Honey Gourami/Trichogaster chuna: Profile, Traits, Facts

honey gourami

The honey gourami, scientifically known as Trichogaster chuna, is a charming species of gourami that hails from the waters of India and Bangladesh. These regions provide the natural habitats for this small, tropical fish, where it thrives in slow-moving rivers, ponds, and marshes. The honey gourami is well-adapted to these environments, which are typically rich in vegetation and provide ample hiding spots. In the wild, their habitats are often characterized by soft, acidic water and dense plant life, which mimic the conditions many aquarists strive to recreate in home aquariums. The natural beauty and unique behaviors of honey gouramis make them an appealing choice for those looking to add a touch of the exotic to their aquariums.

Boney gourami or Trichogaster chuna profile

Although the honey gourami may not immediately capture the attention of aquarists in the same way as more flamboyant species, they are a delightful and rewarding addition to any freshwater tank. Their peaceful nature, interesting behaviors, and the potential for vibrant coloration in a well-maintained environment make them a worthy choice for both novice and experienced fish keepers. By offering the appropriate care and creating a habitat that closely resembles their natural surroundings, aquarists can enjoy the subtle beauty and charm of the honey gourami. This species exemplifies the adage that beauty is often found in simplicity, rewarding those who take the time to appreciate their gentle presence and graceful demeanor.

Aquarium Suitability and Popularity

Honey gouramis are an excellent choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to their manageable size and peaceful temperament. These fish typically grow to about 5-7 cm in length, making them suitable for smaller tanks. They are often recommended for beginners because they are relatively hardy and adaptable to various water conditions, as long as the parameters are kept stable.

Despite their suitability for aquarium life, honey gouramis are not as popular as their relatives, the dwarf gouramis. This discrepancy in popularity might be attributed to the fact that honey gouramis often appear plain or less colorful in retail settings, which can deter potential buyers who are drawn to more vibrant fish.

Appearance and Coloration

One reason honey gouramis might not be as immediately appealing as other gourami species is their understated coloration when viewed in stores. In a retail environment, they may appear dull or less striking compared to the more vividly colored dwarf gouramis. However, this initial impression is misleading. When kept in a well-maintained aquarium with proper care, honey gouramis exhibit beautiful and subtle colors. Males, especially during the breeding season, develop a striking honey-yellow or reddish hue, complemented by a dark blue-black throat and ventral area.

Females and non-breeding males, while more subdued in coloration, still display a gentle and attractive gold or silver sheen. This transformation highlights the importance of a well-kept aquarium in bringing out the natural beauty of these fish.

Behavior and Compatibility

Honey gouramis are known for their peaceful and gentle nature, making them excellent community fish. They are shy and tend to be less aggressive than some other gourami species, which allows them to coexist peacefully with a variety of tank mates. Ideal companions include other small, non-aggressive fish such as tetras, rasboras, and small catfish. Honey gouramis are also fascinating to observe due to their unique behaviors, such as building bubble nests during breeding.

These nests are constructed by the male at the water’s surface and are used to house the eggs and young fry. This behavior not only adds interest to the aquarium but also provides an opportunity for aquarists to witness the breeding habits of these intriguing fish.

Care Requirements

Caring for honey gouramis involves maintaining a stable and clean aquarium environment. They thrive in tanks that mimic their natural habitat, with plenty of plants, both floating and rooted, to provide cover and reduce stress. The water should be kept at a temperature between 22-28°C (72-82°F) with a pH level ranging from 6.0 to 7.5. Regular water changes and filtration are essential to keep the water quality high.

Honey gouramis are not particularly demanding when it comes to diet; they will accept a variety of foods, including flake, pellet, and live or frozen options like brine shrimp and bloodworms. Providing a balanced diet ensures they receive all the necessary nutrients to maintain their health and vibrant coloration.

Awareness and Physiological Potential

Despite its remarkable abilities, the honey gourami remains relatively unknown to many. Few people realize that this fish can undergo dramatic transformations and display stunning physical features when kept in favorable conditions. This lack of awareness underscores the need for greater education and appreciation of this fascinating species, which possesses hidden beauty waiting to be discovered by enthusiasts.

Physical Characteristics

In the aquatic realm, the honey gourami emerges as a petite yet captivating creature, its body adorned with a resplendent hue akin to the warmth of a summer sunset. Measuring no more than seven centimeters or a mere 2.8 inches, these diminutive beings defy their size with an unparalleled charisma that captivates onlookers. Within the gourami family, the male honey gouramis reign supreme, flaunting a vibrant palette and intricate patterns that eclipse the more subdued females, establishing a spectacle of chromatic brilliance within the confines of the aquarium.

Breeding Behavior and Coloration

As the breeding season unfolds, the male honey gouramis orchestrate a mesmerizing display of transformation. Their once unassuming throats now blossom into a fiery expanse of orange, a vivid testament to their readiness for courtship. Complementing this flamboyant feature, their ventral regions adopt a striking ebony hue, crafting a dramatic contrast against their radiant bodies. Even their fins, save for the caudal fin, embrace a subtle shade of orange, accentuating their allure. With elongated dorsal fins and meticulously crafted anal fin rays, the males assume an aura of regal grandeur, commanding attention and admiration within the aquatic sanctuary.

Distribution and Native Habitat

The honey gourami is primarily found in rivers and lakes within its native range of India and Bangladesh. It thrives in areas with dense vegetation, preferring soft and poorly mineralized waters. In its natural habitat, the honey gourami typically occupies the upper and middle water levels, where it can navigate through the lush vegetation with ease. This preference for vegetated environments reflects the fish’s evolutionary adaptation to thrive in habitats rich in hiding spots and natural resources.

Habitat Adaptations

Adaptability is a hallmark of the honey gourami’s survival strategy. Despite facing challenges such as droughts and flooding in its native rivers and ponds, this resilient fish manages to thrive. Its ability to endure fluctuating water conditions is a testament to its hardy nature. The honey gourami has evolved to cope with environmental changes, demonstrating remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. By persisting through varying water conditions, this fish showcases its adaptability and determination to survive in its natural habitat.

Sexual Dimorphism

During breeding season, male shortnose gars undergo noticeable physical changes that distinguish them from females. One striking transformation is the development of a brighter orange hue around the throat area. This vibrant coloration serves as a visual signal to attract females and indicates the male’s readiness to mate. As breeding time approaches, the brightness of this orange shade may intensify, further enhancing the male’s courtship display. Additionally, males may exhibit a darkening of their undersides, adding to their overall visual appeal during courtship rituals.

Courtship Behavior

The vivid orange coloration of the male shortnose gar plays a crucial role in courtship, capturing the attention of potential mates. During breeding season, males engage in elaborate courtship displays to woo females. This may include swimming patterns, fin displays, and vocalizations. The striking coloration of the male’s throat serves as a visual cue, signaling his reproductive fitness and enticing females to select him as a mate. Courtship behavior is an essential aspect of the shortnose gar’s reproductive cycle, ensuring successful mating and the continuation of the species.

Fin Morphology

Another distinguishing feature between male and female shortnose gars lies in the shape of their dorsal and anal fins. In males, these fins appear sharpened at the ends, giving them a more streamlined and agile appearance. This characteristic may aid males in maneuvering during courtship displays and competing for mates. In contrast, the dorsal and anal fins of females have a rounded shape, reflecting differences in body morphology between the sexes. These subtle variations in fin morphology contribute to the overall sexual dimorphism observed in shortnose gars.

Size and Body Structure

Male and female shortnose gars also exhibit differences in size and body structure. Males tend to be thinner and more streamlined compared to females, who typically have a slightly larger body size. These differences in body shape may be related to reproductive roles, with males prioritizing agility and mobility during courtship and mating encounters. Female gars, on the other hand, may invest more energy in producing and carrying eggs, resulting in a more robust body structure. These variations in size and body shape reflect the different reproductive strategies employed by male and female shortnose gars.

Unique Markings

A closer examination of the shortnose gar reveals a distinctive dark brown stripe that runs along the body, starting near the eye. This unique marking adds to the fish’s overall appearance and may serve various purposes, such as camouflage or species recognition. The dark stripe provides a contrast to the fish’s lighter coloration, enhancing its camouflage in natural habitats with dappled light and shadows. Additionally, this marking may play a role in intraspecific communication, allowing individuals to identify and interact with each other more effectively. Overall, the presence of this dark stripe adds to the visual intrigue of the shortnose gar and highlights its remarkable adaptation to its freshwater environment.

Tank Requirements for Honey Gourami

Tank Size: Honey gouramis thrive in groups and require a minimum tank size of 10 gallons or more to accommodate their social nature and provide ample swimming space.

Temperature and Water Parameters: The tank temperature should ideally range between 70 to 82°F (21 to 28°C). Honey gouramis prefer soft water with a pH level between 6.0 to 7.5. Maintaining stable water parameters is crucial for their well-being.

Aeration and Oxygenation: Ensure the tank is well-aerated with an aquarium air pump to provide sufficient oxygen for the fish, promoting their health and vitality.

Water Maintenance: Regular water changes of 20-25% are necessary to prevent oxygen deficiency and toxin buildup from fish waste. This helps maintain water quality and ensures a healthy environment for the honey gouramis.

Aquatic Plants and Decor: Incorporating live plants in the tank provides hiding spots for the fish and enhances their natural habitat. Arrange plants to create open swimming areas while offering cover for shy individuals. Decorate the tank with driftwood or rocks to mimic their natural environment.

Social Dynamics and Tankmates: While honey gouramis are generally peaceful, males can display aggression towards each other. It’s advisable to keep them separate unless the tank is sufficiently large to establish territories. Compatible tankmates include non-fin-nipping tetras, barbs, corydoras, platys, and other gouramis.

Water Parameters and Color Variants: Maintain water temperature between 22 to 28°C (71.6 to 82.4°F) and avoid extreme fluctuations. Water chemistry is not critical but extremes should be avoided. The pink honey gourami, a color variant, exhibits a slightly redder hue. During breeding, males may darken in color, displaying vibrant pink or orange hues.

Honey Gourami Trichogaster chuna: Profile, Traits, Facts

Honey Gourami Feeding

In their natural habitat, honey gouramis exhibit an omnivorous appetite, indulging in a diverse diet that encompasses small insects and various plant matter encountered in their watery domain. Transitioning to tank life, these adaptable creatures readily accept a smorgasbord of sustenance, including live, frozen, and artificial fare. Whether it’s live prey or frozen delicacies, the honey gourami eagerly partakes, demonstrating a hearty appetite that extends to fish flakes, a staple of their captive diet.

Additionally, delicacies such as blood worms, brine shrimp, and corethra serve as delectable treats that cater to their omnivorous nature. To maintain a pristine environment conducive to their well-being, diligent tank maintenance is essential, ensuring the prompt removal of any lingering food particles that may serve as breeding grounds for harmful bacteria, thereby safeguarding the health of these exquisite aquatic denizens.

Advisable Diet

Ensuring the dietary needs of honey gouramis are met involves a thoughtful selection of nourishment that caters to their well-being. A readily available option is floating flake food formulated specifically for tropical fish, a convenient choice found in most pet stores specializing in aquatic companions. These meticulously crafted flakes provide a balanced blend of nutrients essential for the health and vitality of honey gouramis, offering a convenient solution for conscientious aquarists keen on fostering optimal nutrition for their finned friends.


When considering suitable tank mates for honey gouramis, compatibility emerges as a crucial consideration in fostering a harmonious aquatic community. These affable creatures thrive alongside an array of congenial companions, including Neon Tetras, Glowlight Tetras, Black Phantom Tetras, and Harlequin Rasboras. The serene disposition of honey gouramis complements the tranquil nature of these fellow tank inhabitants, ensuring a peaceful coexistence within the confines of the aquarium. This harmonious assembly of species not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of the aquatic landscape but also fosters a conducive environment for the well-being and contentment of all its denizens.

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing between the genders of honey gouramis unveils a tapestry of subtle yet discernible differences. Adult females, adorned in a subdued brownish hue, command attention with their noticeably larger stature compared to their male counterparts. A defining feature is the broad mid-lateral stripe, extending rearward from behind the eye to the caudal peduncle, adding a touch of understated elegance to their appearance.

In contrast, non-nuptial males sport a similar lateral stripe but with a hint of orangish tint gracing their base body color, while the anterior segments of their dorsal and anal fins boast delicate yellowish margins. However, during the height of the breeding season, a breathtaking transformation ensues. Males don a resplendent coat of vibrant orange, accentuated by a regal blue to black adorning their head, anterior body, and the spiny rays of their anal fin, a dazzling display that underscores their prowess and readiness for courtship.

Reproduction of Honey Gourami

Breeding Setup: Honey gouramis are bubble nesters and form temporary pair bonds during spawning. Hobbyists can isolate individual pairs or maintain small groups for breeding. The breeding tank should be equipped with plenty of floating or stem plants, allowing leaves to reach the surface.

Filtration and Cover: Gentle filtration with an air-powered sponge filter is recommended to avoid disrupting the male’s bubble nest or sucking up fry. The tank should have a tight-fitting cover or cling film to maintain warm, humid air essential for fry development and the labyrinth organ.

Conditioning and Spawning: Condition the fish with abundant small live foods until the female appears plump with eggs and the male displays his nuptial color pattern. Unlike some related species, the bubble nest of honey gouramis does not include plant material and is typically built under a broadleaf or in a corner of the aquarium.

Spawning Behavior: The male builds a small nest and courts gravid females by touching them with modified ventral fins. Spawning occurs beneath the nest in a typical embrace, with the male wrapping around the female as eggs and milt are released simultaneously. The male collects the eggs and transports them to the nest. How AI, ChatGPT maximizes earnings of many people in minutes

Egg Care and Hatching: Multiple spawnings may occur until all eggs are laid. Once spawning is complete, the female is chased away, and the male tends to the nest until the eggs hatch, usually within 24-36 hours. After hatching, the male can be removed from the tank.

Color Varieties and Selective Breeding

In addition to the natural orange coloring, two distinct color varieties of honey gouramis have been selectively bred. The first is a red-orange variety known as “sunset” or “robin red,” which boasts a deeper, more intense hue reminiscent of a glowing sunset. The second variety is a lighter, golden variation aptly named “gold,” characterized by its shimmering, metallic sheen. However, these color variations can sometimes lead to confusion, especially with the red-orange variety resembling the sunset variety of the dwarf gourami (Colisa lalia). Despite the potential confusion, each color variety adds diversity and beauty to the hobbyist’s aquarium, providing enthusiasts with a range of options to suit their preferences.

Aquarium Care for Honey Gourami

Fry Care: Fry becomes free-swimming within 24-48 hours and requires infusoria or liquid fry food initially, transitioning to brine shrimp nauplii or microworms after a week. Careful water changes are essential as fry are sensitive to changes in water chemistry and temperature.

Breeding Identification: Distinguishing between male and female honey gouramis is relatively straightforward. Males exhibit brighter coloration with a deep blue abdomen, while females are slightly larger and paler in color.

Breeding Behavior: Honey gouramis are bubble nest builders and use plants to bind bubbles together. During spawning, the water level should be lowered, temperature maintained at around 28°C (82°F), and pH around 7. Males build small bubble nests, displaying vibrant colors to attract females.

Spawning Ritual: Once spawning commences, the male wraps around the female, fertilizing the eggs expelled during their dance. The male collects and places the eggs into the nest, assuming the primary parenting role until they hatch.

Parental Care: Unlike many other species, male honey gouramis take on the dominant parenting role, guarding and caring for the nest while the female departs. After hatching, fry becomes free-swimming in three days and requires a diet of infusoria, brine shrimp, and finely ground flakes. Fish and Fishing accessories

Tank Setup: A 30-gallon aquarium with proper filtration, substrate, and heating adjusted to 75-80°F is suitable for honey gouramis. It’s recommended to keep them in groups with at least three males and twice as many females for optimal social dynamics. Avoid housing just one male and one female, as this can lead to aggression. Honey gouramis make good tankmates for peaceful fish like neon tetras and fancy guppies.

Conservation Status

The conservation status of the honey gourami was first assessed in 2006, and it is currently considered to be of least concern. This designation indicates that the species is not facing immediate threats of extinction. However, ongoing monitoring and conservation efforts are necessary to ensure the long-term survival of the honey gourami and its natural habitat. By maintaining healthy populations and preserving their native ecosystems, conservation initiatives can safeguard the future of this unique and resilient fish species.

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