Information, Freshwater fish, Gourami, Labyrinth fish, Species

Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temminckii)

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by Jason Matthews



The Kissing Gouram is fascinating freshwater fish that has captivated aquarists for generations. This article will explore the exciting world of the Kissing Gourami, its origin, appearance, size, gender differences, behavior, and much more.

Whether you’re a seasoned fish keeper or just starting, the Kissing Gourami will surely capture your heart and bring joy to your tank.


Scientific Name: Helostoma temminckii
Common Names: kissing fish or kissers
Life Expectancy: 10 years
Adult Size: 30 cm (12 inches)


HabitatSlow-moving freshwater rivers, canals, and swamps
OriginSoutheast Asia
Care LevelModerate
Tank LevelMiddle to bottom
Minimum Tank Size50 gallons
Water pH6.0 to 8.0
Water Temperature24 to 28°C (75 to 82°F)
Water Hardness5 to 20 dGH
LightingModerate to low
Tank MatesPeaceful fish of similar size and temperaments

Fun Fact Corner

A fun fact about the Kissing Gourami is that it is named for its distinctive “kissing” behavior. When two Kissing Gouramis meet, they often engage in a display where they “kiss” each other by pressing their mouths together. This behavior is not aggressive and usually involves communication or bonding between two fish.


The Kissing Gourami is indigenous to Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Cambodia, and Indonesia. They are most common in slow-moving freshwater rivers, canals, and swamps. This species has long been popular among aquarists and is now widely bred in fish farms worldwide.

The Kissing Gourami is a hardy species, making it an excellent choice for beginners. They are relatively simple to care for and maintain, and their peaceful nature makes them ideal for community tanks.

Appearance & Size

The Kissing Gourami is distinguished by its distinctive appearance. The fish have an elongated and laterally compressed body, which gives them a unique, flattened appearance. They have large, rounded fins and a small head, with a large, downward-facing mouth that is often described as “kissing.” The Kissing Gourami is known for its vibrant coloration, ranging from pale pink to dark red. The fish also have beautiful, iridescent scales that shimmer in the light, making them an eye-catching addition to any aquarium.

The Kissing Gourami is a relatively large species of freshwater fish with a mature size that can reach up to 12 inches (30 cm) in length. It is important to remember that the size of a Kissing Gourami can vary greatly depending on the conditions in which they are kept. Good water quality, appropriate diet, and regular maintenance can help your fish grow to its full potential.


The Kissing Gourami has distinct gender differences, making it relatively simple to determine the sex of your fish. Male Kissing Gouramis are typically larger and brighter in color than females, with a more pronounced red coloration.

Furthermore, as males mature, they frequently develop a small hump on their forehead. Female Kissing Gouramis, on the other hand, are more drably colored and appear plumper and rounder. 


The Kissing Gourami is known for being friendly and peaceful. These slow-moving fish spend most of their time hovering in mid-water, often gently swaying with the currents. Despite their gentle demeanor, kissing Gouramis are known for their playful and interactive nature. 


When choosing tankmates for your Kissing Gouramis, selecting species compatible with their peaceful and slow-moving nature is important.

Good tankmates for Kissing Gouramis include:

Tank conditions

When it comes to keeping Kissing Gouramis in an aquarium, it is important to provide them with a suitable environment. These fish are native to slow-moving, warm freshwater environments and require a similar setting in captivity. 

A tank with a minimum capacity of 30 gallons is recommended for a single fish, with larger tanks needed if you intend to keep multiple Kissing Gouramis or other fish. The water temperature should be between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (22 and 28 degrees Celsius), and the pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5

Good filtration and water circulation are essential for maintaining stable water quality and promoting the health of your fish. Live plants can also be added to the tank for visual appeal and hiding spots for your Kissing Gouramis. 


Kissing Gouramis are omnivores who require a well-balanced diet to stay healthy. They eat various foods in their natural habitat, including insects, small crustaceans, and plant matter. 

A quality commercial pellet or flake food, specifically formulated for omnivorous fish, should form the basis of their diet. In addition, you can offer them frozen or live foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia. 

Vegetable matter, such as blanched spinach or lettuce, can also be included in their diet to provide additional nutrients. It is important to avoid overfeeding your Kissing Gouramis, as this can lead to water quality problems and health issues for your fish.

Stick to a routine feeding schedule, providing them with the appropriate amount of food for their size and activity level, and monitor their behavior and appearance to ensure that they are receiving a balanced diet.


Breeding Kissing Gouramis can be a rewarding experience for the intermediate aquarium hobbyist. These fish breed in flooded rice paddies and stagnant ponds in the wild. In the aquarium, you must provide the right water conditions and a suitable breeding environment.

A breeding tank should have soft, slightly acidic water and a flat surface for the fish to lay their eggs on. The male will construct a bubble nest on the surface, and once breeding is complete, the female should be removed to avoid male aggression.

Once the eggs have hatched, the fry must be fed small amounts of infusoria or other small foods until they are large enough to accept newly hatched brine shrimp. Monitoring the water quality in the breeding tank is important, as a sudden change in water conditions can be fatal to the eggs or fry.


Awareness of common diseases that can affect the Kissing Gouramis is important. 

Some of the most common diseases include:

  • Ich: Ich, also known as white spot disease, is a parasitic infection that causes white spots to form on the skin and fins of the fish. It is caused by a parasite that thrives in poor water conditions and can be treated with various medications.
  • Fin Rot: Fin rot is a bacterial infection that causes the fins of the fish to become frayed and eventually rot away. It is often caused by poor water quality and can be treated with antibiotics.
  • Swim Bladder Disorder: Swim bladder disorder is a condition that affects the fish’s ability to swim normally. It can be caused by various factors, including poor diet, constipation, and swim bladder parasites.

In case of any signs of illness, it is recommended to consult a veterinarian or aquatic specialist for appropriate treatment.


Jason Matthews

My name is Jason Matthews, and welcome to my website. When other kids were bragging about how their dog could sit and roll over, I was bragging about my latest Betta Fish and the cool sea castle I just added to his aquarium. 

Jason aquariume

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