|Synonyms||Trichopode mentonnier, Trichopodus mentum, Trichopus goramy, T. satyrus|
|Distribution||Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Introduced to many other countries.|
|Sexual Dimorphism||In mature fish, the male will have pointed anal and dorsal fins. Often, the females will develop thicker lips.|
|Maximum Size||70cm (27.6")|
|Temperature||20-30 deg C (68-86 deg F)|
|Water Parameters||Will acclimatise to a wide range of conditions. pH: 6.5-8.0, dH: up to 25 degrees.|
|Compatibility||Community of large fish only.|
|Lighting||Dim (brighter lighting should be diffused with robust planting).|
The Giant Gourami has a wide natural area of distribution, and as such, is found in a variety of different habitats, including canals, lakes, marshes, rivers, swamps, and even bodies of stagnant water. Here, it lurks amongst aquatic vegetation, feeding on both plant and animal life, including frogs, insects, shrimps, smaller fish, and worms. This is a sizeable surface dweller, in terms of both length and weight, and kept under the right conditions, one which can live for two decades or more. An adult is going to require a voluminous aquarium, at least 8ft long and 2.5ft wide, along with powerful filtration to match, so really is quite the commitment. Substrate choice is unimportant, but do provide several large shelters in the form of rocky caves and driftwood tangles, making sure that all structures are secure. All but the most robust of plants will be uprooted and eaten, although some aquarists have had a degree of success with mature Anubias sp. and Java Fern motherplants tied onto the decor, and tough-leaved floating species which will help diffuse the light. Otherwise, plastic or silk varieties could be used to create the illusion of a green and leafy aquascape. Provision should also be made for a roomy swimming space along the front of the aquarium, particularly the upper levels. Giant Gouramis are voracious eaters that produce a lot of waste, and require good water conditions if they are to thrive. To this end, filtration must be powerful and the water well-oxygenated, and frequent partial water changes are essential to help keep nitrate to a minimum. Canister filters can be employed, but sump filtration may be better as then equipment such as heaters can be kept in the sump and out of the main tank where they would be easily damaged. The Giant Gourami is capable of breathing moist air, so a suitable gap should be left between the surface of the water and the coverslides at all times. This species is best maintained singly, as adults will often show territorial aggression towards their own kind. Although generally quite peaceful with other species of similar size, the Giant Gourami should not be kept with small fish as they will be eaten. Can be kept successfully alongside other sizeable, non-aggressive fish. There are reports of very aggressive rogue individuals, but this behaviour only tends to manifest if the fish is housed in quarters that are too cramped. The Giant Gourami should be the last fish that is added to the tank, otherwise if introductions are made afterwards, it will show much aggression towards the newcomers into what it perceives as it's established domain, and may possibly harass them to death. ***Please note that Maidenhead Aquatics does not specifically order this species for our stores, but we do help to rehome the occasional specimen, hence why we are providing care information here. ***
Offer a varied selection of meaty foods along with some fresh vegetable matter. Smaller specimens will take bloodworm, Mysis shrimp, chopped seafood etc. Larger specimens will enjoy earthworms, prawns, crab, crayfish etc. Most will also eat pellet foods.
The Giant Gourami has been bred in the home aquarium. As this species is sexually mature from around 6 months of age, breeding can be attempted with relatively small sized pairs. The breeding tank should be spacious, with plenty of surface vegetation, and the temperature set to the higher end of the preferred range. The male fish will construct a bubble nest in amongst the floating plants, and when spawning is underway, the male fish will place the eggs in the nest. The female will be driven away fairly aggressively at this point, and it is best to move her to the safety of another aquarium. The eggs should hatch within 24-36 hours, with the fry becoming free-swimming some 3-5 days later. In the wild, the male has been observed guarding the fry for a further 2-3 weeks, but it may be prudent to move him to another aquarium when breeding in captivity. Once free-swimming, the fry can be offered baby brineshrimp (Artemia nauplii) and powdered flake first foods. Giant Gouramis always reproduce in large numbers. Therefore, it is important to have a homing plan in place for (potentially) hundreds, if not thousands, of juvenile fish (which are going to get very big) - as they can quickly overwhelm an aquarium.