A Beginner’s Guide To Taking Care Of A Kissing Gourami Fish

kissing gourami fish

Gourami fish are amongst the most popular freshwater fish you can find in the market. Although there are several species of this fish, the kissing gourami fish is quite renowned. Although they resemble the dwarf gourami fish, they get their name due to their distinct mouth shape.

They have a slightly aggressive temperament and require some experience to be cared for properly, but this does not mean that you cannot add them to your tank.

If you are interested in adding kissing gourami to your tank, here is a comprehensive guide that will educate you about everything that you need to know. 


Originating from the area of Southeast Asia, Thailand, and Indonesia, they are loved by the majority of aquarium keepers. Kissing gourami price can range between $5-$7. They are relatively difficult to find in pet stores, but their looks and resistance surely make them worth searching for. 

They have a labyrinth organ that helps them take in oxygen from the air. This organ becomes a lifesaver for them and helps them survive, even in the most difficult situations.

They are not very demanding in terms of tank conditions and can easily live up to five to seven years when cared for properly. 

General Behavior And Temperament

The reason why these fish are known as the kissing gourami fish is that they have a very distinct mouth, and you will often find them kissing in the tank. You may assume that this gesture is an expression of love; however, in reality, the gesture is a display of aggression.

The two male fish that you see kissing in the tank are actually males who are fighting over their territories inside the tank. 

Fighting of the kissing gourami fish is a sign of maturity of the male kissing gourami fish. Despite their aggressive nature, the kissing gourami can still be added to a small to a medium-sized community tank.

But make sure that they are kept with similar sized fish; otherwise, they can extend aggression towards other tank mates, harass the smaller fish, and can frequently get into fights. Most of the time, these fish will be seen around the top to the middle water column of the tank. 


The kissing gourami fish has a very uniquely shaped mouth. The mouth, especially the area of the lips, is plump and has a pout like a shape. It looks similar to lips that are about to kiss, hence their name. The mouth is also extended on the front, slightly outwards from the body.

You will notice that their jaw has an extra joint. This joint plays an integral role in helping the fish open their mouth at a larger angle so that they can easily consume food. 

You will also notice small teeth along their lips. Kissing gourami size can vary depending on their care level and whether they are free or captive fish. In an aquarium tank, you can easily expect them to reach a size of nearly twelve inches. 

Speaking of fins, they have considerably small dorsal and anal fins. These fins extend throughout the length of their bodies and begin at the head leading all the way to their tails. The pectoral fins have a rounded shape and are longer in size. 

The most common colors of gourami kissing fish are pink and silver-green. You might notice brown spots or stripes covering their bodies. There is an artificially bred variety of kissing gourami fish that has a round body.

But that variety is not as attractive as the natural kissing gourami and does not have a longer lifespan. 

Natural Habitat

The fish can be found in the Southern Asian area. Their natural habitat comprises of slow-flowing water that is densely packed with plants and other vegetation.

Thanks to the labyrinth fin, the kissing gourami can easily breathe in areas where there is a smaller concentration of oxygen in the water. 

The water in the natural habitat has a warm temperature and a moderate pH level. These fish are quite hardy and will do well in almost all tank conditions.

Therefore, these fish are relatively easier to care for, and any person with a basic tank keeping experience can opt for kissing gourami to add to their tank. 

Tank Setup And Conditions

Kissing gourami does not demand specific tank requirements. When choosing a substrate for their tank, it is recommended that tank owners opt for fine-grain substrates that are soft.

You will often find the kissing gourami fish digging around and pocking in the substrate. The use of any hard substrate can lead to the fish’s body getting scratched or injured. 

Adding plants to the tank is extremely important. You can opt for thicker and denser plants. If not, you can create a densely packed vegetation area inside the tank by planting plants closer to one another.

Kissing gourami fish is infamous for its plant nipping habits; therefore, it is recommended that you choose strong plants that grow at a rapid rate. Slow growing plants will not be able to survive the gourami fish’s constant nipping. Hornwort and Java Fern are highly recommended in this regard. 

The ideal temperature range for a tank for gourami fish is between seventy-two to eighty-two degrees Fahrenheit. The pH level should be maintained within the range of six to eight, and the hardness level should be between five to twenty dGH. 

You do not need to worry about setting up aquarium lights in your tank. However, do not forget to add a filter and a heater to the tank. The filter is important for the tank’s hygiene, while the heater helps in maintaining and stabilizing the tank’s temperature. 

The kissing gourami fish is relatively smaller in size, but this does not mean that you can house them in a small-sized tank. Despite their small size, the kissing gourami requires ample tank space to easily swim around.

If you want to keep a pair of the kissing gourami fish and facilitate mating, a minimum tank size of fifty gallons is necessary. Furthermore, you will require an additional thirty to forty gallons per fish that you will add to the tank. 

Ideal Tank Mates

Many people are intimated by the thought of adding kissing gourami fish in a community tank with other fish due to their aggressive nature. However, you can easily keep this fish in a shared tank if you take some time and find them a set of ideal tank mates. 

Make sure that you do not make the mistake of adding other gourami fish species with the kissing gourami. This can aggravate the kissing gourami’s aggression and cause a lot of chaos and trouble in the tank. 

When choosing tank mates for them, look for fish that are smaller in size, similar to the kissing gourami. Other than this, pick tank mates that are also hardy and can survive in similar tank conditions as the kissing gourami fish. 

Some ideal tank mates include:

When keeping kissing gourami fish in a community tank, make it a habit to closely observe the other fish. You might feel like the kissing gourami is harassing and bullying the tank mates. If you notice any such sign, it is best to remove the kissing gourami fish from the community tank.

Make sure that you avoid adding invertebrates to the tank, as the kissing gourami will end up eating them. 

By nature, kissing gourami fish does not co-exist with fish that look similar to them. Therefore, keeping a group of kissing gourami fish in the same tank is a bad idea. You can add a mating pair to the same tank, but it is normal for the mating pair to even bully one another. 

However, if you want to host a larger group of kissing gourami fish, it is best to either find a very large tank and be extremely vigilant and observe the tank regularly to identify any signs of aggression immediately. 


By nature, kissing gourami fish are omnivorous in nature. Therefore, you can easily feed them both plant-based as well as protein-based diets. In their natural habitat, they can found nipping on plants and eating away algae.

They have a special gill design that also helps them eat plankton. They also devour insects like worms to meet their protein-based nutritional needs. 

When adding the kissing gourami fish to a fish tank, it is best to try and replicate their natural diet as much as possible. Rather than inclining towards a particular diet group, it is best to maintain a balance and feed them an ample amount of both plants and proteins. 

You can use store-bought pellet and flake food to feed your kissing gourami fish. However, occasionally adding green vegetables like lettuce and zucchini is also important. You can also provide them with frozen food but make sure that you add live food every now and then. 

The kissing gourami fish will get extremely excited as soon as it spots the live food, and you will see a slight race inside the tank while the fish tries to catch and devour its prey. ‘

Most people make the mistake of overfeeding their kissing gourami fish. Overfeeding can lead to health problems in the fish and may also disturb the tank’s hygiene. Therefore, it is best to feed the fish in smaller portions.

These fish will require to be fed twice a day. But make sure that the amount of food that you add to the tank is controlled so the fish can consume it within a few minutes. 


If you wish to breed your kissing gourami fish, it is important that you pay attention to their food and overall wellbeing. Before moving to the breeding, feed the fish well and provide a balanced and nutritious diet.

Using live food is highly recommended as it promotes the fish’s health and helps them get ready for breeding. 

The tank temperature is a very important factor in this regard. Maintain it between eighty to eighty-two degrees Fahrenheit and maintain a warmer temperature inside the tank. The overall hygiene of the tank should also be monitored. 

The sign that indicates that the gourami fish are ready for mating is when the male and the female fish circling around each other. You will see the frequency and speed of circling will increase as their mating time comes closer. 

The female fish will be turned upside down by the male fish. This will instigate the egg-laying process for the female fish. The female fish is capable of laying close to a thousand eggs at a time.

As soon as the eggs are released by the female, the male fish will go ahead and start fertilizing them. 

You will slowly see the eggs rise to the surface of the water. Take it as a sign to remove the mated pair from the tank. The eggs hatch within a day and small fry are released into the water. Keep an eye on the fry and feed it crushed pellet food or baby brine shrimp to nurture them to maturity. 


If you want to add an aesthetically pleasing, active, and full of personality fish to your tank, the kissing gourami fish is highly recommended. The unique mouth shape and pinkish to silver-green color surely make them a gem for any aquarium tank. 

You will have to be careful to ensure that their tank conditions are met. Plus, most people avoid kissing gourami fish due to its infamous aggressive attitude.

But in reality, if you are willing to put in a little bit of extra effort, you can add this beauty to your tank without having to worry about anything. 

If you are a fan of the gourami fish family and are willing to take on a little bit of challenge, the kissing gourami fish will prove to be a good choice. 

John Kilmerstone

I love keeping pet fish and receive a lot of joy and peace from watching these colorful creatures. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of pet fish. Discover how to care for and look after pet fish and amplify your satisfaction.

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