Pearl Gourami: Essential Care Tips & Compatibility

Pearl Gourami is also known as Mosaic, Lace, Diamond, or Leeri Gourami
Dr. Mollie Newton
Published by Dr. Mollie Newton PHD| Senior Editor
Last updated: July 13, 2024
Review Process and Evaluation Criteria
We conduct hands-on testing for all the products highlighted in our reviews and guides. Through anonymous product ordering and involving an independent team of testers, we gather direct experience to offer recommendations backed by data.

Tired of the same old routine with your aquarium maintenance? Explore the enchanting world of Pearl Gouramis! Discover how these vibrant freshwater fish can add excitement to your aquarium experience. This comprehensive guide reveals their captivating beauty, simple care needs, and peaceful compatibility with other species. Keep reading to transform your aquarium into a stunning aquatic paradise.

Article Summary

  • Pearl Gouramis can reach a size of up to 4 inches and have an average lifespan of about five years.
  • Including plenty of plants, floating vegetation, and hiding spots in the aquarium mimics their natural environment and provides a stress-free habitat.
  • Pearl Gouramis are peaceful but can become aggressive during spawning.

Basic Information about Pearl Gourami

The pearl gourami, also known as the mosaic gourami, lace gourami, diamond gourami, or leeri gourami, is a popular freshwater aquarium fish known for its striking appearance and peaceful nature. With its vibrant colors and delicate patterns, the pearl gourami is a captivating addition to any aquarium.


The Pearl gourami is also known as mosaic, lace, diamond, or leeri gourami.

The Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus leerii), originally described as Trichopus leerii by Pieter Bleeker in 1852, is a stunning fish belonging to the Osphronemidae family and is indigenous to Southeastern Asia. Native to Southeastern Asia, specifically Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia, pearl gouramis are typically found in slow-moving rivers, swamps, and flooded forests.

They are well adapted to these environments, with a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air directly from the surface. This unique adaptation enables them to survive in oxygen-deprived waters, making them highly resilient and adaptable.

Pearl gourami size is about 4-5 inches. This makes them medium-sized fish, perfect for aquariums of various sizes. Their rounded, elongated body shape gives them a sleek appearance, and their size allows them to stand out in any tank.

Pearl Gourami Lifespan Range

They can live for about 5 to 8 years in optimal conditions. However, with proper care and a well-maintained aquarium, some have been known to live up to 10 years or more.

Natural Habitat

Pearl Gouramis thrive in low-oxygenated water in the wild. They have explicitly adapted to acidic water found in lowland swamps near the sea, where they prefer heavy vegetation in their natural habitat. This makes them unique among other gourami species.

Physical Characteristics

Pearl gouramis have a rounded, elongated body shape and can grow up to 4-5 inches in length. Their most distinctive feature is their shimmering scales, which give them a pearly appearance and lend to their name.

The colors of the scales can vary, ranging from iridescent silver to golden or blue hues, depending on the individual fish and its mood. Additionally, male pearl gourami often displays more vibrant colors and longer fins than female.

Their shimmering scales give them a pearly sheen and a distinctive black spot on their side, which resembles an eye. This eye-like spot acts as a defense mechanism by confusing predators.

Male and Female Pearl Gourami

Males are larger and more vibrant than females, displaying an eye-catching orange hue around their throat area. During mating season, their colors intensify even more to attract females. Males also have elongated dorsal fins, with an orange tinge (except for the caudal fin). On the other hand, females are smaller and less colorful. They have shorter fins and rounder abdomens.

Gouramis possess a unique supplemental breathing structure called the labyrinth organ. This organ allows them to breathe oxygen from the air above the water’s surface when necessary. It helps them survive in oxygen-deprived environments or low dissolved oxygen levels.

Aquarium Setup

Setting up the perfect home for your pearl gourami is crucial to their health and happiness. Here are some essential tips for creating an ideal aquarium setup:

Size and Water Conditions

Pearl gouramis require a spacious tank to thrive. It is recommended to provide a tank with a minimum capacity of 20 gallons for a small group. This will give them ample space to swim and explore, promoting their overall well-being.

Ensure that the gourami tank is large enough to accommodate their size and allows them to exhibit their natural behaviors. Create a comfortable and healthy environment for your pearl gourami to thrive in by providing a suitable tank size.

Maintain the water temperature between 75°F and 82°F, with a pH level ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. Keeping these parameters stable is vital for their well-being.

Creating a Natural Habitat

By including plenty of plants, floating vegetation, and hiding spots in the aquarium, we can mimic their natural habitat and provide them with the necessary conditions for their well-being.

Dense vegetation offers them a place to retreat when feeling stressed or threatened and provides them opportunities for exploration and foraging. Mimicking their natural habitat promotes their physical health and enhances their overall quality of life.

Filtration and Water Quality

Proper filtration and good water quality are crucial for the health and well-being of pearl gouramis. These fish are sensitive to changes in water conditions, and poor water quality can harm their overall health.

Filtration plays a vital role in removing harmful substances such as ammonia and nitrate from the water, which can be toxic to fish if they accumulate in high levels. Regular water changes are necessary to dilute accumulated toxins and maintain optimal water conditions.

Ensuring proper filtration and water quality can provide a clean and healthy environment for your pearl gourami, promoting longevity and well-being.

Social Behavior

They are known for their complex social behavior and thrive when kept in small schools. These fish are highly social and feel more secure and less anxious when surrounded by other individuals of their kind. Keeping a group of four or more Pearl Gouramis together is recommended to promote a harmonious social environment.

Ideally, the group should consist of one male to two or three females. This ratio helps to prevent aggression among the males and ensures that the females receive adequate attention and courtship from the males.

Pearl Gouramis establish a hierarchy or pecking order. This hierarchy is typically determined through displays of dominance and aggression, such as flaring their fins and posturing. Observing the interactions between individuals as they establish and maintain their social positions within the group is fascinating.

Small Group of Pearl Gouramis

Pearl Gouramis exhibit interesting courtship behaviors. When a male is ready to mate, he displays vibrant colors and creates bubble nests at the water’s surface. The male will entice a female to the nest, where they will engage in a courtship dance. The female then lays her eggs, which the male fertilizes and guards until the eggs hatch.

Overall, understanding the social behavior of Pearl Gourami is crucial for their well-being in captivity. Fishkeepers can ensure these beautiful creatures thrive and display their natural behaviors by providing a suitable social environment and observing their fascinating interactions.

Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates, it is crucial to consider generally peaceful fish with similar water parameters and temperament. Some great options include rasboras like Brilliant and Harlequin, pearl danios, neon tetras, swordtails, guppies, platies, dwarf cichlids, catfish, loaches, Peter’s Elephantnose Fish, and shrimps.

These fish enhance the beauty of your community aquarium and ensure harmonious coexistence. So, to create a vibrant and peaceful community tank environment, consider adding these compatible tank mates to your pearl gouramis’ habitat.

Species to Avoid

When considering tank mates, it’s important to avoid “fin nippers” for the well-being of your fish. Tiger barbs serve as a prime example of such fin nippers. While you can safely introduce pearl gourami to larger, non-aggressive, and non-territorial fish, it’s crucial to remain aware of the behaviors of the larger fish.


Excessively active behavior in the larger fish can lead to stress in the pearl gourami.

Diet and Feeding

Pearl Gouramis are fascinating creatures with unique dietary needs. Providing a well-rounded diet is essential to keep them healthy and thriving. Here are some important points to consider when feeding your pearl gourami:

Varied Diet

Pearl Gouramis are omnivores, meaning they enjoy a mix of animal- and plant-based foods. As their staple diet, offer them high-quality flake or pellet food specifically formulated for tropical fish. These commercially available fish food options contain essential nutrients that support their overall health.

Pearl Gouramis are omnivores…

However, relying solely on dry fish foods can be monotonous pearl gouramis. To ensure optimal nutrition, supplement their diet with live or frozen foods. These can include brine shrimp, bloodworms, or daphnia. Such live foods mimic their natural prey and provide additional protein sources.

Adding Greens

Incorporating green vegetables into your pearl gouramis’ diet adds variety and valuable nutrients. Consider adding slices of zucchini to their menu as a delightful treat. Zucchini is fiber-rich and provides vitamins and minerals, contributing to their well-being.

Feeding Frequency

To prevent overeating while ensuring they receive enough nutrients, it’s best to feed your pearl gourami small portions multiple times a day rather than one large meal. This feeding schedule mimics their natural grazing behavior in the wild.

Offering small amounts of food 2-3 times daily prevents wastage and helps maintain water quality in the aquarium by reducing uneaten food debris.

Leftover Food

While feeding your pearl gourami, monitoring how much they consume during each feeding session is crucial. If there is any leftover food after about five minutes, promptly remove it from the tank.

Breeding Mosaic Gourami

Breeding pearl gourami can be a rewarding experience for fish enthusiasts. You can encourage successful breeding by following the proper steps and creating suitable conditions.

Breeding pearl gourami can be a rewarding experience…

Here are some tips to help you with the process:

Breeding Conditions

To initiate the breeding process, creating the right environment for your pearl gourami is important. Increase the water temperature slightly to around 80°F (27°C). This warmer temperature mimics their natural spawning season and encourages breeding behavior. Provide floating plants in the tank as they serve as ideal spots for bubble nest construction.

Introducing Male and Females

Once you have prepared the breeding tank, introduce one male and two females. Ensure that the lighting is subdued to create a calm atmosphere. The male will build bubble nests at the water’s surface. These nests act as safe havens for eggs during spawning.

Spawning Process

During spawning, females deposit their eggs into these bubble nests created by males. After you complete this process, you will need to remove the female from the tank as soon as possible. Males tend to become territorial during this period, harming or killing females.

Caring for Eggs and Fry

The eggs females lay float upwards into the bubble nest, where males protect them. If stray eggs float away, males collect them using their mouths and place them back into the nest.

After approximately four days, the fry will hatch from these eggs and start swimming freely. Removing the male from the tank at this stage is crucial to prevent him from mistakenly considering his young as food.

To ensure proper growth and development of fry, feed them liquid food or infusoria culture several times a day.

Around two weeks after hatching, offer freshly hatched or frozen brine shrimp as an additional food source for growing fry. Fine-ground flake foods can be introduced once the fry reaches approximately one month old.

Optimal Conditions

To ensure the well-being and longevity of your pearl gourami, it is crucial to maintain optimal conditions within their aquatic environment. This entails regular monitoring of water parameters, diligent removal of uneaten food, and a proactive approach to preventing and treating common diseases.

By prioritizing these essential aspects, you can provide a thriving habitat for your pearl gourami and promote their overall health and vitality.

To ensure the well-being and longevity, it is crucial to maintain optimal conditions…

To ensure your pearl gourami thrive, monitoring water parameters is essential. Using test kits, check the tank’s ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate levels. These tests help you maintain optimal conditions for your fish.

Ammonia and nitrite should always read zero, while nitrate should be below 20 ppm. If any of these levels are off, take appropriate action to correct them.

Water Changes

Maintaining water quality is crucial for the health of your pearl gouramis. To achieve this, perform regular water changes of around 25% every two weeks.

This helps remove accumulated toxins and refreshes the aquarium environment. During a water change, siphon debris from the substrate and clean any decorations or plants as necessary.

Uneaten Food

Pearl gouramis can be finicky eaters at times. It’s important to remove any uneaten food from the fish tank promptly. Leaving excess food in the aquarium can lead to poor water conditions and potential health issues for your fish.

Pearl Gourami Care

Like any living creature, pearl gouramis are susceptible to certain health issues. Awareness of these common ailments allows you to provide proper care when needed. Some prevalent health problems among pearl gouramis include.

Ich (White Spot)

This disease is a common health issue that affects fish. It is caused by a parasite called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis. This parasite attaches itself to the fish’s body or fins, resulting in the appearance of small white spots.

These spots may resemble grains of salt and can be easily noticed. Infected fish may also exhibit other symptoms such as scratching against objects in the aquarium and increased respiratory rate. If left untreated, Ich can be fatal to healthy fish too.

Fungal Infections

This is another health concern for fish. They are caused by various types of fungi, such as Saprolegnia or Achlya. These infections are characterized by the growth of cotton-like substances on the fish’s skin or fins.

The affected areas may appear fuzzy or have a fluffy texture. Fungal infections often occur when fish are stressed or have wounds that become susceptible to fungal colonization. It is essential to address these infections promptly, as they can lead to severe tissue damage and secondary bacterial infections.

Bacterial Infections

This is a broad category of health issues that fish can encounter. They can be caused by different types of bacteria, such as Aeromonas, Pseudomonas, or Flavobacterium. Bacterial infections can manifest in various ways, including frayed fins, ulcers, or red streaks on the fish’s body.

These infections often occur due to poor water quality, overcrowding, or injuries. Identifying and treating bacterial infections promptly is crucial to prevent their spread to other fish and minimize the risk of complications.

Columnaris (Cotton Mouth)

It is a bacterial infection commonly found in fish. The bacteria Flavobacterium columnare causes it. This disease often presents as white patches or fuzzy growth around the fish’s mouth area.

The affected area may appear cotton-like or have a slimy texture. Columnaris can be highly contagious and quickly spread among fish in the same aquarium. It is vital to isolate and treat infected fish promptly.

Symptoms of diseases in Pearl Gourami may include discoloration, loss of appetite, abnormal swimming behavior, and visible signs of infection. In such cases, treating these diseases may involve using medications such as antibiotics or antifungal agents.

Frequently Asked Questions

What conditions do pearl gouramis like?

Pearl gouramis prefer tropical freshwater conditions. They thrive in temperatures between 75°F and 82°F (24°C to 28°C) and prefer a slightly acidic to neutral pH level of 6.0 to 7.5. They appreciate a well-maintained aquarium with plenty of plants, hiding spots, and calm and peaceful surroundings.

Does pearl gourami need a heater?

Yes, pearl gouramis require a heater to maintain a stable temperature within their preferred range. Tropical fish are sensitive to temperature fluctuations and require a consistently warm environment. A heater is essential to ensure their well-being and keep them comfortable.

What is the best substrate for pearl gouramis?

The best substrate for pearl gouramis is a fine-grained, dark-colored substrate such as sand or smooth gravel. This type of substrate mimics their natural habitat, provides a comfortable base for them to explore, and allows them to exhibit their natural behaviors. Avoid sharp or rough substrates that may damage their delicate fins.

Do pearl gouramis need light?

Yes, pearl gouramis do need light. Like most fish, they use a regular light-dark cycle to regulate their internal rhythms and behaviors. A moderate lighting schedule of 8 to 12 hours daily is suitable for pearl gouramis. It is recommended to use aquarium lights that mimic natural daylight to create a visually appealing and healthy environment.

Can pearl gouramis coexist with other gourami species?

Pearl gouramis can coexist with other gourami species under proper conditions. However, it’s important to consider the specific pearl gourami behavior, species’ compatibility and temperament. Some gouramis, particularly males, can be territorial and aggressive towards one another. Providing ample space and hiding spots in the aquarium is advisable to reduce conflicts. Monitoring their behavior and selecting suitable tank mates is crucial for successful coexistence.

You May Also Like