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Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus leerii): Complete Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs

Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus leerii): Complete Care Guides, Tank Mates, FAQs

Welcome to the captivating world of the Pearl Gourami, the Trichopodus leerii! Known for its stunning pearl-like patterns and its peaceful temperament, the Pearl Gourami is a favored species among aquarists. I’m thrilled to share my insights into caring for this remarkable fish, choosing ideal tank mates, and addressing some of the most common FAQs.

A member of the Osphronemidae family, the Pearl Gourami shares its lineage with other well-loved aquarium species like the Betta fish and other Gouramis. The iridescent spots on its brownish-silver body give it a namesake pearly appearance, a true sight to behold. Male Pearl Gouramis outshine the females with their striking reddish-orange throats and breasts, especially during the breeding season.

However, the Pearl Gourami isn’t just about looks. It also sports a tranquil demeanor that makes it an excellent choice for community tanks. Yet, it’s the males that might surprise you with their occasional territorial behavior during breeding periods, though they generally remain calm towards other species.

Interestingly, you may come across the Albino Pearl Gourami, a less common variant that flaunts a unique white or cream color palette. Regardless of the variant, Pearl Gouramis are anything but rare in the aquarium world. Their popularity has never waned, and their presence in home aquariums continues to delight enthusiasts globally.

Originating from the warm, slow-moving freshwater bodies of Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, the Pearl Gourami displays a preference for densely planted environments. These top-to-mid dwellers often stay near the water surface, thanks to their unique labyrinth organ. This organ enables them to breathe air from the surface, making them incredibly adaptable to various aquatic environments.

In terms of diet, Pearl Gouramis aren’t fussy eaters. They typically feast on insects, invertebrates, and zooplankton in the wild. But in captivity, they’re pretty adaptable and will readily accept flake foods, live foods, and even frozen or freeze-dried foods.

But one of the most fascinating aspects of Pearl Gouramis is their breeding behavior. These bubble nest builders have a unique reproductive process where the males construct nests of air bubbles at the water’s surface. It’s in these nests that the females lay their eggs, starting the next generation of these magnificent creatures.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with the knowledge to ensure your Pearl Gourami thrives in your home aquarium. Join me as we delve deeper into the care guides, tank mate options, and frequently asked questions about the stunning Pearl Gourami. Let’s embark on this fishkeeping journey together!

Unveiling the Pearl Gourami: Price, Common Names, and Variants

When you venture into the fascinating world of fishkeeping, it’s vital to be well-informed about your selected species. For the Pearl Gourami, the initial factors to consider include its price, the various common names it’s known by, and the different variants you might encounter. Let’s dive into these aspects to provide you with a clear picture of what to expect when adding this mesmerizing species to your aquarium.

The price of a Pearl Gourami typically varies depending on the size and health of the fish, as well as the place of purchase. They are generally affordable, making them a popular choice for aquarists. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $10 for a healthy Pearl Gourami from a reputable seller.

Besides the widely-used term “Pearl Gourami”, this species is also often referred to as the Leeri Gourami or Lace Gourami. Different regions and cultures might have their unique names for this species, but in the aquarium hobby, these three names are predominantly used.


In addition to the standard Pearl Gourami, there is a lesser-known variant known as the Albino Pearl Gourami. This variant exhibits a white or cream color, providing a stunning contrast to the typical pearl-like pattern of the common Pearl Gourami. However, it’s worth noting that the Albino Pearl Gourami might not be as readily available as the standard variant.

Standard Pearl Gourami

Standard Pearl Gourami
h080, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This is the most common type of Pearl Gourami, notable for its brownish-silver base color overlaid with a gorgeous pearl-like patterning. Male Pearl Gouramis showcase an additional reddish-orange coloration on their throat and breast area during the breeding season. This variant is widely available and is a favorite among many aquarists due to its striking coloration and peaceful temperament.

Golden Pearl Gourami

Gold Gourami Trichogaster trichopterus . Fish tank concept

Golden Pearl Gourami, often referred to as Golden Gourami, is a variant of Pearl Gourami. It’s beloved for its brilliant gold coloration, which stands out remarkably in any aquarium setting.

This variety has been selectively bred to exhibit a more uniform and intense golden-yellow color while maintaining the signature “pearl” patterning of tiny, pearl-like speckles across its body. These speckles can sometimes be less noticeable in the Golden variety compared to the standard Pearl Gourami due to the striking golden coloration.

Albino Pearl Gourami

This is a less commonly found variant, characterized by a white or cream coloration that starkly contrasts with the standard pearl-like pattern of the regular Pearl Gourami. The Albino variant carries the same patterns and physical features but lacks pigmentation. This lack of color gives it a unique, ghost-like appearance, making it a captivating addition to any aquarium.

Blue Pearl Gourami

This variant is not as common as the standard Pearl Gourami, and it’s a real treat for fish enthusiasts due to its unique coloration. As the name suggests, the Blue Pearl Gourami exhibits a lovely blue hue with the same pearl-like pattern overlay. This blue color gives them an exotic and stunning look that can make your aquarium visually striking.

Each of these variants carries the same basic care requirements, making them equally suitable for both beginner and experienced fishkeepers. Their color differences can provide a unique aesthetic to your aquarium, allowing you to pick the one that best complements your overall setup.

Setting Up Your Aquarium: Required Pond Size and Water Parameters

Before welcoming a Pearl Gourami into your aquarium, it’s crucial to ensure you’ve created an environment where it can thrive. A major part of this process involves setting up the aquarium with the appropriate tank size and maintaining specific water parameters. Keep in mind that Pearl Gouramis are relatively larger and more active than many other fish species, hence the need for an adequately sized aquarium. Additionally, like all tropical freshwater fish, they require certain water conditions to stay healthy and happy. Let’s look at these important details.

Tank Size

For Pearl Gouramis, a tank size of at least 20 gallons is recommended for a single fish. However, if you’re planning to keep a group, you’ll need a larger tank — 40 to 50 gallons would be ideal. This is due to their adult size, which can reach up to 4-5 inches, and their active nature.

Water Parameters

Pearl Gouramis thrive in water temperatures between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (25-28 degrees Celsius). They can tolerate a wide range of pH levels, from 6.0 to 8.0, but they generally prefer slightly acidic to neutral conditions. The water hardness should be between 5 and 15 dGH. Always remember to keep these conditions stable, as drastic changes can stress your fish and lead to health issues.

When you’ve achieved the right tank size and water conditions, you’ll have set the stage for your Pearl Gouramis to lead a vibrant and healthy life.

Understanding the Pearl Gourami’s Growth: Lifespan and Full Size

As an aspiring or seasoned aquarist, understanding the growth dynamics of your aquatic pet is fundamental to your fishkeeping journey. The lifespan and full growth size of a Pearl Gourami can significantly influence factors like tank selection, feeding practices, and overall care routines. This understanding will also prepare you for the commitment needed to ensure the well-being of your pet fish over time. Now, let’s delve into the lifespan and full size that a Pearl Gourami can reach.


Pearl Gouramis have a reasonably long lifespan for aquarium fish, typically living between 5 to 8 years under optimal care and conditions. However, keep in mind that this can vary based on several factors such as diet, environment, and genetic makeup.

Full Size

In terms of size, Pearl Gouramis can grow quite large compared to other aquarium fish. On average, they can reach an adult size of 4 to 5 inches, with males usually being slightly larger than females. Keep in mind that providing adequate space in your aquarium is necessary to accommodate their full size and ensure their well-being.

Emulating Natural Conditions: Environment, Behavior, Habitat Preference, and Aquarium Decoration

Creating a suitable environment for your Pearl Gourami that emulates its natural habitat is key to its health and happiness. The behavior and habitat preferences of these fascinating fish provide a blueprint for setting up and decorating your aquarium. By replicating conditions similar to their native environments, you can encourage natural behaviors and minimize stress for your Pearl Gourami. Let’s explore the Pearl Gourami’s natural environment, behavior, habitat preference, and how this translates to your aquarium setup.

Environment and Behavior

Pearl Gouramis are native to the warm, slow-moving waters of Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. They are relatively peaceful and exhibit unique behaviors such as surface breathing thanks to their labyrinth organ, an adaptation to their oxygen-poor native waters. They often display inquisitive behavior and like to explore their surroundings.

Habitat Preference

In the wild, Pearl Gouramis inhabit densely vegetated areas in freshwater bodies. They spend much of their time in the middle and top layers of water. These areas often have low light levels due to overhanging vegetation and floating plants.

Aquarium Decoration

To recreate the Pearl Gourami’s natural habitat in your aquarium, consider the following points:

Plants: Fill your tank with live plants. They provide hiding spots, which can reduce stress for your Pearl Gouramis. Floating plants can help mimic the low-light conditions of their natural habitat.

Substrate: Use a dark substrate to mimic the dark muddy bottoms of their natural habitats and to make your Gouramis’ colors stand out.

Hiding Spots: Use decor such as rocks, driftwood, and caves to provide additional hiding places and to give your aquarium a natural look.

Lighting: Keep lighting subdued to mirror their natural environment and keep your Gouramis comfortable.

A thoughtful and well-planned setup can ensure your Pearl Gouramis feel right at home, display natural behaviors, and exhibit vibrant colors, leading to a lively and attractive aquarium.

Selecting the Right Companions: Ideal Tank Mates and Fish to Avoid

When it comes to creating a vibrant community aquarium, choosing the right tank mates is crucial. Pearl Gouramis are peaceful fish that can cohabitate well with many other species. However, they may not do well with certain types of fish that could either stress them out or compete with them for resources. Identifying the right companions for your Pearl Gouramis will contribute to a harmonious tank atmosphere while knowing which fish to avoid can prevent potential conflicts and stress. So let’s examine the ideal tank mates for Pearl Gouramis and the fish species that are best kept separately.

Creating a balanced and harmonious community tank involves more than just picking out a variety of fish that you find appealing. There are several essential factors to consider when choosing tank mates for your Pearl Gouramis to ensure compatibility and peaceful coexistence. Here are some of the key points to keep in mind:

  1. Temperament: Always choose fish that share a similar temperament. Pearl Gouramis are peaceful fish and should be paired with other peaceful fish to avoid conflicts and bullying.
  2. Size: Try to avoid choosing fish that are considerably larger or smaller than your Pearl Gouramis. Larger fish can bully or even eat smaller ones, while smaller fish may become stressed by the presence of much larger species.
  3. Dietary Needs: All fish in your tank should have compatible dietary needs. Some species have specific dietary requirements which, if not met, can lead to health issues.
  4. Water Conditions: Ensure that all species in your tank thrive in similar water conditions, including temperature, pH, and hardness levels.
  5. Swimming Levels: Fish often prefer different levels of the tank (top, middle, or bottom). Choosing species that occupy different levels can help prevent territorial disputes.
  6. Breeding Behavior: Some fish become aggressive during breeding. Be aware of this behavior to prevent potential conflicts.
  7. Activity Levels: Mixing active swimmers with more sedate or shy species can stress the quieter species. Choose tank mates with similar activity levels.
  8. Fin Nipping Tendencies: Avoid fish species known to nip the fins of others, as Pearl Gouramis have long, flowing fins that can be a target.

Ideal Tank Mates

  1. Corydoras Catfish: These bottom-dwellers are peaceful, making them great companions. They’ll also help clean up any uneaten food.
  2. Dwarf Gouramis: Similar in temperament to Pearl Gouramis, they can live harmoniously together.
  3. Harlequin Rasboras: These small, peaceful fish prefer the middle of the tank, minimizing competition for territory.
  4. Neon Tetras: Their small size, peaceful nature, and love for mid-water make them good companions.
  5. Platies: Easygoing and colorful, Platies add visual interest and get along well with Pearl Gouramis.
  6. Mollies: These are sociable, peaceful fish that coexist well with Pearl Gouramis.
  7. Danios: Active but peaceful, Danios are excellent swimmers who prefer the top and middle water levels.
  8. Guppies: Guppies are small, peaceful fish that add color and liveliness to a tank.
  9. Angelfish: As long as they’re not overly territorial, Angelfish can coexist well with Pearl Gouramis.
  10. Cherry Barbs: These fish are peaceful, plus their red color provides a nice contrast to Pearl Gouramis.
  11. Rainbowfish: Active swimmers, Rainbowfish are peaceful and can coexist with Pearl Gouramis.
  12. Plecos: Known for their algae-eating habits, Plecos are calm and will not disturb Pearl Gouramis.
  13. Swordtails: Active but peaceful, Swordtails can cohabit well with Pearl Gouramis.
  14. Cardinal Tetras: Similar to Neon Tetras, these fish are peaceful, preferring the middle of the tank.
  15. Loaches: Many loach species are bottom dwellers and peaceful, making them suitable tank mates.
  16. Black Skirt Tetras: These fish are peaceful, and their darker color provides a nice contrast to Pearl Gouramis.
  17. Kuhli Loaches: Their peaceful nature and preference for the bottom of the tank make them good companions.
  18. Silver Dollars: Despite their size, these fish are peaceful and can get along well with Pearl Gouramis.
  19. Ghost Shrimp: These invertebrates can live harmoniously with Pearl Gouramis, adding diversity to your tank.
  20. Bristlenose Plecos: These are peaceful, non-aggressive bottom dwellers, great for a community tank.

Fish to Avoid

While Pearl Gouramis are relatively peaceful, they can get stressed or bullied by more aggressive or much larger species. Fish to avoid include:

  1. Large Cichlids: Many large Cichlids are aggressive and territorial, making them poor tank mates for the peaceful Pearl Gourami.
  2. Tiger Barbs: Known to be fin nippers, Tiger Barbs could easily stress or injure Pearl Gouramis.
  3. Red-Tailed Catfish: These fish are highly predatory and can grow very large, which can intimidate or endanger Pearl Gouramis.
  4. Oscars: Oscars are large and aggressive fish that are likely to bully or harm Pearl Gouramis.
  5. Bettas: Despite their beauty, Bettas can be quite aggressive and may fight with the Pearl Gouramis, particularly the males.
  6. Arowanas: These predatory fish can grow extremely large and may see smaller fish like the Pearl Gouramis as food.
  7. Flowerhorns: Known for their aggression and territorial behavior, Flowerhorns can stress or harm Pearl Gouramis.
  8. Piranhas: As predatory fish, Piranhas are not suitable tank mates for the peaceful Pearl Gouramis.
  9. Convict Cichlids: These are aggressive fish, especially during breeding, and may harass or harm Pearl Gouramis.
  10. Pufferfish: Many Pufferfish species can be aggressive and may nip the fins of the Pearl Gouramis.

Choosing the right tank mates is key to fostering a peaceful and harmonious aquarium environment where all the fish species can thrive together.

Ensuring a Healthy Habitat: Tips for Tank Maintenance and Cleaning

Maintaining a clean and healthy aquarium is essential for the well-being of your Pearl Gouramis. Routine maintenance ensures that your aquarium’s water parameters stay within a safe range and that your fish have a clean and stress-free environment to live in. It’s also a way to prevent disease and ensure the longevity of your fish. Let’s dive into some useful tips for maintaining and cleaning your Pearl Gourami tank:

  1. Regular Water Changes: Make sure to perform regular water changes, typically 20-25% of the tank water every week or two. This helps keep nitrate levels down and replenish essential minerals in the water.
  2. Tank Filter Maintenance: Clean the filter regularly, but remember not to clean all the filter media at once, as this can remove beneficial bacteria. A good practice is to rinse filter media in the tank water you’ve removed during a water change.
  3. Substrate Cleaning: Use a gravel vacuum to clean the substrate and remove any uneaten food or waste that’s settled on the bottom.
  4. Monitor Water Parameters: Use water testing kits to regularly check your water’s pH, hardness, and levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
  5. Algae Control: Keep algae growth in check by controlling light exposure (no more than 8-10 hours per day) and consider adding an algae-eating species to your tank.
  6. Equipment Check: Regularly inspect heaters, filters, and lights to ensure they are working properly.
  7. Tank Decor Cleaning: Clean the tank decorations as necessary, but avoid using soaps or detergents, which can be harmful to fish.

Meeting Nutritional Needs: The Best Foods for Your Pearl Gourami

Providing a balanced diet for your Pearl Gourami is essential to its health and longevity. These fish are omnivores, which means they enjoy a varied diet of both plant-based and meaty foods. A well-rounded diet not only meets their nutritional needs but also keeps them interested in feeding time. It can even enhance their beautiful coloration. Let’s look into some of the best food choices for your Pearl Gouramis:

  1. High-quality Flakes or Pellets: These can serve as a good base for your Gouramis’ diet. Ensure that they are of high quality and designed for tropical freshwater fish.
  2. Live Foods: Foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia, and mosquito larvae are all great options. They can help stimulate your Gouramis’ natural hunting instincts.
  3. Frozen Foods: If live foods aren’t available, frozen alternatives like bloodworms and brine shrimp are also excellent. They offer similar nutritional benefits to live foods.
  4. Vegetables: Pearl Gouramis will also appreciate blanched vegetables like peas, zucchini, and lettuce.
  5. Vitamin Supplements: Occasionally, supplementing their diet with specially designed vitamins can help ensure they’re receiving all necessary nutrients.

Remember to feed your Pearl Gouramis in small amounts, usually two to three times a day, and only give them what they can consume within a few minutes. Overfeeding can lead to poor water quality and health problems for your fish. A varied diet will keep your Pearl Gouramis healthy, vibrant, and active.

Propagating Your Pearl Gourami: Essential Breeding Tips

Breeding Pearl Gouramis can be a rewarding experience for the dedicated aquarist, and observing their unique mating rituals and behaviors is truly fascinating. They are bubble nest builders, meaning the male will construct a nest of air bubbles on the water’s surface where the eggs will be stored and protected. While breeding Pearl Gouramis isn’t particularly difficult, it does require careful planning and monitoring. Here are some essential tips for breeding your Pearl Gouramis:

  1. Set Up a Breeding Tank: Prepare a separate tank for breeding. This should have subdued lighting, a heater to maintain the right temperature, and floating plants to support the bubble nest.
  2. Select a Healthy Pair: Choose a healthy, mature male and female. The male will typically be larger and have longer fins, while the female will have a rounder body.
  3. Condition the Pair: Feed your Gouramis a diet rich in live or frozen foods to get them into breeding conditions.
  4. Create the Right Environment: The breeding tank should have warm water (about 80°F), a lower water level (around 6-8 inches), and gentle filtration to avoid disturbing the bubble nest.
  5. Monitor the Process: Watch for the male building the bubble nest and the subsequent courtship display. Once eggs are laid and fertilized, the male will guard the nest.
  6. Post-Spawning Care: Remove the female immediately after spawning to avoid aggression from the male. Once the fry hatch and become free-swimming, remove the male as well to prevent him from eating the young.
  7. Feed the Fry: Initially, the fry will need to be fed infusoria or liquid fry food until they’re large enough to eat brine shrimp nauplii or finely crushed flake food.

In conclusion, Pearl Gouramis are a joy to keep, admired not only for their captivating beauty but also for their peaceful demeanor and intriguing behaviors. Each facet of caring for these spectacular fish, from providing the right food and tank conditions to observing their unique breeding habits, can be a rewarding journey of discovery.

By offering them a habitat that closely mirrors their natural environment, feeding them a balanced diet, and taking the necessary steps to maintain a clean and stress-free home for them, you can ensure that your Pearl Gouramis thrive. Keeping an aquarium stocked with these beautiful fish is a fascinating and fulfilling pastime, providing a splash of living color and a sense of tranquility to any space.

Embracing the challenge of creating a harmonious community aquarium by carefully selecting tank mates and dedicating time for routine maintenance can contribute to a balanced ecosystem where your Pearl Gouramis and their companions can live harmoniously. So, whether you’re a seasoned aquarist or a novice just beginning your journey into fish keeping, Pearl Gouramis make a delightful and rewarding addition to your aquarium.


Can I Keep Pearl Gouramis with Aggressive Fish?

No, Pearl Gouramis are generally peaceful and can become stressed in the company of aggressive fish. They do best in a community tank with other similarly peaceful species.

Are Pearl Gouramis Plant-Eaters?

Pearl Gouramis are omnivores and, while they do consume plant matter, they also need protein-rich foods in their diet. A balance of plant-based food and meaty food like brine shrimp or bloodworms is ideal.

Do Pearl Gouramis Require a Heated Tank?

Yes, Pearl Gouramis are tropical fish and require a heated tank. The ideal temperature for these fish ranges between 77-82°F.

How Do I Know if My Pearl Gourami is Healthy?

Healthy Pearl Gouramis will have vibrant coloration, clear eyes, and fins displayed openly. They will be active, show an interest in their surroundings, and have a good appetite. Signs of illness may include lethargy, loss of appetite, color fading, clamped fins, or unusual spots or growths on the body.

Can I Breed Pearl Gouramis in My Home Aquarium?

Yes, with the right setup and conditions, you can breed Pearl Gouramis in a home aquarium. They are bubble nest builders and the breeding process can be quite fascinating to observe.

How Can I Differentiate Between Male and Female Pearl Gouramis?

Males typically have a brighter, more distinct coloration and longer, pointed dorsal fins. Females, on the other hand, are usually smaller with duller coloration and rounded dorsal fins.

Can Pearl Gouramis Live Alone?

While Pearl Gouramis are relatively peaceful and can be kept singly, they tend to do better when kept in pairs or small groups. Having company of their own kind often makes them feel safer and can stimulate natural behaviors.

Do Pearl Gouramis Jump?

Yes, Pearl Gouramis are known to be jumpers. It’s advisable to have a well-fitted lid on your aquarium to prevent any unfortunate accidents.

How Fast do Pearl Gouramis Grow?

Pearl Gouramis grow at a moderate rate. They can reach their full size of around 4 to 5 inches in length within a year, given ideal conditions and nutrition.

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Total posts created: 116
A long-time freshwater fish enthusiast with a passion for sharing knowledge about this fascinating hobby. Over the years, Michelle has dedicated countless hours to studying, learning, and experiencing firsthand the joys and challenges of fish-keeping.

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