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|Dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius)|
van der Hoeven, 1832
|Subfamilies & Genera|
Gouramis, or gouramies //, are a group of freshwater anabantiform fishes that comprise the family Osphronemidae. The fish are native to Asia—from Pakistan and India to the Malay Archipelago and northeasterly towards Korea. The name "gourami", of Javanese origin, is also used for fish of the families Helostomatidae and Anabantidae.
Many gouramis have an elongated, feeler-like ray at the front of each of their pelvic fins. All living species show parental care: some are mouthbrooders, and others, like the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), build bubble nests. Currently, about 133 species are recognised, placed in four subfamilies and about 15 genera.
The name Polyacanthidae has also been used for this family. Some fish now classified as gouramis were previously placed in family Anabantidae. The subfamily Belontiinae was recently demoted from the family Belontiidae. As labyrinth fishes, gouramis have a lung-like labyrinth organ that allows them to gulp air and use atmospheric oxygen. This organ is a vital innovation for fish that often inhabit warm, shallow, oxygen-poor water.
Giant gouramis, Osphronemus goramy, are eaten in some parts of the world. In Indonesia, they are often deep-fried and served in sweet-sour sauce, chili sauce, and other spices. The paradise fish, Macropodus opercularis, and other members of that genus are the target of a cannery industry in China, the products of which are available in oriental supermarkets around the world. Gouramis are particularly found in Sundanese cuisine.
In Philippines, gouramis are readily fished at streams, brooks and rivers on provinces.
In the aquarium
Numerous gourami species are popular aquarium fish widely kept throughout the world. As labyrinth fish, they will often swim near the top of the tank. As with other tropical freshwater fish, an aquarium heater is often used. Gouramis will eat either prepared or live foods. Some species can grow quite large, and are unsuitable for the general hobbyist.
Generally regarded as peaceful, gouramis are still capable of harassing or killing smaller or long-finned fish. Depending on the species, adult and juvenile males have been known to spar with one another. Aggression can also occur as a result of overcrowding.
Gouramis have been housed with many species, such as danios, mollies, silver dollars, Neon tetras, and plecostomus catfish. Compatibility depends on the species of gourami and the fish it is housed with. Some species (e.g. Macropodus or Belontia) are highly aggressive or predatory and may harass or kill smaller or less aggressive fish; whereas others (Parosphromenus and Sphaerichthys, for instance) are very shy or have specific water requirements and thus will be outcompeted by typical community fish.
Paradise fish (Macropodus opercularis)
Giant gourami (Osphronemus goramy)
Three spot gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus)
The name "gourami" is used of several other related fish that are now placed in different families:
- Kissing gourami (the sole species in the family Helostomatidae)
- Climbing gouramis (family Anabantidae)
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