Gourami Tank Mates 

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    Victoria Smirnova

    Victoria Smirnova is a writer and editor who adores animals and helps readers get along well with their pets. While studying at the University, Victoria became interested in writing articles on different themes. Before The Pets, Viki headed several websites and worked as a news editor. Victoria has been working in digital media for more than 5 years and has great experience writing content about lifestyle, including pets.

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  • Updated on: 17/04/2020

gourami tank mates@dlevine / Pixabay

Gourami is one of the most popular aquarium fish. There are a large number of types of gourami, among which the most common are marble, honey, and pearl. Gourami are not small fish; they fill large aquariums well. Gourami behaves adequately and do not offend small fish. Much more often, conflicts occur between males in the same group. 

For a long and peaceful coexistence, it is necessary to observe the sex ratio in the schools of gourami. There should be 2-3 females per male. If there are not enough, then violent conflicts can occur between males.

Also, populate the tank fish that can’t fit in the mouth of large gourami. Although these fish have a calm character, they can easily swallow small fish. If possible, try to avoid cohabiting with closely related species. Often the male of one species takes the male of another for his rival and can also attack him.

Gourami have poor contact with overly active fish, and they can bite their fins or not allow access to the surface of the water, where the gourami regularly float up to capture a new portion of air. Cohabitation of gourami with other fish from a young age makes adults calmer and more balanced.

Overall, there should be no serious difficulties in selecting neighbors for the gourami; a peaceful nature is good for mutual cohabitation.

Compatible Fish Species

  • Gourami or Lalia. Gourami gets along with the peaceful Lalia. Both species prefer water with similar parameters.
  • Mollies. Mollies are similar in size to the gourami. Males are aggressive within a species but friendly towards members of another species. Choose comfortable water for both types: mollies like water of medium hardness.
  • Danio Rerio. Full compatibility with this peaceful and mobile fish. Danio fish prefer cool water. The appropriate temperature for neighbors is 71-75 F.
  • Catfish Corydoras. Peaceful and unhurried corydoras catfish can boast full compatibility with many types of fish. Corydoras live in the lower layers of water – in the upper and middle – so contact with neighbors is minimized.
  • Minor. Minor is a mobile and bright fish. They are well suited for keeping with gouramis due to their size, similar habitat conditions, and the ability to add color diversity to the overall aquarium. Minor has a peaceful character.
  • Neon. Various types of neons will certainly become good companions for the gourami. However, it is better to choose larger individuals. Small blue or black neon fish are most likely to become live food.
  • Scalare. Large and graceful scalars are perfectly combined with gouramis. Fish have a similar temperament and will look great together. The main thing is not to forget that large fish will need the appropriate volume of the aquarium.
  • Apistogramma. These peaceful and unusually bright dwarf fish will also be able to live with calm gouramis. They prefer soft and slightly acidic water; it is desirable to organize a thicket of aquatic plants in the aquarium for them.
  • Ancistrus. Ancistrus catfishes are not a threat to gourami, so you can safely put them together in a common aquarium. Catfish will help keep the aquarium clean by eating algae growths on the glass.
  • Catfish Plecostomus. Catfish feed more often on plant food. Plecostomus will not harm their neighbors. Water parameters are similar; soft water is preferred and perfectly compatible with gourami.
gourami fish tank mates@kevcostello / Unsplash

Relative to Compatible Types

  • Other Gurami. An aquarium that is home to several species of gourami will not be able to escape the attention of the public. Close relatives look very good with each other. However, there is a small problem. Male gourami monitors the territory of their habitat and may mistake male relatives for individuals of their species; this can lead to a fight. Therefore, after landing, be sure to monitor the behavior of your pets.
  • Labeo. Labeo prefers to live away from other fish. Therefore, these species are compatible only in a spacious aquarium. 
  • Rasbora. Excellent compatibility with some rasbora. Settle a flock of these fish in soft, slightly acidic water. Choose large species, such as shiny, variegated, or elegant.
  • Botia. Botia gets along with gourami, but it is necessary to monitor the behavior of the fish, in case any conflict arises.
  • Barbs. We are talking, first of all, about the most active representatives of barbus: Sumatran, mutants, fire, etc. These fish not only differ in rates of life with gourami, but they also are characterized by a love to bite long tactile fins/antennae.
  • Swordsmen. Similar to barbuses, they can disrupt the integrity of the fins of gourami, so it is not always advisable to plant these fish together.
  • Mystery Snail. Gourami are not indifferent to snails and can successfully fight shellfish by eating them. Gourami can bite off the antennae or prevent the snail from climbing up to supply air.
gourami fish tank mates@zilvergolf / FreePik

Incompatible Types

  • Cockerel Fish. Because of their character, cockerel fish do not get along well with other fish. It is also not possible for them to live with gourami in the same aquarium.
  • African Cichlids. Popular African cichlids are comparable to gourami in size, but it is not recommended to keep them together. Cichlids prefer different water and are extremely aggressive in protecting their territory, so calm gourami can easily fall victim to attacks.
  • American Cichlids. Large cichlids native to South America—astronotus, diamond cichlids, and managuan cichlids—should not be kept with gourami. These large predators will constantly attack the gourami until they die.
  • Red Parrot. The red parrot can also harm the gourami. Although these fish look very friendly, their character is obnoxious. Due to the difference in size, parrots will easily destroy the gourami in a general aquarium.
  • Goldfish. Cold-water goldfish do not mix well with heat-loving gouramis. And they can pinch each other’s fins significantly. Therefore, it is better to leave the goldfish in a separate aquarium.

Additional Information

Individual Characteristics

Among the gourami, individuals with unstable character may occur. These fish forget all the boundaries of decency and attack their neighbors in the aquarium for no particular reason. This may happen occasionally. Watch your pets more often to detect deviations in behavior in time and to put dangerous fish away from their relatives.

The Volume of the Aquarium

With some exceptions, gourami is quite large fish, which also protect the occupied territory, so you need to have a suitably sized container. Ideally, a shared aquarium with gourami should have a volume of at least 26.5 gallons.


Be sure to take care of a large number of shelters when keeping gourami in the general aquarium, especially if several males are living there. Constant battles are inevitable, but the weaker individual must be able to hide from the aggressor. Thickets of live plants, grottoes, rocks, and snags will help you here. You can also arrange a place with various aquarium plants, where the fish can stay at rest.


During spawning, the aggression of the gourami may increase substantially. Therefore, it is better to organize fish breeding in a separate spawning aquarium.

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