When a person returns home from a hectic day at work, an aquarium can be therapeutic to the eyes and the mind. An aquarium with a fish that can recognize its keeper and will greet them after they come home is even better.

Opaline gouramis are freshwater fish known for their active and bubbly nature. With numerous varieties of gouramis to choose between, these are relatively neglected.

This article will be an in-depth guide into the world of Opaline. After reading this article, one will possess enough confidence to set up a tank on their own and cherish these fishes’ exotic & frolicking nature.

Let’s Know About the Fish

General traits of this species
Scientific name Trichopodus trichopterus
Other names Three spot gourami, Blue gourami, Golden gourami
Lifespan 4-6 years
Maximum size 6 inches
Region of habitation Southeast Asia
Type Freshwater
Breeding Egg-laying

More About Opaline Gouramis

Keeping an aquarium can be tedious if somebody is into marine aquariums and saltwater fishes, but the opaline gourami is excellent for beginner aquarium keepers.

These fishes are friendly and easy to care about, though they possess various personalities. One can be very playful, and the other can be timid or lazy. But they will certainly not stop amusing you if you buy them in a group and chuck them in a community tank.

These gouramis are particularly known for three spots on their body aligned perfectly with the eye on an invisible line.

These are labyrinth fishes, which is a breathing modification. It permits opalines to intake oxygen from the atmospheric air into its circulatory system. Thus opaline gouramis need to float to the outward periphery of the brim of the water level to inhale oxygen.

With a marble-like pattern in its body and embellished with white, blue, and black colors, the fish looks as if it is adorning a cape.

This fish, which also bears the name marbled gourami, does not exist in nature naturally. It has been produced with the aid of selective breeding.

Note to the reader: Opaline gouramis form bubble nests to lay eggs. These are a type of foam bubble made out of saliva, after which they lay eggs.

Area of Origin and Natural Habitat

Waterways of rivers and ponds, bogs and streams with profound wetlands are all home to this fish. They like calm, motionless, and stationary water bodies with heavy vegetation.

These three spot gouramis are found in South Asia, extending from China to continental Southeast Asia and reaching all the way to Indonesia. They are also found in the rivers of the Philippines and India.

Maximum Attainable Size

According to cabi.org, Gouramis are small fishes, and they generally reach maturity very fast. The size of the fish is typically 3 inches at maturity, and the growth rate slows down until it reaches 6 inches.

Opaline gourami size will commonly be around 4-6 inches depending upon its DNA, and if the fish keeper takes proper care of its diet and wellbeing, the fish can grow more.

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Appearance and Color

Opaline gouramis are bred inside a tank by humans and artificial aid. They come from the parent species of the infamous spotted gourami, that has three black blotches on the skin.

If someone traces the outline of the fish, they all feature the same characteristic oval-shaped gourami design. The front part is somewhat pointy towards the snout.

The anal fins span from the pectoral, and directly onto the fish’s underside. These anal fins are iconic in these fishes.

The fish also has a dorsal fin and a very tiny pectoral fin that are covered with fin rays,. Like other gouramis, opalines also possess a slender antenna-like ventral fin on the frontal part under the head.

These antenna-like ventral fins are sensitive to touch, and play a massive role in its way finding.

These fishes have a hint of blue in their backdrop, covered by marble-like patterns in many colors such as blue, golden, black, and more.

Longevity

According to aquaworld, the life expectancy of opalines generally vary from four to six years.

But with the proper dietary habits and genes into play, the life expectancy can be a bit longer, though it is rare to find gourami aging more than six years.

Sexual dimorphism

Male gouramis grow larger than their female counterpart. But one should keep in mind that the standard of fishkeeping and the age, should be similar for both the fishes if one wants to compare their size.

Irrespective of gender, a fish with more age or a well-cared fish with optimum dietary habits will normally grow larger.

Male opaline gouramis have a tapered out, leaf-like V-shaped looking dorsal fin.

Female gouramis have curvy and small adorable dorsal fins. Females are generally more spherical and disc-like than the males during and after the growing stage.

Male gouramis tend to build a salivary droplet nest with their saliva. In this saliva droplet nest, females lay their eggs.

When the eggs have been laid, the males behave volatile and over-protective towards them, more than the females. This type of behavior is very counter-intuitive in nature as generally, we see females taking care of infants.

Quick Tips: Keeping fewer males in a tank than females proves beneficial. It lowers the chance of fights between the males to decide who will mate. A 2:1 ratio of female to male is fine.

Availability of Opaline Gouramis and Their Market Price

According to Fishbase, opalines are widely available in physical and online markets, and people who are into the ornamental fish business always demand more.

The price of the fish varies from place to place. If a person buys it from the European market, the fish will cost more, whereas if one buys it from the region of its origin, the cost of the fish will be much less.

Generally, the price of the fish ranges from 6 US dollars to 12 US dollars.

How to Take Care of Opaline Gouramis

Care Status
Care Level Simple
Social Friendly
Temperament Harmonious
Diet Omnivore
Breeding Easy

Quick tip: Gouramis live in stationary and slow-moving waters filled with vegetation. An aquarium with ample space to navigate and filled with greenery and driftwood is best for them.

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Food and Dietary Habits

Opaline Gourami being an omnivore, will gorge on anything, be it meat or veggies. They are not picky eaters.

Introducing them to a food regimen filled with top-quality tropical pellets containing wheat germs is the best food for gourami fish.

Frozen, dried, and live foods can also be considered as they meet an optimum amount of nutritional value for omnivores.

An all-round diet consisting of both vegetables and meat will make the opalines grow faster and healthier.

General Attitude and Behavior

Opaline gourami can be introduced in a communal tank consisting of other fishes, but these are territorial sometimes and are seen to peck at the fins of other smaller fishes.

Young gouramis are not aggressive towards other fishes, but an older one may quickly get angry. They feel comfortable in big size tanks, and should be kept alone in such a case.

The male adult opalines are hostile towards other counterparts of the same species. This could be due to a lower number of female gouramis in the tank or other unknown reasons.

These fishes are seen whizzing across the length of the aquarium. Once in a while, they will surface the water to intake air into their circulatory system.

Gouramis are known for remembering the person who feeds them.

Reproduction

Breeding opalines can be relatively easy if you know what you are doing.

The first step in breeding will be introducing males and females in a tank; distinguishing males from females is a key step here. Mature females are curvier and more domical than males.

Introducing males and females to a fairly big tank is suggested. The breeding tank size of Opaline gourami should not be less than 20 gallons.

The tank should have stationary and motionless water because gouramis build bubble nests to lay eggs. Aquarium bubblers or airstones, should be avoided.

Common diseases 

Diagnosing a disease in a fish can require keen observation, intuition, and knowledge.

Opaline is a robust fish species, and they don’t easily fall prey to diseases. But a dirty tank and an inadequate food regimen can trigger health conditions.

People often ask why my gourami is turning white. The answer is simple. The gourami has been infected by parasites that cause a very common freshwater disease called Ich. Ich infects the fish and causes white spots to appear on the fish’s body.

Ich is a common disease; thus, antibiotics readily available at pet shops can cure them.

Another health issue in gouramis is the hole in the head, which can be caused by protozoa or viruses. The autoimmune system may also trigger it.

Clean &clear water conditions and isolating the fish in another tank will quickly recover them from illness.

Tank Care

Quick Stats
Tank Size 140 Liters
Water Temperature 24 – 29 Degrees Celsius
Water Hardness 5 – 35 dGH
Lighting Moderate
pH Lvel 6 – 8.8

Tending to an opaline’s need can be a simple and easy task. Let us help you with the basics of aquarium care and other elements of fishkeeping.

Quick tip: Initially introduce a small group of opalines into a tank as they are reasonably friendly with some exceptions. There must be fewer mating competitors inside the tank.

Tank size

Opaline gouramis are joyful and activity-loving fishes and they need enough space to swim around inside the tank.

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The tank size for a group of three of these fishes should be around thirty-seven gallons.

Baby gouramis can be stored in 20 Gallon tanks.

Tank configuration

  • Plants
    Being generous and filling the tank with many plants is not advised. Keeping the tank clear of obstructions is recommended.
  • Lighting
    If it is a shared tank with other kinds of fishes, one should set up the lighting according to the needs of the other fishes present in the tank.
    The strength of the light does not affect opalines. The aesthetics of lighting can be according to the fish keeper’s taste.
  • Substrate
    Substrate selection can also be according to the fishkeeper’s wish. These fishes do not generally burrow or hide in the substrate. They have mostly seen swimming and occasionally charge to the water’s surface for air intake.
  • Oxygen and Filtration
    Filters should be added to the tank. A basic gravel filter is enough for a single or a group of gouramis.
    Oxygen pumps and airstones are not required as it may affect the labyrinth organ of the fish.
  • Décor
    Décor can be of personal choice. Anything which highlights the fish’s presence can be used as a decoration. Dark sand can contrast with the pale blue body of the fish.
    Driftwood and shells can be used for decoration, with lesser amount of vegetation.

Water parameters

Opalines generally like warm and clear waters.

The ideal conditions require the water to be slightly hard, and the pH value should be more on the acidic side.

Water temperature should ideally be at 75 degrees Fahrenheit to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tankmates

Opalines are somewhat antagonistic, and fishkeepers should keep that in mind while selecting other fishes for the same tank.

Fishes of the same size are recommended, such as Barbs. Smaller fishes than barbs can easily become prey to them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can gouramis live in brackish water?

Opalines are robust fishes and can acclimatize quickly. Though these are freshwater fishes, slightly saline water would not be a problem.

Ideally freshwater conditions with slightly hard water are preferable in the case of gouramis.

Are they hostile in nature?

Yes, these fish can behave intrusively in a community tank, and get indulge in combats with other small fishes.Young opalines can be friendly, but with age, they can turn aggressive.

How big do they get?

These fishes, when bout, can be around 1-1.5 inches in size. They are 3 inches at maturity while a complete adult reaches up to 6 inches.

With good dietary habits and genes into play, they can grow larger, but that is highly unusual.

Which fishes can be kept with opaline gourami?

Similar sized peaceful and calm fishes are compatible with opalines. Fishes such as loaches, similar sized barbs, few kinds of shrimps and plecos can easily live alongside opalines.

Why do opalines chase each other?

Gouramis can sometimes become highly territorial. They usually behave badly with the same sex to defend their zone. Until and unless a hierarchy is established the chasing will not stop.

Can opaline and dwarf gouramis be kept together?

Yes, dwarf gouramis and opalines can be kept together as they do not mess with similar species of the same size and temperament. But the luck factor is important, if any one of those turns out to be a bully, then it is a different story.

Conclusion

Opaline gouramis are beautiful pets. They are fun-loving, tend to remember their keepers, and look fabulous when swimming around the length of the tank.

A beginner aquarist can indulge in petting this beautiful fish, as they do not require much maintenance.

We suggest every amateur fishkeeper to pet opalines and experience their joyous & lively in nature.

About the Author

Victoria Lamb

Victoria is a freshwater aquatics specialist, fish keeper, and amphibian enthusiast. She has had more than 6 years of experience caring for aquariums and keeping several fish species, and her home boasts of 3 aquariums and a garden pond. Her goal is to educate fish owners on raising healthy and happy aquatic pets.

Career Highlights:

  • Has worked with several aquarium manufacturers as a consultant
  • Organized and hosted workshops on freshwater fish keeping at retail stores, educational facilities, and libraries
  • Released content for the amphibian community through her writings

Educational Highlights:

Bachelor of Science in Animal Behavior and Welfare

  • University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK (2014-2018)

Writing Experience

Victoria has done ghostwriting for many aquarium and pet websites in the past. She has also worked for Canada's largest natural health magazine- ALIVE, with 300,000 monthly circulations as a freelancer. She had six published articles on animal behavior and welfare during her graduation for her thesis.

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