In classification, ‘Gourami fish’ have been placed among four different types of subfamilies comprising 15 genera and 90 species. Most of gourami fish species are native to Asia, particularly eastern, southeastern and southern Asia. Some of the very important types of gouramis are briefly described below.
The species Trichogaster fasciata (formerly Colisa fasciata) are commonly known as banded gourami. These types grow to a maximum length of 12cm. They are freshwater fish, preferring middle and upper column of water. The ideal pH range for these types of tropical species is 6.0 – 7.5. Ideal temperature range is 22°C – 28°C .This type of gourami are naturally distributed in Asian countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan. They occur in large rivers, estuaries and lakes. These fish species generally prefer weedy environment. Aquarium trade has introduced these types in many countries. They are greenish in color with oblique type orange or bluish bars and anal fin usually has a red margin.
Sphaerichthys osphromenoides species commonly known as chocolate gourami originated from Malay Peninsula, Sumatra and Borneo. This type of species normally grow up to two inches in length. They have a chocolate color body with vertical types of golden bands. Though these types are popular ornamental fish, they are very difficult to maintain in an aquarium due to their delicate nature. Unlike most of the other gouramis, which are bubble nest builders, these species are mouth brooders and the females incubate the eggs in the mouth.
The species Trichopsis vittata, commonly called croaking gourami, are native to Southeast Asia (Java, Borneo, Sumatra, Malaya, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam). Now these species are distributed all over the world and a breeding population is known to exist in a series of drainage ditches in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA. They grow up to two inches in length and vary in types of coloration from pale brown and green to dark purple. They are capable of making grunting sound with their pectoral fins.
Dwarf gourami,species T.lalius, (aka Colisa lalia),
are originally endemic to South Asia ( Pakistan, India and Bangladesh). However these types are now distributed widely outside their native range. These species are used as dried fish. In aquarium trade these types are very popular as dwarf gourami. They are usually 1.5 to 2 inches in length, though some specimens may grow much bigger. Their habitat types includes streams, rivers and ponds with dense vegetation. The males show diagonal alternating red and blue stripes on a silvery body. Many color variants like powder blue and flame red gourami have been developed by aquarium fish breeders.
Picture source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flame_gourami_1.jpg
Image author: Debivort (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Osphronemus goramy species, commonly known as giant gourami, are native to southeastern Asia ( Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and India). These species have been introduced into other countries for aquaculture. These types of fish naturally inhabit rivers, lakes and swamps. In most of the countries they are food fish. They are also popular aquarium fish and they require bigger tanks. Fully grown mature giant gourami develops a hump over their eyes and it may reach a length of about one foot. It color varies from pale gray to golden-yellow with silvery pale blue vertical stripes.
The species Trichogaster chuna aka Colisa chuna originated in India and Bangladesh. Now these types are distributed all over Asia in the rivers and lakes. Their preferred habitat is thick with aquatic vegetation. Males in this type reach a length of 2 inches, whereas females are smaller. By selective breeding two types of varieties have been developed. The red-orange type is known as ‘sunset’ or ‘robin red’ whereas the light-colored type is known as ‘gold’.
Helostoma temminckii species, commonly known as kissing gourami or kissing fish, have a native range from Thailand to Indonesia in Southeast Asia. These type bigger fish are farmed as food fish in the native lands. They are also popular aquarium fish. The mouth of these species are highly protrusible types with lips carrying horny row of teeth. In nature, they inhabit thickly vegetated type of backwaters. They rasp out algae on the rocks and substrates with the teeth in their protruding lips, appearing as though they are kissing. These types scatter the eggs in the open waters and do not care for their young.
The species Trichopodus microlepis aka Trichogaster microlepis is commonly known as moonlight gourami or moonbeams gourami. These species types are very popular aquarium fish. They are native to the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam and Chao Phraya basins. They have been introduced into Thailand and Colombia. These species inhabit pond and marshes with thick aquatic vegetation. They grow up to five inches in length. The adult fish are silvery in color. These types are air bubble nest builders.
Trichopodus leerii species aka Trichogaster leeri are commonly known as pearl gourami or lace gourami. They are native of Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo. They inhabit marshes and wetlands with acidic waters. They grow up to five inches in length. Their body is brownish silver in color and have a lace-like pattern extending from their head to caudal fin. The males are larger than females and are more colorful. During breeding males build bubble nests.
The species Trichopsis pumila is commonly known as pygmy gourami or sparkling gourami. They are native to Southeast Asia (Thailand, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, and Indonesia). The are very small fish growing up to 1.5 inch. These species, like croaking gourami, can make croaking noise. These type of species have sparkling spots with red, green, and blue hue. They inhabit shallow ponds, slow flowing rivers and puddles of water with dense aquatic plants. The males build bubble nest during breeding season.
Trichopodus pectoralis species aka Trichogaster pectoralis are commonly known as snakeskin Gourami. These types are native of the Mekong and Chao Phraya basin of Cambodia, Thailand, Southern Vietnam and Laos. These species have been introduced into countries like Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka. They are important food fish in the native countries. They inhabit paddy fields, ponds and swamps with thick vegetation. They are hardy fish and can grow up to eight inches in length. Their back is olive in color with greenish gray flanks.
Thick lipped gourami
Thick lipped gourami, species Trichogaster labiosa aka Colisa labiosa, are endemic to tropical Myanmar. They have been introduced in Colombia. These type of fish have been widely transported around the world by fish trade. They are very popular aquarium fish. Males of the species grow to a length of about 3-4 inches and carries thin alternating stripes of red and blue. The females are usually silvery in color. Males of these types of fish build bubble nest.
Three spot gourami
Species Trichopodus trichopterus (Trichogaster trichopterus) are commonly known as three spot gourami. They have two spots along the lateral line and black eye is the third spot. With the slight variations in color they are also commonly called as blue, Cosby, gold, or opaline gourami. Though these species are considered food fish, they are also very popular with aquarists. These type of fish are endemic to Mekong river basin in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. Their natural habitats are marshes, canals and wetlands. These species feed on crustaceans, fish fry, insects and larvae.
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Different types of gourami fish species.