Honey Gourami (Sunset): The Full Care Guide

A colorful Honey Gourami

The Honey Gourami has become one of the most popular freshwater species in the aquarium space because of their many desirable qualities.

Firstly, they are undoubtfully beautiful. Yes, they may not have the intricate patterns of the Dwarf Gourami, but that does not mean they are boring to look at in any way. They have a radiating body coloration which is as simple as it can get.

Secondly, they are incredibly hardy which is why they are recommended to hobbyists of all experience level.

Thirdly, they get along with lots of other passive species because of their peaceful temperament. 

Don’t you love when you are not so restricted in terms of what you can add to the tank because of your fish aggressiveness?

These are some of the reasons behind the Honey Gouramis popularity. The fact that they are incredibly hardy does not mean you can not get something wrong when keeping them.

This is where this guide comes in, so that you can know all you need to know to successfully keep the honey Gourami in your tank.

Let’s dive in!

The Honey Gourami (Trichogaster Chuna) originated from different rivers, lakes, ponds, flooded fields and ditches located in India and Bangladesh.

These areas experience seasonal fluctuations because of annual monsoon between June and October. 

The fish mostly stick to areas with lots of vegetation cover usually where the water is gentle, soft and having low minerals contents. The waters are also characterized by low oxygen content.

As a way to survive the poorly oxygenated water, the Honey Gourami have whats called the labyrinth organ. Thanks to this organ they can swim up and directly take in oxygen above the water. So basically it functions kinda like a lung.

Over the years these fish have developed different names because of selective breeding. 

Some of the names include Sunset Gourami, Dwarf Fire Gourami, Red Flame Honey Gourami, Red Honey Gourami and Gold Honey Gourami. 

In the wild, these fish have a very fascinating way of catching their prey. They achieve that by coordinating themselves laterally and watching out for prey from bellow.

As soon as they see one they develop a sudden contraction in their mouth and jets out water at it. In most cases, this whacks off the prey into the water where it is quickly grabbed by the Gouramis.

Honey Gourami Care Snippet

  • Maximum fish size: 3 inch
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons
  • Aquarist Experience Level: Beginner – Expert
  • Temperament: Peaceful but males can be aggressive towards each other
  • Temperature: 71 – 82 °F
  • PH: 6.0 – 7.5 pH
  • Hardness: 5-15dGH
  • Diet: Omnivore
  • Care Level: Easy
  • Ideal tank mates: Tetras, Barbs, Danios, Rasboras, Kuhli Loach, Corydoras, et Cetra

Appearance

The name “Honey Gourami” has a lot to do with the fish body coloration, well! the matured males anyway. 

The Males are usually born with a silvery grey coloration but that changes when they become matured.

The color changes specifically during the mating period. The entire body except the throats and fins turn to a light orangish-yellow, much like a splash of honey. 

The throat region is covered in bluish silver while the fins are light yellow with a deep orange covered edge.

Females Honey Gourami are covered in silvery grey coloration but unlike the males, the color never changes. 

Interestingly, different color variations of these fish have been created through selective breeding. The two main color morphs that exist are gold color morphs and red color morphs.

Breeders achieve their intended goals by pairing specimens with desirable features so that they can enhance those features in the off-springs.

As a result of the selective breeding, we have the beautiful Red Flame Honey Gourami variety which has a nice looking bright blue dorsal fin.

Regarding body shape, Honey Gourami posses that compressed looking body you see in many gouramis. This is why they are often confused with the dwarf gourami.

Their major differences are that they are a bit slimmer and their dorsal and anal fins are slightly smaller than that of the Dwarf Gourami. 

There is no difference in body shape between the males and females Honey Gourami. They both have a compressed streamlined body with a nice and gentle upward inclination to the face. 

They also have that classic gourami dorsal and anal fins which both start a bit away from the mouth up to the caudal peduncle.

They have very subtle pectoral fins, more so in females which are difficult to notice. Their ventral fins are long and thin and stretch out from the body. 

A Male Horney Gourami

Size

Even though they don’t have the word “dwarf” in their name, the Honey Gourami is in most cases is shorter in length than the dwarf gourami.

The average size of the Honey Gourami is about 2 inches. It’s only in rare cases that males reach around 3 inches. The females don’t usually grow pass 2 inches.

Horney Gourami Lifespan

The average lifespan of Honey Gourami is 5 to 8 years. Whether or not they reach the 8-year mark, stop at 5 or less than that, will depend on the quality of care they are given and genetic factors. 

Fortunately, you have full control over their care and these fish are incredibly hardy and sturdy. As long you follow the recommended guidelines laid out in this guide, they will have a short at realizing their full potential.

Temperament and general behaviour

For the most part, Honey gourami have quiet a peaceful and well-reserved temperament. This is why it’s not a good idea to combine them with any known aggressive fish of any size.

Otherwise, they will become very timid and nervous which will in turn make them stressed. 

It takes them some time to get comfortable and start being active when first introduced in a tank. The time can be lessened if they are kept in groups. 

While not a schooling fish, Honey Gourami still prefers hanging out in groups for social reasons.

When in groups they feel more secure, happier, less stressed, and consequently an increased lifespan. For this reason, keeping a group of at least 4 to 6 is highly recommended

They mostly stick to swimming in the top half section of the aquarium so that they can swim up and breath in the air when needed.

The key to making sure your Honey Gourami is being very active in your tank is equipping the tank as appropriate and only including ideal mates. 

I mentioned that they are peaceful for the most part because some aggression is known to occur in a situation whereby there are few females in the tank. 

It’s also common for some sort of hierarchy to develop in which case a dominant male emerges from the group.

That dominant male will occasionally chase away the rest of the fish, especially during meal time. 

The good news is that this behavior never results in any injury and is actually fun to watch. 

Lastly, its always recommended having more females in the tank to prevent them from getting so pressured by the males during breeding time and to lower the occurrences of aggression between the males.

Horney Gourami Tank size and Requirements

The recommended minimum tank size for keeping a single Honey Gourami is 10 gallons. Considering its advisable to not keep only one, you would have to opt for a bigger tank. 

A 20 gallons is required for keeping a pair, then you can add 5 gallons for every fish you add.

This may seem too big for their size but ample space is needed otherwise you see more aggression in the tank. They will fight constantly over territory if the tank is too small.

Tank decoration

Honey Gourami are naturally shy which is why they will not be able to thrive if kept in a skimpy planted tank. Like I mentioned before, they originated from a vegetation enriched habitat.

It’s a known fact that fish tend to perform better if their tank conditions closely resemble their habitats. 

Consequently, it’s recommended you provide them with a tank with a mixture of both rooted and floating plant. But, don’t forget that they occasionally swim up and take in some air. Therefore, it’s a good idea if you don’t cover the whole surface with plants. 

Easy care aquarium plants like Hornwort, Java Moss and Water Wisteria are all good choice for their tank. 

It would also help if you include other tank decorations like driftwood in the tank. This will help create additional hiding spots which will make feel more secure. 

Water Parameters

Honey gourami are incredibly hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water conditions. You have a considerable leeway when it comes to their water parameters. This makes them ideal even for beginner aquarists. 

Having said that, you should always strive to achieve and maintain their ideal water condition. Because one thing you need to know is that their precious labyrinth organ is rather sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

It has been established that the Honey Gourami do best when kept in water with a temperature ranges of 71 to 82°F, a pH range of 6 to 7.5 and hardiness range of 4 to 15 dGH. 

It’s imperative to keep the water within these ranges. To achieve this, you need to test the water regularly with qualitative test kits. Additionally, make sure you conduct a weekly partial water changes. 

Then there is the question whether or not you need a heater for your Honey Gourami. 

This depends on whether or not you have your tank where the water temperature does not fall below the recommended ranges throughout the year. I highly doubt it, so in all likelihood, you will need a heater for your fish.

Food and Diet

Honey Gourami are omnivorous. In the wild, their diet mostly consists of zooplankton, small insects, leaves and other pieces of plants that can fit in their mouth.

Fortunately, you won’t have many headaches when feeding them in captivity because they aren’t choosy eaters. They readily accept a varying range of fish diet from fresh to dry ones. 

However, make sure to diversify the diet so that it’s balanced. This will allow the body to receive all the nutrients it needs. 

They will do fine with flakes or pallets as their core diet supplemented by live foods such as brine shrimps or blood worms. 

Sporadically, you should throw in some veggies to quell their appetite for the plants in your tank. 

It’s recommended you feed them twice a day as much as they can take in 2 to 3 minutes each time. This will prevent you from overfeeding them which can create undesirable consequences. 

Their scheduled feeding time should be evenly spaced like in the morning and in the evening. 

Horney Gourami Tank Mates

The most important things to consider when choosing tank mates for the Honey Gourami, like with pretty much any other aquarium fish are size, temperament, and water conditions. 

In terms of size, Honey Gourami are small enough to be seen as a snack by lots of fish which means you have to be cautious who you choose to keep them with. 

Never mind fish that can swallow them, any fish that is big enough to stress them out is not a good choice.

That means you should avoid species like Silver Dollar, Large catfish (e.g Redtail Catfish, Tiger Shovelnose Catfish) and even Angelfish.

Regarding Temperament, Honey Gouramis are quiet peaceful and don’t attack other fish in any way. 

For this reason, you should skip housing them with any known aggressive species including fin nippers.

That means keeping them with species like Bettas, Serape Tetras, Tiger Barbs, Clown Barbs, aggressive Cichlids and Arowanas to mention a few is out of the question. 

In short, Horney Gouarmi ideal tank mates are peaceful species within their size bracket. 

This is why the below species have always worked well as their tank mates;

  • Sparkling Gourami
  • Neon Tetra, Cardinal Tetra, Ember Tetra
  • Guppies 
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • Zebra Danios
  • Small Barbs
  • Swordtails, Mollies 

You can use the above guidelines to clear whether a fish can work as their tank mate or not. 

A colorful Honey Gourami

Breeding

Another reason why keeping Honey Gourami is rewarding is that they are considerably easy to breed. You just need to know and provide the right conditions that stimulate the breeding process. 

To start, it’s important to provide a separate breeding tank so that the parents can be removed from it at a later stage. A 10-20-gallons capacity tank is recommended for a breeding pair.

To up the chance of their breeding, you should provide a shallower water level. A 6-8-inch water high, is recommended.

Next, keep the water temperature in the range of 78 to 82°F to trigger the process. Make sure to avoid temperature fluctuations, like I said, their labyrinth organ is quite sensitive.

Once the conditions are right and they are being well-fed, the female will start becoming filled with eggs.

At this stage, being a bubble nester– the male Honey Gourami will start to build nests from plants. This is one more reason why having lots of plants in the tank is necessary if you are keeping these fish.

Interestingly, the male will then start running and bumping into the female to impress her. If he succeeds, she will immediately release her eggs for him to fertilize. The female usually releases around 20 eggs at a time.

The male will pick up the eggs in his mouth and deposit them in the bubble nest he created. The same pair can spawn again and again until around 300 eggs are fertilized.

When the spawning is complete it’s highly recommended you remove the female from the tank. That is because the male will aggressively protect the nest from anyone that gets too close including the female. 

It normally takes 24 to 36 hours before the eggs hatch. 

Make sure you remove all the parents as soon as the eggs hatch. The free-swimming fry should be given infusoria or other liquid fry foods until they become strong enough to start consuming artemia and baby brine shrimp. 

Common Diseases

Luckily there isn’t any particular diseases which the Honey Gouramis are prone to. That does not mean however they can’t get affected by any diseases. 

Although they are quite sturdy compared to many species they can still get affected by other freshwater fish diseases such as ich or white spot diseases if kept in a poorly conditioned tank. 

Poor water quality, and diet are the two main factors that determine the fish well being. When kept in poor water conditions they get very susceptible to a disease called Velvet.

This is caused by Oodinium pilularis– a parasite that lives in the fish gill, mouth and skin, producing a brown or goldish powder over the fins and body. 

You can lower the chances of diseases by;

  • Creating and maintaining top-notch water quality by making sure to at least make a 25% weekly water replacement.
  • Feeding them the recommended quantity of food and making sure its high quality and varied.
  • Quarantining any fish, you plan to introduce to their tank to confirm its not carrying any diseases. 
  • Cleaning and quarantining tank elements such as substrate, driftwoods, plants before adding them to the tank.
  • Making sure you develop a habit of observing your fish so that you become familiar with their activity rhythm. When you understand that you will be able to quickly realise whether something is wrong with them or not. This wouldn’t be an issue since Honey Gourami are quite gorgeous and fascinating to watch. 

FAQ

Do Honey Gouramis need to be in pairs?

Honey Gourami can live singly or in pairs but they do better when kept in a group of 4 to 6. Even though they are not schooling fish they still very much appreciate the company.

Can Honey Gouramis live with bettas?

No! it’s not a good idea to keep Honey Gourami and Bettas together because of the Bettas aggressive and territorial behavior. 

Can Honey Gourami live with angelfish?

Angelfish sometimes tend to have a habit of nipping at other fish. Also, despite being rather peaceful they can become aggressive, especially if the tank isn’t spacious enough for them.

These reasons, plus their large size make it not ideal to house them Honey Gouramis.

How many Honey Gouramis Can I put in a 20-gallon tank?

A 20-gallons tank should be dedicated to only a single pair of Honey Gourami.

Do Honey Gouramis jump?

Honey Gourami can surely jump but they not known for jumping.

Summary

I’m sure by now you have realized that Honey Gourami is one of the easiest aquarium fish you can have in your tank. 

Keeping them entails using a suitably sized tank equipped with abundant vegetation and some other tank decorations.

A suitably sized tank won’t matter much unless ideal water conditions are maintained. It’s worth stressing that you try and avoid temperature fluctuations. Also, never fail to perform the recommended weekly water changes.

If you want to your fish to live at their best you are to keep them in a group of 4 to 6 and be sure to have more females in the tank. After you have satisfied this, you can introduce other equally passive species within their size bracket.

Of course, you need to make sure they can survive the same range of water conditions. You need to feed them a varied diet, and don’t skimp on the quality.

This pretty much sums up the Honey Gouramis care. These fish are suitable for beginners as much as Betta are. If you are considering keeping them I highly recommend you go through with it.

They are a good option if you want to add a splash of color in your tank and want to get away from the headache of keeping a high maintenance fish. 

Please feel free to rich out if you have any question we haven’t covered or if you have any info you think will help improve this guide. We’ll be more than happy if you do.

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