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Are Gouramis Bottom Feeders?

Are Gouramis Bottom Feeders?

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This post is written to the author's best knowledge and is not intended to be used in place of veterinary advice. In addition, this post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

So many people love gourami fish. These fish have become very popular options for people who keep freshwater aquariums in their homes.

There are many different types of gourami fish to choose from. If you want to buy some gouramis sometime soon, then you’re probably wondering what area of the fish tank they will occupy.

This is good information to know when you’re trying to set up a community fish tank. Are gouramis considered to be bottom feeders or do they prefer to live elsewhere in the fish tank?

Read on to learn more about gouramis and where they will typically hang out in the aquarium. This should help you to decide if they’ll be a good fit for your tank.

Gouramis Aren’t Bottom Feeders

If you’re seeing your gourami fish spend a lot of time at the bottom of the tank, then you should know that this isn’t typical. Gouramis are generally going to spend more time at the top of the tank or somewhere in the middle.

This is partially because gouramis need to have access to the surface of the tank. You see, gourami fish have a special organ known as the “labyrinth” organ.

Gourami fish live in shallow water situations in the water. You can often find them in streams or shallow rivers.

They had to develop the ability to breathe oxygen at the surface of the water. The labyrinth organ allows them to breathe oxygen at the surface.

There are other types of fish that are considered to be labyrinth fish, but gouramis are among the most famous. It makes sense that gourami fish would spend most of their time toward the top of the fish tank.

Are Dwarf Gouramis Bottom Dwellers?

Typically, dwarf gouramis aren’t going to spend a lot of time at the bottom of the fish tank. These gourami fish will also stay in the middle or the top of the fish tank.

As described above, gouramis need to have access to the surface of the tank. It makes more sense for these fish to swim around the top portions of the tank.

If your dwarf gourami fish is spending most of its time at the bottom of the aquarium, then that’s unusual. You might want to try to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

A healthy gourami fish is going to swim at the top or the middle of the fish tank. It isn’t normal for it to swim around at the bottom of the tank.

So what is going on if this is happening with your dwarf gourami fish? Is it a sign that the gourami is sick or could it mean that something else is amiss?

Stress Issues

Commonly, gouramis that are swimming near the bottom of the tank will be doing so because they’re stressed. Stress causes fish to start acting unusually.

There are a number of different things that can cause gouramis to become stressed. The most common reason why a gourami will be stressed has to do with improper water parameters.

If you aren’t keeping a close eye on the water parameters, then there’s a chance that the fish tank could be way off from where it is supposed to be. Checking the pH balance and monitoring the temperature of the water will be important when it comes to keeping your fish healthy.

Dirty water will also stress the fish. You must remember to change the water regularly to avoid having the fish tank get too dirty.

Fighting and bullying can also cause gouramis to experience significant stress. It’s possible that your gourami fish is getting bullied by one of its tank mates, and this is making it try to stay at the bottom of the tank.


Illness could be the reason why the gourami fish is staying at the bottom of the tank. A sick gourami fish isn’t going to act normal.

Try to examine the fish to see if anything appears to be off. Is the coloration of the fish normal?

Do you see any bumps on the gourami fish? You might wind up spotting things such as lesions, strange spots, or fin damage.

Looking out for these signs can help you to determine whether the gourami fish is sick or not. If the gourami fish does show signs of illness, then you can try to diagnose the issue and treat it.

In some cases, you’ll be able to get the gourami fish feeling healthy again by giving it some type of medicine. It really just depends on what is wrong with the fish.

Shock Issues

Shock issues have also been known to make gouramis act strangely. Sometimes gouramis can get shocked by sudden changes.

Sharp temperature drops could easily shock the fish. Significant water chemistry fluctuations could also be the culprit.

Introducing the gourami fish to a new aquarium might cause it to feel shocked at first, too. It should adjust over time, but you might have shocked the fish due to not introducing the fish properly.

You can avoid situations such as this by floating the bag for ten or fifteen minutes and then slowly adding aquarium water to the bag. There are a few different methods for acclimating fish to a new aquarium, and it’s worthwhile to use one of them.

Final Thoughts

Gouramis aren’t supposed to swim at the bottom of the tank. A healthy gourami fish is going to swim near the top of the tank.

If your gourami fish is staying at the bottom of the aquarium, then it’s a sign that something is wrong. The fish could be shocked if you didn’t acclimate it to the tank properly.

It’s also possible that the fish could be stressed. Water parameter issues and bullying are common reasons for fish to become stressed.

Sick fish will often stay at the bottom of the fish tank. You might want to keep your eyes open to see if the fish shows any signs of illness.

Do your best to protect the fish and get it back to behaving normally. Hopefully, the gourami fish will be just fine and you’ll be able to keep enjoying its presence in your tank for a long time.

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