Honey gourami swimming in tank

Honey Gourami Care: Types, Tank Setup, Diet And More

Freshwater aquariums can be difficult for new fishkeepers. Picking the right fish species can make your life a whole lot easier. The Honey Gourami is a great choice for any beginner looking to keep an aquarium at home or in their office. They are easy-going and do great in community tanks. 

This guide will tell you everything you need to know about keeping Honey Gouramis as pets including their ideal environment, diet, compatibility with other species, and more! We’ll also go over how much space they require and their ideal breeding conditons. You’ll even learn how often these beautiful fish should be fed so that they stay healthy and happy all year long.

Let’s dive in!

Recommended Honey Gourami Care Items:

Honey Gourami Overview

Honey Gouramis are a popular, peaceful, and colorful fish species known for their golden-red belly. They’re a great fish for novice aquarists who have just purchased their first freshwater aquarium.

The honey gourami’s scientific name is Trichogaster chuna. However, you will also hear them referred to by many other names, including the sunset gourami, red flame gourami, or red honey gourami. One look at these fish and you will understand all of the nicknames.

Honey Gourami are native to Bangladesh and India, where they inhabit slow-moving water with lots of plants. The waters that they inhabit tend to have low oxygen levels, which would be a problem for a lot of fish species. However, honey gouramis have a special organ that allows them to breathe oxygen at the water’s surface. Pretty cool, right?

Most honey gouramis available for sale in local pet stores are bred in captivity, not wild-caught.

Honey Gourami Appearance

The honey gourami is a striking fish that features bright colors that make them quite popular in the aquarium trade.

However, people often get them confused with the Dwarf Gourami, so make sure you know the scientific names (Trichogaster chuna) when trying to distinguish. This can be confusing because younger honey gouramis can look like dwarf gouramis, especially in color and size.

Honey Gouramis have a narrower body than Dwarf Gouramis, with smaller dorsal and anal fins. The ventral fins are very narrow and skinny.

How to Sex Honey Gourami

Males and females have different coloration patterns that are important to understand. Initially, both sexes are silver to yellow in coloration with a light brown horizontal stripe on the side of their bodies. Over time though, the coloration of the sexes begins to diverge.

Females will remain silvery yellow, while males will become honey-yellow or reddish-orange, especially during spawning.

male honey gourami

How long does a Honey Gourami live?

Honey Gourami typically live between 5 and 7 years in captivity. This is greatly dependant on the care they receive and how closely their tank conditions mirror their ideal conditions.

How big do Honey Gourami get?

Honey Gourami maxes out at about 4 inches in length. They usually grow to about 1.5 inches for males and 2 inches for females. They’re small gourami relative to most species.

Honey Gourami Temperament

Honey Gouramis are peaceful fish, which makes them good candidates for freshwater community tanks. They’re active and inquisitive and will explore when they feel safe. They’re not likely to bother their tankmates, even if they’re different species or larger in size.

However, they can be spooked quite easily. If another fish is too boisterous or too large, they’re likely to retreat to a hiding spot until the threat passes. This is important to know about them so you can design their aquarium with this need in mind.

Honey gouramis will tend to swim in the top half of the aquarium. They need to visit the surface periodically to breathe, so they’re efficient and stay close to the surface where it is easy to get oxygen when they need it.

Honey gouramis are shoaling fish. This means they enjoy the company of other honey gouramis but won’t necessarily stick in a tight swimming formation with the others. Keeping more than one honey gourami is recommend to keep their stress levels low.

Honey Gourami Care

Honey gourami are pretty easy to care for aquarium fish. However, you need to know what you’re doing. Our guide covers their ideal habitat, including tank, lighting, filtration, and more.

Honey Gourami Habitat

When planning the ideal honey gourami tank, it is recommended to try to recreate their natural environment. This principle works well when designing tanks and making sure your fish are eating correctly. Fish do best when living in an environment that replicates their natural environment.

In their natural habitats in India and Bangladesh, honey gouramis live in rivers, lakes, and ponds. Their natural spaces have tons of vegetation, slow-moving waters, and low oxygen levels. This is your ideal tank state.

What is the best tank for a Honey Gourami?

At a minimum, Honey Gouramis need a 10-gallon tank. A 20-gallon tank is recommended if you are keeping a two. If you’re keeping more than two (which we recommend!), add 5 gallons for each additional fish. Therefore, if you’re keeping four gouramis, we recommend a 30-gallon tank.

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By giving your fishy friends more space, you minimize the potential for territory disagreements.

Ideal Honey Gourami Water Conditions

Proper water conditions are important for your aquarium and the health of your gouramis. Use an aquarium testing kit to test your water and stay on top of any changes. This is especially true in smaller tanks.

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Honey gourami prefer warm, slow-moving waters. If you struggle to keep your tank water warm, or consistent, we recommending using a water heater. Consistency in water conditions will reduce stress levels in your tank. Below are the ideal water conditions for honey gourami:

  • Temperature: 72-82°F
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Water Hardness: 4-15 dGH

We also recommend regular water changes (every 1-2 weeks) to keep your water conditions balanced. A good filtration system and regular water changes will prevent toxins from building up, which will help keep your fish healthy.

What to put in your Honey Gourami tank

When thinking about how to decorate your honey gourami tank, recreate their natural habitat as much as possible.  Include live plants in your tank as they can help purify the water and provide hiding places. Driftwood is another great option, and it can be used to provide nooks and crannies for escaping boisterous or large fish. If your honey gourami feels secure, they’re more likely to let their personalities shine through versus hiding all of the time!

What is the Best Type of Substrate for Honey Gourami?

Both gravel and sand are acceptable substrate choices for honey gouramis. If you have a community tank, choose the substrate that works best with the rest of the tank inhabitants.

How Much and What Kind of Lighting do Honey Gourami need?

Honey Gouramis need a moderate level of light. Based on their natural environments, they’re used towarm and bright lighting. However, this doesn’t mean you can keep their lights on 24/7. Most standard aquarium lighting set-ups will do just fine, especially if you have a planted tank.

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Because they’re shy, they will need to be able to escape the light if they feel threatened. Make sure they have plenty of hiding spots to escape the light. The perfect setup gives them enough light to watch their surroundings without making them feel vulnerable.

What Kind of Filtration do Honey Gourami Need?

Smaller aquariums, like the 10-gallon tank we recommend for honey gourami, don’t need a huge filtration system. A hang-on-back filter works fine. Sponge filters will also likely work well. In fact, it’s more beneficial to have a small filter because the current will be less likely to stress out your fish.

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Decorations

Decorations for your Honey Gourami tank should focus on being as natural as possible. This is not the time for bubbling treasure chests. Instead, focus on creating natural hiding places for your fish. We recommend thinking through driftwood and rock options to get the desired natural look.

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Plants

If you want to make your aquarium look natural, we recommend adding live plants. You could choose different shapes and colors to give a varied, natural look. Plants are also great for creating natural hiding spots. Taller plants will give your gouramis places to hide near the top of the tank. If you have plants floating on the surface of the water, make sure to maintain some open areas so your gouramis have a place to breathe.

Java Fern, Amazon Swords, or Java Moss can be great options. But you can choose anything. They will be happy with your choice.

Honey Gourami Potential diseases

Important notice: we are not veterinarians at Aquarium Friend. The information below should be used for general awareness only. If you are concerned about the health of your fish, consult a fish health professional immediately.

Honey Gouramis are generally hardy fish. With a well-maintained tank, they are generally healthy fish with no species-specific issues. Prevention is the best cure. However, this doesn’t mean they’re immune to getting sick. Some common potential diseases include:

  • Ich
  • Velvet
  • Fin Rot
  • Columnaris

In nature, Honey Gourami swim in stagnant waters. The risk of fin rot (and other diseases such as Velvet) is greater because they don’t have a lot of water movement to help them fight off bacteria and fungus. Make sure that you’re doing normal water changes and have a nice filtration system to keep their environment clean.

Honey Gourami Feeding 

Honey Gourami are omnivores in the wild and feed on small creatures such as worms, crustaceans, insects, larvae, and other zooplankton. In your aquarium, you should offer them a varied diet with some protein-rich choices to keep them healthy.

For day-to-day feedings, algae-based flakes are a good nutrient-dense option. They’re convenient since honey gouramis tend to hang out at the top of the tank. For protein-rich foods, consider options like:

Tetra TetraMin Plus Tropical Flakes
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We recommend rotating protein-dense food several times a week. This keeps mealtime exciting and serves a variety of proteins for a balanced diet.

How Often Should I Feed my Honey Gourami ?

For daily feedings, we recommend feeding twice a day. Only give as much food as your fish can consume in a few minutes. If possible, remove any remaining food to help keep the water clean.

For supplemental feedings (protein-dense and live foods), feed a few times a week. This will keep your honey gourami happy and healthy.

Honey Gourami Tank Mates

The Honey Gourami is peaceful and shy. It is not going to go around your tank picking fights with other species, which opens up a lot of potential tank mates, especially in community tanks with other peaceful species.

However, because the honey gourami is shy, you need to make sure the other fish in your tank will give it space and not pick on it because of its shy demeanor. If you pick overly aggressive or boisterous fish, your honey gouramis are going to be stressed.

Ideal tank mates include:

Fish to avoid include OscarsSilver Dollars, Cichlids, like Jewel Cichlids or Electric Blue Acara, and Arowana. Axolotls are also to be avoided.

Steer clear of fin nippers too such as Tiger and Clown Barbs and Black Skirt Tetras.

Keeping Honey Gouramis Together

Honey gourami are a shoaling fish and enjoy being kept together. They tend to pair off so we recommend keeping an even number of gouramis together so no one gets left out.

Honey Gourami Breeding

Honey Gourami breeding is fairly easy. There are a few steps that you need to follow before, during, and after the spawning process.

First off, to establish some basic breeding logistics, honey gouramis build bubble nests, typically under a leaf or other surface as available. Pairs will form a temporary bond so breeding together once doesn’t equate a permanent pairing.

We suggest using a separate breeding tank because there are several steps in the process where you’ll want to remove the parents.

In the breeding tank, we suggest providing lots of vegetation and plant life. This will give your honey gouramis more options for their nests and more places to hide and feel secure, reducing stress and increasing the likelihood of successful breeding.

For the breeding tank, plan to maintain warmer water temperatures between 79-84°F, a pH of 7.0, and 8 dGH. You’re also going to want some gentle filtration from a a sponge filter.

A lot of honey gourami breeders also breed their fish in shallow water – 6-8 inches deep versus a completely full tank. If you’re struggling with a full tank, this can be an easy change.

The Breeding Process

The male will build the bubble nest. Once it is built, he will try to impress the female and encourage her to check out the bubble nest. At the bubble nest, they will begin spawning.

The female will release about 20 eggs per spawn and the male will fertilize them. It is the male’s job to make sure the eggs make it inside the bubble nest. All-in-all, they will keep up this routine until about 300 eggs are fertilized.

After spawning, remove the female. Males guard the nest and will chase the female if she is left in the tank. From there, its a short 1-2 day period before the eggs will hatch.

When the eggs hatch, remove the male, or else he will snack on the fry. The fry will typically take 2-4 days to leave the nest. Once they’re free swimming, feed them liquid fry food or infusoria. When they’re large enough, switch them to baby brine shrimp.

Honey Gourami FAQs

Do honey gouramis need to be in pairs?

Honey gouramis do best if kept in pairs and groups. They are social, shoaling fish. They will become stressed if kept alone for an extended period of time. We recommend groups of 4-6 if possible.

Are honey gouramis aggressive?

No, honey gouramis are not aggressive. They’re peaceful, shy fish that do well in freshwater community tanks.

Can honey Gouramis live with bettas?

The answer depends on the tank size. In tanks smaller than 20 gallons, the Betta is likely to pick on the gourami. In larger tanks, the match can be harmonious, depending on the personality of the Betta.

Can honey Gouramis live with angelfish?

Lots of aquarists report their honey gouramis and angelfish getting along peacefully. They require similar water conditions which makes the pairing easy. Angelfish can get pretty large, so you will want a bigger tank for this pairing – 55 gallons or more is preferable. This size gives the angelfish plenty of space to grow and your gouramis plenty of hiding spots if they’re feeling stressed.

Can honey Gouramis live with neon tetras?

Yes, honey gouramis can live with neon tetras. Due to their peaceful temperament, this is a good community tank pairing. Because both species do better when kept in groups, you will definitely want a 20-gallon tank or larger to keep appropriately sized groups of each fish.

Will honey gouramis eat snails?

Labyrinth fish, such as Gouramis and Bettas, are known to snack on snails. However, they’re not especially skilled at tracking them down in the gravel, which means your snails will have an advantage if your substrate is gravel. Honey gouramis in particular, however, are pretty small which will make any snail-eating tendencies more challenging for them. So overall, you might lose some baby snails with your honey gourami, but overall, your snail population is likely safe.

Conclusion

Honey Gouramis are great community tank members and can be kept with other peaceful fish like tetras, danios, or oto catfish. They’re hardy fish who can add a bright pop of color to your tank and amuse you with their inquisitive behavior. As long as they have plenty of hiding spaces to keep their stress levels low, they’re likely to thrive in your tank.

Do you keep Honey Gouramis? What is your favorite part about this fish species? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below

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