Are gouramis aggressive
Care & Breeding

Are Gouramis aggressive? Full guide about Gouramis

Gouramis are quite popular fishes as home pets. Fish keepers love to keep Gouramis since they are hardy fish and they don’t give much tough time to their owner. In this article today we are going to discuss the aggression of Gouramis because I keep getting this question “Are Gouramis aggressive?” I keep telling everyone about Gouramis care requirements and about their aggression so today I thought to share with my readers a complete Gourami care guide to know more about Gourami species. 


Gouramis are freshwater fish. Their scientific name is Osphronemidae. The special thing about them is they consist of a labyrinth organ that acts basically like a lung, and this function allows them to breathe air when they are at the surface. Also, you will find some mouthbrooder gouramis and some species make bubble nests at the surface in order to incubate their eggs until the process of hatching. 

Gouramis can be found in Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Korea, and Japan. Gouramis live in rivers, swamps, marshes, canals, and wetlands and also you can find them in temporary pools. 

Many gouramis can be kept in community tanks, but some gouramis don’t get along really well with other fishes in the tank, on the other hand, some of them are too tiny to be kept with larger species of fish. You will know more about them as we move further in our article.

Different species of Gouramis are

  • Blue Gourami
  • Dwarf Gourami
  • Chocolate Gourami
  • Moonlight Gourami
  • Pearl Gourami
  • Kissing gourami
  • Sparkling gourami
  • Honey gourami
  • Paradise gourami

Since now you know the basic information about gouramis so let’s talk about our main question

Are gouramis aggressive?

Gouramis are naturally peaceful, but sometimes they can get really aggressive or territorial. Some male gouramis can get really combative with their own kind or other species when they feel unsafe or threatened. Gouramis also do fin-nipping sometimes when they try to protect their territory. So this means they can become aggressive when it comes to their territory but naturally they are peaceful.

Under what circumstances gouramis can become aggressive 

As we already talked about above gouramis are peaceful but there are some factors that can make them aggressive or territorial. We will discuss those factors now.

Food Aggression

Gouramis are foodies and they like to eat. They are omnivorous so they will literally do anything that comes their way. They will attack small fish when they are hungry. 

Also, gouramis will become aggressive if they don’t get to eat properly. For instance, if your tank is too small but really occupied with other fishes, chances are gouramis will start fighting for their food and will become extremely aggressive. To avoid this make sure you have a proper tank setup for gouramis and that you fulfill their food requirements.

Territory aggression 

As I already mentioned above, gouramis are naturally peaceful but they are aggressive when it comes to territory. Due to this reason, they get territorial aggression!! 

Gouramis are very poses possessive when it comes to territory which is why they get aggressive sometimes. 

Once gourami chose a specific area in the tank as their territory, then they will protect that corner from other fishes. 

Mating aggression 

Gouramis can get mating aggression also. Let me explain the situation. Female Gouramis are very protective and have possessive behavior when it comes to their young ones. On the other hand, Male gouramis will become highly aggressive when the mating season begins. This is how both male gouramis and female gouramis become aggressive during mating season.

Similar kind specie related aggression 

Gouramis will also get aggressive when they see lots of other gouramis in the tank. Since gouramis are quite unfriendly toward other male gouramis. So according to my experience, you should have only one male gourami in a tank and three to four female gouramis. 

In short, don’t overcrowd your tank with lots of gouramis.

These are the reasons your pet gouramis can become aggressive 

Species of Gouramis that become aggressive 

There are different kinds of species of gouramis like chocolate gouramis, moonlight gourami, pearl gourami, etc. Now let’s see which specie of gourami is more aggressive. In this section, you can choose your ideal pet gourami.

Dwarf gourami

Starting with dwarf gourami, they are quite peaceful in nature. They are really compatible with community tanks and they don’t give much hard time.

Through their name, it’s quite obvious that they are tiny fish so these poor souls often get bullied by larger fishes in the tank. So be very careful when you choose tank mates for them in order to keep your dwarf gouramis safe in your tank. 

Also, they are a good choice because it’s quite easy to take care of them and they don’t need much space. Overall dwarf gouramis are not at all aggressive and can be a really good pet fish. 

Are gouramis aggressive
Dwarf Gourami

Sparkling gourami

From their name, it’s obvious that they are very beautiful fish. Also, they are the tiny fish specie among the gouramis family. They only grow up to half inches in size as they reach adulthood. 

Since they are tiny in size so they are not aggressive at all and you must ensure their safety by not keeping big fish with them. 

It’s ideal to keep them in a pair of four or six fish. In short, they are definitely a good addition to your home tank.

Are gouramis aggressive
Sparkling Gourami

Kissing gourami

They are called kissing gourami because their lips are shaped in a way as the fish is kissing. I know this might sound hilarious but that’s what it is!!

They are semi-aggressive. They are basically eight to ten inches long so they can bully tiny tank mates and can act aggressively towards them. Also, they are fin nippers which is why kissing gourami is considered semi-aggressive.

Are gouramis aggressive
Kissing Gourami

Paradise gourami

They are quite peaceful and they don’t give you any tough time so you don’t have to worry about them. 

Are gouramis aggressive
Paradise Gourami

Blue gourami

Blue gouramis are known as semi-aggressive gouramis. You shouldn’t keep tiny fishes with blue gouramis as they can bully them. 

Cichlids are the best tank mates for blue gouramis.

Are gouramis aggressive
Blue Gourami

Pearl gourami

Pearl gourami are really good for community tanks but only with species that don’t resemble them. In the situation of pearl gouramis, females will get aggressive when they are protecting their fry, and males of this specie will become aggressive during mating season and might show mating aggression behavior.  

Are gouramis aggressive
Pearl Gourami

Honey gourami

Honey gouramis are quite similar to dwarf gouramis so you don’t have to worry about honey gouramis. They are compatible with community tanks. They can grow up to two and a half inches or less as they reach their adulthood. But since they are tiny fish so make sure to keep them protected and safe from big fish. So simply don’t keep big fish with them so your honey gourami doesn’t get bullied.

Are gouramis aggressive
Honey Gourami

Moonlight gourami

They are the most peaceful fish in the gourami family. They will cause no trouble and are not at all aggressive. They can grow up to six inches in length.

They are so peaceful that they often get bullied by other big fishes so choose their tank mates wisely. 

Some of the best tank mates for moonlight gourami are Corydoras and Harlequin. 

Are gouramis aggressive
Moonlight Gourami

In this section, we have discussed different species and their behaviors. This will make it quite easy for you to choose your ideal pet gourami fish.

Can we avoid gouramis aggression?

Yes, this is possible. There are some factors to consider if you want to avoid gouramis aggression 

Never overcrowd the tank

Mostly gouramis get aggressive because the tank is too overcrowded. Gouramis can become territorially aggressive if someone gets in their space inside the tank so you must have a large enough tank so that other fishes don’t enter into gouramis space. 

Also, gouramis need plenty of room to swim. If your calm gourami is suddenly acting aggressive it means your tank is too overcrowded and they are not getting enough space to swim. 

Now coming to the other point, it’s not always the fish that makes the tank overcrowded but also too many decorations can make the tank overcrowded. So make sure you don’t have too many decorations in the tank which come in the way of your gouramis. Give them plenty of space to swim so they don’t get aggressive.

Avoid male gouramis

I mentioned this above also that only keep one male gourami in a tank. Because if your gouramis see other male gouramis in the tank or other similar kinds of fish they might act aggressively. 

Never keep male gouramis in a community tank, even if the type is calm but still don’t keep them in a community tank. Because trust me you have no idea that even the most calm male gourami has territorial nature and they can get extremely aggressive if any other fish comes into their space.

Have lots of hiding spots

It’s always a good choice to keep hiding spots in the tank so the fish doesn’t often run into each other. For doing this you can have a tank divider to keep the gouramis separate from other fish. 

Or else you can have hiding spots by placing aquatic plants. But again don’t overcrowd the tank with lots of plants. Always keep a balance.

These are some factors to consider if you want to avoid aggression and ensure the safety of your fish.


Are male gouramis more aggressive than female gouramis?

Yes, males are more aggressive than female gouramis. Female gouramis only become aggressive when they are protecting their fry or when they are about to lay eggs during the breeding season otherwise they don’t act aggressive!!

Most of my fish aquarist friends keep a group of only female gouramis instead of male gouramis so they don’t fight with each other. 

Male gouramis are most of the time aggressive due to their territory or also when it’s mating season. That is why I always suggest keeping only one male gourami in a tank and never keeping male gouramis in community tanks to keep your other tiny fishes safe and secure.

Are gouramis aggressive towards other gouramis?

Yes!! male gouramis can become aggressive towards other male gouramis. So it’s ideal to keep only one male gourami in a tank.

Are gouramis aggressive towards guppies?

No!! They get along really well and are not aggressive towards each other. So you don’t worry about keeping them together 

Just for safety purposes keep guppies fry separately so male gouramis don’t attack them. Otherwise, they are good to go.


We have covered all points and we have considered all the factors of how gouramis can become aggressive in certain conditions. Just to make it easy for you I will list down some important points to remember 

  • Keep only one male gourami in a tank
  • Don’t overcrowd the tank with fish or decorations 
  • Feed them properly and fulfill their diet requirements 
  • Not all gouramis are aggressive!! Only some of them are aggressive in certain conditions

These are some points to remember when you are keeping gouramis as your pet fish. To read about the best food for Gouramis you can find other articles related to the gouramis diet and other things.

Are Gouramis aggressive? Full guide about Gouramis
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