Paradise Fish – Care, Types, Tank Mates & Full Details!

Paradise fish (Scientific name: Macropodus opercularis) belong to the gourami family. They’re indigenous to various regions in East Asia, with substantial populations found near Korea, the coast of China, and Vietnam.

Their natural habitats are often shallow waters abundant in plants and vegetation, a common feature among gourami species. Although they favor such environments, Paradise fish are quite adaptable, capable of thriving in an array of water conditions.

Their vibrant colors and intriguing behaviors have made Paradise gouramis a popular tropical fish for a significant period.

However, unlike other gourami species, Paradise fish are notorious for their aggressive and feisty nature, requiring careful management to ensure their longevity.


Paradise Fish is also known as paradise gouramis, are a gorgeous freshwater species that are on many aquarium enthusiasts’ wishlist. Their striking colors and unique aesthetics often render them a favorite.

If you’re considering owning a Paradise fish, there’s quite a bit you need to understand. They’re fairly easy to keep healthy due to their hardiness, but managing their aggressive behavior might be a bit challenging.

This comprehensive guide offers a detailed approach to the care of Paradise fish. We will delve into their tank size requirements, dietary needs, and suitable tank mates, providing all the necessary details for a thriving tank environment.

In the realm of aquarium fish-keeping, Paradise Fish (Macropodus opercularis) holds a special place. Known for their stunning appearance and captivating demeanor, these freshwater fish have been delighting aquarists for generations.

Let’s delve into an in-depth study of the Paradise Fish, focusing on their unique appearance, natural habitat, origin, size, and lifespan.

Quick Stats About Paradise Fish

Care Level: Medium
Temperament: Aggressive
Color Form: Red and blue stripes
Lifespan: 8-10 years
Size: 2-3 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Family: Osphronemidae
Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Freshwater: heavily planted
Compatibility: Large, peaceful fish

Appearance of Paradise Fish

The appearance of Paradise Fish is nothing short of spectacular, serving as a primary reason for their enduring popularity among fish enthusiasts.

They possess a vibrant color palette, punctuated by intricate patterns that make each specimen a living work of aquatic art.

Paradise gourami possess long, flowing fins that lend an air of elegance to their movements. Their dorsal and anal fins are remarkably symmetrical, extending past the caudal peduncle, often rimmed with a delicate strip of white that contrasts against their vivid body color.

The small ventral fins are characterized by thin appendages that add to the fish’s graceful swimming style.

The body shape of Paradise Fish resembles the classic “gourami” design – a pointed head paired with a torpedo-like body that presents a slim profile when viewed from the side.

The colors of Paradise Fish can vary, though the most common variant features a beautiful fusion of blue and reddish-orange hues, which fade as they approach the spotted area on top of their head.

Their bodies often exhibit alternative blue and orange stripes running vertically down their sides. A less common variant, the blue Paradise gourami, primarily presents a muted blue tone with a subtle hint of orange, offering a more subdued yet equally stunning visual appeal.

Natural Habitat of Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish thrive in nature within shallow freshwater environments that are rich in plant life. Understanding their natural habitat is crucial for creating an ideal environment within your aquarium that helps mimic their wild living conditions.

In the wild, these fish inhabit waters that boast a high concentration of vegetation. Their preferred environments include plants that they interact with regularly, utilizing them for shelter, comfort, and as a source of food.

Therefore, incorporating a variety of aquatic plants in your aquarium, such as hornwort, java moss, and dwarf hairgrass, will contribute to the wellbeing of your Paradise Fish.

Origin and Distribution of Paradise Fish

The Paradise gourami, also known as paradise gourami, hails from various parts of East Asia. Their distribution primarily spans across regions near Korea, China’s coast, and Vietnam.

Being one of the first ornamental fish in the aquarist’s sphere, Paradise Fish have long been admired for their beauty and unique temperament.

Their aggressive and feisty nature stands in stark contrast to the more docile gourami varieties, highlighting the need for informed care and responsible management of their aggressive tendencies.

Growth, Size, and Lifespan of Paradise Fish

When it comes to growth and size, Paradise Fish tend to be on the smaller side of the gourami family. The average size of an adult Paradise Fish is around 2.5 inches in length, although their striking colors and active behavior often make them appear larger than they are.

Despite their relatively small size, they require spacious tanks for optimal health and wellbeing.

A 20-gallon tank is recommended for a single Paradise Fish, with the addition of ten gallons for each additional fish, accounting for their territorial nature.

Concerning lifespan, Paradise Fish have a rather impressive longevity. With proper care and a stress-free environment, these fish can live for approximately eight to nine years.

Some instances even report Paradise Fish living beyond ten years, though such occurrences are rare and depend on optimal care and environmental conditions.

Understanding these aspects of Paradise Fish helps ensure that you can provide the best possible care, leading to a healthier, happier fish and a thriving aquarium environment.

Paradise Fish Behavior and Temperament

Paradise Fish are renowned for their dynamic behavior and engaging temperament. One of the most striking behavioral traits of Paradise Fish is their semi-aggressive nature.

They are territorial creatures and can display signs of dominance, especially during feeding times or when they perceive their territory to be under threat.

These fish are also remarkably active and are known to frequently display bursts of energy, darting around the tank in swift, elegant movements. However, they also appreciate quiet time and will often seek solace in the quieter corners of the tank or among aquatic plants.

Paradise gourami’s are also surface breathers thanks to a unique organ called a labyrinth.

This characteristic means they frequently rise to the surface for oxygen, making the tank’s upper regions a busy area for them.

Types of Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish are a fascinating group with diverse types to captivate every aquarist. Each type displays unique color patterns and body traits that make them stand out in the aquatic world.

Below, we dive into the distinct varieties of Paradise Fish.

Blue Paradise Fish

The Blue Paradise Fish, also known as Macropodus opercularis, is the most common type in the pet trade. It features a body dappled in blues, reds, and oranges that truly evoke a sense of tropical paradise.

The males, in particular, are more vibrant, while the females tend to exhibit more muted hues.

Albino Paradise Fish

The Albino Paradise Fish is a striking variation characterized by its lack of pigmentation. It carries a translucent, pearl-white body that can sometimes appear slightly pinkish due to blood vessels. These fish have red eyes, a common trait in many albino animals.

Red and Blue Paradise Fish

This type is an eye-catching blend of vivid red and deep blue. The Red and Blue Paradise Fish shows an exceptional blend of these two colors, leading to a radiant display in your aquarium.

Their brilliant colors shimmer under the right lighting, offering a stunning visual experience.

Bicolor Paradise Fish

The Bicolor Paradise Fish boasts two dominant colors on its body. It’s usually a combination of blues and reds or blues and whites, making for a truly unique display. This variation’s distinguishing feature is the clear demarcation line between the two colors.

Green Paradise Fish

The Green Paradise gourami, though less common, brings an appealing dash of color to any aquarium. It showcases a vibrant green hue over its entire body, providing a pleasing contrast to the traditional reds and blues of its relatives.

Remember, no matter which type of Paradise Fish you opt for, the most crucial aspect is to provide a suitable environment and adequate care.

The vibrancy of their colors is often a direct reflection of their health, and a well-cared-for Paradise Fish will reward you with a dazzling show of hues.paradise

Ideal Paradise Fish Tank Setup

Creating an ideal tank environment for Paradise Fish requires attention to detail and an understanding of their natural habitat.

Tank Size

Paradise gourami, although relatively small, appreciate a spacious tank. A tank capacity of around 20 gallons is suitable for a single Paradise gourami, but remember to add an extra 10 gallons for each additional fish to accommodate their territorial behavior.


These fish don’t have strict substrate requirements, but a dark, sandy substrate is an excellent choice as it mimics their natural habitat and makes their vibrant colors stand out.

Decorations and Hiding Spots

Paradise Fish value privacy and places to retreat. Provide ample hiding spots using driftwood, caves, or dense patches of plants. These create a more natural-looking environment and give the fish spaces to relax.

Water Parameters

Maintaining the right water parameters is crucial for the wellbeing of your Paradise gourami. The water temperature should be between 68-82°F (20-28°C), and the pH should ideally range from 6.0 to 8.0.

Filtration and Aeration

A good filtration system is critical to maintain water quality. As Paradise gourami are labyrinth fish and frequently come to the surface to breathe, gentle aeration is preferred to keep the water movement minimal.


Moderate lighting suits Paradise gourami best, replicating their natural, slightly dim aquatic habitats. This also encourages plant growth, which benefits the fish.

Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates is crucial due to the Paradise Fish’s territorial nature. Compatible companions include similar-sized fish that can hold their own, like certain types of Tetras, Barbs, and Danios. Avoid housing them with very peaceful or small fish, as they may become targets.


Paradise gourami’s are omnivorous and enjoy a varied diet. Feed them high-quality flake food, live or frozen foods like brine shrimp or bloodworms, and vegetable-based foods for a balanced diet.

With an understanding of their behavior and specific tank requirements, you can provide a healthy, comfortable, and engaging environment for your Paradise Fish.

Paradise Fish Tank Maintenance

Taking care of a Paradise gourami involves more than just feeding and admiring its stunning appearance. The health and happiness of your aquatic pet are closely tied to the condition of its habitat.

Here, we’ll delve into some essential aspects of Paradise gourami tank maintenance that every owner should know.

Regular Water Changes

A fundamental aspect of maintaining a Paradise gourami tank is regular water changes. Water quality in a fish tank can degrade over time due to fish waste, uneaten food, and decaying plants.

Changing around 20-30% of the water every week helps maintain a clean and healthy environment.

Remember to treat new water with a dechlorinator before adding it to the tank, and ensure that its temperature matches the tank water. This prevents any shock that could stress your Paradise gourami.

Tank and Decorations

Over time, a layer of algae and grime can accumulate on the walls of the tank and on the decorations. While a certain level of algae is healthy, excessive growth can create problems.

Use an algae scrubber or magnetic cleaner to clean the interior glass walls every week or two. For decorations and artificial plants, you can gently scrub them with a soft brush under warm water.

Avoid using soap or chemicals, which can be harmful to your Paradise gourami.

Filter Maintenance

The filter is crucial in keeping your tank’s environment clean and habitable, so regular filter maintenance is a must. Generally, you should clean the filter once a month, but check the manufacturer’s instructions as some may vary.

Cleaning doesn’t mean completely sterilizing the filter; it involves gently rinsing the filter media in tank water to remove excess debris while preserving beneficial bacteria. Avoid using tap water, as the chlorine can kill these bacteria.

Monitoring the Health

Routine observation of your Paradise gourami’s behavior and appearance is crucial in tank maintenance. Healthy Paradise Fish are vibrant, active, and show a hearty appetite.

If you notice changes, like less activity, reduced appetite, faded colors, or any visible signs of disease, it’s essential to identify and address the issue promptly. This might involve adjusting tank conditions or consulting with a vet specializing in aquatic pets.

Taking care of a Paradise gourami isn’t just about creating a beautiful aquatic display. It’s about ensuring a healthy, safe, and comfortable environment for your fish.

By performing regular maintenance tasks, you can help your Paradise Fish lead a happy and healthy life.

Acclimating Your Paradise Fish

Moving into a new home can be stressful, and it’s no different for fish. When you bring home a Paradise Fish, acclimating them to their new environment is a crucial first step.

This gradual process helps them adapt to the water parameters and temperature of your tank, minimizing the risk of stress and shock.

Here’s a simple method to acclimate your Paradise Fish:

  1. Float the bag: Upon arriving home, float the sealed bag (containing the fish) in the aquarium for about 15-20 minutes. This equalizes the water temperature inside and outside the bag.

  2. Mix the water: Next, open the bag and add a small amount of your tank’s water to it. Repeat this step every 10 minutes over the next hour. This step helps the fish acclimate to the water chemistry of your tank.

  3. Release the fish: Finally, gently release your Paradise Fish into the tank. Use a net to avoid introducing the store’s water into your tank.

Feeding Your Paradise Fish

The diet of your Paradise Fish is central to their health and vibrance. Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of what, when, and how much to feed your Paradise Fish.

What to Feed Your Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish are omnivores with a preference for protein-rich foods.

A balanced diet for them includes:

  • High-Quality Flake or Pellet Food: This should be the staple of your Paradise Fish’s diet, as it’s specifically formulated to provide all the necessary nutrients.

  • Live or Frozen Foods: Foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, or bloodworms are a great source of protein. However, they should be given sparingly as a treat or supplement.

  • Vegetables: Boiled peas or spinach can be a good source of vitamins and fiber. Ensure they’re cut into small pieces for easy consumption.

When and How Much to Feed Your Paradise gourami

Adult Paradise gourami should be fed once or twice a day. As a general rule, offer only what they can consume within 2-3 minutes to avoid overfeeding and potential water quality issues.

Younger or growing Paradise gourami require more frequent feeding, around 2-3 times a day, to support their growth.

Feeding your Paradise gourami a varied, balanced diet not only promotes their health but also stimulates them mentally.

Watch how eagerly they take to different foods, and you’ll realize that feeding time can be a highlight of your day!

Paradise Fish’s Tank Mates: Friends and Foes

When it comes to choosing tank mates for your Paradise gourami, the task can be tricky.

They’re known for their territorial behavior, especially the males, so picking the right companions is essential for maintaining a peaceful aquarium.

Best Tank Mates for Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish can share a tank with several other species, given enough space and the right conditions.

Here are some ideal companions:

  1. Zebra Danios: Known for their speed and agility, Zebra Danios can easily keep a safe distance from Paradise Fish.

  2. Black Skirt Tetras: They’re robust and fast, making them less likely to be targeted.

  3. Giant Danios: Their size and speed allow them to cohabit with Paradise Fish.

  4. Bristlenose Plecos: These bottom-dwellers usually stay out of the Paradise Fish’s way.

  5. Swordtails: Large, active, and peaceful, they make good tank mates.

  6. Cherry Barbs: Though small, they’re fast and typically school in large groups, making them less likely to be picked on.

  7. Ghost Shrimps: While they might occasionally become a snack, they’re generally ignored and can help with tank cleaning.

  8. Snails: Like shrimp, snails can serve as a cleaning crew without disturbing your Paradise Fish.

Tank Mates to Avoid

Avoid keeping your Paradise Fish with species that are overly aggressive, slow-moving, or those that have long fins.

Here are some fish to avoid:

  1. Betta Fish: Both species are territorial and will likely fight.

  2. Angelfish: The slow-moving Angelfish with long fins are easy targets for Paradise Fish.

  3. Goldfish: They prefer colder water and are too slow to avoid Paradise Fish.

  4. Guppies: Their flashy tails can provoke the Paradise Fish.

  5. Slow Bottom Dwellers: Fish like Corydoras are likely to get bullied by the active Paradise Fish.

Breeding Paradise Fish and Caring for the Fry

Breeding Paradise Fish can be a rewarding experience if done right. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to breed them and care for the fry.

How to Breed Paradise Fish

  1. Set Up a Breeding Tank: Prepare a separate tank of about 10-20 gallons with slightly acidic and soft water. The temperature should be around 75-80°F.

  2. Select a Pair: Choose a healthy male and female. The male will usually display more vibrant colors when ready to breed.

  3. Feeding: Provide a diet rich in live or frozen foods to condition them for spawning.

  4. Spawning: The male will build a bubble nest at the water surface. After courtship, the female will release her eggs, which the male will then fertilize.

  5. Post-Spawning Care: Once spawning is finished, remove the female from the tank. The male will guard the eggs, but it’s best to remove him once the fry hatch to prevent possible predation.

Fry Care

Taking care of Paradise Fish fry involves careful feeding and monitoring.

  • Feeding: Start feeding the fry with infusoria or liquid fry food. As they grow, introduce them to baby brine shrimp and microworms, then gradually to finely crushed flake food.

  • Water Changes: Regular small water changes are necessary to maintain water quality without causing drastic shifts in water parameters.

  • Monitoring: Keep a close eye on the fry’s growth and health. As they grow larger and start showing territorial behavior, you may need to separate them into different tanks to prevent fights.

Remember, each Paradise Fish is unique and their breeding behavior can differ.

Be patient, observe your fish, and enjoy the fascinating journey of breeding Paradise Fish.

Recognizing Stress in Paradise Fish

Paradise Fish are generally hardy creatures, but certain changes in their environment or behavior can signal stress.

Stress Symptoms to Watch Out For:

  • Loss of Appetite: Like many fish, Paradise Fish might stop eating when stressed.

  • Color Fading: Bright colors are a sign of health in Paradise Fish. If their colors become dull, it could indicate stress.

  • Erratic Swimming: If you notice unusual swimming patterns, it may be a stress response.

  • Hiding or Reduced Activity: A sudden change in their usual activity level can be another stress symptom.

Common Health Issues and Their Treatments

Even with top-notch care, Paradise gourami can face health issues.

Here are some common problems and ways to treat them:

  • Ich: Also known as “white spot disease,” Ich is marked by white spots on the fish’s body. It can be treated with over-the-counter medications and raising the tank temperature gradually.

  • Fin Rot: This disease, usually due to poor water conditions, causes fraying or discoloration of fins. Clean water and antibacterial medications can treat it.

  • Fungal Infections: These are recognizable by white or grey growths on the fish’s body. Antifungal medications are an effective treatment.

Additional Tips for a Healthy Aquarium

Maintaining a healthy aquarium involves more than just routine cleaning.

Here are some additional tips:

  • Test Your Water Regularly: This ensures the water parameters are suitable for your Paradise Fish.

  • Observe Your Fish Daily: This helps you notice any changes in behavior or appearance that may indicate a problem.

  • Quarantine New Additions: Before adding new fish or plants to your tank, keep them in a separate tank for a few weeks to prevent the spread of diseases.

Should You Get a Paradise Fish for Your Aquarium?

Deciding on a Paradise Fish for your aquarium depends on your ability to meet their specific needs. They’re hardy, vibrant, and fascinating to observe, making them a popular choice for many aquarists.

However, their somewhat aggressive and territorial nature requires careful consideration when selecting tank mates.

In the end, if you can provide them with the right environment and are up for the challenge of managing their unique behaviors, a Paradise Fish can be an excellent addition to your home aquarium.

Conservation Status

Paradise Fish, despite their widespread popularity among aquarium hobbyists, aren’t under any immediate conservation threat in the wild.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), they’re not currently listed on the Red List of Threatened Species. This is largely due to their vast native range and adaptability to various environments.

Availability and Pricing

Paradise gourami are widely available and can be found in most local pet stores or online aquarium shops. Due to their popularity and ease of breeding, they are often in stock.

Pricing for Paradise gourami is quite reasonable, generally ranging from $3 to $10 per fish, depending on size and color variations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Paradise Fish

Q – Can Paradise Fish live with other fish?

Ans – Yes, they can, but careful selection is vital due to their aggressive nature. Suitable tank mates include larger Tetras, Barbs, and other fast, similarly-sized fish.

Q – What do Paradise Fish eat?

Ans – They are omnivores and enjoy a varied diet, including flake foods, live foods, and freeze-dried foods.

Q – How big do Paradise Fish get?

Ans – They typically grow up to 2.5 to 3 inches in captivity.

Q – How long do Paradise Fish live?

Ans – With proper care, Paradise Fish can live up to 8-10 years.


Paradise gourami are an intriguing choice for aquarists who are ready to tackle their specific needs. They are reasonably priced, have a unique appearance, and their vibrant colors add a dynamic element to any tank.

As long as you can ensure suitable tank conditions and compatible tank mates, these striking fish can become a captivating part of your aquarium. Remember, regular monitoring and maintenance are key to keeping them healthy and happy.

If you’re up for the challenge, Paradise gourami can prove to be an immensely rewarding choice.