Kissing gouramis are large fish that can grow up to 12” (30 cm) and require a large tank (75 gallon or bigger). Wide spread in South Asia, they can be found in densely vegetated areas from Thailand to Indonesia, in shallow, slow-moving waters.
A well known dish in Thailand. These fish are farmed and sold at the local markets as food. Baking, broiling and frying recipes of Kissing gouramis are common among household cooks, and some of these have been kept secret by families for centuries.
Despite their large size, they have retained popularity among aquarists due in part to their territorial behavior which far from combat resembles two lovers kissing!
This has lots to do with their unique mouth shape which in scientific terms is classified as terminal rather than superior. Their distinctive mouth allows them to graze algae in their natural habitats. Algae are an essential part of their diets and should be considered when keeping them. More intense lights and flat stones as well as bog wood can be used to encourage algae growth.Be cautious when introducing plants. Unless you want to supplement their diets, they will soon disappear. Floating species, such as Riccia are good choices. Java fern and Java moss are recommended.
The ideal tank temperature should be between 22–28 °C (72–82 °F). A neutral pH is recommended, although they can stand pH fluctuations ranging from 6.8–8.5. Keep the water hardness around 5–30°dGH
Selecting compatible species requires caution due to their territorial natures. If introduced, new tankmates should be monitored closely for few days and removed immediately if harassed. Adult gouramis can inflict serious damage on other fish by sucking ‘fish slime’ (mucus) of their skin while battling, these spots can soon become infected, so you get the picture!
There are no apparent sexual dimorphisms between males and females, making it difficult to sex them. Unlike their anabantids relatives, the kissing gourami does not build bubble-nests when breeding. These fish are open-water egg scatterers capable of producing large spawns — up to 10,000 eggs per spawning. A “fishy” situation that most home aquarist would be happy to avoid! In the wild parents do not attend the fry. The eggs are left floating on the surface, where many will attach to leaves. The ones that survive will hatch soon after 24 hours and the babies will swim free soon after the next day.
Kissing gouramis will accept almost any food, including small live foods such as bloodworms, earthworms, glass worms and brine shrimp, as well as flake and freeze-dried foods. For optimal health it’s important to supplement their diets with vegetable matter such as Spirulina-based foods or romaine lettuce, zucchini and peas.