The pearl gourami (Trichopodus leerii) is a medium sized fish that is found in Thailand, Malaysia and the islands of Borneo and Sumatra where it inhabits lowland swamps, often in coastal regions. There are now also introduced populations living in both Singapore and Colombia. Wild fish are rare in the hobby these days, with the vast majority of fish available being mass produced in the Far East and Eastern Europe.
The pearl gourami grows to an adult size of 4.8 inches long. Mature males are much more colorful than females, developing a stunning orange to red colouration around the throat area. They also have extensions to the dorsal and anal fins. Females are blander and plumper.
The pearl gourami should be maintained in an aquarium of 30 gallons or larger. Pearl gouramis do not appreciate fast moving or turbulent water. They do best in a heavily planted aquarium with plenty of shade and hiding places. The addition of a dark substrate (CS6631) and floating plants is also recommended.
The pearl gourami prefers a water temperature of 75°F to 86°F, a pH of 6.0 to 8.0, and a hardness of 5 to 19°H.
The pearl gourami is typically a peaceful fish, though males are territorial with each other and may be hard on females when they want to breed. Tank mates should not be too large, active, or aggressive enough to intimidate the pearl gouramis or out compete them for food. Good tank mates include tetras, rasboras. peaceful dwarf cichlids, peaceful barbs, Corydoras sp. and smaller Loricariids.
The pearl gourami is thought to be omnivorous in nature, feeding on small invertebrates, algae and other aufwuchs (German term meaning 'surface growth' that is used to describe the aggregate of plants, animals and detritus adhering to solid surfaces such as rocks or vegetation in aquatic environments). It will accept most foods offered in the aquarium, and a good quality flake food (AL165) is acceptable as the staple diet. Supplement this with regular meals of small live and frozen foods such as bloodworms (SF4792) or blackworms for the fish to develop the best health and coloration. Probiotics (AL169) will also improve overall health and longevity.