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do gouramis jump?

Do Gouramis Jump?

Gouramis cover a wide range of sizes and shapes. They are native to the shallow, muddy waters of certain parts of Asia.

They are most identifiable by their feeler type whiskers, and a well known fact about Gouramis are that they are what is known as labyrinth fish. This term is given to them as they have a labyrinth organ, which is very much like a lung

Gouramis are not renowned for their jumping. They do, however, raise their head above the water to gulp for air from time to time. It is always best to keep water conditions stable and the tank closed, in case of any adventurous Gourami attempting a leap.

In this article, I’ll cover some more about the jumping behaviour of gouramis. I’ll explain why fish jump, if gouramis are likely to jump out of their tanks, and what you can do to help prevent this.  

Why Do Fish Jump?

Fish jump for a variety of reasons, including water conditions, natural inhibitions, or because they’re influenced by the behaviour of other fish. If you find that your gouramis, or any of your other fish are trying to jump out of their tank, it may be due to any of these factors. 

Water Conditions.

If you suspect that the water in your gourami’s tank has an issue, you can always do a partial water change. There are many instances where you would benefit from replacing up to a third of the water in your tank. This is also a good supporting solution and can be used alongside a number of the other below methods:

  • Ammonia levels: If fish have died recently, or there’s a surplus of excess food floating around the tank, an ammonia spike may occur. This is when the amount of ammonia in the water exceeds the habitable amount. To reduce ammonia levels, remove any unnecessary organic matter, including dead fish, dead plants, food, and visible waste.
  • Temperature: Fish can only survive comfortably in certain temperature ranges. There are many different breeds of gourami and they cover a wide range of temperatures, from around 16 – 28°C (61 – 82°F). You need to check what the correct temperature range is for the breed of Gourami you have. If your tank is too hot or too cold, your fish will likely try to escape.
  • pH levels: Gouramis thrive best in between 6-7 pH level. Use a pH testing kit to determine the acidity of your tank, and use an adjustment kit to increase or decrease the level accordingly.
  • Water quality: The water in your tank should be relatively clear and free of debris. Gouramis tend to be more easily accustomed to water quality than other, more picky fish, as they are used to living in shallow, muddy waters. Make sure substrate, gravel, food, and waste are not obstructing the view of your tank, and your gouramis should have no issues. 
pearl gouramis
A Pair of Pearl Gouramis.

The Behaviour of Other Fish in the Tank.

If your gouramis are too crowded, or if the other fish are aggressive, it may cause undue stress and disease, ultimately leading to them trying to jump out. Keep a close eye on your other fish, and make sure they have enough space.

Food Levels.

The food in the tank should be a reasonable amount. If your fish aren’t being fed enough, they may try to escape. In addition, if you are feeding your gouramis often, monitor the amount of food being eaten. You may find that your fish are leaving food uneaten, which may make conditions undesirable. Ideally, when you feed your fish, they should have eaten everything within 3 minutes. If there is still a lot of food left after that time, you are overfeeding them. However, if they eat the food you give them super quickly, and they are still darting around the tank looking for any leftovers, the chances are you aren’t feeding them enough.

The Fish’s Natural Instincts.

Some fish are, unfortunately, more likely to jump than others. I wouldn’t class Gouramis as a breed that are known for jumping. One thing some novice owners confuse is when they come up for a gulp of air. They may sometimes mistake this for an attempt at a jump.

Will Gouramis Jump Out of the Tank?

Gouramis will rarely jump out of the tank. They’re one of the more active fish breeds, and some owners have reported their gouramis making a jump for freedom, however, I haven’t found any data to support this. When looking at popular fish forums, the consensus seems to be that owners have heard that some gouramis jump, but they have never witnessed it themselves.

Compatible Environments for Gouramis.

If your gouramis are surrounded by similarly active fish and a tank with many adornments, they may feel less stressed and therefore less likely to want to attempt an escape. Use your own judgement to determine if your fish seem like they are eating and swimming normally. If they are active, and not showing any signs of stress, then they are probably pretty content with where they are.

Can Gouramis Live in an Open Tank?

Gouramis can live in an open tank if they are in a single species tank, and they are living in very good conditions. If your gouramis are part of a community tank, I would advise having a lid on, just in case.

blue gourami
Blue Gourami.

What to do if your Fish Jumps out of the Tank.

If you find one of your fish on the floor, then the chances are they have jumped out of the tank. That is, if you don’t have a lid.

If you do have a lid on your fish tank, you need to start questioning family members, or have a quiet word with the cat.

If the fish feels dry and looks pale and rigid with its eyes glazed over, you are too late. You will need to dispose of it correctly and cover your fish tank so no one else gives it a go! I wrote a helpful article on what to do if your fish dies, which you may want to have a look at.

If your fishy jumper is still wet and is moving, the chances are he has jumped only a minute or two ago so there is a chance he might make it. Set up a separate tank. If you don’t have a hospital tank, then a bucket will do for the short term. The most important thing is to get him back in water. Take some of the water from your tank to put into the bucket. I would advise you not to put him back into the tank with your other fish until you are happy he is ok. Hopefully, the chances are he is just in shock and will be ok after a few minutes back in the water.


There are stories to be found about gouramis jumping out of their tanks, but they are few and far between. That’s not to say that it won’t happen. Keeping a lid on your tank is the best way to ensure that any fish, whatever the breed, remain unharmed by their own adventurous behaviour.

Related Articles:

Can gouramis change colour?

What are the whiskers on a gourami for?

How many gouramis can you safely fit into a tank?

Are gouramis aggressive?

Why does my gourami stay at the bottom of the tank?

Do gouramis like current?

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