Anyone Breed Pearl Gouramis?

The friendliest place on the web for anyone with an interest in aquariums or fish keeping!
If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.


Aquarium Advice FINatic
Apr 2, 2005
I have a pair of Pearl Gouramis and they're quickly becoming my favorite Gourami. I've been toying with the idea of attempting to breed them. I'm still just thinking about it. I have no plan in place for what I'm going to do with the fry or anything, just trying to learn about the process.

From what I've read so far the pair needs to be isolated and put in a tank by themselves. I have a spare 10 gallon that I could use for this, but the thought of moving them from my main tank to a new much smaller tank kind of scares me. I don't want to stress them out and make them feel all cramped after going from a 75 gallon to a 10 gallon. Of course I'd test both tanks to make sure the parameters are pretty much the same and the temp as well. Do you think it would be all right?

Also, just because I have a pair does that mean that they WILL breed with each other? I know some fish like to find their own mate, but in this case there's only the two of them.

The pair in question is shown below...

My male Pearl Gourami

My female Pearl Gourami

Also I'm a bit concerned that my water parameters aren't where they're supposed to be. I have hard water with high Ph (8.0ish). Would they breed in these conditions and would the fry survive?

Any other info is welcome! :)
The fish will be less stressed in their own tank. Even if it is much smaller. PH is not really important when getting this species to spawn. Conditioning is. Feed frozen or live brine shrimp. Provide lots of floating plants and some rocks for the female to find some cover. Keep the temp at 80F and lower the water level to 6 inches.
Thanks for the info! Have you successfully bred these fish yourself or is it just something you learned? When you move a mating pair from one tank to another, do you still acclimate them as if you were bringing them home from the store? Do you bag them and let them sit and do the drip method or do you just net them in the main tank and let go in the breeding tank? I'm really giving this serious thought, but I fear for the fish. They're such beautiful fish and I don't want to kill them by attempting to breed them.
Honestly I've never bred this species, but I have bred opalines and bettas. Very similar.

I'm going to suggest that you condition the fish in your 75g. When the female plumps up with eggs you are ready to go. I would take the water for the breeding tank directly from the tank they are in. Then you can just net them and place them in the breeding tank.
Well, don't I feel like an idiot because the thought of just taking the same water out of the 75 gallon never would've crossed my mind. :roll:

How many fry did your Opaline's produce? I'd think that the 10 gallon would become far to crowded to support to many Pearls. I only have a spare 10 gallon now, although if I do decide to attempt this, it would be a great excuse to get another tank. :lol: How old / big are the babies before it's safe to start giving them away? I'll definitely be keeping some babies for myself, but if there's to many I can't keep them all of course! I'll be doing more research on this part (finding new homes).

I've never bred any fish before so how would I be able to tell if the female is 'plump with eggs'? I have no clue what I'm looking for here.

One last question, what do you put over the filter intake tube to prevent the fry from being sucked up? I read somewhere that someone used new and clean nylon, but I don't know if this is considered safe or not.
Wow. You've asked some great questions. The opalines produced an estimated 150 fry. The reality is it's more difficult to raise fry then achieve a spawn. This is especially true for anabantids. As their lungs develop they are very sensitive to temp differential between water and air. The tank should be heated and well covered.

Filtering - Do not filter at all during the spawn. Any surface agitation will break up the bubble nest. Once the fry become free swimming, use only a seeded sponge filter. Sponge filters are ideal for raising fry because they provide so much bio filtering as the fish grow.

Tank Size - If you have the room, get a larger tank. It does allow for more flexibility.

The female will appear to be swollen at her sides when egg laden.
Thanks again for the great info! :)

I'm just trying to gather up as much info as I can before I get to serious about doing this. If I do decide to attempt it, I'll post some updates along the way. :) The hard part right now would be convincing the parents to let me get another tank. I pay 'rent' to live where I do, but we haven't been here for a year yet and this our first house in which our water is from a well. My father gets nervous when I do PWC on my 75 gallon (he fears we'll run out of water) so I don't think getting another tank will be easy to get them to agree to. I think the biggest I could probably go would be a 20 gallon.

This may sound dumb or kind of obvious, but with a fully stocked 75 gallon there's no chance that they'd try to spawn in this tank is there? There are 2 Gold Gouramis (Females) and 1 Opaline (also female) so I don't think the Pearls would even attempt it. Even if they did I know the eggs/fry wouldn't stand much of a chance anyway, but I'm curious.
FWIW, i would think breeding gouramis is very similar to bettas.

From breeding bettas (before Mrs. Muffin died in the riot) I can tell you this:

A 10 gallon would be just fine for quite some time. it takes these little guys quite some time to grow out, and with diligent water changes, they will be fine. You will lose probably 50% of the breedstock in the first few days. What is left will need very very small foods. Grow some infusoria or phyto, get a brine shrimp hatchery and enrich them if you cant feed them right away. Cyclop-eeze can be a lifesaver also, as it is tiny. Get the frozen popcicle stick kind as opposed to the dry as it breaks up easier and i think would be easier for the fry to injest.

Get a clean hurricane lamp glass.

Set the 10 gallon up with tank water and bare bottom. Take a margerine lid and poke a hole in the center. tie some string in the top and a weight at the bottom so the lid floats at the surface but doesn't move much.

Move the male into the breeding tank. Start feeding the female high nutrition foods...bloodworms, mosquito larvae, enriched brine, live brine babies.

When the female plumps up just under her face, she is ready. Drain the breeding tank to about 6-8 inches of water, set the heater to about 80 degrees F. Put the hurricane glass in the middle of the tank. put her in the hurricane glass. The male should start "dancing" for her and her for the male in a few hours when they figure each other out.

The male should start blowing a nest in the lid from the margerine. let him get it good and big, then let the female out of the glass. They should start to mate pretty quick, but keep an eye on them. If one appears to really be tearing the other apart, seperate them into different tanks, and try again another time. THey will be brutal while mating, but watch for extremes, like the male chasing the female away from the nest.

You might put a small coffee cup or terra cotta pot in there for the female to hide.

When they mate, the male will chase the female into the nest. He will fold himself around her like a taco, and squeeze the eggs out, fertilizing them. When he lets the female go, she will act dead, and drop. the male will follow her down and grab the eggs and put them in the nest.

The female will come back around and they will do it again. My bettas do it for about 6-7 hours. Just watch for one to get exhausted or chased out of the nest area. Once this happens, remove the female to a clean bowl or tank and give her a small dose of pimafix or an antibiotic. She will be pretty beat up. Put a small dose of pimafix in the males tank also to prevent fungus on the eggs. Change water away from the nest about once a day.

The male will tend the nest, catching eggs that fall, and fry as they hatch and putting them back into the nest. The female will be out of the pictur enow. once the fry start hatching, wait 12 hours and move the male out, unless he starts eating hte fry or eggs, then move him out sooner. Put in a seeded sponge filter. Run it at the lowest speed you can for the air pump, you can adjust the speed by tying a knot in the airline or buying an airline valve.

Once they hatch, start feeding egg yolk dissolved in H2O, infusorias, and baby brine. Watch the feedings. They need 3-5 a day, and you HAVE to remove the excess relatively fast or the water quality will sink fast and the fry will die. Keep this up for about a week, then taper off the egg yolk and switch to infusoria and bbs. Start introducing small frozen foods and flakes after about 10 days if they seem to be able to take it.

Takes about 6 weeks before they are large enough to put in the main tank (small guppy size), 15-20 for selling.

Gee, why does it have to be so rough! :lol: I don't want him to beat the poor girl up! I love the thought of having little Pearl Babies, but I don't want to lose either of the adults in the process.

I know that losing a good portion of the eggs / fry is pretty much inevitable and that's fine. I can't imagine what would happen if all 150 of them survived! I'm not looking to make money out of this I just want to experience it I suppose. I also want more Pearl Gouramis for myself and what better way than to help make them myself? At least I would know where they came from and that they're healthy!

Let's say that I do this and the spawning is successful. What's it going to be like when they're both re-introduced to the main thank? Will they 'remember' their ordeal and avoid each other for a while? Right now they seem to be pretty chummy. They're almost always together and I've never seen them showing any aggression towards each other or the others for that matter.
I have a few more questions on this now...

1 - Why the bare bottom? Is this just to make it easier for the male to keep track of the eggs/fry or is it a sanitary thing?

2 - If I empty my 10 gallon (which is already cycled) and fill it half way with the 75 gallon's tank water while shutting the filter off, won't this disrupt the 'cycle'? It's to my understanding that the water itself doesn't carry the beneficial bacteria, it's the rocks, filter, gravel etc. I'm just trying to wrap my brain around how this works.

3 - When I move the female to a new tank / clean bowl to give her Pimafix or an antibiotic how long will she have to stay there before reintroducing her to the main tank?
Bare bottom is first of all easy to clean, and it's really important to keep your breeding tank quite clean.

You just need a filter that's going in a cycled tank, and hang it in your 10 g once it's filled up. If it's running in your 10 g now, just let it sit in a bucket with tank water and heater while you change water in the 10 g
Are there any fish currently in the 10 gallon? If not, the tank is probably no longer cycled.

A seeded sponge filter (as Brian mentioned) would be best for the breeding tank. You'd possibly want to keep the air pump off until the fry are free-swimming or else the bubblenest may get destroyed. A HOB would suck up the fry (unless a pre-filter is used over the intake) and cause too much water movement for them.
Taking the water from the 75g to put in the 10g would allow you to net the gouramis out and directly put them into the 10g. The parameters of the water will be the same and you would not have to acclimate.
Hmm... this might sound like a really dumb question but what is a sponge filter? >_>

Is that like a power head with a sponge attached?
When breeding, it's best to keep things simple. A breeding or fry rearing tank isn't for show. Bare bottom tanks are easier to set up and break down. They are also easier to keep clean.

Here are some pics of the sponge filters I use. Sponges have more surface area than any other media. Ideal for growing nitrifying bacterial colonies.


  • 9_14_with_flash_002_959.jpg
    57.1 KB · Views: 72
  • 9_14_with_flash_019_131.jpg
    61.7 KB · Views: 71
Top Bottom