Max Size: 12cm

Pearl Gourami (Trichopodus Leerii)

Pearl Gouramis are among the most common and popular fish to keep in an aquarium. They are attractive, hardy, peaceful and adaptable, ideal for a community aquarium and beginner aquarists. However, these fish do better with similarly sized non-aggressive fish that do not fin nip or are too active.

Ideal tankmates for your Pearl Gouramis could include other Gouramis, Tetras, smallish Barbs, and Danios, as well as bottom-dwelling species such as Corydoras Catfish, Loaches and Bristlenose Plecos. However, it would be better to avoid housing them with aggressive or highly energetic fish or become reserved. It would help if you also avoided very small fish as they may be intimidated by the larger Pearl Gouramis.

Pearl Gouramis are not a shoaling species in nature; however, you can keep a group of females together, but the males need to be minimal, or they will fight as they can become very territorial, especially when in breeding conditions.

The ideal aquarium setup for your Pearl Gouramis would mimic their natural environment. This would include plenty of aquatic plants making sure you leave some swimming space, rocks, driftwood and bogwood placed on a sandy substrate to give them places to hide if they feel frightened. You should avoid using floating plants as these fish have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe, so they spend a lot of their time at the surface of the aquarium, and you do not want to block their route to oxygen.

Pearl Gouramis have flat bodies silvery blue with a distinct black line running from the fish's head and gradually thinning towards the tail. In addition, these fish have a stunning collection of white spots across their body and fins that resembles a pearl-like pattern and large, delicate fins. The males also display bright orange throats when in spawning conditions. You can also find a goldish-blonde and a balloon-shaped morph of this species, but these are only occasionally found.

Quick Facts
Scientific NameTrichopodus Leerii
Year Described1852
Other NamesLace gourami, Mosaic gourami, Leeri gourami
OriginsIndonesia, Malaysia, Thailand
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
DifficultyBeginner - Intermediate
ReproductionBubble nest
Lifespan3 - 5 years
Water Parameters
Water TypeFreshwater
PH5.5 - 8.0
GH5 - 25
KH3 - 8
TDS50 - 150
72 - 82℉
22.2 - 27.8℃

Photos of the Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gouramis
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami
Pearl Gourami

Natural Habitat

The Pearl Gourami is endemic to Malaysia, Thailand and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia in Southeast Asia. They inhabit slow-moving waters in swamps, stagnant tributaries, lakes and low rivers with lots of aquatic vegetation and rocky substrate.

Currently, Pearl Gouramis are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as near threatened due to destruction from damming and logging of their natural habitat and overfishing.

Borneo Peat Swamp Forest

What to feed the Pearl Gourami

Pearl Gouramis will thrive on a varied diet of good quality dried foods such as flakes, granules, pellets or algae wafers as the staple alongside live and frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworm and blackworms. In addition, meaty foods will provide them with protein and enrichment, leading to better health and colouration.

It would benefit your Gouramis if you gave them the occasional vegetable treat such as blanched spinach or peas. However, you must make sure you do not overfeed your fish, as they will continue to scoff anything you put in the tank; two to three small feedings daily will be more than adequate. In addition, if you notice that food is getting left, decrease the amount; otherwise, the food will become organic waste, which can negatively impact the quality of your water and raise ammonia levels.

How to sex the Pearl Gourami

It is effortless to differentiate between males and female Pearl Gouramis. Males are generally larger and more colourful and exhibit orange colouration around the throat area, which becomes much brighter when in spawning conditions they use to attract females. In addition, males also have an orange tinge in their fins, except for the caudal fin and have more extended fins. In contrast, females are smaller, duller, have shorter fins and are usually rounder in their stomachs than males.

How to breed the Pearl Gourami

It would be best to set up a separate breeding tank to breed your Pearl Gouramis successfully. The breeding tank needs to contain relatively shallow mature water with lots of floating plants and gentle filtration; an air-powered sponge filter would be ideal. To encourage your Gouramis to breed, condition them with plenty of live food.

When the female becomes full of eggs, the male will build a nest of tiny, long-lasting bubbles using plants to bind the bubbles together. Next, the female will move into an area under the nest, and the male will wrap his body tightly around her. Her body shakes while she releases a few eggs. He then lets her go, picks up the eggs in his mouth as they are sinking, and spits them into the bubble nest. The whole routine is then repeated several times until the female has run out of eggs.

When the female has run out of eggs, the male will chase the female away. At this point, it would be best if you removed the female; otherwise, the male may seriously harm her. The male will then tend to the nest and guard the eggs until they hatch.

The eggs will usually hatch between 20 and 30 hours later, and the fry will be able to swim freely 4 to 5 days after that, at which point the male will need to be removed.

It would be best to feed your fry with liquid fry food or infusoria for the first week; then, after that, they should be large enough to accept crushed flake food, microworm and baby brine shrimp. The babies take quite a while to grow, and care must be taken when performing water changes as they are susceptible to changes in water temperature for the first three or four months.

The Pearl Gourami has been featured on the following stamps

Vietnam - 1981
Cambodia - 1985
Bulgaria - 1993
Madagascar - 1994