Kissing Gourami

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Species group:

Other common names: Pink Kisser; Kissing Gourami; Pink Kissing Gourami

Scientific name: Helostoma temminckii

The basics:
The Kissing Gourami is found throughout Southeast Asia in shallow, slow-moving streams. They have protruding mouths and sharp teeth, which they use to graze on algae and aquatic plants. Kissing Gourami are popular aquarium fish, though they need a large tank, and grow quickly to a large size.

Quite flat in appearance, the Kissing Gourami has a round and elongated body. Like all the other Gouramis, it possesses the remarkable labyrinth organ. True to its name, the most significant feature of the Kissing Gourami is its mouth. The lips are thick and fleshy and fine teeth can be seen on the inner surface. The fish owes its name to a particular action of its mouth. The fish uses its lips and teeth to scrape algae from the surface of rocks or from the glass in the aquarium. These fish come primarily in two colors, a silvery pale green and a pink. In the wild, it is gray or green and has horizontal stripes and dark fins. The captive variety may also be pinkish or orange-toned pink in color, along with transparent fins. This is considered a mutation that is most widely available to aquarists for breeding in captivity. There is not enough evidence to determine if it occurs in the wild as well.

12 inches

Can be aggressive and territorial. The juvenile Kissing Gouramis are quite peaceful and can be a good community fish but the adults tend to be more aggressive. There have been cases of attacks on smaller fish. Hence, older Gouramis are kept with fishes of their own size. Not all fish are equally aggressive. Some can handle their tank mates quite roughly. The range of tank mates should include a blend of large neutral personalities. These fish can be passionate fighters and are easily provoked into aggression. Fin nippers are completely incompatible as their trailing pelvic fins and slower movement are likely to get them attacked by the Gouramis. Like many other Gouramis, Kissing Gouramis can bully each other as well in the process of determining the hierarchy. It is a skilled hunter and will easily slay and consume smaller fish and fish fry.

The tank is considerably large. Young gouramis may be housed in a 15-20 gallon capacity aquarium but adults require a minimum of 30 gallons capacity tank; more is welcome. It is not absolutely essential to provide plantation but the fish will appreciate it, if provided. The plants may disappear quickly as they are a natural part of the fish' diet. They may snack on them at times. To prevent snacking, artificial plants are a good substitute. A strong current in the tank can unsettle the Kissing Gourami, particularly if the tank is not too big. It is recommended that the tank be in a room with a temperature matching that of the tank water as far as possible. Else, the labyrinth organ may suffer damage.

72.00-82.00 °F


35.700-250.000 mg/L


majestic, green cast, various coloration forms, fun behavior, Easy keepers


aggression, inexperienced aquarist, uproot plants, nippy, dominant fish, community fish


ballon versions, overall bad choice, great conversation piece, misunderstood species, labyrinth organ

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