Breeding pearl gouramis (lace gouramis)
Equipment needed for breeding pearl gouramis
- 30 inch tank with tight fitting lid and lighting
- floating plants
- 2 x sponge filters powered by an air pump
- tank divider
- 150w heater stat
- Well planted tank with plants in pots
- No gravel – bare bottom tank
- air line hosing
General information and care for pearl gouramis
Pearl gouramis are pinkish in colour with white dots on each scale that look like pearls. The males have longer dorsal fins and when mating the chest becomes reddish. They grow to 4.5 inches with the female slightly smaller. They make great community fish and are quite hardy. But watch rival males who might fight. They can be kept in most water conditions and will eat dry foods and live foods without hesitation. Water temperature of 77F is ideal.
Breeding does not present a problem. Slightly acid and soft water is preferred for breeding but is not critical. They breed easily. However, the pearl gourami fry are difficult to raise.
Preparing pearl gouramis for breeding
Place your best pair of adults in the breeding tank. Move the two matured sponge filters with them. Observe if the male harasses the male. Put a partition between them if so. Raise the temperature to 82F and lower the water level to 6 inches deep. Feed well with high protein pellets, live food such as tubifex, blood worms and mosquito larvae. Make sure the worms are cleaned well before feeding to the fish. When the male has built his nest remove the partition to see if they breed. If not and the male harasses the female too much then put her behind the partition again and try 2 days later. Eventually they will show signs that they are both ready to breed.
Breeding behaviour of the pearl gourami
The male will create a large bubble nest amongst the floating plants or in a corner of the tank. Meanwhile the female will get plump. The male will get a red or orangey chest.
The female will follow the male towards under the nest. Then the pair will twirl round each other until they get into the correct position. Then the male will embrace the female. The female will wriggle her tail until she releases her eggs. Then she goes still. A large batch of eggs, about 30-40, are released. The male fertilises these eggs as they are released. The eggs gently drift upwards towards the bubble nest. Meanwhile both male and female drift down. The male will then head to the nest to see if there are any stray eggs and put them in the nest.
This whole process repeats many times for up to an hour. The female may lay several hundred eggs, maybe over 1000 is possible.
Remove the female when she has finished laying eggs. The male will harass her and protect the nest.
Raising pearl gourami fry
The eggs will hatch after about 24 hours. Their tails will dangle down from the bubblenest. After another 4 days they will become free swimming and need to be fed. Remove the male as well at this point. Also try and cull as many as you can. There will be too many fry and the numbers must be reduced to benefit the survivors.
The fry are quite small for such a large fish. They have to be fed with infusoria several times a day. Being a labyrinth fish you need to keep the air above the water moist and warm at all times. This is achieved by use of a tight fitting lid. Cling film is another option. Feeding can be by use of an air line hose to siphon infusoria into the tank. Water changes which should be 10% daily can also utilise an air line hose. The hose should be passed through a small hole in the lid.
The fry may grow slowly at first and many may die unless they are well fed with plenty of water changes and kept in a larger tank. After 10 days to 2 weeks introduce some brine shrimp and microworms. Slowly phase out the infusoria. Keep up the water changes. With good care the fry may reach 2 inches at 3 months old. They can be sold at this size.
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