Kissing Gourami

Kissing Gourami

Kissing Gourami information:

Scientific name: Helostoma temminkii    
Common name: Kissing gourami
Max. size: 30.0 cm / 12 inches
pH range: 6 – 8
dH range: 5 - 19
Temperature range: 22 – 28°C / 71.5 – 82.5°F

The Kissing Gourami is a popular aquarium species, but it is also utilized as food. In Asia, it is fished and grown in aquacultures. The wild form is green, but the form most commonly offered in pet shops is pink. The Kissing Gourami uses its toothed lips to rasp algae from stones, and it can look almost as if it is kissing the stone. The males will also “kiss” in order to determine supremacy.  

Kissing Gourami habitat and range:

The Kissing Gourami is a benthopelagic and potamodromous freshwater species that rarely swims further down than 2 metres (6.6 feet). It is native to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The Kissing Gourami has today also been introduced to nearby Sri Lanka, Singapore and Philippines, as well as to far away Colombia.

The typical Kissing Gourami habitat is shallow and slow moving backwaters with thick vegetation. The habitat is tropical and the water temperature stays between 22 and 28° C (71.5 and 82.5° F). The Kissing Gourami spends most of its time in midwater.   

Kissing gourami description:

The Kissing gourami can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 inches) in length, but the specimens found in aquariums will usually be much smaller than this. The Kissing Gourami has a deep body that is strongly compressed laterally. The lateral line is divided into two distinct parts, and the posterior part begins below the end of the other. Along the line, you can see 43-48 scales. The long-based dorsal fins and the anal fins mirror each other when it comes to length. The low-slung pectoral fins are big and rounded. The caudal fin is also rounded and has a concave shape. The Kissing gourami has a large amount of well developed gill rakers.

The Kissing gourami is famous for its mouth and its “kissing” behaviour. The mouth protrudes from the body and the lips are equipped with horny teeth. You can however not find any teeth on the dentaries, palatine, pharynx or premaxilla.  

You can find two different colour morphs for sale. The by far most commonly offered variant is the pseudo-albino Kissing gourami that displays a pale pink colouration. The colour can vary slightly from orange-pink to rose-pink and the scales are silvery. The fins are also pinkish. In the wild, the normal Kissing gourami variant is however the green one. The Green Kissing gourami has lengthwise lateral stripes and the fins are of an opaque brown shade.

Today, you can also purchase a smaller, mutated variant of the pink Kissing gourami. This type of Kissing gourami is commonly known as “Dwarf Kissing Gourami” or “Balloon Pink”. They body is small and very round. 

Kissing Gourami setup:

The Kissing Gourami can reach a length of 30 centimetres (12 inches) and will naturally need a big aquarium. Keep in mind that the little Kissing gourami offered by the pet store can quickly outgrow a small aquarium.

Try to mimic the slow-moving, densely grown Kissing Gourami habitat in Asia when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of plants. Always use sturdy and fast growing plants in the Kissing gourami aquarium, since sensitive plants will not tolerate being grazed by the fish. Java fern and Java moss is recommended.

Kissing gouramis can be found of digging and this is naturally a problem since they should be kept in planted aquariums. You can prevent digging by using gravel and stones with a large diameter as aquarium substrate. This will also provide algae with plenty of surface area to grow on.

Kissing gouramis will be peaceful towards other fish species as well as to each other, but males will challenge each other to determine supremacy. They “kissing combats” are however rarely dangerous for the fish.

Kissing Gourami care:

The Kissing Gourami will do best if you keep the pH between 6 and 8 and the water hardiness between dGH 5 and 19. The temperature should be in the 22 and 28° C (71.5 and 82.5° F) range. If you plan to breed Kissing Gourami, you should keep the water soft.

If you keep Kissing gouramis, you should ideally refrain from cleaning the aquarium’s back glass since the algae growth will provide the Kissing gourami with a natural food source and allow it to engage in its natural feeding behaviour.

Kissing Gourami feeding:

Wild Kissing gouramis are omnivores and feed on a wide range of foods, including benthic algae, zooplankton, phytoplankton and aquatic plants. They search for food primarily in midwater, but will also eat insects at the water surface. Kissing Gouramis use their gill rakers to filter plankton. The Kissing gourami will also use its teeth to rasp algae that grow on stones and similar surfaces. It can look almost as if the fish is kissing when it is actually feeding. Keep your Kissing Gouramis on a varied diet that includes carnivore food types as well as vegetables. It will appreciate live food and cooked zucchini, lettuce etcetera.

Kissing Gourami breeding:

The Kissing Gourami is a prolific species in the wild and has a minimum population doubling time below 15 months. They are open-water egg scatters and will not guard or care for their offspring. This distinguish them form the other members of the suborder Anabantoidei, since these species build nest for their offspring or care for them in similar ways. Kissing Gourami spawning takes place under floating plants and the female will release floating eggs. 

If you want to breed Kissing Gourami, you should keep the pH between 6.8 and 8.5. Soft water is strongly recommended. The water temperature should be kept between 22 and 28° C (71.5 and 82.5° F). You must provide the fish with floating plants, or a piece of floating lettuce. A piece of withering lettuce will soon attract infusoria and bacteria upon which the newly hatched fry can feed. Kissing gourami eggs are floating, smooth and spherical. They will hatch within a day, and after two more days the fry will be free-swimming.

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