Honey Gourami 101: Size, Tank Mates, Breeding, Care & More

Bright, bold, and beautiful. Honey Gouramis may be small, but they are definitely a sight to behold in any aquarium. These little fish are cute, shy, and surprisingly long-lived.

Couple those with being easy to care for, and you’ve got yourself the newest addition to your aquatic family!

The table below gives a quick overview of the Honey Gourami profile:

Profile AttributeValue
Care DifficultyEasy
Lifespan4-8 years
DietOmnivorous
Color(s)Translucent, gold, orange, red-orange
TemperamentShy/peaceful
Maximum SizeAlmost 3 inches or 7.0 cm
Minimum Tank Size20 gallons
Tank SetupHeavily planted
FamilyOsphronemidae
CompatibilityCommunity fish

Below is our Honey Gourami care guide. Continue reading to find out more about its Tank Mates, Breeding, Lifespan, and more.

Honey Gourami Overview

The Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna) is also called by the names Gold Honey, Sunset, Red Honey Gourami, and many other variations. A small, tropical, and relatively beginner-friendly fish, the Honey Gourami is most noted for its shimmery, radiant Golden-orange color. In fact, it’s often bred with its relative the Dwarf Gourami to produce even more vibrant aesthetically pleasing variants.

In the wild, freshwater Honeys are originally found in stagnant ponds, lakes, and even the ditches of India, Bangladesh, and parts of Southeast Asia.

They are shy, reclusive fish, preferring to hide under foliage or rocks and twigs than engaging in social situations. An exception is when males start breeding, then they are ready to fight each other to the bitter end. 

These sparkling golden Gouramis are immensely popular in the fishkeeping arena, and are good for beginners and experts alike. With the proper care, you can even enjoy Honey Gouramis for a long time. 

Appearance

From the name itself, Honey Gouramis have a beautiful honey-orange color that can be almost golden in certain lighting. These aquatic creatures are slightly leaf-shaped and are commonly confused with dwarf Gouramis, which ironically are a bit larger than Honeys. Honey Gouramis have also been selectively bred for quite some time, resulting in brighter golds or more reddish-orange of their kind.

Mating is usually easy enough to do with the Honeys, because they are sexually-dimorphic. In other words, the male and female of the species look different from each other. In fact, it is the males that truly develop this famous golden-honey color as they mature.

Male Honey Gouramis are definitely the more flamboyant sex, with longer, more pointed fins, and extended anal fin rays. All of these parts, apart from their caudal fin, have an eye-catching orange tinge. To top it all off, when breeding season comes for these males, their entire throat and abdomen area turns a deep dark blue shade. 

On the other hand, female Honey Gouramis have a more subdued, pale shade. They have a silvery, almost translucent look, and stay that way later in life. 

When Honey Gouramis are stressed however, their colors are much less vibrant and turn pale and sickly. This is often seen in pet stores where they don’t get proper care and are stored in overcrowded, poorly-maintained tanks. You can truly see the difference in these Gouramis once they are in a caring new environment. 

Lifespan

You might not expect it due to their size, but Honey Gouramis live a lot longer than you would expect! In the right hands, your Honey Golds can live to a ripe old age of 4-8 years old. Of course, the extent of your Honey Gouramis’ life is heavily dependent on the love and care you give day in and day out.

Average Size

Honey Gouramis are classified as an overall small fish species. They can only grow up to a maximum size of around 3 inches or around 7 centimeters. Their average size is usually between 1.5-3 inches, with female Honey Gouramis, once they are full of eggs, ending up a tad larger than the males. 

Honey Gourami Care Advice

While you may be itching to get your own Honey Gourami, don’t head out to your pet store yet! Keep on reading to know what you’ll need to keep these little Honeys happy and healthy.

Water Parameters

Out in the wild, Honey Gouramis are mostly found in tropical, slow-moving, and soft water. When keeping them in a home aquarium, these Gouramis would very much appreciate an environment much like their native one. 

Keep your little friends in a slow-moving freshwater environment with minimal water flow. In fact, intense water currents can stress out Honey Gouramis. Being tropical fish, Honeys would also love a mildly heated water temperature of around 70°F (21°C) to 82°F (28°C). 

They are used to living in soft water that is poorly mineralized, so try to maintain a water hardness of 2-12 dKH in your tank, with a neutral, slightly acidic pH of 6.0-7.0. 

Ultimately, Honey Gouramis are known to be relatively hardy fish, capable of withstanding a variety of water parameters due to their life in the wild. This doesn’t mean you should neglect these fish, however. Honey Gouramis are known to bloom very beautifully when they are well-taken care of.

Tank Size

Since they are small fish only growing up to a couple of inches, Honeys don’t need an incredibly big tank. A tank size of 20 gallons is good enough for a pair of these fishes. If you plan on having a small school of Gouramis, however, a 30-40 gallon tank is ideal. This would ensure that your golden beauties all have their own space to swim and hide around. 

Tip: It would probably be best to keep more female Honeys in your tank rather than males. Too many males relative to the females would result in a very hostile (and dramatic!) environment in your community aquarium.

Inside Tank Setup

After knowing the proper water parameters and conditions to keep your Gouramis healthy, it’s time to set up your tank. Honey Gouramis are generally timid or shy in nature. They like to hide. Therefore, it is essential for them to have hiding spaces in your tank. 

Your tank should be heavily vegetated with live plants to aid in reducing nitrates, as well as providing cover. In their native habitats, Honey Gouramis are also used to having various twigs, wood, and fallen trees in their environment. This makes the water rich in certain phytochemicals.

You can emulate this type of setup by adding some aquarium plants like Salvinia natans, water lettuce, and Amazon swords. For other ornaments, you may put in some driftwood, rocks, and cave-like structures. As a substrate, you may opt for aquatic soil, or coral sand substrate to root your plants. Don’t forget to place a sponge filter, and to leave some space between your water surface and tank hood. Since Honeys are labyrinth fish, as they can breathe air from the water surface, they sometimes take a breath in this space.

If you’re looking for a more unique setup, some owners have taken to rearing their Honey Gouramis in blackwater aquariums. Blackwater aquariums are tanks with a clear but evidently dark water environment. This water turns dark because of all the dissolved organic matter decomposing matter within it. This is done by placing aquarium wood (like Manzanita wood), rocks, and lots of plant litter. Some recommended litter are Indian Almond leaves, Japanese Maple, and Beech leaves. 

Whether you plan on a quintessential or a Blackwater tank, what’s important is to make sure its water parameters are optimal, changed out regularly (around 25% weekly), and with decorations fit for your beloved Honey Gourami. 

Potential Diseases

Fortunately, Honey Gouramis are known to be relatively hardy due to the different conditions it faces in nature. Despite that, these small fish can still succumb to a variety of fish diseases. Some of these ailments are:

  • Velvet disease – Caused by a parasite (Oodinium pilularis), this disease often manifests as small brown fuzz on your Gouramis’ bodies. This is mainly caused by the water temperature being too cool and will affect most tropical fish. Raise the water temperature and put aquarium salts and antibiotics for a few days to treat your fish.
  • Ich or White Spot disease – Very common among fish, especially the Honey Gourami, this disease can be prevented by regularly changing out your tank water and keeping everything in optimal condition. Once your Honey Gouramis have Ich, you should immediately place them in quarantine and then start medication.
  • Hole in the Head disease – Called as such because its symptoms are ‘holes’ on the fish’s head or along its body, this viral or protozoan disease can be treated with medications like Metronidazole. 

While these ailments may sound scary for any loving fishkeeper, most of them are also very easily preventable. You can keep Honey Gouramis healthy by cleaning your tank regularly, making sure the water conditions are optimal for your fish, and feeding them a well-balanced diet. Avoid shocking and stressing them out. Change out their water weekly, and observe your Honey Gouramis as often as you can. 

Tip: Honey Gouramis can sometimes become stressed from poor water conditions. When this happens, your Gourami will show symptoms like gasping on the water surface and having a reduced appetite.

Diet & Food

Like many of us, Honey Gouramis will eat just about anything you can think of. They are omnivores and are not the least bit fussy. In fact, they are known to feed on anything from zooplankton to insects, and the occasional vegetation. Because of their appetite, you should be careful not to overfeed them. Set up a regular feeding schedule of two meals a day, and your Gouramis would be well-fed and happy.  

While they are very willing to eat pretty much anything, Honey Gouramis still have their favorites. For instance, they especially love fresh food rich in protein, as well as some low-grain flake food. If you don’t know where to start, we’ve listed some suggestions below on what to feed your little Gouramis.

Honey Gourami preferred food includes:

  • Algae wafers
  • Algae flakes 
  • Spirulina 
  • Small Invertebrates
  • Flake food
  • Frozen or live Brine Shrimps
  • Tubifex worms
  • Bloodworms
  • Veggie tablets or vegetables
Tip: Food is a major factor in Honey Gouramis’ quality of life. They are known to develop brighter, more vivid colors and look like brand new fish if they are fed a proper, nutritious diet!

Honey Gourami Tank Mates

Good news! These little Honeys are ideal for a harmonious community aquarium. They are amicable by default (unless they’re spawning males) and can live with many different aquatic species. It’s essential to keep in mind that peaceful fish often only get along with other peaceful fishes. Tank mates that are too large, aggressive or territorial can’t get along with the Honey Gourami. Fin-nippers, even small ones, are also a bad idea. 

These tank mates may not only just possibly harm (or eat) your Gouramis, but can also be a competitor for food and a source of stress as well. Sadly, Honey Gouramis will not be able to live a full and happy life when constantly stressed or scared.

Tank Mates Compatible with Honey Gourami are:

  • Dwarf Rasboras
  • Plecos
  • Calm, small Tetras (not the fin-nipping Tetras)
  • Dwarf Cichlids
  • Platys
  • Guppies
  • Kuhli loaches
  • Pearl Gouramis
  • Corydoras

Honey Gourami Breeding Behavior

If you’re planning on having a beautiful Honey shoal, you’re in luck. These vibrant pets are relatively easy to breed. The hard part is pairing a mature and viable Gourami couple. Once you’ve managed that, then the rest is a cakewalk. 

You may prepare a separate breeding tank for this purpose. Start by reducing the water level in your tank to about 10-15cm. Then increase the temperature to 78-84°F or around 25.5-28.8°C. The pH should be more or less neutral, and there should be no water current. Add some plants, and a sponge filtration, of course, to keep things clean as your Honey Gouramis get to business.

Condition your Gourami pairs by feeding them daphnia and insect larvae. After you’ve manipulated the conditions of your breeding tank, we then see the fascinating mating behaviors of Honey Gouramis. 

These fish build bubble nests. More specifically, male Honey Gouramis build bubble nests. Bubble nests are spherical nest-like structures within the floating plants on the tank surface. The proud males will then swim around, bumping into female Gouramis to get their attention. This is their ‘mating dance’. If the female likes what they see, they will subsequently squirt out their eggs (around 20 or more) for the male to fertilize and put on the bubble nest. Their courtship is a success!

It’s also up to the daddy Gouramis to protect these eggs until they hatch about 20-30 hours later. They take their guarding duty seriously, so you should probably remove the females during this time. Once the eggs have hatched, you may then also take out daddy Gouramis from the tank. Juvenile Honey Gouramis will stay in their bubble nests happily for a few days (4-5 days), where you can start feeding them infusoria, baby brine shrimp, or parsley.

Temperament & Behavior

Tiny Honey Gouramis are not just beautiful, but they also pack a great personality! Honey Gouramis are generally good-natured fish, bordering on shy. In fact, they can even be the subject of others’ bullying. They most commonly keep to themselves, and find comfort in caves, foliage, or other hiding spaces. Sometimes, they tend to spend too much of their day in a single spot, and so they end up looking like a stationary gold leaf. 

This doesn’t mean they are complete loners, however. Honeys immensely enjoy the company of other fish, as well as their own kind. They are generally non-aggressive and are hardly ever territorial unless there are too many male Gouramis in your community. You can keep that in check by placing more female Gouramis instead of males.

Summary

Honey Gouramis are beautiful, calm, and peace-loving fish that can get along with a good number of aquarium fish. They are good for both beginners and veteran fishkeepers, and won’t give you much trouble with maintenance and breeding. 

While they’re not the most active or playful, Honey Gouramis lend a community tank some much-needed serenity. If that’s what you’re looking for in your home aquarium, then the Honey Gourami is the perfect fish for you. 

Note: Please consider the environment before printing this Honey Gourami care sheet.

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