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Giant gourami

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The Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy) is a gourami, a freshwater fish belonging to the family Osphronemidae. Some other larger members of this family are also occasionally or regionally referred to as “giant gouramis”, including the banded gourami, Polyacanthus fasciatus, and the three spot gourami, Trichogaster trichopterus. In turn the giant gourami is also sometimes known as the banded gourami, rainbow gourami, or striped gourami.

It lives in fresh or brackish water, particularly slow-moving areas such as swamps, lakes and large rivers. It is capable of breathing moist air, so can survive out of water for long periods. It is much larger than most gouramis, growing to a maximum length of 70 cm (28 inches). In colour it is a pale to golden yellow, with silvery pale blue stripes running vertically along its body.

Partly in consequence of its size, the Giant Gourami is a significant food fish; in some parts of India, for example, it is dried and then eaten. In some of the South East Asian countries where it is native, there are aid programs promoting the ‘domestication’ [1] of these fish, while in its native regions it has been harvested as a customary food source. The species has also been used for control as they can be voracious vegetarians.

The Giant Gourami is also popular in aquaria. Preferably the tank should have a dark bottom, and densely planted edges. There should be plenty of room left in the center of the tank for the Gourami to swim. They prefer the company of other fish which are of a similar size and temperament. They will be most easy to keep at 3 months old at around 75 mm or 3″.

At this age they will have a pronounced beak. They can grow rapidly given sufficient diet and space to move. Even under less than ideal conditions, Gourami can grow from 75 mm to 500 mm in four years. At this age, in addition to the rounded face, a mature Giant Gourami would have begun to develop the hump just above their eyes [2].

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