How to know if your gourami fish is pregnant?

Written by brenton shields
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How to know if your gourami fish is pregnant?
A neon dwarf gourami swims about its habitat. (Dwarf Gourami & Neon Tetras image by Ronnie from

Gouramis are a medium-sized freshwater fish commonly kept in home aquariums. They come in a variety of colours and are relatively easy to care for. Gouramis do not get pregnant in the traditional sense, as they are egg layers that reproduce through external means. However, female gouramis do become what's known as "gravid," whereas they swell with eggs and can potentially be bred given the right conditions. There are several steps you can take toward figuring out whether or not your female gourami is gravid.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Watch the behaviour of the female gourami with the male gourami. If they are swimming together, their bodies touching, they may be attempting to signal potential mating, a precursor to the female's gravid state.

  2. 2

    Look for swelling in the female's belly. As the eggs grow inside of her, her belly will expand in an isolated spot right underneath her front end. If she's gravid, it will look as if she's swallowed a marble. The scales around that area will look stretched and a little more pale.

  3. 3

    Check for a bubble nest. Gouramis use bubble nests to hold the eggs while the embryos develop. This nest will look like a mat of bubbles floating atop the water's surface and will be constructed by the male.

Tips and warnings

  • Just because a female is gravid and a male has a bubble nest does not always mean there will be healthy fry (baby fish); there are many factors determining the health of the babies, including water quality, temperature, availability of food and whether or not they become food to larger fish in the tank. As a precaution, fry should be removed and put into their own tank immediately.

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