At AllThingsNature, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.

Learn more...

What is a Giant Gourami?

Marjorie McAtee
Marjorie McAtee

The giant gourami, also known as the common gourami or true gourami, is a large food fish native to Southeast Asia. Giant gouramis are also sometimes kept as pets. These fish are omnivores, which means they feed on water weeds, smaller fish, and crustaceans in the wild. Adult fish typically have a blunt head and an ovular body, and are dark brown in color. Males of the species can sometimes display aggression towards one another, and vary slightly in appearance from the females.

Known scientifically as Osphronemus goramy, giant gouramis are often striped when young. Immature fish may be orange or reddish-brown in color, with brown stripes. Adult fish typically lose these stripes and become dark brown, though some giant gouramis have been known to turn pink or white as they mature. Scales may bear a silver iridescence.

Giant gourami feed on earthworms.
Giant gourami feed on earthworms.

These fish are known as giant gourami because they can grow to a length of 28 inches (71 cm). In the wild, they live in shallow pools. The giant gourami is a labyrinth fish, a type of freshwater fish possessing a special organ that allows it to breath air from the water's surface. This organ makes the giant gourami well-adapted to oxygen-depleted, weedy, and shallow waters. It also means that the giant gourami can survive out of the water for hours, making it easy to transport for breeding and pond-stocking purposes.

Captive gourami can be fed lettuce and spinach.
Captive gourami can be fed lettuce and spinach.

Males and females of this species generally vary in appearance. Males will usually display a "nuchal hump," which makes the forehead appear swollen. Males of the species also have more sharply pointed dorsal and anal fins than the females. These fish breed via bubble nest, constructed among the leaves of water plants at the water's surface. Fry emerge from the nest about two weeks after the eggs are laid.

While giant gouramis are often kept as pets, they are large, predatory fish and should be kept in a large aquarium with other large, non-aggressive fish. Some giant gourami hobbyists believe, however, that one can train a giant gourami not to eat its tank mates by never introducing it to live food in captivity.

Because these are large fish, they should ideally be kept in a large aquarium when in captivity. Appropriate tank size can vary according to the size of the fish being kept, but a 40-inch (101 cm) tank is considered the minimum size for a small giant gourami. These fish seem to thrive best at water temperatures between 68 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 C). In captivity, they can be fed on blood worms, earthworms, small fish, fish pellets or flakes, or insects. Oatmeal, lettuce, and spinach can be fed to take the place of water weeds in the captive gourami's diet.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Giant Gourami?

The Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy) is a large freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia. It's known for its impressive size, reaching up to 70 cm (28 inches) in length and weighing up to 9 kg (20 pounds). This species is characterized by its thick lips and a distinct three-lobed tail fin, making it a unique addition to large aquariums or outdoor ponds.

What does the Giant Gourami eat?

Giant Gouramis are omnivores with a diverse diet. In the wild, they consume a mix of plant material, algae, and small animals like insects and larvae. In captivity, they can be fed a variety of foods including pellets, fruits, and vegetables, ensuring a balanced diet that supports their health and growth.

How long do Giant Gouramis live?

Giant Gouramis have a relatively long lifespan, with individuals living up to 20 years or more under optimal conditions. Their longevity is influenced by factors such as diet, water quality, and overall care. Providing a spacious environment and regular health checks can contribute to their extended lifespan.

Can Giant Gouramis be kept with other fish?

While juvenile Giant Gouramis can be kept with a variety of other fish, adult Gouramis may become territorial and should be housed with care. They are best kept with other large, peaceful species that can hold their own. Tank size and environmental enrichment are crucial to minimize aggression in a community setting.

What kind of habitat do Giant Gouramis need?

Giant Gouramis thrive in warm, slow-moving freshwater bodies like rivers, lakes, and swamps in their natural habitat. In captivity, they require a large aquarium or pond with ample space to swim and explore. The water should be well-oxygenated with a temperature range of 22-28°C (72-82°F) and a pH between 6.5 and 7.5.

Are Giant Gouramis endangered?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Giant Gourami is currently not listed as an endangered species. However, like many freshwater fish, they face threats from habitat destruction, pollution, and overfishing in certain areas. Conservation efforts are important to ensure their populations remain stable.

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Giant gourami feed on earthworms.
      By: Lsantilli
      Giant gourami feed on earthworms.
    • Captive gourami can be fed lettuce and spinach.
      By: amadeoav
      Captive gourami can be fed lettuce and spinach.