Types of Gourami - Planted Tank Mates
powder blue and red dwarf gourami fish

Types of Gourami


There are many different types of gourami that can make a beautiful centerpiece to your aquarium. They range in sizes from from popular dwarf sizes up to giant 24 inches. Contrary to common belief, they are labyrinth fish related to the aggressive betta species. They are generally peaceful as a single species with other community nano fish. Place another gourami in the tank and their territorial aggression can show, particularly males. It’s best to have just 1 or in higher ratios of female to male with a lot of room to spread out.

Nano Gourami

Sparkling Gourami

Sparkling Gouramis only get to about 1.5” in size and are the smallest gourami species. They have a speckled iridescent body that shines and sparkles under lighting. Dwarf shrimps and snails are safe from their nano-size mouths. You can keep them in large groups, but even this smaller gourami should be kept in a higher female ratio.

Sparkling Gourami – available on Amazon
Licorice Gourami

Licorice Gouramis are more subtle in coloration and only get to about 2.5”. They’re silver to dark brown in appearance with black striping resembling licorice. Unlike other gourami species, they’re more active at night and have an upturned mouth like an arowana fish. Generally peaceful in nature, but treat them like any other gourami and keep at a higher female ratio. Males are territorial and may fight, especially when it come to mating.

Licorice Gourami – available on Amazon
Paradise Gourami

Also known as Paradise Fish, these little 2.5” gouramis pack a punch when it comes to vivid colors and attractiveness. Their silver-orange and blue body with wide vertical stripes and is a total eye catcher. However, like how some of the most colorful frogs are actually poisonous, these colorful, little gouramis are very aggressive. They’re so territorial that any smaller fish is most likely not a suitable tank mate. Their community should include larger, peaceful and non territorial fish.

Paradise Gourami – available on Amazon

“Dwarf” Gouramis

The term “dwarf” gourami is generally used to identify a select species that are small in size, typically 3”-5”. However, the name Dwarf Gourami actually identifies the Trichogaster lalius gourami species. Types of gourami that are “dwarf” in size include the variations of the Dwarf Gourami species, Honey Gouramis and Pearl.

Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gouramis specifically relate to the Trichogaster lalius group. They’re known for their striking iridescent colors of red, orange and blue that vertically stripe their body and fins. They’re a very attractive tropical fish and easy to care for, making them a popular centerpiece. Dwarf Gouramis average 3” in size and variations include the Flame and Powder Blue.

dwarf gourami fish side profile
Dwarf Gourami – available on Amazon
Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami

If you look closely, Powder Blue Dwarf Gouramis often have a bit of vertical red stripping. Its body is solid with iridescent shades of blue and they’re another captive bred color-morph variation. They make a great feature to any tank when they contrast with other red, orange and yellow nano fish. Similar to the Dwarf Gourami, they average about 3” in size.

powder blue dwarf gourami freshwater fish
Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami – available on Amazon
Flame Dwarf Gourami

The Flame Gourami has similar colors of red, orange and blue, but in solid patterns. The body has the red-orange gradient that transitions to the tail and bottom anal fin. The top dorsal fin is dominantly blue like a gas flame, hence the name. They’re a captive bred color-morph of the Dwarf Gourami and are slightly smaller in size at about 2.5”.

Flame Dwarf Gourami – available on Amazon
Chocolate Gourami

Chocolate Gouramis are highly sought after for their dark body color and wide band striping. Their head to mouth is slightly less rounded and comes to more of a point. Where they differ from other dwarf size gouramis are their strict water requirements. Chocolate Gouramis are very sensitive to water changes and require a very low PH.

chocolate gourami fish side profile
Chocolate Gourami
Honey Gourami

Honey Gouramis are super popular and often available at local fish stores. Their golden-yellow bodies are solid in color with some very little shades of other colors. Particularly in females, the body can be solid yellow when first acquired, then a horizontal stripe can later appear. This is common as they mature, become territorial or begin to signal mating cues.

honey gourami fish side profile
Honey Gourami
Sunset Honey Gourami

The Sunset Honey Gourami is a color variation of the Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna). They have the same yellow body color but the back half will start to transition to an orange – red hue. The coloring also appears on the tail and the ends of the top dorsal and bottom anal fin.
They’re the same size as the Honey Gourami which ranges from 2” – 2.5” max.

sunset honey gourami fish side profile
Sunset Honey Gourami
Red Honey Gourami

Another color variation of the Honey Gourami is the Red Honey Gourami. They’re captive bred to have a deeper red coloration that generally extends to the fins and tail. There are hybrid versions related to the Sunset Thicklip Gourami and they have transparent tails as well. Similar to Honey and Sunset Gouramis, they have a silver to black underside and small lips.

red honey gourami fish profile
Red Honey Gourami – available on Amazon
Sunset Thick-lipped Gourami

Sunset Thick-lipped Gouramis (Trichogaster labiosa) are larger at about 4” and the name is often confused with Sunset Honey Gouramis. They have a deep orange-red body coloration while their tail is completely transparent along with parts of the dorsal fin. You can also identify them by their “thick-lips” which is more pronounced than other dwarf gourami species. To add more confusion, their colors are often confused with the color variation Red Honey Gouramis.

sunset thicklip gourami fish side profile
Sunset Thicklip Gourami
Pearl Gourami

Also known as Leeri or Lace Gourami, Pearl Gouramis are very popular for aquariums larger than 30 gallons. Similar to Celestial Pearl Danios, they’re covered in small, iridescent spots or “pearls” across their body. The spots can vary in color from shiny silver to light gold. Similar to Honey Gouramis, they can exhibit a horizontal stripe across the middle of the body.

Pearl Gourami – available on Amazon
Three Spot Gourami

Three Spot Gouramis typically average about 5” in size. They have 2 spots on their body that’s perfectly aligned with their eye, which is considered the third spot. Their body is typically a silver-blue tone and their fins can have smaller dot patterns. Their bellies and bottom anal fins can sometimes have subtle shades of yellow-gold.

three spot gourami fish side profile
Three-Spot Gourami
Lavender Gourami

Lavender Gouramis are actually a color variation of the Three Spot Gourami. While their bellies can still be yellow, the upper portion of the body and head is purple / lavender in color. Their distinct and natural lavender color make them a great feature fish.

lavender gourami fish side profile
Lavender Gourami – available on Amazon
Opaline Gourami

Opaline Gouramis are another color variation from the Three Spot Gourami. Their 3 spots are not as distinct, but their blue iridescent body is complemented with gray marbling patterns. The tail and fins still have little dots which makes a great contrast. Slightly more vibrant and unique in patterns, Opaline Gouramis are very popular and can easily be found in local fish stores.

Opaline Gourami – available on Amazon
Blue Gourami

Blue Gouramis  are slightly larger in size, averaging about 5.5” – 6”. They’re a cross breed between Three Spot and Opaline Gouramis and known for their light blue color with darker marbling patterns. Vibrant and color popping, they make a great feature in a community with other mid-dwelling nano fish.

Blue Gourami

Large Gouramis

Kissing Gourami

In the wild, Kissing Gouramis can get up to 12” in size. Captive bred ones generally reach about 6” and have a silver-pink body color. What makes them unique is their puckered “kissing” lips. Contrary to their fun-loving appearance, Kissing Gouramis are semi-aggressive and pucker their lips when eating or expressing territory. Two males in the same tank will most likely fight and smaller fish will get bullied. Tank mates should include small cichlids, barbs and medium size bottom dwellers.

Kissing Gourami
Giant Gourami

Giant Gouramis are loners. They don’t interact much with other fish and need a lot of space. Local fish stores sell them as 6” juveniles, but they can reach up to 18” in the tank and up to 24” in the wild. They typically have a yellow-gold body with pale blue striping. There are a few other color variations as well, such as the darker gray with a fully red tail. Although they’re relatively hardy and easy to care for fish, they’re not quite for beginners. Similar to arowanas, you’ll need a tank up to 200 gallons with lots of plants to keep them comfortable.

Giant Gourami

All Things Considered

With the right setup, one of the various types of gourami can make a great feature fish to any aquarium.  Although they are considered peaceful, they can be very territorial and aggressive to each other.  Like a betta fish, you can keep them as a single within a community but two males in the same tank will most likely fight.  Always have a higher ratio of females and provide a lot of room to spread out and hide.  They’re top-dwelling labyrinth fish, so a wider tank with tall plants and swim space is ideal.


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