Opaline Gourami – Care, Compatibility, Feeding & Details

The Opaline Gourami, a stunning freshwater fish, often doesn’t get the attention it deserves in the aquarium community. With a plethora of other gouramis to choose from, this is understandable.

However, the Opaline Gourami is a gem in its own right. This species is not only visually striking but also easy to care for and quite active, making it a delightful addition to any aquarium.

The Opaline Gourami (Trichopodus trichopterus), also known as the marbled gourami, is a beginner-friendly freshwater fish that offers a lot to aquarists of all skill levels.

This fish is not naturally occurring but is a product of selective breeding, making it a distinct variant of the well-known three-spot gourami.

Although this specific species doesn’t exist in the wild, its ancestors are typically found in Southeast Asia, inhabiting wetlands and marshes across India, Cambodia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and more.

Note: Opaline Gouramis are not your average fish. They possess unique personalities and distinct behaviors that make them a joy to care for, and they will undoubtedly stand out in a community tank.

This comprehensive guide will provide you with all the information you need to care for Opaline Gouramis, preparing you to welcome them into your aquarium!

Quick Stats About Opaline Gourami

Scientific Name: Trichopodus trichopterus

Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Pale blue body with a marbled pattern across the body that varies from fish to fish
Lifespan: 4–6 years
Size: Up to 6 inches long
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Osphronemidae
Minimum Tank Size: 35 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater community tank
Compatibility: Compatible with non-aggressive fish of the same size

Opaline Gourami Appearance

The Opaline Gourami is a sight to behold, with a unique blend of colors and a distinctive body shape. Its body is primarily oval-shaped, a characteristic feature of the gourami family.

The head is slightly pointed near the mouth, but the majority of the fish is noticeably ovate.

The anal fin, stretching from the ray-finned pectoral fins down to the caudal fork, contributes significantly to the recognizable shape.

The Opaline Gourami also sports delicate, needle-like ventral fins, which are touch-sensitive and play a crucial role in the fish’s navigation.

The base color of the Opaline Gourami is a silvery blue, adorned with patches of deep cobalt blue, creating a unique marbling effect.

The intensity of this pattern varies from one specimen to another, with breeders often aiming for the most vivid coloration possible.

Natural Habitat of Opaline Gourami

Opaline Gouramis, though not naturally occurring, have ancestors that typically inhabit the wetlands and marshes across Southeast Asia, including countries like India, Cambodia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

These tropical fish thrive in warm and humid environments, often found in shallow waters filled with plants. As a result, their natural habitat tends to be slightly acidic and moderately hard.

Origin and Distribution

The Opaline Gourami, also known as the marbled gourami, is a product of selective breeding, making it a distinct variant of the well-known three-spot gourami.

While this specific species doesn’t exist in the wild, its ancestors are native to Southeast Asia, inhabiting various wetlands and marshes across the region.

Growth, Size & Lifespan of Opaline Gourami

The Opaline Gourami typically grows to an average size of around six inches in length when fully matured. Most fish are considered “mature” when they reach about three inches, at which point they are capable of breeding.

They usually continue to grow a bit until they reach the upper end of the size spectrum.

The two main factors that will influence the size of these fish are genetics and the quality of care they receive.

As a responsible owner, it’s crucial to provide the best care possible and always do your research when looking for potential sellers!

In optimal living conditions, the typical Opaline Gourami lifespan ranges between four and six years.

Some may live slightly longer, but such instances are rare. Factors such as genetic health and the level of care provided significantly impact your Opaline Gourami’s life expectancy.

Opaline Gourami Behavior and Temperament

Opaline Gouramis are generally peaceful freshwater fish, making them a delightful addition to any aquarium.

They exhibit unique behaviors that set them apart from other fish species. They are active swimmers, often seen playfully exploring their surroundings.

As labyrinth fish, they possess a unique ability to breathe atmospheric air, and you can occasionally spot them sipping air from the water surface.

However, it’s worth noting that Opaline Gouramis can be a bit territorial, especially the males. If kept in a tank that’s too small, males may exhibit aggressive behavior towards each other.

Adult fish may also bully smaller ones. Therefore, it’s crucial to monitor their behavior in a community tank and address any signs of aggression promptly.

Tank Setup for Opaline Gourami

Creating a comfortable and stimulating environment for your Opaline Gourami is crucial for its health and happiness.

Here are some key factors to consider when setting up their tank:

Tank Size

For adult Opaline Gouramis, a tank that can hold at least 35 gallons of water is recommended.

Juveniles can be kept in smaller tanks, around 20 gallons, but as they grow, a larger tank will be needed to accommodate their active behavior and robust swimming habits.


Opaline Gouramis aren’t particular about the substrate type.

However, a darker substrate, whether pebbles or fine sand, can help highlight their vibrant colors.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

While Opaline Gouramis are relatively confident, it’s still a good idea to provide some hiding spots for them.

You can add plants and modest decorations to the tank. However, avoid overcrowding the tank with vegetation as these fish require plenty of open space for swimming.

Water Parameters

Opaline Gouramis can adapt well to a wide range of water parameters. However, they thrive best in slightly acidic and moderately hard water, similar to their natural habitat.

The recommended water temperature is between 73°F to 82°F, with pH levels ranging from 6.0 to 8.8. Water hardness should be between 5 to 35 dGH.

Filtration and Aeration

A reliable filtration system is essential to maintain water quality and remove waste products. As labyrinth fish, Opaline Gouramis can breathe atmospheric air, so aeration is not as critical as with other fish species.

However, a moderate level of water movement can help distribute heat and oxygen evenly throughout the tank.


Opaline Gouramis do not have specific lighting requirements.

However, moderate lighting can help showcase their vibrant colors and support the growth of live plants in the tank.

Tank Mates

Opaline Gouramis can coexist peacefully with non-aggressive species of similar size. Avoid pairing them with significantly smaller fish or known fin-nippers.

Suitable tank mates include Plecos, Characins, Loaches, larger Tetras, peaceful Barbs, and large invertebrates like snails and shrimp.


Opaline Gouramis are omnivores and will consume a variety of foods. A balanced diet of algae-based foods and protein-rich snacks is recommended.

Commercial flakes or pellets can serve as a primary source of dietary nutrients, supplemented with high-protein foods like bloodworms and brine shrimp a few times a week.

They will also appreciate occasional servings of blanched vegetables like peas.

Tank Maintenance of Opaline Gourami

Maintaining a clean and healthy environment is crucial for the well-being of your Opaline Gourami.

Regular tank maintenance not only ensures the cleanliness of the tank but also helps prevent potential health issues.

Here are some essential aspects of tank maintenance:

Regular Water Changes

Regular water changes are vital to maintain optimal water quality. It’s recommended to change about 25% of the tank water every two weeks.

This helps to remove waste products and replenish essential minerals, ensuring a healthy environment for your Opaline Gourami.

Cleaning the Tank and Decorations

Over time, algae and waste can build up on the tank walls and decorations. Regular cleaning helps to prevent this buildup, keeping the tank environment clean and visually appealing.

Use an algae scraper or pad for the tank walls and a soft brush for the decorations. Avoid using soap or detergents as these can harm your fish.

Filter Maintenance

The filter plays a crucial role in maintaining water quality by removing waste and harmful chemicals.

Therefore, it’s essential to clean and replace the filter media regularly, following the manufacturer’s instructions.

However, avoid cleaning all filter media at once as this can disrupt the beneficial bacteria that aid in breaking down waste.

Monitor Fish Health

Regularly observe your Opaline Gourami for any signs of illness or stress. Changes in behavior, appetite, or appearance can indicate potential health issues.

Early detection and treatment can significantly improve the chances of recovery. Remember, a well-maintained tank is key to preventing many common fish diseases.

In conclusion, proper care and maintenance of your Opaline Gourami’s tank are essential for their health and happiness.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure a comfortable and stimulating environment for your fish, helping them to thrive and live a long, healthy life.

Acclimating Opaline Gourami

Introducing Opaline Gourami to a new tank requires a careful acclimation process to ensure a smooth transition.

This process helps the fish adjust to the new water parameters and reduces stress, which can lead to health issues.

Start by floating the bag containing the Opaline Gourami in your tank for about 15 minutes. This allows the water in the bag to gradually match the temperature of your tank water.

Next, slowly add small amounts of tank water to the bag every 10 minutes for about an hour. This step helps the fish adjust to the pH and hardness of your tank water.

After the acclimation process, gently net the Opaline Gourami out of the bag and release it into the tank.

Avoid pouring the bag water into your tank to prevent introducing any potential contaminants. Monitor the fish closely for the next few days to ensure it is adjusting well to its new environment.

Opaline Gourami Diet and Feeding

Opaline Gouramis are omnivores and have a broad diet. Providing a balanced and varied diet is crucial for their health and color vibrancy.

Here are some key points to consider when feeding your Opaline Gourami:

Balanced Diet

A balanced diet for Opaline Gouramis should include both plant-based and protein-rich foods. Commercial flakes or pellets can serve as a staple diet, providing essential nutrients.

Look for high-quality formulas that promote color vibrancy and overall health.

Protein-Rich Foods

In addition to the staple diet, supplement with protein-rich foods a few times a week. This can include live or frozen foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, and daphnia.

These foods not only provide essential proteins but also stimulate natural hunting behaviors, providing mental stimulation.

Plant-Based Foods

Opaline Gouramis also benefit from plant-based foods in their diet. This can include blanched vegetables like peas and spinach, as well as algae-based foods.

These foods provide essential fibers and promote digestive health.

Feeding Schedule

Feed your Opaline Gourami small amounts of food two times a day. Only provide as much food as they can consume in 2-3 minutes to prevent overfeeding.

Overfeeding can lead to health issues and poor water quality.

Monitor Eating Habits

Regularly observe your Opaline Gourami’s eating habits. Changes in appetite can indicate stress or illness.

If you notice any changes, check the water parameters and observe the fish for any signs of illness.

In conclusion, a balanced and varied diet is key to the health and well-being of your Opaline Gourami.

By following these feeding guidelines, you can ensure your fish receive all the nutrients they need to thrive.

Opaline Gourami Tank Mates

Opaline Gouramis are generally peaceful fish that can coexist with a variety of other species.

However, their tank mates should be chosen carefully to ensure a harmonious environment.

Here are some suitable tank mates for Opaline Gouramis:

  1. Plecos: These bottom-dwelling fish are peaceful and can coexist well with Opaline Gouramis.

  2. Characins: This family of fish, which includes Tetras and Hatchetfish, are generally peaceful and make good tank mates.

  3. Loaches: Species like the Kuhli Loach or Clown Loach can be a good match due to their peaceful nature.

  4. Larger Tetras: Larger Tetras, such as the Black Skirt Tetra or Bleeding Heart Tetra, can coexist well with Opaline Gouramis.

  5. Peaceful Barbs: Species like the Cherry Barb or Gold Barb are peaceful and can make good tank mates.

  6. Big Invertebrates: Large invertebrates like snails and shrimp can also coexist well with Opaline Gouramis.

  7. Rainbowfish: These colorful, active fish can be a good match for Opaline Gouramis.

  8. Rasboras: Peaceful species like the Harlequin Rasbora can make good tank mates.

Tank Mates to Avoid

However, there are also some species that should be avoided as tank mates for Opaline Gouramis:

  1. Fin-Nipping Species: Species known for fin-nipping, such as Tiger Barbs, should be avoided as they can harm the delicate fins of the Opaline Gourami.

  2. Aggressive Cichlids: Aggressive Cichlid species can bully or harm Opaline Gouramis.

  3. Large Predatory Fish: Large predatory fish, such as Arowanas or Oscars, can see Opaline Gouramis as prey.

  4. Small, Delicate Fish: Small, delicate fish can be stressed or harmed by the larger Opaline Gourami.

  5. Territorial Bottom Dwellers: Species like the Red-Tailed Black Shark can be territorial and may not get along with Opaline Gouramis.

Breeding Opaline Gourami: A Comprehensive Guide

Breeding Opaline Gouramis can be a fascinating and rewarding experience for aquarists.

These fish have unique breeding behaviors that set them apart from many other species.

Here’s a detailed guide to help you through the process:

Pre-Breeding Preparations

  1. Set Up a Breeding Tank: A separate breeding tank is essential to provide a safe and controlled environment for the breeding pair and the subsequent fry. The tank should be shallow, with a water depth of about 5-6 inches.

  2. Water Conditions: The water in the breeding tank should be warm, ideally around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This warm temperature can help stimulate the breeding process.

  3. Feeding: Feed the potential breeding pair a diet rich in protein to condition them for spawning. Foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, and daphnia are excellent choices.

The Breeding Process

  1. Bubble Nest Building: The male Opaline Gourami will start the breeding process by building a bubble nest at the water surface. This is where the eggs will be kept during the incubation period.

  2. Spawning: Under the bubble nest, the male and female will spawn. The female releases the eggs, which the male fertilizes. The fertilized eggs will then float up into the bubble nest.

  3. Post-Spawning Care: After spawning, it’s advisable to remove the female from the tank. The male will guard the eggs and tend to the bubble nest.

Fry Care: Ensuring the Next Generation Thrives

  1. Feeding the Fry: Once the fry become free-swimming, usually a few days after hatching, you should remove the male from the tank. The fry can be fed infusoria or specially designed fry food until they are large enough to consume regular fish food.

  2. Water Changes: Regular water changes are crucial in the fry tank. Clean water is essential for the growth and health of the fry. However, be careful not to disturb the fry when changing the water.

  3. Monitoring Growth: Keep a close eye on the fry as they grow. Look out for any signs of disease or stress, and separate any fry that appear unwell from the rest to prevent the spread of potential diseases.

  4. Gradual Transition: As the fry grow and become more robust, gradually transition them to the same diet as the adult Opaline Gouramis. This transition should be done slowly over several weeks.

Breeding Opaline Gouramis can be a truly rewarding experience, allowing you to witness the fascinating life cycle of these beautiful fish.

With careful preparation and diligent care, you can successfully breed these fish and raise the next generation of Opaline Gouramis.

Signs of Stress in Opaline Gourami

Stress in Opaline Gouramis can manifest in various ways.

It’s crucial to observe your fish regularly and understand these signs to ensure their well-being:

  1. Change in Behavior: This could include decreased activity, loss of appetite, or unusual swimming patterns.

  2. Color Fading: Stress can cause the vibrant colors of your Opaline Gourami to fade or appear dull.

  3. Hiding: If your normally active Opaline Gourami is spending more time hiding, it could be a sign of stress.

  4. Rapid Breathing: Increased gill movement or rapid breathing can indicate stress or poor water conditions.

  5. Physical Signs: Look for physical signs such as clamped fins, spots, or lesions on the body.

Common Health Issues and Treatments for Opaline Gourami

Opaline Gouramis, like any fish, can be susceptible to various health issues.

Here are some common ones and their treatments:

  1. Ich: This is a common parasitic disease that causes white spots on the body. It can be treated with over-the-counter medications and raising the tank temperature.

  2. Fin Rot: This bacterial infection causes the fins to fray or rot away. It can be treated with antibacterial medications.

  3. Hole-in-the-Head Disease: This condition causes pits or holes in the head region. It’s often caused by poor nutrition or water quality and can be treated with specific medications.

  4. Bacterial Infections: These can cause various symptoms, including red streaks, ulcers, or bloating. Antibacterial medications can be used for treatment.

Remember, prevention is the best cure.

Regular tank maintenance, good water quality, and a balanced diet can prevent most of these health issues.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

  1. Regular Testing: Regularly test your aquarium water to ensure optimal parameters.

  2. Avoid Overcrowding: Overcrowding can lead to stress and poor water quality. Ensure your tank is appropriately sized for your fish.

  3. Quarantine New Fish: Always quarantine new fish before adding them to your main tank to prevent the spread of diseases.

  4. Provide a Balanced Diet: A varied and balanced diet is crucial for the health of your fish.

Should You Get an Opaline Gourami for Your Aquarium?

Opaline Gouramis are beautiful, active, and relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced aquarists.

They add a splash of color and personality to any aquarium. However, they do require a certain level of care and attention to thrive.

If you’re prepared to meet their needs, an Opaline Gourami can be a rewarding addition to your aquarium.

Conservation Status

Opaline Gouramis, also known as Trichopodus trichopterus, are not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

They are a product of selective breeding and do not occur naturally in the wild. However, their parent species, the Three Spot Gourami, is widespread and abundant in Southeast Asia.

As such, there are currently no significant conservation concerns for this species.

Availability & Pricing

Opaline Gouramis are widely available in the aquarium trade due to their popularity among aquarists.

They can be found in most pet stores and online fish suppliers. The price of an Opaline Gourami can vary depending on factors such as size, age, and coloration.

However, they are generally considered an affordable option for most hobbyists, typically ranging from $3 to $10 per fish.

Frequently Asked Questions About Opaline Gourami

To provide further clarity and address common queries, here are some frequently asked questions about Opaline Gouramis:

  1. Are Opaline Gouramis aggressive? While generally peaceful, Opaline Gouramis can show territorial behavior, especially in a crowded tank or during breeding. It’s essential to provide ample space and hiding spots to minimize aggression.

  2. Can Opaline Gouramis live alone? Yes, they can live alone, but they also do well in small groups or community tanks with compatible species.

  3. How long do Opaline Gouramis live? With proper care, Opaline Gouramis can live between 4 to 6 years in captivity.

  4. What do Opaline Gouramis eat? They are omnivores and will eat a variety of foods, including commercial fish flakes or pellets, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, and even some vegetables.


Opaline Gouramis are a fantastic addition to any freshwater aquarium. Their vibrant colors, playful behavior, and relatively easy care make them a favorite among aquarists.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hobbyist, the Opaline Gourami offers a unique charm that can bring life and movement to your tank.

Remember, the key to a healthy and happy Opaline Gourami is a well-maintained environment, a balanced diet, and regular monitoring.

With these in place, you can enjoy the delightful presence of these beautiful fish for years to come.