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Title: Osphronemidae  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Perciformes, List of fish families, Three spot gourami, Penang betta, List of fish on stamps of Singapore, Paradise fish, Siamese fighting fish, Dwarf gourami, Giant gourami, Chocolate gourami
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Suborder: Anabantoidei
Family: Osphronemidae
Bleeker, 1859

See text for genera and species.

Gouramis or gouramies are a family, Osphronemidae, of freshwater perciform fishes. The fish are native to Asia, from Pakistan and India to the Malay Archipelago and north-easterly towards Korea. The name "gourami", of Javanese origin, is also used for fish of the families Helostomatidae and Anabantidae. "Gouramis" is an example of a redundant plural. Gourami is already plural in its original language.

Many gouramis have an elongated ray at the front of their pelvic fins. Many species show parental care: some are mouthbrooders, and others, like the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), build bubble nests. Currently, about 90 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 fishes that often inhabit warm, shallow, oxygen-poor water.

As food

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. Canned, fried gourami are available in China, and throughout the world in oriental supermarkets. Which species the cans contain is uncertain, however; the illustration on the lid of the can of one product depicts the moonlight gourami, Trichogaster microlepis.

In the aquarium

Gouramis, particularly the three spot and dwarf, are often kept in home aquaria. 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, and plecostomus catfish, but will often show aggression toward species with long, flowing fins like male guppies, goldfish, and bettas.


There are about 96 species in 15 genera:

  • Subfamily Belontiinae (combtail gouramis)
  • Subfamily Macropodusinae (paradise fish)(pink and blue)
    • Genus Betta
    • Genus Macropodus
      • Macropodus erythropterus Freyhof & Herder, 2002.
      • Macropodus hongkongensis Freyhof & Herder, 2002.
      • Roundtail paradisefish, Macropodus ocellatus (de Beaufort, 1933).
      • Paradise fish, Macropodus opercularis (Linnaeus, 1758).
      • Macropodus spechti Schreitmüller, 1936.
    • Genus Malpulutta
    • Genus Parosphromenus
      • Parosphromenus allani Brown, 1987.
      • Parosphromenus anjunganensis Kottelat, 1991.
      • Parosphromenus bintan Kottelat & Ng, 1998.
      • Licorice gourami, Parosphromenus deissneri (Bleeker, 1859).
      • Spiketail gourami, Parosphromenus filamentosus (Oshima, 1919).
      • Parosphromenus linkei Kottelat, 1991.
      • Parosphromenus nagyi Schaller, 1985.
      • Parosphromenus ornaticauda Kottelat, 1991.
      • Parosphromenus paludicola Tweedie, 1952.
      • Parosphromenus parvulus Vierke, 1979.
    • Genus Pseudosphromenus
      • Spiketail paradisefish, Pseudosphromenus cupanus (Cuvier, 1831).
      • Pseudosphromenus dayi (Köhler, 1908).
    • Genus Trichopsis
  • Subfamily Luciocephalinae (Trichogastrinae)
    • Genus Ctenops
      • Frail gourami, Ctenops nobilis McClelland, 1845.
    • Genus Luciocephalus
    • Genus Parasphaerichthys
      • Parasphaerichthys lineatus Britz & Kottelat, 2002.
      • Eyespot gourami, Parasphaerichthys ocellatus (de Beaufort, 1933).
    • Genus Sphaerichthys
    • Genus Trichogaster [1]
    • Genus Trichopodus [2]
      • Trichopodus cantoris (Günther 1861)
      • Trichopodus leerii (Bleeker 1852); pearl gourami or lace gourami
      • Trichopodus microlepis Günther 1861; moonlight gourami or moonbeam gourami
      • Trichopodus pectoralis Regan 1910; snakeskin gourami or Siamese gourami
      • Trichopodus trichopterus (Pallas 1770); three spot gourami, blue gourami, opaline gourami or gold gourami (depending on the colour morph)
  • Subfamily Osphroneminae (giant gouramis)


See also

The name "gourami" is used of several other related fish that are now placed in different families:


  • Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2004). FishBase. October 2004 version.
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