The Pearl Gourami is a favorite aquarium fish amongst some aquarists due to its amazing appearance. It is also known as lace Gourami or mosaic Gourami. It is one of the easiest of the Gourami species to care for. The populations of the Gouramis in their natural habitat appear to be on the decline. The fish is native to a variety of nations in the East Asia region which are; Sumatra, Borneo, Thailand, and parts of Malaysia. It likes to live in lowland swampy areas or coastal waterways in the wild. It is mostly drawn to heavily vegetated and shaded areas while in the wild.
In the wild, the fish is usually found living in waters that are acidic although it can also live in waters that are less acidic because it is now being reared in fish farms with less acidic water. In home aquariums the pearl Gouramis will not grow too large and will reach a maximum of five inches long in size. Basically, the fish will just live between 4-5 years when being kept in an aquarium but they are instances where they have lived as long as eight or even nine years in aquariums!
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Appearance of Pearl Gourami
The Pearl Gourami has a body that exhibits a silver-brownish color which is covered in a rather pearl-like pattern with a unique black line that runs from its head, finally thinning towards its caudal fin. The males and females of the fish have got distinct bodily features which are unique to the sexes.
The males of the fish are generally large in size are also usually more colorful compared to the females. In their throat region of the males, you will notice a bright orange coloring which becomes even brighter during the breeding season. It is claimed that this characteristic brighter orange color in the neck area of the males is what they use to attract and court the females. You will also notice he males also exhibit an orange tinge coloring in their fins except for their tail fins. The fins of the males are generally longer with their dorsal fins looking pointed than the females.
The females even though also brightly colored are not as colored as the males. The females have smaller bodies and lack the characteristic orange coloration that the males exhibit on their throat regions.
The Pearl Gourami has its natural habitat in the East Asian nations of Malaysia, Borneo, Sumatra, and Thailand. Recently it was reported that the fish populations in the wild has drastically started to decline an occurrence that should be given much attention. You will find the fish species in lowland swampy areas or even coastal waterways. In the wild, it thrives in shaded and highly vegetated areas and thus it may be best if you put plants in their captive habitats. In their natural habitats, the waters they live in are more acidic but they can also survive in less acidic waters. In the home aquarium, the Gourami may only live to a maximum of five years although there are special cases where some have lived as long as nine years.
The Gouramis have a great reputation as hardy aquarium fish owing to their undemanding nature when it comes to aquarium rearing. This doesn’t mean that the fish should be kept in conditions that are stressful to them. If you wish to keep just a couple of this fish species then a tank that holds up to 20 gallons of water can do.
If you desire to keep the fish with other tank mates of different species then proper care should be observed. Never put other fish species that are too aggressive with your Gouramis because this may greatly disturb their peaceful co-existence.
For a small group of 6 Pearl Gouramis, a minimum tank size of 20-30 gallons of water may do for a start. Exposing the tank surface to fresh air is highly advised as this helps to ensure the proper functioning of the fishes’ labyrinth organ.
Additionally, ensure that the tank is properly installed with proper filtration, lighting, and adequate decoration. The ideal temperature of the tank for a pearl gourami is between 22-28°C which should be measured with a proper aquarium thermometer.
Because the fish is territorial, when putting it in the same tank with other fish, ensure that you place it with fish that are of the same sizes. Avoid keeping other kinds of fish that are overly aggressive with the Gourami in the same tank. They are shy and if they are put together with aggressive fish, they may just get so stressed. Lastly, ensure that the tank conditions are clean and tidy at all times for them to thrive even well.
The Gouramis are omnivorous, that is they feed on both plants and meat. The major diet of the fish in the wild includes; plant matter, algae, invertebrates, and even worms. While in the home aquarium ensure that you replicate this diet as much as you can for the fish. If you have problem with finding live food, you can use high quality flake food, frozen foods or varied vegetable feeds. Occasionally feeding live brine shrimp can also work best with Pearl Gourami. You can as well feed them mosquito larvae, blood worms, and daphnia.
It is interesting that the Pearl Gourami is relatively easy to breed and in most instances they breed without much of an aquarist intervening. You may need to condition the fish in the aquarium for breeding just like with many other fish species. Feeding the fish live or foods that are frozen may help to encourage breeding of the fish. It takes about one week or so for the fish in the aquarium to start breeding during successful feeding of live foods.
It is very easy to distinguish the males from the females especially during breeding time. The males will exhibit a rather bright orange stripe around their neck while the females will appear somewhat plumper due to having eggs within them.
Preparation of the tank for breeding at a glance:
Raise the tank temperature to at least 80°C with numerous floating plants. These plants will provide the fish with materials to make bubble nest which they like when breeding.
Once the mating has occurred, for three days the male will guard the fertilized eggs which will also hatch in a period of 3 days. You will notice the fry of the fish trying to swim freely in the tank water. You can then remove the males at this point.
Keep on feeding the fry until they grow to a point they will easily fend for themselves.