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What is a Paradise Fish?

By J.L. Drede
Updated Jun 04, 2024
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The paradise fish is a small fish that is popular in aquariums due to its bright coloring and long fins. Its scientific name is macropodus opercularis and it also goes by the name paradise gourami. It is a freshwater fish and in nature are most commonly found in paddy fields around Vietnam and Korea.

Many first-time aquarium keepers will buy a paradise fish because it is hardy. It can survive in a cool water aquarium, and have a temperature range of 65 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 27 Celsius). Many times the fish are even kept in outdoor ponds, although it should be moved indoors during colder months. The paradise gourami is a labyrinth fish. These kind of fish have a lung-like organ called a labyrinth that allows them to take in oxygen directly from the air as well as their gills. This makes the paradise fish especially hardy, as it does not need a tank with high oxygen levels in order to thrive. It can survive in a varying levels of pH as well, anywhere between 6.0 and 7.8.

The fish will eat a wide variety of foods as well. Various worms and brine shrimp, both alive or dead, can be a meal for a paradise gourami. Flake and freeze-dried food can work too. They will also eat vegetable matter, including peas, lettuce or even cut up zucchini.

The paradise gourami can survive in a small tank, but if kept in a community tank with other fish the tank should be at least 30 gallons in size. Plenty of shelter, preferably natural plants, should be placed as well. Care must also be given when choosing tank mates. While male paradise fish can be paired up, they may become aggressive towards each other each other and fight for territory. Plants and other decorations can help decease the chances of this happening.

They also need plenty of space; 10 gallons (40 L) for each gourami is a good scale. Males can be housed with females however, and there is no danger in housing multiple females together. You can check gender a paradise gourami by checking its coloration. The more pale and subdued of the species are usually the females. Other species of fish can be kept with them, provided they aren't small enough to be eaten. With the right environment, water and food a paradise fish may live up to three years or even longer in an aquarium.

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