Species group: Gouramis
Other common names: Paradise Gourami
Scientific name: Macropodus opercularis
Paradise Fish are a species of small labyrinth fish (able to breathe air) which are native to rice paddies and ditches throughout Southeast Asia. Interestingly, Paradise Fish were first kept by western European aquarists in the 1800's, which makes them one of the first ornamental fish species kept in aquariums.
The body of the Paradise Fish is heavy and elongated. It sports a forked tail fin. The males have beautiful fins with lengths of up to an inch or two. They then trail into serrated filaments. They have a labyrinth organ with which they can derive oxygen from the air at the water's surface. These fish have vivid coloration, a combination of reds and blues, and blacks and whites. There are a number of color variations, prominent ones including black and albino.
They are hardy fish but are known for their aggressiveness. In particular, males will fight to the death and need to be kept apart.
The temperament of Paradise Fish is similar to Bettas but they are not as extreme. They are aggressive and predatory. This makes choosing tank mates a challenging task. These fish prefer to live in solitude but they may accept some species. Males have been known to be kept together in large, spacious tanks but this is not advisable as they generally do not get along. It is recommended that the fish be kept in male-female pairs. Experimenting with Bettas as tank mates can have disastrous consequences.
These fish are generally quite hardy and can adapt to most aquarium conditions. A 20-gallon capacity aquarium suits them best. Gentle water circulation is required. A few sturdy aquarium plants may be provided. Since the fish have a habit of jumping off the surface, the aquarium should be kept covered. In the wild, these fish enjoy living in tiny water bodies. The same conditions are imitated in the aquarium environment. These fish are found to stake out about a few square feet of territory, which they inhabit and defend.
popular gourami species, pearly blue color, beautiful colours, showcase fish, hardy fish
smaller fish, labyrinth fish males, semiaggressive fish
Undeserved reputation, live brine shrimp, bubble nest builders