Gourami are common aquarium fish in the former USSR. In nature, they inhabit the waters of the islands of Indonesia, the Malacca Peninsula, and southern Vietnam. These fish in aquariums reach lengths up to 11 cm.
Gourami belong to the labyrinth family and use for breathing, in addition to the gills, a special organ called the maze. This feature was formed in their evolutionary process, since the waters of their habitat are rather turbid and poor in oxygen, therefore the fish periodically rise to the surface of the water and trap air.
This feature should be taken into account during transportation by gourami, if they are deprived of atmospheric air for a long time – they may suffocate.
Due to dwelling in turbid waters, gourami fish had one more peculiarity: their abdominal fins transformed into threads, a peculiar organ of touch. Many aquarists like their peculiarity of “groping” all the objects of the aquarium and other fish with these threads.
Gourami have a flat oval shape, the most common natural color is light silver with vertical dark stripes, under the dorsal fin and at the base of the tail there are dark spots. For the maintenance of aquariums, many different species and colors of gouram fishes were bred, among them pearl, honey, marble and blue goura can be distinguished.
Marble gourami has a color resembling polished marble, as the name suggests. Conditions of keeping and breeding are the same as in other species.
Pearl gourami has a silver-violet color, and small fish-like spots are scattered throughout the body of the fish. In males during spawning, the abdomen closer to the head becomes orange.
The conditions of the pearl goura are similar to other species, but during reproduction they are more demanding in the absence of external stimuli.
Gourami are slow and not aggressive fish, get along with neighbors with similar likings, but nimble and biting neighbors, such as barbs or swordsmen, should be avoided. In addition, gourami, like any other relatively large fish, can easily eat small fry.
Aquarium for maintenance will fit from 40 liters, you need live or artificial plants in which the fish would be able to hide and feel more comfortable. In order for the fish to show all its bright color, a relatively bright lighting and a dark ground must be present in the aquarium.
The presence in the aquarium of floating plants like riccia will promote the reproduction of fish, thanks to them the males will be able to start building their first floating nests by gourami.
Gourami fish prefer to keep in the aquarium in the upper and middle layers of the water, you need a place to swim so there must be places free from plants in the aquarium. Under natural conditions, gourays live in stagnant bodies of water, therefore the flow from the filter should be reduced as much as possible, and the aeration can be completely turned off; thanks to the labyrinth, gourami fish can breathe even in water that is poor in oxygen.
The water temperature for the maintenance of these fish should be 24-28 degrees, life expectancy with proper care will be up to 6-7 years. They feed on gourami live, frozen and dry food, but periodically it is worth adding vegetable food.
Sexual maturity aquarium gourami reach to 1 year of age. The male is slightly larger than the female, the dorsal fin in the male is larger and pointed. Spawning aquarium should have a volume of 20-30 liters.
In the spawning aquarium must be present floating plants like Riccia, from which the male will begin to build a nest. The stimulation of reproduction is the increase in water temperature to 26-28 degrees, the addition of softer water (rain, thawed, distilled) and enhanced feeding with live food.
After a week or two, the long-awaited process will begin, the male builds a nest about 5 cm in size in a day or two.
The spawning process proceeds as follows: the female becomes under the nest, and the male collects the eggs and attaches them to the nest, the female can give up to several thousand eggs during one spawning, however, most of them will certainly die.
A male should take care of the nest, he will attach eggs that have fallen from him, when the larvae leave them, the male will take care of them. When at last the larvae turn into moving fry of the male from the spawn, it should be removed, since it can damage the fry trying to return them unsuccessfully to the nest.
Fry are born very small, only infusoria and rotifers are suitable as starter feed. Lightly grown fry can be fed with Artemia nauplii and nematode.
The labyrinth organ in fry is not developed; therefore, they use only oxygen dissolved in water for breathing in order to increase the number of surviving fry in the spawning tank, install a small aerator.
Due to the fact that fry gourams grow very unevenly they should be sorted into different containers and grown separately, otherwise the smallest feed will not get and they will die.
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