Animal Husbandry

Breeding, Caring Techniques & Interesting Facts that You Must Know About Giant Gouramies

Aiswarya R Nair
Aiswarya R Nair

The Giant Gourami is the largest freshwater fish found in South-East Asia. They live in areas where food is abundant to feed on. It has the fantastic ability to withstand a variety of climatic conditions prevailing in different countries and adapt itself according to it.

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Their flesh is said to be tasty and healthy to consume. This spe­cies is commercially important as a food fish and is also farmed. It can also be found in the aquarium trade. The meat being firm, these varieties of fish are used to make mouth-watering dishes like Gourami pickle and Gourami mapas.

Four different types of Giant Gourami are found in Kerala:

  1. Black Giant Gourami: These varieties of fishes are very popular in Kerala. The features of these fishes are their dark body, black spots on both sides of the tail at a young age, their sharp face and a small amount of redness are seen on the tops of their tail and stomach. As they grow older, their face becomes round and the black colour of the body has radiation of golden hue. Growth will be slow for two years but after that, it will accelerate.
  2. Pink Giant Gourami: These varieties of fishes have a slightly reddish-white body, however, the colour may not be apparent when it is in the aquarium. The body structure and the growth rate is quite similar to the Black Giant Gourami.
  3. Albino Giant Gourami: They have a white body and red eyes, and that’s how the name albino came into existence. Their body structures are similar to the Black Giant Gouramies.
  4. Red Tail Giant Gourami: These varieties of fishes are entirely different in their anatomy from the earlier mentioned ones. Each black spot is visible on both sides of the tail and is visible even after they mature. During the early stages, their fins are black, similar to the Black Giant Gouramies, but later on, their fins turn red. Sometimes people mistake them for the black ones.

Though there are four Giant Gouramies available in Kerala, some other varieties including Siamese Ruby Giant Gouramies, Super Red Giant Gouramies and Calico Giant Gouramies have been developed in countries like Malaysia and Thailand.

Feeding

In their natural habitat, Giant Gouramies feed on anything and everything they find. They feed on algae, plant matter, small animals, dead animals, worms and insects found in rivers, stagnant waters like lakes and ponds and wet forests. In aquariums, you can train them to eat whatever food is provided. They do not stick to a specific food chart and food chart. Giant Gouramies become flexible to the training given by its master. Farmers can feed them with flakes and pellets every day in the beginning.

Slow Growth

Regardless of the amount of feed, the Giant Gouramies does not grow rapidly. They normally weigh an average of five kilograms. Giant Gouramies are undoubtedly more tasty than the aforementioned fish and contain a lot of fibre. Growing those feeds can only lead to modest growth, but it only helps to reduce the weight of the owner's pocket. The gastric stomach is capable of digesting fibre-rich foods. A slight change in growth depends on the size of the pond. That is, in large ponds, the growth of Giant Gouramies is similar to that of other fish, but rapid growth can only be expected after the age of two.

 Gender Discrimination

Exact gender determination is only possible when Giant Gouramies reach adulthood that is after four years. However, some fish, especially ones that are found in aquariums, gender can be determined by the age of two. The male fish can be identified by its subdued forearm and the white bottom of the wings. The female ones are slightly smaller in size than the male.

Breeding

Giant Gouramies fall under the category of egg-laying fishes. When the breeding season commences, the males Giant Gouramies start building nests for the female Giant Gouramies to spawn. The construction process of the nest takes a minimum of eight days and a maximum of ten days. These fishes attain the maturity to breed when they are approximately six months old.

The nests are made up of waste plant materials available in the tank. The nest is generally spherical in shape. The average dimensions of a Giant Gourami’s spawning nest are 40 cm breadth and 30 cm deep with a round-shaped entrance that is 10 cm wide.

The breeding tank of Giant Gouramies must be shallow and comprises of several hiding places for the female Giant Gouramies. After spawning gets over, eliminate the female fishes from the breeding tank as their work is over. There are increased chances of the female Giant Gouramies getting attacked by the male Giant Gouramies if they are left inside the breeding tank after spawning. The temperature of the breeding tank must be set to 80 degrees F.

The female produces 1500 to 3000 eggs. The male takes up the responsibility to pick up the eggs with the help of its mouth and position them carefully in the nests they have built to hatch. The time mandatory for the eggs to hatch and the juveniles to come out is 40 hours (approximately three days).

As soon as the young ones come out, you can spot them floating on the water surface as they are lighter than water. The male Giant Gouramies provide intensive protection to the newcomers for at least 14 days. The protection level decreases when the fries absorb their yolk sac.

The little newcomers must be fed with powdered infusoria and cooked egg yolk in the beginning.

Their breeding process is easy, but it becomes a bit difficult when it is done in domestic aquariums due to their enormous size. They require considerable tanks to breed without any difficulty. If you are working to be stingy and lock them up in small tanks or aquariums during their breeding season, the male Giant Gouramies will get aggressive and harm other fishes and themselves.

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