Gouramis hail from a massive family of fish, who originate from Southern Asia, namely, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
There are currently more than 130 recognised species of gourami, all varying in size, and sometimes also shape.
Gouramis are unique in the fact they are known as a labyrinth fish. They are given this moniker as they have a labyrinth organ, which does the same job as a human lung, and helps the fish to breathe.
In this article, I am going to discuss how big gouramis can get (I will give you a clue…very big!), when gouramis tend to stop growing, as well as an explanation to why they may not grow to their full potential.
How Big Do Gouramis Get?
Gouramis can grow anywhere from 1.5 inches for a Sparkling Gourami or Licorice Gourami, right up to 28 inches, which is the fully grown size of a Giant Gourami. Different species of gourami will grow to different sizes.
As you can see from the infographic I have designed below (and missing the Sparkling Gourami out was obviously a deliberate mistake to see if you were all paying attention..), gouramis can grow to many different sizes. The sizes below are estimates. They are also the size guides for gouramis living in captivity. Gouramis living in their natural environment tend to be bigger, but I will go into more detail about that later on.
It is important to always be aware of your gourami’s adult size, especially when you are buying them as a juvenile to put in your tank.
You must always use their fully grown size when calculating how many can be put into your tank. This article will tell you how many of various species of gourami can be safely put into a tank.
There will be a slight variation in size depending on the sex of your gourami. Male gouramis tend to be slightly smaller than the females. In fact, in nearly all species of fish, female fish tend to be bigger than the males.
What do Gouramis Eat?
Gouramis are omnivores which basically means they will eat anything. Gouramis are not fussy eaters which is a good thing. In fact, you can read in this article about whether your gouramis will eat your plants.
I would always recommend that any fish is fed a good quality tropical fish flake first and foremost. These flakes have all the vitamins and minerals that your fish need on a daily basis, so this is always the main and most important part of their diet.
Live or freeze-dried bloodworms are good to give your gouramis as a treat. Don’t forget if feeding the freeze-dried version, they need to be soaked in a little aquarium water first to re-hydrate them before adding them to the tank.
The main aim is to make sure your gourami’s diet is varied so they are getting their essential nutrients from different sources.
If you don’t feed your fish a suitable diet, and they are still only young, they won’t grow to their full potential, and you could possibly be ruining their chances of living long enough to actually become fully grown.
When Will a Gourami Stop Growing?
Gouramis, like any other fish on the planet, grow as they age. They start to mature from birth, and grow in width and length during this process.
There are 4 stages in the growth of a gourami; gourami fry, juvenile gourami, young gourami, and adult gourami.
In their natural habitat, gouramis tend to grow quicker, and grow bigger than aquarium fish. This is to put them at less risk of being eaten by something bigger.
The general consensus with regards to when gouramis stop growing is down to what type of gourami you have. There seems to be a wide variation in how long gouramis take to reach their maximum size. It could be from 6-8 months for the smaller gouramis, and up to about 18 months for some of the larger species.
It starts off quickly when they go from gourami fry to juvenile gourami, then slows down as they reach maturity.
Why do Gouramis Stop Growing?
The overall size of your particular species of gourami will depend on a number of factors. They need to be living in the best possible environment to be able to thrive and grow to their full potential.
Some of the most important factors that can affect the overall size of your gourami are the water conditions, the amount of space they have, and the type of diet they are living on.
Your fish tank is its own little eco-system, due to its nitrogen cycle.
The nitrogen cycle is nature’s way of letting bacteria, plants and animals help each other out. So, in your fish tank, when your fish and plants excrete waste (which contains ammonia), bacteria will consume it and produce nitrates. The nitrates are also consumed by bacteria and produces nitrites.
Nitrites are toxic to fish, so you have to undertake a partial water change on a regular basis. It always has to be a partial change, as you still want to keep the bacteria in the water to keep the cycle going.
Having healthy water will help your fish to flourish. Poor water quality is the biggest danger to aquarium fish, so you must keep on top of it to keep your fish healthy.
Not enough space.
The number one biggest mistake that fish owners can make is to overpopulate their tank. Many people, both new to the hobby, and people who have kept fish for years have made this mistake.
All fish need to have enough space to be able to swim around the tank comfortably, as well as have places where they can shelter or hide when they feel the need to. The larger the tank is, the more space your gouramis will have. This will help them thrive and grow to their full potential.
If you overpopulate your lovely big tank with too many fish, you run the risk that your fish might stop growing prematurely. Having too many fish in your tank significantly reduces the amount of space your fish have, plus, lack of space can be the catalyst for aggro, which will lead to lots of stressed fish. You may like to read this article on whether gouramis are aggresive.
Ensuring that your fish are properly cared for will encourage them to grow naturally to their full size.
If you think that your fish may have stopped growing before they have reached full maturity, have a good think about whether there may be something within their environment that isn’t quite right. Do you have too many fish in your tank? Are they looking or acting like they are stressed? Do you have a problem with your water parameters? It might only take one thing to be tweaked to make everything in their little fishy world ok again.
Hopefully, this article has given you a clearer idea about what size your chosen gourami may grow to.
It is important to keep your gourami healthy and stress free to encourage maximum growth in your aquarium.
If you are smitten with your gouramis, like many people around the world are, due to their fuss free nature, you might find some of the following articles helpful: