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Labyrinth Fish / Helostomatidae / Kissing Gourami

Kissing Gourami
Helostoma temmincki

Synonyms: Helostoma rudolfi, H. servus
Physical description: An elongated, oval shaped fish with unusually large lips. The head is pointed and the body is laterally compressed. Two color variations exist. One, is olive green with a greenish iridescence. The other is pinkish white with a whitish iridescence. Both color types have colorless fins, with only the rays retaining the body color. The rest of the eye is yellow.
Size/Length: To 12" (30 cm), although larger in nature
Similar species: None
Habitat: Muddy, still, vegetation choked lakes, ponds, and rice patties in Southeast Asia; Borneo, Java, Malaysia, Sumatra, and Thailand.
S: All
Aquarium: A 28" (70 cm) or 20-25 gallon (76-95 L) tank is sufficient for fish to 5" (13 cm). Larger fish require larger tanks. The tank should have a cover of floating plants. Use plastic or tough-leaved plants, as this gourami has a tendency to eat most live plants. Allow algae growth in the back of the tank and provide rocks and wood as retreats.
Water chemistry: pH 6-8 (7.0), 5-30 dH (10), 72-86°F (22-30°C)
Social behavior: Best combined with other medium to large labyrinth fish. Occasionally this species may be aggressive towards smaller fish. If hungry, it may suck at the scales of large, slow-moving fish.
Suggested companions: Barbs, larger Danios, tetras, Corydoras , Botia , Livebearers, Angelfish, Loricarids
FOOD: Live; insects, insect larvae, worms, crustaceans; flakes; pellets; tablets; vegetables; plant matter
Sexual differences: The female is fatter during the spawning season
Breeding techniques: Use soft water. At dusk, the pair spawns aggressively with a great deal of splashing. Over 1000 eggs float to the surface and attach to floating plants. The fry hatch in 50 hours. The young first feed on infusoria and roftiers in the water. Later they should be provided with egg yolk and Artemia nauplii. They grow quickly and are free-swimming after 3-5 days. The young are generally ignored by the parents, but as a precaution they should be removed.
Breeding potential: 8. This prolific species is difficult to breed.
Remarks: The Kissing Gourami's name comes from the way that it occasionally fights with others Kissing Gouramis. The males press their mouths together when they fight over territory. Some fish keepers report that this behavior also occurs during courtship procedure, although this is generally accepted as false. This fish is eaten in its native lands. For instance, one is able to find the Kissing Gourami in local markets in Borneo. When food is scarce, these fish filter plankton through their gills for food. The Kissing Gourami is sexually mature at 3-4 years old. There are two widely available color morphs; one that is green to silver, and the other pink in color. The pink variation was once thought to be a separate species ( H. rudolfi ).
Difficulty of care: 4. The Kissing Gourami is a fine fish to be kept in a community tank with small to large companions. Although, occasionally older specimen may cause problems.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com