Giant Gourami (Osphronemus goramy) is the biggest fish in the labyrinth group. It can attain size of about 1 foot in length and especially for those bred in large ponds; it is very common to see even some reaching more than 2 feet. However, despite the monstrous size which often implies an aggressive and rowdy behavior, in actual fact, the fish is no where near or close to being harmful as it is purely vegetarian in nature. Unlike the kissing gourami which although belongs to the same labyrinth family, both of them are classified under different scientific nomenclature, each having their own distinct characteristics and behavior. Compared between those two gourami fish, sometimes certain hobbyist prefer to choose the giant counterpart compared to the more exciting kissing gourami.
Their Home and Natural Habitat
Keeping the giant gourami in home aquarium needless to say will require a very large tank. Normally you will need an aquarium measuring at least 5 feet in length just to ensure that the fish can swim naturally without any awkward movement and turning especially when it needs to move towards the other side. A young juvenile giant gourami has a pointy head shape but as it grows older, it begins to change appearance drastically to have somehow an overall rounded feature. Just as shown in the picture above, a large mature fish often looks cute with the whole body fully stretched out extending towards the head region making it overall resemble a giant floating ball. Compared to the other fish in the labyrinth family, the giant gourami does not spot having fancy colors as the wild gourami is predominantly gray and lately cross breeding has managed to produce the more elegant reddish and yellowish types.
Giant gourami is often bred in large ponds whereby in parts of Asia, they are served as a dinner table delicacy. Being a commercial fish in the aquaculture industry, the labyrinth fish is bred in large-scales by fish farmers and they were fed just about anything including vegetable waste coming from the nearby farms. Rearing the fish is often carried out as part of an aquaponic venture whereby the water and waste from the fish is used as mature to support the farms while whatever rotten harvest will be fed to the fish. Generally it is considered a low-cost sustainable food production system because whatever produced by the gourami and plants have not gone to waste and will be used to recycle back to the system, thus reducing the costs of production. In their natural habitat located in tropical region, some giant gourami can still be found living in the wild and the fish is highly adaptable to whatever harsh condition even during the drought period.
Caring for the fish will require very minimal effort. The only condition which they cannot stand is the build-up of ammonia concentration in the water and thus, you should only use an established and fully-cycled tank to house them. When it comes to foods, you can just feed them anything that you want like vegetable leaves, peas, tomatoes, even some of the commercial prepared dried pellets. You can consider using the pellets made specially for rabbits but try to vary their diet to include wide array of natural foods to ensure they get all the supplement that they need to grow fast. In well-setup condition, giant gourami is known to achieve length of almost one foot in just under one year and if you can provide large ponds for them to stay, that would be the best choice.
Breeding the fish will require some patience as you will need to ensure that the water stays clean and changed at least every day. Doing this will induce spawning and it is best to select mature fish which are at least two years old so that you will have a very good batch of offspring. Normally the male will take on the responsibility to build bubble nest by tearing apart leaves and properly arrange it in an organized pattern. Thus, if you are rearing the fish and have intention to breed the fish in home aquarium setup; just make sure that there is presence of dense vegetation growing in abundance in the surrounding area. Once everything is ready, the pair will spawn and once the eggs are released (which numbers around 20000), the male will tasked with the responsibility to guard the eggs until they hatch. A giant gourami has a lifespan which can stretch up to 5 years if properly maintained.