Peal Gourami (Trichogaster Leeri) - Care, diet, breeding in aquariums & forum
This article describes taking care of Pear gouramis and offers forum for sharing experiences. Use a form at the bottom to ask if you can't find answer on your question on this page, please! We will gladly answer!
The Pearl Gourami has accumulated several common names, Leeri Gourami, Lace Gourami, Diamond Gourami, Platinum Gourami, Mosaic Gourami, to mention a few, but they are all the same fish, Trichogaster leeri. They are one of the most colourful of the Gourami family, and also one of the hardiest, making them an ideal fish for novices at fish keeping.
They are a peaceful community fish; however, if you are keeping more than one male in the tank, they may fight with each other, especially at breeding time. They originate from Asia, Thailand, and Indonesia, living to an average lifespan of 5 years, but some have been reported to live for 8 years in captivity.
Feeding is not a problem with these; they will accept flake foods, granules, almost everything that is offered. Their colouration is a brownish/silver with a wonderful spotted lace pattern running from head to tail. A black line runs midway along the body; this then ends with a well defined dark spot near the tail. In the wild they would normally live in the slightly acidic swamp regions which are full of vegetation, but they do adapt to harder water in the aquarium. They are, like all Gourami, a labyrinth fish so a large surface area is recommended for the tank. They will spend most of their time middle to top of the tank, and having a slightly upturned mouth, will surface feed. The males are more colourful than the females, displaying an orange colouration on the throat and belly; this is more pronounced when ready to breed. The Pearl gourami can be kept singly, but if kept in pairs, they will display their full colouration.
Tank set up:-
In the wild the Pearl gourami lives in densely vegetated areas, trying to match these conditions in your aquarium will certainly benefit the life of your Gourami. If keeping a pair of these fish a tank of at least 12 UK gallons should be used. A larger tank would me more beneficial, giving them a lot more swimming space. As these are middle to top dwellers the substrate can be sand or gravel, choosing a darker substrate will contrast more against the striking colours of the fish, so this would be my choice. Plenty of plants should be added whether they are real or artificial is purely the keeper’s choice. These fish do not like bright lighting, toning it down for a more subdued effect is ideal, try to add some floating plants as well, Gourami build bubble nests for breeding so the plants will aid them in that. Make sure that the fish can still get to the water surface, they are labyrinth fish, a gulp of air is essential every now and again. The temperature should be set anywhere between 22-28°C (72-82°F), and the pH should be approx. 6.5-8.0.
A clean tank is essential, as with all tropical fish, bad tank maintenance can bring on fish diseases, so a good filtration system is vital; back this up with regular water changes.
Pearl Gourami will accept any form of flake or pellet food offered. Two or three times per week live or frozen foods should be offered, bloodworm or brine shrimp are an excellent choice. With patience the fish will start to accept some foods by hand.
Breeding your Pearl Gourami:-
Pearl Gourami makes an excellent choice to introduce you to breeding egg laying fish. They are easy to sex, as explained above, and once they start breeding they can look after the fry well. The smallest tank that is ideal for breeding purposes is a 10 gallon tank. No substrate should be added, this will hamper keeping the tank clean, and a sponge filter is used for water flow and filtration. Gourami are bubble nest builders to deposit there eggs in, because of this they need some form of lid to create the nest. There are several ways of creating this; I have always used a square piece of polystyrene for the purpose. This will float around with the water flow, so to anchor it in place I simply make a hole in it, attach some thread through the hole, and then the thread can be secured to the side of the tank. The breeding pair should then be placed in the tank, now we need to condition the pair on live food or frozen food for a week. After a week the belly on the male should turn orange, the female will be swollen with eggs. The sponge filter should now be turned off so that it does not disturb the nest building.
The male will now gulp in air from the water surface, releasing bubbles underneath the polystyrene sheet. Once his nest is complete he will take the female over to it. Once the female is under the nest he will wrap himself around the female’s body, squeezing out the eggs to fertilize them. This process will be repeated several times and in between the male will gather the laid eggs to place them in the nest.
When the female has finished laying the male will chase her from the nest, now is the time to remove the female from the tank as the male will harass her to protect the eggs. The male will stay with the eggs, gathering any that have fallen from the nest to return them, this will last for up to a week. During this time the male will not take in any food at all, do not add any to the tank as it will just foul the water.
Once the eggs have hatched the fry will start trying to swim from the nest, as the days go by the male will start to struggle controlling them, now is the time to remove the male as well. It will take a week for the fry to consume their yolk sac, then they can be fed on liquid fry food or similar. After 2 weeks of the hatching, newly hatched brine shrimp should be offered. Months on they should accept crushed flake. During all of the growing on time remove any uneaten food from the tank as this will only foul the water.
Daily water changes are a must, the sponge filter should be left off until the fry are strong enough to swim against the current, and this is normally after 3 weeks.
Some breeders do you slightly different methods to me but I have found this method to work well.