Opaline Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus): Care Guide


The Opaline Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus) is a freshwater fish that is also known as Three Spot Gourami and Marbled Gourami. Opaline Gourami can be found in Southeastern Asia in countries such as China, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, India, and the Philippines. Within these regions, the Opaline Gourami inhabits wetland areas such as swamps, canals, slow-flowing streams, and standing water. This fish is unique because they possess a labyrinth organ. This means that the Opaline Gourami is can breathe from their mouth and take in air from the surface of the water as needed.

Regarding their appearance, they have a beautiful light blue colored body, with a white and black marbled pattern that covers it. Due to their beautiful appearance and hardy nature, they’ve gained a lot of popularity in the aquarium hobby.

This guide will help you understand how to take care of Opaline Gourami in your aquarium.

Opaline Gourami Care

Opaline Gourami is a hardy fish that is relatively easy to take care of. They can adapt to a wide range of environments, making them suitable for beginners in the fishkeeping hobby. If well taken care of, they can live for over a half decade.

Here are specific details on how to take care of Opaline Gouramis:

Opaline Gourami
Opaline Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)

Temperature for Opaline Gourami

Opaline Gourami thrives in water temperatures of 73-80°F (23-27°C). Sudden changes in water temperatures can be dangerous to the fish. Therefore, any changes should occur gradually, even if it is within the optimal temperature range.

Water pH for Opaline Gourami

Opaline Gourami can tolerate pH levels between 6.0 to 8.8, which is a wide range. An acceptable range for water hardness of between 5 and 35 dGH.

Opaline Gourami Size

Opaline Gourami can grow up to 6 inches in length. Keeping the fish in a tank that is too small can stunt their growth. Poor water conditions and poor diet can limit their growth as well.

Tank Size for Opaline Gourami

The minimum tank size for Opaline Gourami is 35 gallons. A larger tank would be required if you wish to keep a larger group of these fish.

Opaline Gourami Food & Diet

Opaline Gourami is an omnivorous fish that eats both plant and animal-based foods. In their native habitat, their diet would consist of algae, aquatic plants, and small invertebrates.

In an aquarium, they should be fed a varied diet that would mimic their natural diet as well. As a staple food, feeding a high-quality flake or pellet feed is recommended. This dry feed can be supplemented with a variety of food. This can include blanched vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, cucumber, and zucchini. Regarding the animal-based portion of the diet, bloodworms, brine shrimp, and white worms are good options.

They should be fed small meal in higher frequencies, rather than a large meal all at once. Feeding two small meals per day is recommended.

A unique aspect of the Opaline Gourami is that they eat hydra. Hydra is an aquarium pest that can paralyze tank inhabitants. Not all fish will eat hyrda, but Opaline Gourami is will eat them.

Opaline Gourami Lifespan

Opaline Gourami has an average lifespan of 4-6 years. Some fish have been able to live beyond this average age with a varied diet, clean environment, and overall good care.

Opaline Gourami Tank Setup

When setting up the tank, a black substrate of either sand or pebbles is typically used to make the gorgeous blue and white tones of this fish pop. The Opaline Gourami is a confident species so various hiding spots will not be needed; however, a piece of driftwood or some small rock formations here and there can be added as a potential sense of security. Since these fish are obligate mouth breathers, they should have plants in their tank that reach close to the surface, such as a Java Fern, that they can sleep. Providing an Opaline Gourami with surface foliage will prevent them from having to bolt to the surface for air when sleeping. Floating plants are also a great option for this fish as they enjoy a bit of coverage from the light. When adding floating plants be sure to keep them trimmed as this fish does need surface space to take in gulps of air. The Opaline Gourami requires quite a big tank to thrive in its habitat but requires very little when it comes to setting up its tank.

Breeding Opaline Gourami

The Opaline Gourami is an easy-to-breed fish making it perfect for beginners! Breeding can either be done within a community tank or most commonly a separate tank designed specifically for the purpose of breeding. Since these fish exhibit parental behavior putting the male and female in a breeding tank will prevent any conflicts while the eggs are being protected as well as heighten the survival rate of the fry. To induce the breeding process the water temperature in the tank should be raised to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A high protein diet should also be provided to induce breeding behavior. When it is time for the female to lay her eggs, the male will build a bubble nest which is a nest created by cultivating bubbles made of saliva secretion that will float along the surface. A bubble nest can only be created by species of fish that contain a labyrinth organ. Once the bubble nest has been created the female will release about 700 to 800 eggs that will float up into the bubble nest to incubate. The male will then protect the eggs while they await hatching. During the process of the male protecting his young, the female should be removed from the tank to prevent any conflicts as the male will not let any intruders by. The fry will hatch within two to three days, and then the male can also be removed from the tank to prevent the fry from being eaten. After hatching the fry will feed on their egg sac for a few days until they become free-swimming. If the breeding tank route is taken it only needs to be a 10-to-20-gallon tank with shallow water. Regarding the aquarium filter, a sponge filter should also be used to protect the fry after they have hatched. A plant close to the surface can also be added as the bubble nest will attach to it and keep it in place. The Opaline Gourami is an easy fish to breed and is an interesting experience to watch take place as they are unique in their way of creating a bubble nest as well as their parental behaviors.

Differentiating between male and female Opaline Gourami can be difficult as they hold very few differences. The male Opaline Gourami has a longer dorsal fin with a more pointed end and is typically on the smaller side. Female Opaline Gourami contains a rounded dorsal fin and are a bit on the bigger side with a rounded abdomen.

Opaline Gourami Disease

The Opaline Gourami is a hardy species of fish, so they are not often susceptible to diseases. Most disease that are found to affect this species are usually caused by environmental factors such as poor water quality or aggressive tank mates. A common disease found in Opaline Gourami is Ich. Ich, Ichthyophthirius, is a parasitic disease that is caused by environmental conditions such as poor water quality. This disease causes tissue damage that can potentially lead to a bacterial infection if not caught early on. Ich can be identified by white cyst spots on the flesh of the fish or on the fins. It can also be identified by unusual behavior such as the fish rubbing itself on items within the tank. Ich can be treated by raising the tank’s water temperature, performing a one third water change, and adding a tablespoon of salt per five gallons of water. Of course, if this does not help medication can always be provided by a veterinarian.

Another disease found in Opaline Gourami is hole in the head. This disease is caused by the parasite Hexamita which typically affects the intestinal tract. As this disease progresses the fish will develop lesions on the flesh that can produce discharge containing parasitic larvae. Hole in the head has yet been determined but has been linked to lack of minerals and vitamins as well as poor water quality. This disease can be identified by lesions around the head area that will progressively get larger over time if not treated. This disease can be treated by adding antibiotics into the tank, improving water quality, and improving the affected fish’s diet to provide plenty of nutrients. Catching this disease is extremely crucial as it can be fatal if not properly treated. The Opaline Gourami is an extremely hardy fish not susceptible to disease but can develop potentially fatal illnesses under poor conditions.

Opaline Gourami Tank Mates

Selecting tank mates for an Opaline Gourami is typically quite simple as they are known to be peaceful sociable fish, but as always, some specimens may be more aggressive than others. Since this species of fish is known to be sociable, they should be kept with at least a few tank mates. Opaline Gourami should not be kept with slower-moving fish as they can become prey. They should also not be kept with aggressive fish as this can be detrimental to their health. Within their own species, the Opaline Gourami is best kept in pairs or two to three females per male. The most issues seen with this species is that the males are quite territorial and keeping more females with them should keep their aggressive temperament at bay. Opaline Gourami have a wide selection of tank mates as they are typically very peaceful fish; however, they do have a few requirements when being paired especially when it comes to pairing males.

Opaline Gourami and Guppies

The Opaline Gourami and Guppies make a great pair as tank mates since they are both peaceful fish and share similar water parameters. Guppies thrive in water temperatures of 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a slightly acidic to slightly alkaline pH level of 6.8 to 7.8. In some cases, there have been issues between males, but this can be corrected by adding more females to the tank.

Opaline Gourami and Neon Tetras

Opaline Gourami and Neon Tetras make a great pair as they are peaceful and share similar water parameters. Neon Tetras are middle tank dwellers while the Marbled Gourami do not inhabit any one section of the tank, so they will most likely not be in each other’s way often. The Neon Tetra thrives in water temperatures of 70-81 degrees Fahrenheit with a slightly acidic to neutral pH level of 6.0 to 7.0.

Opaline Gourami and Shrimp

Opaline Gourami and shrimp do not make for good tank mates as the shrimp will soon become a tasty treat to the Gourami.

Opaline Gourami and Angelfish

Opaline Gourami and Angelfish do not make for good tank mates as these fish can become quite aggressive towards each other. Finding suitable tank mates for the Angelfish can be extremely difficult because of their aggressive tendencies.

Opaline Gourami and Tiger Barbs

Opaline Gourami and Tiger Barbs do not make a suitable pair as Tiger Barbs are known to be fin nippers which can be detrimental to the health of Opaline Gourami. Not to mention the brawls male Gourami and Barbs could potentially get into. Tiger Barbs are known to show less aggression when in bigger schools, but the risk should not be taken for the safety of both fish.

Opaline Gourami and Dwarf Gourami

Opaline Gourami and Dwarf Gourami do not make a suitable pair. While the Dwarf Gourami is a very peaceful fish, they do not pair well with larger species of fish. Unlike the six-inch Opaline, the Dwarf Gourami only grows to about two inches, only requires a five-gallon tank, and lives a shorter life than Opaline at around four years.

Opaline Gourami and Pearl Gourami

Opaline Gourami and Pearl Gourami do not make a good pair and pairing different species of Gourami can be tricky. The Pearl Gourami is one of the most docile species of Gourami and may become timid around others. Unlike the cool tones of the Opaline, the Pearl Gourami contains autumn tones as well as spots covering their body. The Pearl Gourami is typically smaller than the Opaline as they typically grow to about four to five inches depending on their conditions.

Where to Find Opaline Gourami for Sale

The Opaline Gourami can be found for purchase easily on online aquarium supplier. This is an easy way to find Opaline Gourami but doing so will prevent you from being able to see the exact pattern of your specimen before it arrives. This fish may even be able to find in stores at aquarium shops that hold a wide variety of fish species. The Opaline Gourami is on the affordable side of aquarium fish costing anywhere from $3 to $8 and possibly more depending on the coloration and size. Opaline Gourami may possibly be more on the difficult side to come across, but these affordable beautiful fish will be worth the wait.

The Opaline Gourami is a beautiful blue freshwater fish that was originally bred in captivity in the USA. This fish is a beginner-level aquarist fish that can be kept by anyone, even a newbie aquarist. The omnivorous Opaline Gourami will live up to nearly six years when kept under pristine tropical conditions. This fish will add lots of excitement into your community tank with their social behavior and especially their unique breeding process!

Fish Laboratory

With decades of collective fishkeeping experience, we are happy to share the fish care tips that we've picked up along the way. Our goal at Fish Laboratory is to keep publishing accurate content to help fishkeepers keep their fish and aquarium healthy.

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