Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Thailand, Indo-china and the Malay Peninsula.
Lives in swamps, large rivers and bodies of stagnant water.
Maximum Standard Length
Aquarium SizeTop ↑
72″ x 24″ x 24″ absolute bare minimum for an adult fish though the bigger the tank the better.
Provide hiding places in the form of robust large rocks and bogwood. Floating plants are preferable though these may be eaten. Powerful and efficient filtration is essential as these are exceptionally messy fish.
Temperature: 68-86°F (20-30°C)
Behaviour and CompatibilityTop ↑
Will eat smaller fish but is generally peaceful with other large fish. Some adults may become very aggressive but this is often due to being kept in an aquarium that is too small. Given plenty of room, this fish will usually coexist with tankmates such as knifefish, large catfish and loricariids.
The male develops pointed dorsal and anal fins.
Relatively easy but a truly huge tank is required to breed fully grown adults. This species is sexually mature from 6 months, so it is more realistic to use young fish for breeding purposes. Surface vegetation must be provided. The male builds a large nest out of vegetation (including grasses and roots in nature). Spawning occurs in the vicinity of the nest and the eggs are transported there by the male. The female is chased away at this point and should be removed. The eggs hatch in 24-36 hours and the fry become free swimming 3-5 days later. The male continues to guard them for 2-3 weeks in the wild, but can be removed from the aquarium once the young are free swimming. They are large enough to accept brine shrimp nauplii and powdered flake from the first day.
An incredibly hardy, long-lived fish which can survive for over 20 years in captivity. These fish develop real personality and can learn to recognise their owner. They are often sold as cute juveniles in aquatic shops with no information provided as to their adult size. The young have an attractive barred patterning which fades as the fish grow, which they do very quickly. A golden variety also exists in aquaria.
O. goramy is cultured commercially for food on a large scale in several countries including Australia. It is eaten pan-fried, steamed and baked and is among the most delicious of freshwater fish! Dyed varieties of this species have recently been appearing on the market and we strongly advise you do not buy them. The processes involved in dying the fish involve injection of coloured dye under the skin and are very stressful to the fish. It is also thought they may considerably shorten the fishes’ lifespan.
There is also a recently described, slightly smaller species, Osphronemus laticlavius, which can be distinguished from O. goramy by its red finnage. This species is still relatively rare in the trade but care is identical to O. goramy.