- Scientific Name: Trichogaster trichopterus
- Other Names: Three Spot Gourami, Opaline Gourami, Cosby Gourami, Golden Gourami, Silver Gourami
- Family: Belontiidae
- Origin: Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam
- Adult Size: 4 inches (10 cm)
- Social: Peaceful
- Lifespan: 4 years
- Tank Level: Top, Mid dweller
- Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallon
- Diet: Omnivore, eats most foods
- Breeding: Egglayer - bubblenest builder
- Care: Easy
- pH: 6.0 - 8.8
- Hardness: 5-35 dGH
- Temperature: 72-82 F (22-28 C)
Blue Gourami is but one of the names given to this extremely popular species of gourami. Traditionally silvery blue in color, their colors change considerably with their moods. During spawning they acquire a much deeper blue hue.
The Opaline or Cosby Hybrid variation lacks spots, and has a darker blue marbling. Personally this is my favorite color variation. However, they are not often seen for sale. If you find one, grab it while you can.
The Three Spot Gourami sports but two spots; one in the center of the body, and a second at the caudal pentacle (beginning of the tail). Where is the third spot? It's the eye!
Adult males reach up to five inches in length, and females are slightly larger. The scientific name trichopterus, is derived from the Greek words trichias (hairy) and pteron (wing) - referring to their long hair-like pelvic fins.
Blue Gouramis are among those fish who possess a labryinth organ, which allows them to breath air directly. Other popular labyrinth fish include the Siamese Fighting fish (Betta).
Hailing from the tropical waters of the Far East, Blue Gouramis are one of the most hardy of the Gourami family. Their preference is for thickly vegetated waters of any type. They can be found in ditches, canals, ponds, swamps, rivers, and lakes.
Blue Gouramis tolerate a wide range of temperatures and are not demanding in terms of water conditions. However, they prefer soft, slightly acidic water when in breeding season.
In the home aquarium they may be kept with a variety of fish, although it's usually best to keep them with fish of similar size.
Generally only one male should be kept per tank, as males are highly territorial. However if the tank is large enough, or there are enough other fish present, this natural tendency will be diminished.
Blue Goruamis are exceptionally easy fish to feed, as they will accept virtually any foods, from flake to freeze-dried, to live foods. They will consume hydra voraciously, and are prized for their ability to eliminate this pest from the home aquarium.
Sexes are primarily differentiated by the shape of the dorsal fin, which is long and pointed in males, compared to the females' shorter rounded dorsal. Females that are prepared for spawning will show a pronounced swelling in the breast area, while the male will have a far more slender girth. Both sexes display a much deeper blue color during breeding periods.
Because the male can be rather aggressive during spawning, the aquarium habitat should provide ample places for the female to take refuge. Failure to do so can result in injury to the female.
Spawning begins with the building of the bubble nest by the male, which usually occurs early in the day. After a suitable nest has been prepared, the male will attempt to entice the female under it by swimming back and forth, flaring his fins and raising his tail.
The female signals her readiness by biting his back; he responds by repeatedly brushing his back against her belly before taking her into a spawning embrace.
During spawning the male wraps his body tightly around the female, turning her on her side or back so the eggs will rise unimpeded to the surface.
This close embrace is also important because it brings the reproductive products as close together as possible. Because sperm cells survive only a matter of minutes in the water, the timing of their release and proximity to the eggs is critical.
Just before the sperm are released, the pair may be observed quivering - a sure sign that spawning is near completion. The eggs are released immediately thereafter, and are fertilized by the time they reach the bubble nest.
The pair may repeat the process a number of times over the course of several hours. It is not unusual for the number of eggs produced to reach into the thousands.
Once spawning is complete, the female's involvement is over, and she should be removed to prevent her from being attacked by the male. From this point forward until they hatch, the male will tend the eggs, carefully rearranging them and returning any errant eggs back to the nest.
Spitting streams of water is an interesting phenomenon often seen at this time in breeding males. It is believed the purpose of this behavior is to keep the eggs positioned within the bubble nest.
The eggs hatch in approximately 30 hours. The fry should be fed infusoria and nauplii. Water changes should be frequent as the fry grow, especially during the third week, which is when the labyrinth organ develops.