Helostoma temminkii (kissing-gourami)

Helostoma temminkii which is most known as the kissing gourami belongs to the Helostomatidae family and Anabantoidei suborder.
The species is native of Asia (the Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Sumatra, and Borneo) but, has been introduced in different countries due to human consumption. Kissing gouramis inhibit densely vegetated rivers, swamps, streams that can be seasonal or perennial. In general, gouramis occur in low oxygen, plant-choked, low mineral content, tea-colored black-water areas. Furthermore, the water has a high amount of tannin due to the decomposition of leaves and wood. As a result of the human expansion, the original habitat of gouramis has altered and are found in pig farms and rice paddies, etc. In addition to the degradation of gouramis’ habitat, many species are in danger of extinction.
Generally, gouramis have a long, flattened body with extended and filamentous ventral fins that are used as tactile organs to obtain physical information about objects. Furthermore, gouramis can use ventral fins for orientation in dark, muddy water habitats. Trichogaster pectoralis’ wild form has a grey-green body, whereas the pink variation is more common in the aquarium industry. Kissing gouramis are famous for their protruding lips and kissing behavior. This action is an intraspecific, agonistic behavior. The species have an average size of 12 inches (30 cm). Gouramis, like the rest of the Anabantoidei fish, can breathe atmospheric air. This ability occurs in Anabantoidei fish due to an organ located closed to the branchial apparatus, the labyrinth. The species have an average of 6 years lifespan.
It’s best to keep the species in a ratio of one male with two females as males can be territorial with the same species as well as with other species. However, kissing gouramis are usually not an aggressive species. In community tanks, the kissing gourami is compatible with big catfish sp., characins, etc.
Because of the natural habitat of Helostoma temminkii should be kept in soft acidic water. A pH between 6.5-7.0, with a temperature between 22-28 Celsius, and hardness 50mg/l, suits the species.
Kissing gouramis need large aquariums because of their large size. Furthermore, in small tanks, they get aggressive towards another. An aquarium with 300 liters (79 gallons) of water is suitable for 4-5 gouramis. Plants are necessary as they provide shelter for stressed fish and their offspring, especially floating plants. However large kissing gouramis may eat small sized plants. Furthermore, the surface air should have a similar temperature of the water for the prevention of losses. Cover the aquarium to maintain a similar temperature above and under the water.
Kissing gouramis are omnivorous and can eat prepared food and small live-foods such as brine shrimp, white worms, bloodworms, etc. In nature, their diet consists of plant matter, algae, insects’ larvae, e.t.c.
In contradiction with most gouramis, Helostoma temminkii usually don’t build nests and don’t care about the young at all. They reproduce better at a temperature of about 25 Celsius and the female produce about 10,000 eggs.
For the survival of the young, remove the parents from the tank after the release of the eggs. Anabantoid young are very small in size to eat regular food for young such as hatched brine shrimp. You can feed the young with liquid food, boiled egg, infusoria, rotifers.

Kissing gourami (Helostoma temminckii), also known as the kissing fish. Wildlife animal.


  1. Gary Elson and Oliver Lucanus 2005, Gouramis and other Labyrinth fishes, Published by Barrons
  2. Earl Schneider and Dr. Leon f. Whitney 1957, The Complete Guide
    to tropical fishes
  3. David Alderton 2005, 2008, Encyclopedia of aquarium and pond fish, Published in the United States by DK Publishing, ISBN 978-0-7566-3678-4
  4. A. O. Kasumyan, E. S. Mikhailova, and E. A. Marusov 2013, Role of Tactile Sense and Other Sensory Systems in Control of Feeding Behavior in Gourami of the Genus Trichopodus. Retrieved from https://istina.msu.ru/media/publications/article/6d5/24c/6023586/kasumyan_et_al_2014.pdf
  5. Helostoma temminkii. Retrieved from https://www.seriouslyfish.com/species/helostoma-temminkii/
  6. Helostoma temminkii . Retrieved from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=638746#null

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