Freshwater aquariums can be enriched with color, activity, and intrigue when opaline gourami is added to the mix. Though they may not be one of the most widely-known fish varieties, these marbled gouramis are easy to care for, relatively hardy, and offer plenty of vibrant behavior.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the key details regarding opaline gourami care and what owners can expect from this species.
The opaline gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus) is a freshwater fish that’s been selectively bred for its distinctive patterning and appeal. While it isn’t a naturally occurring species, its ancestors can be found in wetland habitats and marshlands in Southeast Asia locations such as India, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Cambodia. As with all gouramis, these fish have a striking shape and body profile, including an oval-shaped body, a pointed head near the mouth, and a dorsal fin that varies between males and females.
Opaline gouramis boast an impressive blue hue throughout their bodies, with unique marbling made up of deep cobalt blue that differs in intensity among individuals. These fish also boast several fins, such as a single anal fin that stretches from the pectoral fins to the caudal fork, plus two touch-sensitive ventral fins that resemble antennae.
Looking closely, owners can differentiate between male and female specimens thanks to the dorsal fin: while the male’s fin is long and pointed, the female’s is rounded and more stubby.
Average Opaline Gourami Size
Thanks to a growth rate that varies depending on genetics and the quality of care it receives, the opaline gourami size can greatly vary. That said, the average fish reaches roughly six inches in length when fully grown, although many fish will stop growing after reaching around three inches since this is when they usually mature.
Provided owners meet all their needs and maintain optimal environmental conditions, the opaline gourami lifespan can range between four and six years. Bear in mind that this is a general guideline and there is no way to guarantee how long a given fish will live; some specimens may even live longer than expected.
Opaline Gourami Care
Although they are relatively low-maintenance fish, there are certain aspects of opaline gourami care that owners must pay attention to if they wish to provide the best possible life for their pets. This includes tank size, water parameters, diet, and social habits, so let’s take a look at each of these in turn.
Probably the first decision an owner must make when it comes to opaline gourami care is deciding what size aquarium to get. Generally speaking, adult-sized specimens should be kept in tanks that can hold at least 35 gallons of water, although this number should be higher for larger communities, or if you plan on keeping multiple specimens together.
For juveniles, a 20-gallon tank should be enough, although this must be upgraded as they grow bigger.
Given that these fish are used to living in warm, humid environments and shallow waters filled with plants, the ideal habitat has slightly acidic and moderately hard properties. Fortunately, their significantly hardy nature allows them to live in a range of parameters, giving keepers a bit of leeway to work with.
In terms of diet, opaline gouramis don’t require anything out of the ordinary. Although opaline gouramis are popularly kept in home aquariums, they are actually omnivorous fish in the wild and may even have a taste for small invertebrates.
As such, owners should focus on providing them with a varied diet that includes both plant-based foods and lives or frozen prey items. This should include sources of protein such as bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp, plus some occasional vegetables or spinach.
Though they may protect their territory from others of their kind, opaline gouramis are moderately social and curious fish. They usually display playful behavior, swimming and exploring their environment, but keepers may also catch them “taking a breather” by swimming to the surface and gulping air before diving back down.
Opaline gouramis are active fishes, so they need plenty of space for swimming and exploration. For this reason, it is highly recommended to equip their tank with plenty of vegetation, driftwood, rocks, and other hiding spots.
These décor items serve several purposes: not only do they create visual interest and complexity, but they also provide the fish with places to retreat when feeling stressed or threatened.
Opaline Gouramis are peaceful fish and do well with a variety of tank mates. Good options include:
– Non-aggressive fish, such as tetras, rasboras, and angel fish
– Slow-swimming fish, such as cherry barb, celestial pearl danio, and platies
– Bottom dwellers, such as catfish, loaches, and snails
Gouramis are peaceful fish but become territorial with similar-looking species. It is recommended to keep the ratio of 2 or more females to every male to reduce aggressive behavior.
If the goal is to breed an opaline gourami pair, the best approach is to purchase two compatible specimens and allow them to grow accustomed to each other. Once they feel comfortable, they should start staking out a territory, typically done by the males. Spawning will then take place, with bubble nests forming at the surface as the eggs are fertilized.
The larvae should emerge after a couple of days and should be fed baby brine shrimp or similar small food sources until they can fend for themselves.
It’s clear that opaline gouramis aren’t the most popular or well-known fish, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t worth considering for a home aquarium. While they need attention, the requirements are relatively simple. With the right environment, a nutritious diet, and regular maintenance, these marbled freshwater fish can bring plenty of vibrant colors and interesting behavior to any setting.