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Paradise Gourami

(Macropodus opercularis)

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 Quick Care Facts

• Care Level: Easy   • Temperament: Semi-aggressive   • Maximum Size: 4"
• Minimum Tank Size: 30 gallons   • Water Conditions: 61-79° F, KH 4-18, pH 6.0-8.0
• Diet: Omnivore   • Origin: Eastern Asia   • Family: Belontiidae
• Species: Gouramis   • Aquarium Type: Community

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Species Information

Paradise Gourami native habitat, distribution, behavior & aquarium compatibility.

The Paradise Gourami (Macropodus opercularis) is one of the more brightly colored members of the group of fish known as Labyrinth fish. Labyrinth fish have a special lung-like labyrinth organ which allows them to breath air from the surface of the water. It is important to note that Labyrinth fish are not born with functional labyrinth organs and instead development the organ as they grow older. Thus young labyrinth fish breathe entirely with their gills and require proper amounts of dissolved oxygen in the water to survive.

Paradise Gourami are an incredibly adaptable species that can survive under hypoxic (oxygen-deprived) conditions and over a wide temperature range. However, they do prefer still to slow-moving waterways ranging from ponds, irrigation ditches and marshes to slow moving streams and backwaters of larger rivers. This flexibility has allowed the Paradise Gourami to thrive over a considerable natural range covering southeast China, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea. Introduced populations also exist in Madagascar and the USA.

Aquarium Care

How to successfully keep Paradise Gourami in the home aquarium.

Paradise Gourami have a somewhat combative and territorial nature, where they will defend an area of the tank from other similarly sized and shaped tank mates. In nature they will generally look for a small area of dense vegetation to claim as their territory, which provides them shelter from predators and feeding opportunities on small aquatic organisms and insect larvae. Hobbyists should provide them an aquarium environment that includes plenty of vegetation (real or fake) and areas of calm water or slow moving water currents.

In smaller aquariums (30 gallons or less) they should be kept either as the only Gourami species in the tank or as a pair. They will tolerate a variety of tank mates, but should only be kept with other Gourami or fish similar in size and shape as a Gourami in larger aquariums where multiple territories can be established. Groups of Paradise Gourami are only possible in larger aquariums (6 feet in length or more) where multiple territories can be established and there is enough room for some space between established territories.

The overall aggressiveness of the Paradise Gourami makes it a poor choice to be kept with more timid fish, long-finned species or smaller species that could be eaten. The aquarium decor and water movement plays an important role in creating areas in the tank that are attractive to the Paradise Gourami as a home territory. Provide plenty of areas with bunched or dense plants, along with plenty of areas of calm water flow.

Paradise Gourami are well known jumpers and will require an aquarium that is well-covered. Activity from other fish, being startled while sleeping or even things like lights coming on and off can invoke this species to jump, so it is just a matter of time before they end up on the floor if kept in aquariums that are not either well-covered.

They are very tolerant of a wide variety of aquarium conditions that include both a wide range in temperature and water chemistry, with temperatures ranging between 60°F and 82°F and pH readings between 6.0 to 8.0. Ideal conditions which will bring out the coloration in the fish and promote the best health will be more inline with the average tropical community aquarium water conditions of around 75°F and a neutral pH of around 6.5 to 7.6.

Feeding & Nutrition

How to properly feed Paradise Gourami and provide a healthy diet.

In the wild the Paradise Gourami is an opportunistic feeder who preys on small plank-tonic invertebrates, fish fry, insect larvae and will pick at some algae. However, the vast majority of specimens sold within the fish hobby are captive bred and would have been raised on commercial dried foods. It is best to feed them a variety of dried and frozen commercial foods that contain mostly meaty items with a small amount of vegetable content.

Good options include: quality flake food, bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia and other similar meaty commercial meaty foods intended for freshwater community fish. It is best to vary the food sources to provide as wide a range of nutrients and minerals as possible. Feeding multiple smaller meals per day is ideal, feeding an amount of food that the fish will consume within a few minutes.

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