Three-spot gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus): Aquarium care guide

The Three-Spot Gourami is an impressive freshwater fish that is a lot of fun to own. They are not only beautiful, but also easy to care for!

However, you still need to research these fish before you go out and buy some for yourself. Even the lowest maintenance species can suffer when improperly cared for.

This guide will lay out all the basics of caring for the Three-Spot Gourami. Tankmates, diet, size, lifespan, and even breeding are covered!

Species Summary

Sometimes referred to as the three-spot gourami, the three-spot gourami (scientific name: Trichogaster trichopterus) is a vibrant species that can add a lot of beauty to your tank. One of the hardiest species in the gourami family, these freshwater fish are well adapted to life in captivity.

Blue gouramis have a fairly wide natural distribution. They are found in several countries in Southeast Asia. They typically inhabit lowland swamps and swamps filled with vegetation.

This species is not particularly demanding when it comes to care requirements. However, their unique anatomy demands a carefully planned and maintained habitat.


The Three-spot Gourami is certainly an interesting and colorful freshwater fish! It has the same profile as other species within the gourami family: an elongated, flattened body with large, rounded fins. These fish have an expansive anal fin and needle-like pectoral fins.

The most striking feature, however, is the silver-blue color. This color can deepen depending on the fish’s mood and spawning times. On many three-spot gourami specimens, you will notice subtle marbling with shades of lighter blue. You might even see yellow spots here and there on the fins!

Another distinctive feature is the two dark spots. One is located in the center of the body while the other is just in front of the tail. Despite the three-spot gourami’s common name, there are only two spots visible. The third one is actually the fisheye!

Author’s Note: The differences between males and females are subtle. Females tend to have a shorter, rounder dorsal fin, while males have a long, pointed fin. Female blue gouramis will also look a bit fuller during breeding season.

Life expectancy

Under the right living conditions, the typical three-point gourami lifespan is around five years. This is a pretty decent life expectancy and will allow you to form a strong connection with your fish.

There is a certain amount of luck involved when it comes to life expectancy. However, environmental factors will also come into play.

Author’s Note: Poor water quality, a small tank, and a poor diet will certainly lead to health problems that could shorten the lifespan of your Three-Spot Gourami.

Three-spot gourami average size

The average size of the Three-Spot Gourami is about five to six inches. for adults. Females tend to be slightly larger than males, but the difference is not very noticeable.

If you want to ensure that your fish have the opportunity to grow as large as possible, give them a lot of care and an optimal diet. Also, Three-Spot Gourami purchased from reputable vendors often have better genes (which can influence their size).

care guidelines

Three-point gourami care is not too difficult. Compared to other species, these freshwater fish are considered to be relatively low maintenance. This is due, in large part, to their hardy nature and adaptability.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can improvise! Like any other species, these fish have their unique preferences and needs that you should be aware of.

Here are some important care guidelines to follow:

tank size

Young juvenile blue gouramis (usually only a few inches long) can survive in a 20-gallon tank. If you have a single adult Three-Spot Gourami, they can do well in the same size tank.

However, we recommend using a tank that can hold about 30-35 gallons for adults. A tank of this size will provide more space and comfort for these active fish.

Author’s Note: If you want to keep a couple or a group together, definitely go bigger! Although they are not the largest fish, blue gouramis spend a lot of time exploring the aquarium. This means that more room to swim is always a plus.

water parameters

Blue gouramis are quite hardy and can tolerate a decent range of parameters. With that said, you should stick to the recommended water parameters to ensure your health.

The goal is to replicate the waters of their natural habitat. Taking the time to improve water conditions will go a long way to the health of your fish.

  • Water temperature: 72°F to 82°F (around 76 degrees is the sweet spot)
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0 (neutral pH is best)
  • Water hardness: 4 to 18 dKH

Investing in a thermometer and accurate water testing kit is also necessary to ensure your tank meets the following requirements. Set them up and check them regularly! That will allow you to catch any unwanted parameter changes before they become a problem.

What to put in your tank

The Three-Spot Gourami inhabits slow-moving waters that are teeming with plant life. They are often seen in slow-moving backwaters and areas that experience seasonal flooding.

When you’re decorating your tank, model it after those environments!

Start with a dark colored substrate. The exact color and texture are not important, and you can use sand or gravel. The Three-Spot Gourami rarely ventures to the bottom of the tank, preferring to stay near the surface.

But a dark colored substrate can go a long way to help your coloring pop! Trust us, it makes a big difference.

Then add some live plants! Mix things up and add a nice variety of species to create a natural setting. But keep the surface relatively open.

Here’s why that’s important:

Blue gouramis are labyrinth fish. Like betta fish, they have a unique labyrinthine organ that allows them to breathe fresh air from the surface. Don’t overcrowd the tank with floating plants as these fish need access to the surface.

Author’s Note: In addition to plants, you can also add rocks and driftwood to further boost that natural look.

Keep the water flow relatively low. These fish are not used to strong currents. It is also a good idea to add some air stones to improve the oxygenation of the water.

Strong filtration is also important. These fish are not notable waste producers, but their side can create a huge bioload if you have a group of gouramis. Make sure your filter can circulate the tank efficiently to prevent ammonia and nitrate buildup.

potential diseases

Blue gouramis are at risk for all the usual freshwater fish diseases.

They may get ich, which is a contagious parasitic disease. These fish can also suffer from skin parasites, fungal problems, Velvet disease, dropsy and more.

The good news is that all of these conditions can be easily avoided with proper tank maintenance. Keep an eye on the color of your fish. Dull coloration may indicate metabolic stress caused by disease.

Check the water conditions regularly and don’t forget to perform regular water changes. If you notice a blue gourami suffering from illness, immediately quarantine it and provide over-the-counter medication to restore it to good health.

Food and Diet

This species is very easy to please when it comes to food! They are natural omnivores willingly accepting most food items. Three-spot gourami does well with dried seaweed-based flakes or pellets.

However, you can always supplement their diet with higher quality foods. They enjoy live, frozen or freeze-dried snacks. Brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and bloodworms are great options.

Author’s Note: Don’t be afraid to add some variety to your fish food! This will improve their nutrient intake, enhance their color and provide a great source of enrichment.

behavior and temperament

Blue gouramis are usually quite peaceful. However, you may encounter some internal fights with groups or couples.

Males tend to be a bit territorial. (this is especially true in smaller tanks). After breeding, males may also display some aggressive behavior towards females.

Aside from those minor issues, blue gouramis are pretty easygoing. They will explore the tank and may occasionally nibble on plants to eat some algae.

These freshwater fish stay at the top of the tank, so you can also watch them taking gulps of air from time to time!

Three-point gourami tankmates

The territorial behavior we mentioned earlier can also extend to tankmates of a different species. That means it’s important to choose similarly sized tankmates to avoid potential problems.

To be clear, blue gouramis can definitely thrive in a community tank. However, you must choose your tankmates carefully.

Avoid any species that is smaller than the three-spot gourami. You should also keep larger fish away, as these gouramis tend to get nervous.

Here are some good choices of tankmates that can co-exist with blue gouramis:

  • Largest Types of Tetras
  • pacific catfish
  • mollies
  • platens
  • Various loaches (try the clown)


The breeding process of blue gouramis can be fascinating to watch. These fish are egg layers that like to produce bubble nests.

It is best to raise the fish in a separate tank. so you can adjust the parameters to induce spawning. Create a natural environment similar to that of the main tank. However, make the water softer and a bit more acidic.

When conditions are right, the male will create a bubble nest. You will see it expelling bubbles from its mouth until a circular nest appears on the surface.

He will then swim back and forth to attract the female. After performing her mating ritual, the female will release her eggs while the male rapidly fertilizes them. The eggs float to the top and collect in the bubble nest.

Remove the female three-spot gourami after she lays her eggs. The male can stay behind, since he will take over the parental duties in the future. He will take care of the eggs and make sure they stay inside the nest.

The eggs hatch in about three days. Once the babies begin to swim freely, you can provide them with infusoria and nauplii (crustacean larvae) or powdered fry food.

Author’s Note: Be sure to change the water often in the next few weeks. The labyrinth organ is developing, so clean, oxygenated water is a must!


Caring for the three-spot gourami does not require a lot of experience to do properly. In fact, it’s more about your level of engagement than anything else.

As long as you know the recommended care guidelines and stay consistent, these beautiful freshwater fish will thrive in your care.

Let us know if you have any questions about these fish that we didn’t cover above. We are always happy to help!

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