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Male vs. Female Gourami (The Similarities and Differences)

Male vs. Female Gourami (The Similarities and Differences)

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

Gouramis are really good fish to own for those who are looking for new freshwater fish options. If you’d like to buy some gouramis sometime soon, then it’ll be good to learn more about them.

Most people will want to keep gouramis in pairs. You’ll likely want to have one male gourami and one female gourami.

The only problem with this is that some have a difficult time telling the fish apart. If you can’t tell the difference between male and female gouramis, then you might wind up buying two fish of the same sex by accident.

Of course, the workers at the pet store should help you to get what you need. However, it’s going to be safest to know how to sex gouramis to avoid issues.

Read on to learn about the differences between male and female gouramis. You’ll get information about the different types of gouramis so that you’ll be totally prepared.

How to Tell If a Gourami Is Male or Female

Male Dwarf Gourami with Long Dorsal Fin

Learning how to tell if a gourami is male or female will take a bit of practice. At first glance, some types of gouramis will appear to be very similar even if they are of the opposite sex.

Knowing what to look for will be the key component that will allow you to get things right. You’ll be able to identify the sex of the gouramis once you know what characteristics you should be looking out for.

Male gouramis are actually going to be slightly smaller than the females on average. They will also have different body shapes when you look closely.

Female gouramis are known for having much rounder bodies. Specifically, they have round bellies that will probably stick out and help you to know that a specific fish is female.

The most telling sign that will allow you to differentiate between male and female gouramis will be how the dorsal fin looks. Male and female gouramis have significantly different dorsal fins.

Males will have much longer dorsal fins that will come to a point. Female gouramis will have shorter dorsal fins that will be rounded.

Looking out for these physical characteristics should allow you to tell the difference between males and females. You’ll just need to observe the fish closely so you can know one way or the other.

You should be aware that determining the sex of younger gouramis will be much tougher. When the fish aren’t fully grown, they might not have developed all of the characteristics mentioned above.

Juvenile gouramis might look too similar to distinguish. Once the gouramis obtain their adult size, it’ll be much easier to tell them apart.

So it might be prudent to just let the gouramis grow up before trying to identify the gender of the fish. It’ll be a lot simpler.

Males Are Usually Brighter in Color

Colorful Male Dwarf Gourami

Another thing to know is that male gouramis will often be brighter in color than the female gouramis. This isn’t always going to be the case, but it’s going to be true more often than not.

In most species, the male gourami is going to have flashier and bolder colors than the female. The female will be much duller in comparison.

With certain types of gourami fish, it’ll be very simple to distinguish between males and females because of the different coloration. When this is the case, you won’t even have to worry so much about paying attention to dorsal fins or body shapes.

Keep this in mind so that you can have a simple time differentiating the various gouramis in your fish tanks. You’ll learn more about specific types of gouramis a bit later on.

What Are the Differences in Behavior?

As you might expect, the male and female gouramis will also exhibit behavioral differences. For the most part, male gouramis are going to be substantially more aggressive than female gouramis.

This is especially true when it comes to aggression toward other gouramis. Male gouramis will be ready to fight other gouramis and will get very aggressive at times.

Female gouramis are significantly more peaceful. They will be relatively docile in comparison to the aggressive male fish.

Mating behaviors will also be quite different. Males will dance with the females and will try to cup their bodies with their own.

Most male gouramis will also build bubble nests for mating purposes. If you see a fish building a bubble nest, then that is going to be the male fish.

Male gouramis look after the eggs. Females lay the eggs and then the males take care of everything else.

In fact, it’s normal for males to scare the females off after they have laid the eggs. This is because females will sometimes eat the eggs if the males don’t do this.

Dwarf Gouramis

Silvery Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gouramis are among the most popular and common types of gouramis. Telling the difference between males and females will be simple with this species.

The females are going to be silvery and will look much more subdued. Male dwarf gouramis will be far more colorful.

You’ll typically find the male dwarf gouramis showing crimson and blue colors. The coloration of the male will become more intense if there is a female present that it wants to impress.

Thus, keeping a female in the tank with the male gourami fish will help to bring out its best colors. This is one of the many reasons why people normally keep gouramis in pairs.

Pearl Gouramis

Pearl gouramis are considered to be some of the prettiest gouramis that you can buy. They look fantastic and they’re also easy to take care of.

One of the best ways to tell the different pearl gouramis apart will be to look for a red robin’s breast on the fish. Males show this red robin’s breast characteristic when they’re ready to spawn.

Also, the males have extensions to their anal fins that make them look lacey. The male pearl gouramis look quite a bit different than the females.

Of course, you can also use the physical characteristics described earlier such as body shape and size. You won’t regret buying pearl gouramis for your fish tank if you’re interested.

Honey Gouramis

Male Honey Gourami

Honey gouramis are pretty popular as well, but they aren’t quite as well-known as the pearl gouramis mentioned above. These gouramis are quite small since they will only reach two and a half inches in size.

The male honey gouramis will have a bold honey-like coloration. As usual, the female gourami fish will have a subdued silver color.

Even so, the female will be essential for helping the male to show its boldest colors. These are very peaceful fish that will make a great addition to your aquarium.

They’re a bit on the shy side, though. Luckily, they’re very easy to take care of and they’re among the most peaceful gouramis that you can buy.

Kissing Gouramis

Kissing gouramis are considered to be pretty large. They’ll usually grow to be between eight and twelve inches long, but they usually stick closer to eight inches long in captivity.

Telling the males apart from the females will involve looking at the body shape. The females will have round bellies.

You should be able to note the standard differences in the dorsal fins, too. Remember that these fish are big and aggressive.

They can be good fish to put in your freshwater tank, but you do need to be careful when putting them in community tanks. It’ll be imperative to find appropriate tank mates for them.

Giant Gouramis

Male Giant Gourami with Long Dorsal Fin and Forehead Bump

Giant gouramis are the largest type of gourami fish that you will find. These huge fish can grow to be between twenty and twenty-eight inches in length.

As impressive as that is, you mostly care about being able to tell the difference between the male and the female. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to do so by looking out for the right physical traits.

Males will have the standard pointed dorsal fins that will be longer than the dorsal fins of the female fish. Also, male giant gouramis have a distinct forehead bump that is going to stand out.

So long as you take the time to look at the giant gouramis, it’ll be easy to tell the males and females apart. They look different enough that gender identification won’t be a problem.

Sparkling Gouramis

Sparkling gouramis are very tiny little gourami fish that many people love. Many choose to keep these fish in small groups of four or five.

It’ll be simple to tell the difference between male sparkling gouramis and females. Simply put, you just have to look at the coloration.

The males will have bold colors that live up to the sparkling gourami name. Females will be much more muted by comparison.

As usual, having females around will make the male showcase brighter and more vivid colors. These little fish will be great to own if you’re interested in caring for smaller types of gouramis.

Blue Gouramis

Blue Gourami

Blue gouramis are pretty popular, but they are somewhat aggressive fish. As such, many people are wary of keeping these fish in community aquariums.

They have a bit of a bully fish reputation. Blue gouramis can get along with other fish in a community fish tank, but you have to be very particular with the types of fish that you place them with.

Just look at the body size and shape to tell the difference between male and female blue gouramis. If you can spot the longer and pointed dorsal fin on the fish, then this’ll tell you that it is the male.

Also, male gouramis will have a bolder coloration. It’s easy to differentiate between male and female gouramis once you know what you’re looking for.

Paradise Gouramis

Paradise gouramis are very pretty, and they just might make a great addition to your fish tank. Aside from the differences in coloration, it’ll be easy to tell the difference between males and females by looking at body shape.

You’ll once again be looking for the standard differences between male and female gouramis. Just look at the body of the paradise gouramis and see if you can spot the male traits.

Male paradise gouramis will be much more colorful, too. Now that you know to expect this, it’ll be easy to ensure that you buy one fish of each gender for your aquarium.

Many say that paradise gouramis are some of the most entertaining to own. You should have an easy time finding these interesting fish at the local pet store or online.

Final Thoughts

After reading the information above, it should feel much more natural to pick out male and female gouramis. You’ve learned that there are telltale differences between the males and females that you can look out for.

All of the male gouramis are going to have longer dorsal fins that will come to a point. They’ll also be slightly smaller than the females.

Females have round bellies that make them stand out. When looking at the general shape of the body, it’ll be easy to tell whether a gourami fish is female or not.

Also, males are going to display brighter colors than female gourami fish. Males have bold colors that will get brighter and more vivid if there is a female around to impress.

Some species have a few other little ways that you can tell the males and females apart. For example, male giant gouramis have a telltale bump on their foreheads.

Knowing what to look out for will ensure that you will always be able to tell the gender of the fish. You just need to take the time to observe the fish and see what characteristics it displays.

Of course, it’s harder to identify the gender of juvenile gouramis. This is because the fins might not be fully developed and all of the characteristics of the fish won’t be apparent yet.

If any of your friends or family members are having a hard time identifying the sex of their gouramis, then you can teach them what you learned today. This will also help a lot if you’re trying to pick out a male and a female gourami fish from a pet store.