Banded Gourami – Species Profile & Care

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If you’re getting ready to get your first freshwater tank going, there’s no better beginner fish to consider than the gourami.

Today, we will discuss the banded gourami and how this fish could be your best choice, no matter your goals.

What is a Banded Gourami?

This type of gourami stays true to its species’ overall profile. They are colorful, diverse, and shy fish that do well in tropical conditions and have basic care needs.

They’re very easy to keep and can adapt to all types of community setups, so long as their tankmates share their easy-going demeanor.

The banded gourami retains much of the typical gourami look but with a note of personality and style. The fish has an aquadynamic body with big eyes and protruding dorsal and ventral fins.

Most specimens showcase a brownish coloring with blue or turquoise vertical stripes along the thoracic and abdominal area.

The ventral and anal fin are blended in one, covering the fish’s entire abdomen. The dorsal fin is almost always active with visible, colorful spines.

The tail fin is usually spotted.

These fish are docile and friendly but can exhibit some aggression under specific circumstances. We’ll discuss these shortly.

Banded Gourami Requirements

Fortunately, the banded gourami is very easy to care for thanks to its hardiness and adaptability.

The core requirements include:

Tank Size & Setup

This fish is a mid-to-top dweller, so you should craft its habitat accordingly. Aim for at least 30 gallons of water for one specimen, with 15 extra gallons for each new gourami.

This fish doesn’t show any schooling or shoaling behavior, but it can tolerate the presence of other gouramis in its environment.

It’s the males that are generally more intolerant and aggressive due to their innate violence.

The overall setup should aim for open swimming areas and the occasional plants for a plus of diversity and hiding. Some aquatic decorations, including rocks, could also benefit your gourami population.

It’s not that the gourami spends too much time in hiding, but the extra decorations will provide the fish with additional exploration opportunities.

Regarding the live plants, opt for sturdy species like Cryptocoryne and Vallisneria, among others, that can withstand the gourami’s high activity.

The substrate should be neutral and preferably fine to accommodate any bottom dwellers you might add at a later date.

Water Requirements

The ideal temperature for banded gouramis sits between 72 and 82 F. These values are pretty much standard for this species.

Make sure that the temperature remains stable, as gouramis don’t appreciate fluctuations or temperature drops.

Keep the pH stable between 6.0 and 7.5 with water hardness between 5 and 15 dGH.

Parameter stability is the most crucial characteristic to consider for your gourami tank.

These fish need stable water quality, so you must employ a thorough cleaning schedule to ensure your fish remain healthy over the years.

Feeding and Diet

Gouramis are very easy to feed since they are omnivorous and won’t refuse any food so long as it’s nutritious and tasty. Diversity is the name of the game when feeding your gourami.

Provide them with a varied diet, mixing flakes, pellets, live food, and blanched or boiled veggies for optimal nutrient intake.

Spirulina flakes and the occasional algae wafers will also help in this sense.

Meal frequency depends on your gourami’s size and appetite. Most mature gouramis will do just fine with 2 meals per day with enough food that they can consume in 2-3 minutes at most.

Remember to remove any food leftovers to prevent ammonia buildup, especially if you have no cleaning fish available. If you do, the bottom dwellers will consume the leftovers for the most part.

In that case, you only need to vacuum the substrate occasionally, maybe once a week, to keep the environment clean and healthy.

Do Banded Gouramis Need a Heater?

Yes, they do. All tropical fish need heaters due to their higher temperature requirements.

I advise investing in a heater even if the temperature is stable. You never know when it can fluctuate, especially during nighttime, which will significantly decrease your gourami’s comfort.

Gouramis are known to be extra sensitive to sudden or frequent temperature fluctuations, causing them to stress out and experience weaker immune systems because of it.

Do Banded Gouramis Need a Filter?

Yes, a filtration system is paramount for your gourami population. The filter keeps the water fresh, removes floating particles, and cleanses the water of toxins and dead matter.

The filter should be optimized for your available setup. Mind the water currents that the filtration system will produce and place the filter in a safe location, far from the substrate or any plants that may get sucked in.

How Much does Banded Gourami Cost?

The fish is unexpectedly rare in the aquarium trade but shouldn’t cost more than $10-20 per specimen. Just take my numbers with a solid grain of salt.

At the time of writing this article, I’ve been unable to find any banded gouramis for sale online.

So, I’ve adjusted the price range based on the standard cost of most gourami species, upping the numbers a bit given that this species appears to be rarer.

If you can’t find any banded gourami on sale online, try your local shops or even contact reputed private breeders.

What is the Lifespan of a Banded Gourami?

The typical banded gourami can live between 5 and 8 years. As with any gourami, and all fish in general, this species’ lifespan depends on its genetics and quality of care.

You can provide your fish with a more diverse diet, ensure optimal parameter stability, and keep water quality up to improve its lifespan considerably.

Keeping your gourami in a stress-free environment will also make quite the difference.

Gouramis can experience stress for a variety of reasons, including poor water conditions, improper diets, a dirty tank, aggressive tankmates, improper layout, etc.

Look into all these aspects and optimize your fish’s habitat, diet, and overall lifestyle for the best results.

How Big do Banded Gourami Get?

Banded gourami can grow up to 4.75-5 inches, depending on factors like diet, genetic makeup, available space, and stress levels, to name a few.

The available space is probably the most important, second only to the diet. You should always provide your gourami with sufficient space, preferably at least 30 gallons, for optimal results.

It’s always better to have too much space than too little, seeing how this can influence your gourami’s size, growth rate, temperament, and even health.

Keeping gouramis in a tight setup can stress them out, causing them to become more restless, territorial, and even aggressive toward their tankmates.

Are Banded Gouramis Aggressive?

Generally speaking, no, gouramis are not aggressive. These are peaceful and docile fish that won’t mind the presence of other species in their habitat.

The problem is that gouramis can also get aggressive if they lack sufficient food or space or if you have more than 2 males in the same tank. Gourami males are notoriously territorial and violent toward each other.

This species is also notoriously violent when spawning due to the higher competitive environment and the raging hormones.

You may need to invest in a breeding tank to separate your spawning fish from the general population to prevent aggression.

Banded Gourami Tank Mates

Gouramis are generally docile, so they will adapt to any community setup so long as their tank mates share their temperament.

Only pair your banded gouramis with peaceful, easy-going fish that share their water requirements and won’t cause scuffles.

Stick to one gourami male per tank and consider pairing your gouramis with species like:

  • Dwarf gourami
  • Bengal danio
  • Indian glass fish
  • Checker barb
  • Dwarf cichlids, etc.

Many fish species qualify as gourami-compatible so long as:

  • They share the same water requirements and layout
  • They prefer different dwelling zones to minimize the overcrowded feel
  • They have similar temperaments and diets

Always assess all of your fish’s requirements before deciding whether they are compatible with your gouramis. You don’t want your fish to get stressed or aggressive, as this can destabilize the population.

Furthermore, always monitor your fish to make sure they’re friendly and share the same space in peace.

A plus of live plants and aquatic decorations will always help to defuse potentially tensed situations; the same can be said about increasing the tank’s size.

Are Banded Gourami Good for Beginners?

Yes, they are. Gouramis, in general, are great picks for beginners with little experience in fish keeping.

These fish are generally hardy, easy-going, and very adaptable in terms of environmental conditions and diets.

Your typical gourami doesn’t require much more care than a standard guppy group, as they pretty much share the same requirements.

This isn’t to say that gouramis and guppies are the same. Gouramis are different in terms of overall temperament and sensitivity to poor water conditions.

For instance, gouramis can get more aggressive during spawning, at which point you’ll have to handle their aggression intelligently.

Having a breeding tank ready for your gouramis is the smartest choice at your disposal.

How to Tell if Banded Gourami is Male or Female?

Fortunately, there are several notable differences between gourami males and females. The body shape and size are the first signs to consider.

Males are slightly longer and slimmer, while females are taller and bulkier. Overall, females are slightly bigger than males with a wider and more inflated abdomen.

Another critical difference lies in the fin size and shape. Males have longer fins with pointy ends, while females have shorter and rounder fins.

This is probably the most obvious difference between the sexes. You can also consider the color difference, given that females are generally duller than most males, especially during the mating phase when males’ colors brighten up.

Remember that you can only compare adult males and females. You can’t compare juvenile gouramis since these showcase little-to-no differences between them.

And you don’t want to mess things up and add 2 male gouramis to your tank.

How do Banded Gourami Breed?

Banded gouramis are bubble nesters, which means you absolutely need to have a breeding tank ready.

If it’s time for your gouramis to breed, consider the following critical steps:

  • Relocate the male and female to the breeding tank
  • Adjust the breeding tank’s parameters to match those in the main tank (including the overall setup and layout)
  • Increase the water temperature up to 82 F, depending on your gouramis’ comfort
  • Decrease the water level by up to 6 inches compared to the main tank
  • Remove any plants or decorations that could prevent the male from crafting its surface nest
  • Once the mating is over, and the female has laid the eggs, remove it from the habitat

The final point is absolutely necessary because male gouramis are notoriously protective of the eggs. They will attack and even kill any fish that wanders too close, including the female that actually laid the eggs.

The male will also provide some temporary care to the fry until they can swim freely and won’t require his assistance anymore.

I recommend keeping the male until then, even if only for pragmatic reasons. The male will constantly check the eggs to identify and consume the infertile or bad ones, attacked by bacteria or fungi.

This allows the male to preserve the good eggs by preventing bacterial or fungal infections during incubation.

Once the fry are out, the male will help and guard the fry until they no longer depend on the yolk sack for nutrition.

Once the fry become free swimming, remove the male and begin to feed your fry accordingly.

Fun fact: Only bubble-nesting gouramis are known to provide care for their fry. Egg layers will typically eat their eggs and even the fry almost immediately, as they show no parental instincts.


Banded gouramis are great for beginners and make for good community fish with the ideal care and assistance along the way.

The only downside I could mention is the fish’s rarity and spawning-related aggression.

Besides that, this species is well-balanced, adaptable, and easy to care for.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.

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