Opaline Gourami Care: The Definitive Guide

In this guide, you’re going to learn everything you need to know to care for the opaline gourami.

Let’s start off with the benefits of keeping them:

  • Opaline gourami is one of the hardiest fish you can get, making them great for beginners.
  • They are both beautiful and super easy to care for.
  • Plus, they get along with a variety of other aggressive fish, so they are great additions for veteran fish owners wanting some new fish.

They aren’t work-free, however.

There are some common mistakes beginners make with tank size, type of food, and what fish they are kept with that can cut their lifespan drastically.

Let’s break down exactly what you need to know to keep this fish happy and healthy.

Table Of Contents

The Tank

Opaline gourami need at least a 40 gallon aquarium.

You can keep an opaline gourami in a smaller tank while it is young, but it will quickly outgrow its tank. Because of this, I recommend putting it in the right sized tank to begin with.

Not only will this give your fish ample room to swim around, but larger tanks that are under stocked are less prone to ammonia poisoning.

Opaline Gouramis are territorial creatures and thrive from owning their own space when living with other fish. It will do better around other fish that are a similar size.

The Decorations

You should also deck out your tank with plenty of hiding places.

This will allow the aggressive and timid fish to live together without killing each other.

Plus, it will make your fish happier.

Some good plants to include with your gourami are:

  • Amazon Sword Plant
  • Vallisneria
  • Salvinia
  • Hygrophila

Opaline gourami like to inhabit the upper parts of the tank, so look for tall plants and floating plants.

This will give them more things to hide in and interact with.

The Food

Once you have the tank ready to go, the next step is to make sure you have the right food.

We want to do two things here:

  1. Ensure they get proper nutrition to stay healthy.
  2. Mimic how they feed in the wild and the types of food they naturally eat.

Opaline gourami are mainly surface feeders who eat insects and plant life that are on the top layer of water.

Because of this, an algae based flake or floating pellet food is a good choice for them.

You can also supplement with meat, in the form of:

  • Bloodworms
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Daphnia
  • And other small feeders.

Blanched lettuce and other, similar vegetables can be given as a special treat.

Only give them a small amount of food at a time, however. A good rule of thumb is to feed them an amount equal to the size of their eye. They should be able to eat their food within two minutes.

Anything left after those two minutes will make your fish fat and pollute your tank, both of which can shorten your fish’s lifespan.

Tank Mates

As we’ve discussed, the opaline gourami is extremely territorial.

Because of this, you have to be careful about the types of fish you keep with them.

They are often peaceful as juveniles, but as they get older, they’ll need to be kept with fish that can hold their own against them. (Though I have heard that they start off aggressive and get more peaceful – so this might vary somewhat, fish to fish.)

I’ve had aggressive fish wipe out an entire tank before, so trust me – this is important.

You can always play it safe and buy less fish, to ensure they have enough space in the tank and will get along, but you’re taking a risk if you don’t buy fish that are proven safe with gourami.

Experimenting and having your new fish taken out can be expensive and depressing.

The more economical route is to buy an assortment of fish that you know will get along with your Opaline Gourami. Good fish include:

  • Barbs
  • Other Gourami
  • Loaches
  • Bristlenose Plecos

I’ve also heard of people successfully keeping their gourami with Oscars, but your mileage may vary since Oscars get twice as big as the gourami.

You’ll also want to consider keeping gourami with other fish that eat similar diets, so there isn’t any wasted food that could pollute your tank.

One thing to keep in mind here is that the males tend to be the aggressive ones, so you might get better results if you go for only female gourami. (Or only get one male if you must have one.)

The Water

The next step in caring for your Opaline Gourami is the water.

You have to consider multiple settings when you’re trying to recreate the water Opaline Gourami would be exposed to in the wild.

They are tropical fish that live in warm temperatures, so your water should recreate that. Invest in a good aquarium heater to keep it warm.

You also need a filter to keep it clean and inhabitable for the fish living in your aquarium.

Just be sure to keep the current flow gentle, as stronger flows will bother opaline gourami.

Besides that, they can live between PH 6.8-7.8 and alkalinity of 3-8 dkH.

They’re pretty flexible as long as you keep the water parameters stable, so cater those levels to the other fish in the aquarium. Opaline Gouramis will adjust.

The ideal temperature for your Opaline Gourami is between 72-84 degrees Fahrenheit due to their tropics background.

You can save money on an aquarium heater if you are able to keep the temperature of the water around the preferred temperature.

(This can be accomplished by keeping your aquarium in a warm room – though any area of your house that is heated in winter will do.)

You also need to do regular water changes and keep your water clean.

Poor water quality can lead to disease and even be fatal to your fish if not kept in check.

Breeding

If you’re interested in becoming an Opaline Gourami breeder, you’re in luck!

They are bubble nesters, so breeding them is super easy to do.

This means the males make bubble nests on top of the water and put the eggs inside once the female lays them.

The male will guard the eggs until they hatch.

How to Breed Opaline Gourami

You’ll want to make sure your fish are in optimal health to ensure their offspring are healthy as well.

Warm the tank to 80 degrees Fahrenheit to promote the mating process. Feed your fish a variety of foods to ensure they are nutrient-rich and happy.

Then the male will perform a mating dance before the two consummate and make the eggs.

Here is the entire breeding process, step by step:

  1. Set up a separate breeding tank that is at least 30 gallons. (Make sure the tank is properly cycled!)
  2. Move the female of your breeding pair over to the new tank.
  3. Wait a day, and then move your male over.
  4. Once they have successfully bred (and there is a bubble nest in the tank), remove the female.
  5. Leave the male in the tank until the fry start to hatch, and then remove the male as well.
  6. Keep your baby gourami separated until they are large enough to be able to fend for themselves.

The eggs will be small and depending on how large the female was when mating, you can easily have 700-800 eggs.

The male will generally carry the eggs in his mouth into the bubble nest. You should remove the female at this time, because the male will protect the eggs at all costs.

(Meaning he’ll attack her when she tries to eat the eggs after spawning.)

Once the eggs hatch, you’ll have mini Opaline Gourami babies pouring into the water. You should remove the male at this point, so he doesn’t eat them while grazing for food, given their small size.

Caring for the Opaline Gourami Babies

You’ve now successfully hatched your new generation of gourami.

Now is not the time for celebration, however:

You need to be diligent from now until the fry become fully grown. You’ll be feeding them special food multiple times per day until they’re big enough to start eating regular fish food.

You can feed the babies a liquid diet and/or rotifers until they can start eating bits and pieces of baby shrimp.

They will soon take shape and look like their parents as they age.

Their Look

You’ll often find Opaline Gourami to be great additions to your fish tank for their appearance alone.

They are vibrantly colored and beautiful to look at with their marble design.

The males will also shine even brighter if there are females in the tank to impress and males to compete against. They will brighten up any tank with the right care.

Baby Opaline Gourami resemble their parents a few weeks after they hatch, gaining those dark blue colors and black spots that give it that marble look.

Males are also more vibrant in color in comparison to females. Males are larger, while females are rounder around the abdomen. The Opaline Gourami will be fully grown between one to two years of age.

Opaline Gourami can grow as large as six inches when they reach adulthood.

This size will depend on how long the fish lives since they will continue to grow at a slow rate after the first two years of life. (An Opaline Gourami often doesn’t survive longer than a few years in the wild due to overfishing and habitat destruction.)

Buying groups of Opaline Gourami together can also improve their look. You’ll have the best grouping if you have multiple females and one male. So, having them in your aquarium will promote their quality of life and longevity.

Having tank mates will also decrease stress and anxiety. Having fewer males to compete against will also increase the longevity of your tank.

Lifespan

Depending on how well you care for Opaline Gourami and keep it fed, healthy and happy will determine how long it will live.

Generally, the Opaline Gourami lives longer in captivity than in the wild, since we can provide a more controlled environment. They will also live longer if around female Opaline Gourami or similar sized aggressive fish mates.

How healthy your fish is will also determine how long it will live. Be on the lookout for fighting with other fish, bacterial infections, constipation and hole-in-the-head, a type of erosion of the scales on a fish’s head. These are all issues that can shorten the life of your fish.

Opaline Gourami’s health can be affected by water quality and overcrowding in a tank, which is why it’s so important to buy one big enough to suit your fish.

The other fish in the fish tank can also affect the Opaline Gourami’s lifespan:

If you have an aggressive male fish in the same tank, it will increase the competitiveness of your opaline gourami. Plus, they may even be eaten or killed by the aggressive fish, drastically shortening its lifespan as well.

Generally, if you keep the tank clean and feed your fish without overfeeding, an opaline gourami can live for 6-8 years.

That’s a great lifespan for a fish, and well worth the money when you know you’ll have a beautiful fish for a long time in comparison to other fish lifespans.

Plus, if you’re breeding these fish, you’ll have a lot of chances to get more!

The Price

The last piece of the puzzle is the price to get an Opaline Gourami. You may be deterred by the idea of buying multiple since it sounds like it will be a lot of upfront costs. Opaline Gourami costs vary depending on their availability and where you go. You’ll pay between $7-$20 per fish if you go to a pet store.

The price will vary depending on what store you go to as well. So, do your research and compare costs from different pet stores before buying.

Pay attention to how the fish are kept in the local fish store. Fish in good quality water that are also not overcrowded will most likely live longer than fish you see crammed in poor quality water.

You should also take their age into account:

A juvenile opaline gourami won’t be as big or as vibrant as an adult; however, they will become colorful and live longer. If you buy an adult opaline gourami and do not know the age, you won’t know how long they will live after putting them in your tank. Also be wary of its sex since it can affect their temperaments.

Also, if you buy only one in the hopes of saving money, you’ll end up using the same amount or even more on replacement fish. Opaline gouramis are territorial fish that thrive when in big tanks with a lot of room to swim. So, unless you have other aggressive fish in your tank to fight against them, your opaline gourami will most likely want to fight docile fish.

Summary

We’ve discussed many aspects of caring for your Opaline Gourami.

It is important to take these factors into consideration when you take on the care of these beautiful fish. Be sure you’re bringing your gourami into a good environment.

Opaline gourami can live 6-8 years, so it is a commitment to buy and own them.

If you have decided to invest in them, congratulations!

You will love having such a hardy and vibrant fish in your aquarium to brighten it up. Plus, you’ll have a great conversation piece when guests come over and admire your colorful tank.

They are also relatively easy to breed if you have the right equipment. Just be sure to remove the parents at the right time!

While the cost upfront may be tough on your wallet, the payoff is well worth it. You’ll have a group of fish that you and your friends or family can enjoy for years to come.

Plus, they are easy to care for when you have done your research on food, water quality, and overall fish health. Make sure you’re always keeping an eye on water temperature too!

Keep these tips in mind, and you won’t have any problem caring for your opaline gourami.