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Gouramis, or gouramies , are a group of freshwater anabantiform fishes that comprise the family Osphronemidae. The fish are native to Asia—from Pakistan and India to Southeast Asia and northeasterly towards Korea. The name "gourami", of Indonesian origin, is also used for fish of the families Helostomatidae and Anabantidae.
Many gouramis have an elongated, feeler-like ray at the front of each of their pelvic fins. All living species show parental care: some are mouthbrooders, and others, like the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), build bubble nests. Currently, about 133 species are recognised, placed in four subfamilies and about 15 genera.
The name Polyacanthidae has also been used for this family. Some fish now classified as gouramis were previously placed in family Anabantidae. The subfamily Belontiinae was recently demoted from the family Belontiidae. As labyrinth fishes, gouramis have a lung-like labyrinth organ that allows them to gulp air and use atmospheric oxygen. This organ is a vital innovation for fish that often inhabit warm, shallow, oxygen-poor water.
Subfamilies and genera
The family Osphronemidae is divided into the following subfamilies and genera:
Giant gouramis, Osphronemus goramy, or Kaloi in Malay language, are eaten in some parts of the world. In Maritime Southeast Asian countries, they are often deep-fried and served in sweet-sour sauce, chili sauce, and other spices. The paradise fish, Macropodus opercularis, and other members of that genus are the target of a cannery industry in China, the products of which are available in Asian supermarkets around the world.
Gouramis are particularly found in Sundanese cuisine.
In Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Brunei, this gouramis are readily fished at streams, brooks, canal, rivers and many more large water area system.
In the aquarium
Numerous gourami species are popular aquarium fish widely kept throughout the world. As labyrinth fish, they will often swim near the top of the tank. As with other tropical freshwater fish, an aquarium heater is often used. Gouramis will eat either prepared or live foods. Some species can grow quite large, and are unsuitable for the general hobbyist.
Big Gouramis may become territorial with fish that are colourful and a considerable size to them. If you are trying to create a community tank be sure to talk to someone that is employed by a pet store. Gouramis may nip at other fish. If you have fry in your tank, for instance bristlenose catfish fry, the Gourami will definitely eat them . In this scenario it is best to put the fry in a breeding tank, or find another place for the Gourami, separating them.
Generally regarded as peaceful, gouramis are still capable of harassing or killing smaller or long-finned fish. Depending on the species, adult and juvenile males have been known to spar with one another. Aggression can also occur as a result of overcrowding.
Gouramis have been housed with many species, such as danios, mollies, silver dollars, Neon tetras, and plecostomus catfish. Compatibility depends on the species of gourami and the fish it is housed with. Some species (e.g. Macropodus or Belontia) are highly aggressive or predatory and may harass or kill smaller or less aggressive fish; whereas others (Parosphromenus and Sphaerichthys, for instance) are very shy or have specific water requirements and thus will be outcompeted by typical community fish.
The name "gourami" is used of several other related fish that are now placed in different families:
- Goldstein, Howard (September 2005). "Searching for the Pygmy Gourami". Tropical Fish Hobbyist. 54 (1): 93. ISSN 0041-3259.
- Tan, HH and P Ng (2006). "Six new species of fighting fish (Telestei: Osphronemidae: Betta) from Borneo". Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. 17 (2): 97–114.