You’ve probably heard about gourami fish in the past. These fish are incredibly common because of how popular they are.
They’re among the most common fish that you will see being sold at pet stores. This is partially because they’re great options for beginners to the hobby.
If you don’t know a ton about these fish yet, then you could be wondering how gouramis are categorized. Are these fish considered to be cichlids or are they something else entirely?
Continue reading to learn about what type of fish gouramis are considered to be. You’ll also get some basic information about gouramis that will help you to feel more informed.
Gouramis Are Not Cichlids
Gouramis are not cichlids. In fact, gourami fish are much different than cichlids.
There are many types of fish that are popular that are considered to be cichlids. Perhaps the most well-known example of a cichlid is the angelfish.
There are three different families of fish that can be considered to be gouramis. They are known as Anabantidae, Helostomatidae, and Osphronemidae.
More commonly, gouramis are considered to be “labyrinth” fish. What does that mean, though?
Keep reading to learn about what the term labyrinth fish means. This will give you a better overall understanding of gouramis.
What Is a Labyrinth Fish?
Labyrinth fish are types of fish that possess a special organ. Some fish possess a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe at the surface of the water.
Fish that possess this organ can reach the surface of the water and gulp down some oxygen. They’re able to utilize the oxygen because of the labyrinth organ.
Gourami fish developed this organ because of where they live in the wild. You can find gouramis in shallow waters such as streams and rivers.
They need to be able to utilize their labyrinth organs so that they can breathe properly in these settings. There are other types of labyrinth fish out there, but gouramis are likely the most well known.
The other popular fish that has a labyrinth organ is the betta fish. Betta fish are gorgeous fish that share some similarities with the gouramis.
Gouramis Are Good Beginner Fish
If you’re interested in getting some gouramis for your aquarium, then you’ll be glad to hear that they’re good beginner fish. For the most part, gouramis are very easy to take care of.
Most of the common and popular types of gouramis are very easy to keep in fish tanks. Dwarf gouramis are among the most popular, and they’re perfect fish for those who are new to the hobby.
Pearl gouramis are gorgeous fish that will also be very easy to care for. It’s nice that you can get such pretty fish that aren’t going to be overly delicate.
These fish are hardy enough that they can withstand a few mistakes. This makes them great for beginners that are just learning the ropes.
If you’re in need of fish that will be able to survive while you’re learning, then many types of gouramis will fit the bill. Of course, there are gouramis that aren’t quite so hardy.
Licorice gouramis are tough to take care of because they have very particular requirements. It’s recommended to stick to common types of gouramis such as dwarf gouramis and pearl gouramis while you’re gaining experience.
You can always buy different types of gouramis that are more complicated to care for later once you feel prepared. There are so many amazing types of gouramis to choose from that you won’t get bored.
Gouramis Are Good Community Fish
Those who want to find good community fish will be pleased with gouramis. Gouramis are some of the best community fish that you can find for your freshwater tank.
As you might expect, how good gouramis will be in a community tank setting will differ depending on the species. Most gouramis are very good community fish, but some of them won’t be great.
Blue gouramis have a bit of a reputation for being bully fish. They’re kind of aggressive, but they can still be good tank mates when you pick the right fish to place in the aquarium with them.
Kissing gouramis are known to bite each other and their tank mates. You’ll need to be careful when choosing tank mates for these fairly large gouramis.
Giant gouramis are humongous and won’t be able to be placed in tanks with small fish. They’re also quite aggressive, but they should be able to do well in tanks with fish that are large enough to be safe with them.
Many types of gouramis are very peaceful and will make perfect community fish. Dwarf gouramis will be excellent in a community aquarium setting.
Sparkling gouramis will also work out nicely. Pearl gouramis will look good in a community tank and so will honey gouramis.
You have options to consider when looking into gouramis for your community tank. Just be sure to research compatibility before moving forward so that you can keep everything peaceful in the aquarium.
Are Gouramis Compatible with Cichlids?
Certain types of gouramis are going to be compatible with cichlids. One of the best fish to put in with semi-aggressive cichlids will be the blue gourami.
Blue gouramis (and three-spot gouramis) will be good tank mates for many types of cichlids. These are semi-aggressive gourami fish that can hold their own with the cichlids.
Of course, they won’t be compatible with all cichlids. You’ll need to check compatibility on an individual basis to see if the fish are capable of getting along in a community tank.
You always want to check individual compatibility based on the species of the fish. Otherwise, you might wind up putting your fish in a tank with fish that will bully them.
Luckily, getting the right information isn’t going to be tough. Gouramis have plenty of different types of fish that they’re compatible with in a community tank setting.
Will Gouramis Fight Each Other?
Sometimes gouramis will fight each other. For the most part, these fish are considered to be quite peaceful, but there are exceptions.
Most species of gourami fish won’t be able to get along with each other. It isn’t recommended to put two different types of gouramis in the same fish tank.
You can get away with doing this if you have a very large aquarium, though. It also helps if there are many decorations in the tank that will keep the two groups of gouramis from seeing each other.
Male gouramis of the same species usually won’t get along either. Generally, it’s not recommended to keep two male gouramis in the same fish tank.
There are some types of gouramis that will be able to get along better, though. For example, sparkling gouramis are incredibly peaceful, and the males don’t fight each other.
Even when competing for females, male sparkling gouramis will simply make noises and try to get the attention of the females. Just know that most types of gouramis shouldn’t have the males kept together.
Females usually don’t have any problems getting along with each other. You should be able to keep multiple female gouramis in the same tank without it being a problem at all.
Differences Between Male and Female Gouramis
Did you know that there are significant differences between male and female gouramis? This information can come in handy when you’re trying to tell them apart.
Male gouramis are actually going to be smaller than the females. The females will have round bellies that will help you to identify them as well.
Looking at the dorsal fins will be one of the easiest ways to tell the two fish apart. Male gouramis have longer dorsal fins that come to a point while females have shorter rounded dorsal fins.
Males are much more aggressive than the females are, too. Even among very peaceful types of gourami fish, the males will be more aggressive than the females.
You’ll find that males make bubble nests as well. Females don’t do this, and you can easily spot male fish if you see them making the nests.
Gouramis are not cichlids. If you thought that gouramis looked as if they would be cichlids, then you now know that this isn’t the case.
Some gouramis are going to get along with cichlids in a community tank setting, though. Specifically, blue gouramis are good tank mates for different types of cichlids.
Gourami fish are labyrinth fish that possess a special organ. They can gulp down oxygen at the surface of the water.
They’re very interesting fish that are well worth owning. The fact that gouramis are so peaceful makes them very good community aquarium fish.
It’s also nice that gouramis are so easy to care for. If you’re a beginner when it comes to keeping aquariums, then gouramis will be good options for you to consider.
If you would like to buy cichlids, then angelfish will probably be your best bet. Angelfish are also excellent beginner fish that are considered to be easy to care for.
No matter what, you’ll want to research things before deciding what you want to do. Get the right fish that will suit your sensibilities while being practical for you to keep in your home aquarium.
Jeff has always enjoyed having pets, but as a child, he was drawn to his family’s fish tank. Being able to maintain a small ecosystem and observe the behaviors and interactions in the underwater world peaked his interest early on and has kept him hooked until this day. On Avid Aquarist, Jeff shares everything he’s learned about helping aquatic life survive and thrive in a home aquarium.