BuildYourAquarium.com is supported by our readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

13 Compatible Gourami Tank Mates (Complete Guide)

You’ll find them at every aquarium store: beautiful varieties of Gourami in pretty much every color you can imagine. These labyrinth fish are true aquarium classics, but with great popularity come plenty of myths. Gouramis are often added to community tanks without second thought, which can lead to aggression and stress as these fish can be both timid and slightly aggressive in nature.

So which fish can you combine with your Gourami(s) without creating mayhem? We’ve rounded up 13 perfect Gourami tank mates that will cohabit peacefully with these stunning top dwellers.


gourami

Choosing Tank Mates for Gouramis: Things To Look For

If you’re interested in keeping your Gourami(s) in a community tank, there are a few guidelines that you can follow to easily avoid any problems.

Temperament

Most Gouramis, like many other labyrinth fish, are quite timid in nature. This means they’ll feel stressed when combined with very active tank mates and won’t always be able to assert themselves against fin-nippers. If it’s hyperactive and/or might chase your Gourami, it’s out. At the same time, Gouramis are still somewhat predatorial in nature, although their prey is small. They can occasionally be nippy and will certainly eat anything small enough to fit into their mouth. If you want to keep dwarf shrimp or breed fish, Gouramis are probably not your best choice.

We have to note that this doesn’t apply to all Gouramis. There are many species and some, like the giant Gourami and kissing Gourami, are not so timid at all and can actually turn into bullies themselves. These species are not good team players anyway, so think twice before combining them with other fish.

Water values

Although most commercially bred Gouramis are very adaptable and will likely do well in a wide range of water values, these fish originally hail from waters that are slightly soft and acidic. Similar water values are preferable in your aquarium, so be sure to choose tank mates that won’t mind a slightly lower pH. Guppies, for example, like harder water so they’re not an ideal choice.

Aquarium set-up

Lastly, it’s a good idea to keep in mind what your aquarium should look like if you want to keep Gouramis. Their natural habitat consists of gentle streams and ponds with little water flow, dark water and plenty of vegetation. Although they are quite adaptable they’ll appreciate a similar environment in the aquarium. Fish that prefer a more mountain stream-like set-up or need lots of open space to swim are out.


13 Best Gourami Tank Mates

Here are a few of our favorite tank mates for Gourami:

1. Panda Corydoras (Corydoras panda)

panda cory
Photo by Haplochromis

If there’s one fish you can’t miss in your Gourami community tank, it’s Cory Catfish. These armored catfish are very peaceful while still active and fun to watch. This makes them the perfect tank mates for timid Gouramis, which inhabit the top water layer and won’t mind the company of most bottom-dwellers. Additionally, the two appreciate similar water values and will both do well in slightly soft and acidic water.

We especially like Panda Corydoras, a Cory variety that lends its name from its typical black and white pattern. This species stays quite small, which means you won’t need a large tank if you’re interested in keeping it. Do keep in mind that a sandy substrate is preferred for Corydoras catfish: they love to dig around in search of tasty morsels, so sharp gravel tends to damage their delicate barbels. To prevent your Panda Cories from going hungry, feed a combination of floating foods for the Gouramis and sinking pellets for the catfish.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

2. Glowlight Tetra (Hemigrammus erythrozonus)

glowlight tetra
Photo by Kyknos

Thinking about adding Neon Tetras or Cardinal Tetras to your aquarium? Be sure to also consider other Tetra species like the cheerful Glowlight Tetra. This peaceful schooling fish is a good match for Gouramis because its colors are a little less ‘neon’, which prevents the possibility of the Gourami seeing it as a rival. It likes similar conditions with soft, slightly acidic water and a bit of cover. You can even consider dimming the light by staining the water using leaf litter (like Indian almond leaves) or adding some floating plants.

Like other Tetras, the Glowlight Tetra will appreciate the company of its own kind. If you keep it in small numbers you might end up with bland-looking, skittish Glowlights. Instead, go for a group of at least 8 fish (preferably more) to be able to observe their true behavior. Your Gouramis won’t mind, as the Tetras inhabit another water layer. Although they are active, they are also very peaceful and won’t bother tank mates.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

3. Kuhli Loach (Pangio spp.)

Kuhli Loach
Photo by AJC1

The various loaches from the Pangio genus (usually featuring a yellow and dark brown banded pattern) make a great tank mate choice for any fish that needs peaceful and unobtrusive company. These elongated loaches are nocturnal, which means they spend a lot of their daytime hiding in any nook or cranny they can find.

Don’t think their reclusive nature makes them boring, though! Their social behavior is fun to watch, so be sure to get a large group (8+) for maximum enjoyment. You’ll see them piling up in their hiding places during daytime, occasionally coming out during feeding time. At night, their activity level rises and they’ll zoom all over the tank; consider installing a moonlight so you can view this behavior.

Like Corydoras, these bottom feeder fish will appreciate sinking pellets to prevent hungry Gouramis from consuming their foods before they reach the substrate.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

4. Harlequin Rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)

harlequin rasboras
Photo by Stefan Maurer

Another active and colorful schooling fish, Harlequin Rasboras are a great choice if you’re looking for a fish that adds some life to your aquarium without bothering your Gourami. These little Rasboras don’t need a very large aquarium and have a preference for water conditions that Gouramis will appreciate as well.

If you’re interested in keeping Harlequin Rasboras, you won’t need a complicated aquarium set-up. They’ll appreciate if you try to replicate their natural habitat: small, calm, and dimly lit streams that contain plenty of live plants. In the aquarium you can try using low-light plants like Java Fern, which is very easy to grow and doesn’t mind the lack of bright light.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons (long)

5. Bristlenose Pleco (Ancistrus sp.)

plecostomus

Small Plecostomus catfish varieties, including the popular Bristlenose Pleco, combine well with timid fish as they aren’t extremely active and will spend a lot of time sitting on the bottom of the tank or attached to the glass.

Although they shouldn’t grow much larger than 5 inches, Bristlenoses and other Plecos aren’t the best option for small aquariums. We recommend at least a 30 gallon tank if you’re interested in keeping this species, as it produces a lot of waste. This makes it a perfect tank mate for some of the larger Gourami species, like the beautifully colored Pearl Gourami and the feisty Blue Gourami.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 30 gallons

6. Amano Shrimp (Caridina japonica)

amano shrimp

Amano Shrimp are great Gourami tank mates because, unlike dwarf shrimp such as cherry shrimp, they are large enough to avoid being nipped at or eaten. This is also true for Ghost Shrimp from the Palaemonetes genus, but these are a little more assertive and might end up upsetting your Gouramis. Ghost Shrimp are also a little less useful than Amano Shrimp considering they don’t have a huge appetite for algae.

Amano Shrimp are not difficult to keep, so don’t worry if you don’t have much experience. All these shrimp need is access to plenty of veggie-based foods such as algae, algae wafers, and the occasional bit of blanched zucchini or spinach. You won’t have to worry about overcrowding, as they only reproduce in brackish water aquariums.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

7. Dwarf Crayfish (Cambarellus sp.)

dwarf crayfish

Crayfish tend to have a bit of a bad reputation in the aquarium hobby. This is unsurprising, as large crayfish species aren’t good team players by any means; they’re more likely to eat their tank mates than cohabit with them peacefully. However, things are much different with the tiny dwarf crayfish from the Cambarellus genus.

Dwarf Crayfish make great Gourami tank mates because they inhabit a completely different water layer – they’re bottom feeders, so the two should leave each other alone (even if a Gourami does happen to attempt to bother the peaceful crayfish, it can stand its ground and shouldn’t sustain any injuries)

Be sure to include plenty of hiding places in your aquarium (shrimp flats are a big favorite) to keep your Dwarf Crayfish happy. Leaf litter is also appreciated, which comes in handy because as mentioned earlier it’s also a part of natural Gourami habitat.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 8 gallons

8. Mystery Snail (Pomacea bridgesii)

mystery snail

Still think snails are boring (or even a little gross)? Think again! Aquatic snails are a fun and useful addition to most aquariums – and that definitely includes Gourami tanks. One of our personal favorites is the Mystery Snail, which is closely related to the more well-known Apple Snail, but stays a lot smaller and will usually leave your plants alone.

Mystery Snails are a good tank mate option for your Gourami because they are entirely peaceful. They are large enough to withstand possible nips from a curious Gourami and will even do their part in keeping your aquarium clean by tending to leftover foods. On top of that, they’re fun to watch and you can find them in a range of colors including white, yellow, blue, and purple.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

9. Cherry Barb (Puntius titteya)

cherry barb
Photo by Brian Gratwicke

If you know a thing or two about Barbs from the Puntius genus, you might be surprised to see one on a list of Gourami tank mates. Many Barb species aren’t exactly the best tank mate option for timid and calm fish, as they are extremely active and can even get quite nippy. Not cherry barbs, though! Unlike some of their cousins (like Tiger Barbs), they are actually the perfect community fish – and they’re pretty too.

Cherry Carbs have similar preferences to Gouramis when it comes to water values, although they are quite adaptable and can get used to a wide range. These are schooling fish, so if you want to enjoy their natural behavior be sure to get a group of at least 8.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 20 gallons

10. Otocinclus Catfish (Otocinclus sp.)

otocinclus
Photo by AJC1

Otocinclus Catfish are a favorite among aquascapers because they’re unobtrusive and fantastic algae eaters. Definitely not a fish to bother its tank mates, meaning they combine perfectly with timid Dwarf Gouramis. One little downside, though: Otocinclus can be fragile, so you should probably only keep them if you have a bit of experience in fishkeeping. You’ll have to stay on top of your water values and make sure your tank is pristine at all times.

Otocinclus are great algae eaters, but unfortunately our home aquariums are often too ‘clean’ to sustain a group (try to get at least 5). To make sure they stay well-fed, provide plenty of algae wafers and blanched veggies like Zucchini. You can even grow your own green algae by putting a bucket with some smooth river rocks and water in a sunny spot and placing these in your aquarium as an extra food source.

  • Difficulty level: Hard
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 10 gallons

11. Pygmy Corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus, hastatus, habrosus)

dwarf corydoras

More Corydoras? Yes, hear us out here – Corydoras pygmaeus, hastatus and habrosus, collectively referred to as Pygmy Cories, are a little different from the Panda Cory discussed earlier. As their name suggests, they are much smaller. Downright tiny, in fact!

Pygmy Corydoras are a great choice if you’re looking for a fish to liven up your aquarium. Their active behavior really adds some movement and they are extremely fun to watch. Your Gouramis won’t mind their presence, as they are mostly bottom feeders (with the exception of Corydoras pygmaeus, which also tends to visit the middle water layer).

Keep in mind, though, that it’s very important to keep these little fish in large groups. If you get less than 10 specimens, they tend to be shy and mostly stick to their hiding places. Additionally, provide plenty of cover in the form of rock formations, driftwood and caves.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

12. Ember Tetra (Hyphessobrycon amandae)

ember tetra
Photo by Cedricguppy

As its name suggests, the little Ember Tetra is the perfect addition to your aquarium if you’re looking to add a pop of color. Your Gouramis won’t mind the company of this schooling fish, as it’s entirely peaceful and not too active. The preferred water values are similar: soft, slightly dark water with plenty of plants is perfect for both Gouramis and ember tetras.

Keep your Ember Tetras in schools of at least 8 fish, preferably 12+. Larger groups will exhibit more interesting, natural (breeding) behavior and might even spawn without any effort on your part. If plenty of cover in the form of floating plants is available, you might find some of the fry making it to adulthood without being eaten by your Gourami.

  • Difficulty level: Easy
  • Temperament: Peaceful
  • Minimum tank size: 15 gallons

13. Other Gourami

gourami

If you’re looking for tank mates for your Gourami, other Gouramis are probably the last thing that you think of. You might be surprised to hear that some species can actually be kept in small groups rather than alone or in pairs: harems with one male and multiple females can work well. Just be sure to get at least a few females and provide plenty of room in case territorial squabbles break out.


Gourami Stocking Guide

Looking to set up a Gourami tank? Here are a few great stocking examples:

10 gallon tank

  • Top water layer: Sparkling Gourami (1M, 1F)
  • Invertebrate: Dwarf Crayfish (x3)

15 gallon tank

  • Top water layer: Dwarf Gourami (x1)
  • Bottom water layer: Corydoras habrosus (x10)
  • Invertebrate: Amano Shrimp (x3)

20 gallon tank

  • Top water layer: Dwarf Gourami (1M, 1F)
  • Middle water layer: Harlequin Rasbora (x10)
  • All water layers: Otocinclus Catfish (x6)

30 gallon tank

  • Top water layer: Dwarf Gourami (1M, 2F)
  • Middle water layer: Glowlight Tetra (x12)
  • Bottom water layer: Panda Corydoras (x8)
  • Invertebrate: Mystery Snail (x2)

40 gallon tank

  • Top water layer: Pearl Gourami (1M, 1F)
  • Middle water layer: Ember Tetra (x15)
  • Bottom water layer: Kuhli Loach (x10)
  • Invertebrate: Amano Shrimp (x5)
Jason Roberts
About Jason Roberts
Jason is an aquarium fanatic that has been a fish hobbyist for almost three decades.

5 thoughts on “13 Compatible Gourami Tank Mates (Complete Guide)”

  1. I have a 29 gallon bowfront aquarium with 1 powder blue gourami, and looking for tankmates. You’re article was very very helpful. Thank you so very much.

    Reply
  2. I have a 34 gallon tank with
    2 male dwarf Gouramis
    2 Albino Cory doras
    2 Peppered Cory doras
    2 Sterbra Cory doras
    2 sucking catfish
    2 Guppies
    4 Silver fin tetras
    3 Rummy nose tetra
    These all live happily together. I am looking for something else to put with them.
    I feed my top feeders in the morning and my bottom feeders at night.
    My Gouramis are peaceful and get along with all the others and swim peacefully around the whole tank. The only thing I noticed is when I put the very first feed of blood worms in my tank. My blue coral gourami sat on top of them and wouldn’t allow any other fish near them. I now spread the blood worms around the tank so all can have a small feed.

    Reply
  3. Hello Jason,

    Brilliant article and an excellent read – thank you, it was very informative and useful.

    I’m looking to set up a 190 litre / 41 gallon corner aquarium and having done a fair amount of research of what species can co-exist, and also considering temperatures and various other factors, I was thinking of the following:

    3 Corydoras,
    8 Dwarf Gourami’s,
    8 Platies,
    8 Swordtails,
    8 Tetra’s,
    8 Danio’s,
    3 Amono Shrimp.

    Would this be a good mix, do you see any issues with this? Also is this overstocked or a good number for the size of tank? Any help and support would be most appreciated.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply

Leave a Comment