Blue Paradise Gourami (Paradise Fish) Species Profile

The Origional Fish that Started the Tropical Fish Hobby, Paradise Fish

Goldfish are often regarded as the original pet fish, with records reaching back 500 to 2,000 years. However, paradise fish were the vicious beauties that helped the tropical freshwater fish-keeping hobby catch on and take root as a popular activity in the mid-1800s, when it came to the first type of fish presented in aquariums. This fish is still one of the most beautiful-looking yet vicious-acting species found in freshwater aquariums.

Species Overview

Common Names: Blue paradise fish, paradise gourami, blue paradise gourami

Scientific Name: Macropodus opercularis

Adult Size: 4 inches

Life Expectancy: 6 to 8 years


Family Osphronemidae
Origin Southeast Asia
Social Semi-aggressive
Tank Level All areas
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallon
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Bubble nest breeder
Care Easy
pH 5.8 to 8.0
Hardness 5 to 30 dGH
Temperature 61 to 79 F

Origin and Distribution

This paradise fish may be found throughout a large part of Southeast Asia. It may be found throughout China from the Yangtze River basin to the Pearl River basin, as well as in Hong Kong and Hainan Island. Taiwan, northern and central Vietnam, northeastern Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Japan, the Ryukyu Islands, and Korea are also home to this species. It has also spread outside its native area, establishing populations in Madagascar and the United States.

There has been a lot of discussion and writing in scientific and hobby journals. The debate centers on whether the fish in hobbyist tanks today are still the same species as those found in the wild; the wild survivability of captive-bred fish is still an open subject. Though research is unclear, it appears that the common kind of fish seen in aquariums now is quite similar to the fish found in Asian rice fields.

Colors and Markings

The paradise fish, which are often kept in home aquariums, are made up of three different species. They have fairly similar appearances, but the forms of their tails separate them. The forked tail of Macropodus opercularis, the rounded tail of Macropodus chinensis, and the pointed tail of Macropodus cupanus have numerous rays projecting from its centre.

All three species have bright color stripes that look differently depending on the angle of light landing on them. Blue or green bands alternate with orange or red bands. There are also several little black or metallic blue specks spread around the fish's body. The ventral fins of all three species are usually orange.

There are two genetically modified kinds in captivity. An albino variation known as the albino macropodus was developed by a commercial breeder in Germany in 1933. It has pink eyes and stripes of white, pink, and blue. The second strain is a darker version known as "concolor."


Macropodus must be the dominant species in a communal situation. It should not be maintained alongside other strong fish that may pose a threat since it will fight with them. If the others are larger and more aggressive, however, Macropodus will retreat and succumb to stress.

Male paradise fish may be kept in groups as they grow older, but as they develop, they become hostile with other males, attacking any smaller male. Males seldom get along unless the tank is really spacious and there is enough of décor for hiding and retreat.

Males who are not kept separate will fight aggressively, locking jaws and irreparably injuring one another. When raising a tiny mixed group, just one male and female should be kept together in their individual tank. It is occasionally feasible to keep a group of females together when they are younger and less territorial.

Any potential tank mates should aim for a mix of neutral personality fish with different body shapes. Make cautious choices and be ready to swap companions if necessary.

Larger fish, such as goldfish, as well as non-aggressive medium to big gouramis, robust cyprinid species, larger characins, eartheater type Geophagus cichlids, South American Loricariid catfish, giant Synodontis catfish, and large loaches, can make good tankmates. Avoid keeping them alongside any fish that swim slowly or have long flowing fins.


With fish their size, paradise fish make poor tankmates. They are extremely vicious, tearing at tails and even murdering smaller fish, including its own kind. In temperament, paradise fish are aggressive and predatory, similar to bettas. They prefer to live alone, but will accept other fish species if they are significantly larger and non-aggressive.

Paradise Fish Habitat and Care

The paradise fish is extremely flexible and can thrive in practically any environment. A juvenile's aquarium should be at least 20 gallons in size. On the other hand, your aquarium may be a 5000-gallon backyard pond stocked with koi. These fish can withstand a broad range of temperature changes caused by the weather, however living plants should always be present in any setting where paradise fish are kept.

Paradise Fish Diet and Feeding

Paradise fish are omnivores who eat almost everything. They do, however, require a well-balanced diet to stay healthy. These predators eat tiny fish and aquatic creatures like invertebrates in the wild. In a pond, they will consume mosquito larvae as well as any vegetative waste that falls into the pond.

Feed once or twice a day in an indoor tank, and feed abundantly. In addition to meaty diets, algae-based flake foods are required. When feasible, feed tiny live foods. White worms, blood worms, and brine shrimp should all be included in the supplementation.

Gender Differences

Male paradise fish are bigger and have more vibrant color patterns than females. They also have longer and bigger fins than females. The stripes on all three species of paradise fish are brightly colored, but the males' stripes are hormonally increased during courting.

Breeding the Paradise Fish

It is not difficult to breed this species. Live foods, as well as high-quality algae-based flake or pellet diet, are advised for conditioning breeders. It's crucial to feed the female properly before attempting to spawn her, because she'll refuse food for up to two weeks while she's carrying the eggs.

Maintain a separate setting for the male and female, with tiny daily supplies of live and frozen items. Females should begin to fill out with eggs and seem fat when well-fed. Females that are not yet ready to produce eggs should be kept away from breeder males since males have a bad temper and may mutilate or even kill their intended females.

Paradise fish, like the rest of the labyrinth fish family, create bubble nests. The male constructs a bubble nest, courtes a female, and then guards the nest until death. Males frequently make their nests beneath leaves. The female should be removed from the tank after spawning, otherwise you risk the male killing her again.

Place paradise fish in a separate breeding tank of around 20 gallons to breed them. It should be set up with only 6 to 8 inches of water in it. The labyrinth organ in the fry can grow normally when it has easy access to the air above. Normal water chemistry values are good, however the temperature should be raised to between 80 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. A tiny air-powered sponge filter or some peat filtering can be added, but the tank current should be kept to a minimum.

Temperature affects hatching time. The fry will emerge between 30 and 50 hours on average, but it may take up to 96 hours. The male will not feed while defending the nest. The male should be removed as he begins to take food, as he may devour the fry that emerge from the nest. Leave the guy in place as a diligent guard for as long as he needs it for his health. His protective hormones will naturally drop in this manner; removing him too soon would be an unneeded health risk.

More Pet Fish Species and Further Research

If paradise fish appeal to you, and you are interested in similar fish for your aquarium, check out:

Check out additional fish species profiles for more information on other  fish.