Profile of the Pearl Gourami Fish

Trichogaster leeri - Pearl Gourami

The pearl gourami is one of the most gorgeous gouramis, as well as one of the most hardy and simple to care. It's a labyrinth fish, which means it can breathe by gulping air from the tank's surface. The pearl gourami, like certain other labyrinth fish, can truly communicate; don't be shocked if you hear your pet "talking" with growling or croaking noises, particularly while breeding or fighting.

Species Overview

Common Names: Pearl gourami, mosaic gourami, lace gourami, diamond gourami, leeri gourami

Scientific Name: Trichopodus leerii

Adult Size: 4.5 inches

Life Expectancy: 4 to 5 years


Family Osphronemidae
Origin Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, and Thailand
Social Peaceful but males may be territorial
Tank Level Top, mid-dweller
Minimum Tank Size 20 gallons
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Bubble nest builder
Care Easy
pH 5.5 to 7.5
Hardness 2 to 30 dH
Temperature 77 F to 82 F (25 C to 28 C)

Origin and Distribution

Thailand, Malaysia, and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra are home to this species. Acidic water found in lowland marshes near the sea is preferred. Singapore and Colombia have both received some pearl gouramis. Because most pearl gourami are grown in captivity, finding wild pearl gourami for sale as an aquarium fish is uncommon.

This species is listed as Near Threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species due to damming and water management, changes to its natural habitats due to logging, and direct exploitation of wild populations.

Colors and Markings

The body is elongated and laterally compressed, just like the others in its family. The ventral fins are long and slender, resembling lengthy feelers. The mouth is slanted and tiny. It gets its name from the mother of pearl look of the body, which is made up of pearl and brown specks. From the mouth to the tail, a horizontal black line runs, ending in a spot.


Pearl gourami are normally docile fish that thrive in a communal tank; nevertheless, keep them away from aggressive tankmates. This rule does have a few exceptions: Males in particular may be hostile against other members of their species (or other gouramis in general). These fish do best in groups of roughly the same size and temperament, but they may also get along with other tiny schooling fish. One male and numerous female pearl gouramis make a good grouping if you have several.

Pearl Gourami Habitat and Care

Pearl gouramis, which are used to dense foliage in their native environment, will flourish in an aquarium with similar conditions. The combination of floating plants, dim illumination, and a dark substrate is excellent. Although they favor soft, acidic water, they can survive in a variety of environments. Because of their versatility and quiet temperament, they are ideal for community tanks.

Pearl Gourami Diet and Feeding

Pearl gouramis eat a wide variety of foods and are typically easy to feed. Foods that are flaked, freeze-dried, or frozen are all readily accepted. Fresh vegetables like lettuce, boiled peas, and spinach should be part of a diversified diet for optimal health. Live feeds like blackworms, brine shrimp, and glass worms are tasty treats that should be utilized to prepare fish for breeding.

Gender Differences

Male pearl gouramis have more angular, slimmer bodies than females. They also have somewhat distinct fins, a red breast, and are more colorful than females in general. The vivid red-orange colour on the neck and breast of adult males distinguishes them from females. Another indicator is the male's dorsal fin, which is longer and more pointed than the female's. The female will have a considerably plumper physique than the male when they are ready to spawn.

Breeding the Pearl Gourami

Breeding is a straightforward process. Feed the couple live or frozen brine shrimp and worms to condition them before breeding. Increase the water temperature to to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and add plenty of floating plants. Reduce the amount of water in the breeding tank to roughly six inches. When fry have easy access to surface air, their labyrinth organ develops normally.

The process begins when the male constructs a 10-inch-diameter bubblenest among the floating plants, with spawning taking place beneath it. He'll start displaying to the female after the nest is finished. Both fish may be seen caressing each other with their feelers as the female approaches the nest.

The male wraps his body around the female, who will release hundreds of eggs, during spawning. There are several additional spawnings, with 200 to 300 eggs possible. The eggs float upwards into the nest, and any wayward eggs are gathered by the male shepherd. The female is chased away after the eggs are deposited. It is advisable to remove her at this time, as the guardian male may cause her great injury.

After that, the male looks after the eggs until they hatch. All of the fry (baby fish) should be free swimming after four days, and the male should be removed to avoid him mistaking the young for food.

Several times a day, feed the fry liquid food or infusoria culture. At around two weeks of age, provide freshly hatched or frozen brine shrimp. Once they are around a month old, fine-ground flake meals can be fed. Replace the water every two to three days. Distribute the fry throughout different tanks as they get larger to avoid a fatal waste build-up. Excess waste sometimes causes poor water quality, resulting in poor development or rapid loss of fry.

More Pet Fish Species and Further Research

Gouramis come in a variety of colors and patterns, and they're all labyrinth fish that can sip air from the tank's surface. If you're looking for comparable breeds, you may look into:

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