and 28 ° C. If the breeder wants to reproduce this species, it will have to maintain the temperature between 27 ° and 28 ° C.
If not, it is better to have them at 25 ° C, since their metabolism is somewhat slower and their life longer. You may also like to read Discus Fish
This species in its home environment inhabits muddy ponds. With large amounts of organic matter in suspension, poor in salts and with an acid ph.
The only element abundant in solution is the iron that gives its characteristic red color to water.
Obviously it is not necessary to reconstruct exactly these conditions in an aquarium. With farming, it has been possible to reduce the requirements in terms of water conditions, even living without problems in hard and alkaline waters.
However, the justify conditions for this species are a Ph between 6 and 7.
Feeding of Pearl Gourami:
The gourami is omnivorous animals with a clear predominance of the animal component over the vegetable in their diet.
They do not usually bite the plants and prefer seaweed as a vegetable part of their diet.
They accept flake foods without problems. But if you want to have healthy animals and able to reproduce, you have to resort to natural foods whether they are live or frozen.
Despite its size, it has to be said that the pearl gourami has a proportionally very small mouth, which must be taken into account.
When they are given chopped foods such as worms, they will have to be broken up more finely than they would be.
And wait if we do not want our pearl gourami to be unable to eat the pieces. Two meals throughout the day would be the most appropriate, one with food in flakes and the other with natural.
It is not difficult neither to maintain or breed this species if the conditions in terms of aquarium characteristics, water and hardness are respected.
Like betas, pearl gourami builds a bubble nest that can reach considerable dimensions.
During the breeding season, the male has an orange color in his ventral area.
As in other species, if we want to have certain guarantees that the spawning takes place, it is necessary to feed the reproducers abundantly.
Usually, this species is fed with natural prey as mosquito larvae, preferably live, if not frozen. Some days before bringing the broodstock to the laying tank it may be advisable to separate them.
The laying can go from a dozen eggs to 500. After finishing the laying, the female flees from the male who attacks her, the appropriate moment to remove her.
During his vigil the male will not feed, so we should not feed him to avoid water pollution.
At 28 ° C, the incubation lasts about 24 hours. Two days after hatching, the fry is able to swim by themselves, the appropriate time to remove the male and decrease the height of the water to 10 cm.
The first 5 to 7 days the fry can only feed on infusoria or liquid preparations for fry.
From this moment they will be able to start feeding on brine shrimp nauplii and micro worms.
From 4 to 6 weeks will accept powdered feed. As they develop, the size of the prey will increase. At least 50% of the water should be changed every two days.
Its growth is very slow and irregular, and often it will be necessary to make selections. From the fourth week, the water level can be raised to 2 to 3 centimeters per week.
The pearl gourami is an ideal fish for a community aquarium with regard to its character.
They are not at all aggressive, not even with much smaller species than them, and they have a placid behavior.
There are three details to keep in mind when thinking about a community aquarium for the pearl gourami.
They are fish that like heat, at 27º C they are truly at ease, and they tolerate very little or no current.
They are also timid fish that do not like excessive lighting. And that requires abundant shelters in which to hide to be quiet.
For these special characteristics, the ideal companions of the pearl gourami are other species of Gourami, Colusa, and betas.
Which have requirements in regard to water and temperature similar to pearl gourami. The aquarium for gourami should never be too deep. Not more than 30 centimeters, and it is important that it be wide.
Pearl gourami can live in waters that do not adapt to their needs and at lower temperatures, although their colors will always be duller.
This species is very sensitive to sudden changes in the physical and chemical conditions of the water.
So the breeder has to be very careful when you change the water. Since the environment inhabited this species was very harsh conditions, it adapts perfectly to aquariums.
As long as the aquarium water is warm. This species only requires food care when it is the breeding season.
As a reference: Wikipedia