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Tips on Kissing Gourami Care
Kiss Gourami or Helostoma temminckiiare family membersHelostom. Kissing gouramis inhabit the densely vegetated, shallow, slow-moving backwaters that predominate in Thailand and Indonesia. Most fish exported for the freshwater aquarium trade industry are commercially bred on fish farms throughout Southeast Asia.
All gouramis and the popular tropical fish betta fish are part of the suborder Anabantoideimore commonly known as anabantoids or labyrinth fish. Labyrinth fish have evolved in low oxygen environments. Part of this evolution included the development of a lung-like organ, commonly referred to as a labyrinth. The labyrinth is flooded with blood capillaries allowing the absorption of atmospheric oxygen into the bloodstream. The addition of this organ allows gouramis to survive out of water longer than most other fish. Kissing gouramis have evolved to the point where they require a combination of atmospheric and dissolved oxygen to survive. This is why you will frequently see gouramies and bettas come to the surface of an aquarium to suck in air. This gives them the ability to survive in less than ideal water conditions for long periods of time.
Kissing gouramis are one of the largest gouramis kept in freshwater aquariums. They will reach an adult length of between 7.5 and 12 inches, even within the confines of an aquarium. These fish have laterally compressed and slightly rounded bodies. Their caudal fins are either rounded or concave. Their most prominent feature is their mouth which characteristically protrudes outward from their face. Their lips are lined with horny teeth. Their jaw assemblies lack teeth. Kissing gouramies are commercially available in two colors. The one most commonly found in home aquariums is the white. White gouramis have a pearly sheen to their bodies with a pink or orange tinge and transparent pinkish fins. There is also a dwarf variety. Dwarf kissing gouramis are a mutated strain of pink gourami. They are often called balloon gouramis due to their smaller, more rounded bodies.
The foodies who kiss for a sale at the local fishmonger are quite young. Juveniles grow rapidly and will quickly outgrow a small aquarium. An adult kissing gourami requires a minimum tank size of 50 gallons. You will need a larger aquarium for a well-stocked community tank. These fish have semi-aggressive temperaments. They generally mix well with fish of similar size and attitude. But they are prone to intimidating smaller, more timid tank mates. They are generally tolerant of conspecifics, but males frequently challenge each other to dormancy. Said challenge involves locking lips and engaging in a shoving match much like a deer will lock horns and attempt to force their opponent into submission. Kissing gouramis have a habit of burrowing into the aquarium substrate. The best way to minimize this is to use larger, coarser gravel and larger rather than smaller rocks in your aquarium.
It is an omnivorous species. Seaweed is an important part of their diet. They are extremely effective tank cleaners. It is recommended that you do not clean your aquarium glass during routine tank cleaning. These gouramies will use their serrated lips to scrape algae off the surfaces of your aquarium. This form of algae removal is generally perceived as a kiss. They will instinctively browse on most aquarium plants. Non-edible plants such as java moss and java fern work well with kissing gouramis. Other than that, plastic plants are highly recommended. Seaweed pellets in addition to a good quality flake food make an excellent staple food. They will also easily accept frozen and freeze-dried food products. Both brine shrimp and tubifex make wonderful protein supplements. Kissing foodies have an affinity for blanched table vegetables. Lettuce leaves are an all time favorite. Regular servings of vegetables will end up providing a well-balanced diet.
This fish thrives in water temperatures between 72 and 82°F. They work well at pH levels that vary slightly on either side of a neutral balance; 6.8-8.5. With proper care, a kissing gourami should live between 5 and 7 years.
Breeding Kissing Gouramies
Kissing gouramies are sexually dimorphic. Males and females are virtually identical except that females tend to be a little larger and have slightly fuller bodies than males.
Proper diet and aquarium conditions will help induce the breeding cycle. A high-protein live diet, such as brine shrimp, will help prepare your gouramis for spawning. Increasing the water temperature up to 80°F correctly simulates the breeding season. Gouramies are more adept at breeding in freshwater conditions.
The reproductive process is usually initiated by the female and takes place under the cover of floating vegetation. Lettuce leaves provide the camouflage needed to perpetuate breeding. The breeding ritual begins with the pair surrounding each other. This quickly escalates to nudging, dancing, and ends in frantic tail-wagging. Reproduction begins when the male twists his body around the female and turns her over. The female will then lay several hundred eggs. The male fertilizes the eggs as they rise to the surface. Gourami eggs are buoyant and will float.
Kissing gouramies are open-water egg-scatterers. Unlike many gouramis, these fish do not build bubble nests for their future offspring. They also won’t keep their eggs. Once spawned, adults should be removed from the breeding pool to avoid predation. The same lettuce leaves that provided an environment for spawning will now function as a sort of breeding chamber. The gouarmi eggs will stick to the lettuce. The eggs hatch in about 24 hours. Lettuce provides a natural source of infusoria for newly hatched fry. Fry will be free swimming in about two days. Free-swimming fry can be fed finely crushed flakes or baby brine shrimp.
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