The name Kissing Gourami is derived from what appears to be kissing between fish; however, scientists still aren’t sure of the true purpose of the behavior. It’s believed to be a harmless challenging behavior which generally occurs between two males. This conjecture is supported by the fact that aging seems to diminish the need to challenge one another. With age, the desire for mating territories diminishes.

Scientific name: Helostoma temminkii     Common name: Kissing gourami Max. size: 30.0 cm / 12 inches pH range: 6 – 8 dH range: 5 - 19 Temperature range: 22 – 28°C / 71.5 – 82.5°F

The typical Kissing Gourami habitat is shallow and slow moving backwaters with thick vegetation. The habitat is tropical and the water temperature stays between 22 and 28° C (71.5 and 82.5° F). The Kissing Gourami spends most of its time in midwater.   

Two colour morphs are encountered: greens, which have lengthwise lateral stripes and opaque, dark brown fins; and pink, which have a rose to orangy pink body and silvery scales, with transparent pinkish fins. Green fish originate from Thailand, while pink fish originate from Java.[4] There is also a "dwarf" or "balloon pink" variety, which is a mutated strain of the pink gourami that are offered to hobbyists.[citation needed] The "balloons" are named so for their smaller and rounder bodies.

In nature these fish occur in lakes and rivers as well as canals, ponds, and marshes. They inhabit shallow, slow moving waters with a lot of vegetation. They are omnivorous in nature and feed on a benthic algae, a variety of plants, zooplankton, and aquatic insects near the surface of the water.

Fish Keeping DifficultyThese are hardy fish but need at least a 75 gallon tank and can get belligerent or territorial as adults. They are best kept with other large fish or in a species only tank. Due to their size and temperament they are suggested for an aquarist with a moderate amount of experience.

Kissing Gourami Temperament / Behavior : They can be territorial at times and will fight with their mouths. We've found that it is good to get a pair so that when they are feeling aggressive they will chase each other around instead of the other tropical fish.

Today, you can also purchase a smaller, mutated variant of the pink Kissing gourami. This type of Kissing gourami is commonly known as “Dwarf Kissing Gourami” or “Balloon Pink”. They body is small and very round. 

A mix of large neutral personalities is an ideal goal for the range of tank mates. You should not include fish which will provoke this species into aggression as they are often passionate fighters. Fin nippers should absolutely never be mixed with gouramis. The trailing pelvic fins and generally slower movement of this fish make it the perfect target. The Kissing Gourami is also a skilled hunter and extremely small fish or fish fry rarely last long.

Kissing Gourami Tank Mates : Because of its potential adult size and because it can become territorial, use caution when selecting tank mates.

Kissing gouramis will be peaceful towards other fish species as well as to each other, but males will challenge each other to determine supremacy. They “kissing combats” are however rarely dangerous for the fish.

Other common names it is known by include Kisser Fish and Kisser. There are two natural color forms, grayish-green and pink. The grayish- green form originates from Thailand and is known as the Green Kisser or Green Kissing Gourami. The pink form is found to the south from Indonesia and is known as the Pink Kisser or Pink Kissing Gourami.

The Kissing gourami is famous for its mouth and its “kissing” behaviour. The mouth protrudes from the body and the lips are equipped with horny teeth. You can however not find any teeth on the dentaries, palatine, pharynx or premaxilla.  

Try to mimic the slow-moving, densely grown Kissing Gourami habitat in Asia when you set up the aquarium and include a lot of plants. Always use sturdy and fast growing plants in the Kissing gourami aquarium, since sensitive plants will not tolerate being grazed by the fish. Java fern and Java moss is recommended.

The Kissing Gourami can get quite large, often 10 - 12 inches in length. We do not recommend them for the beginner because of their potential adult size and because they can become very territorial in a community tank. They will often chase your other fish around the tank, especially after food has entered the aquarium. This behavior can get very annoying.

The Kissing Gourami can reach a length of 30 centimetres (12 inches) and will naturally need a big aquarium. Keep in mind that the little Kissing gourami offered by the pet store can quickly outgrow a small aquarium.

It is almost impossible to determine the sex of these fish until they spawn. At that time, the body of the female becomes round as it fills with eggs.

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Sex: Sexual differencesThere are no visible differences, though at breeding time females will have much rounder bellies when full of eggs.

The mouth is one of its most distinctive characteristics. It is actually named for the unusual shape of its mouth when eating or sucking debris. The lips are thick and fleshy with fine teeth on the inner surface. These fish will press their lips against the aquarium rocks, glass, and plants to feed on algae and debris. They not only use their lips and teeth to feed from surfaces in the aquarium, they will also suck on the sides of other fish to ingest the slime that covers them.

You can find two different colour morphs for sale. The by far most commonly offered variant is the pseudo-albino Kissing gourami that displays a pale pink colouration. The colour can vary slightly from orange-pink to rose-pink and the scales are silvery. The fins are also pinkish. In the wild, the normal Kissing gourami variant is however the green one. The Green Kissing gourami has lengthwise lateral stripes and the fins are of an opaque brown shade.

The Kissing Gourami is a benthopelagic and potamodromous freshwater species that rarely swims further down than 2 metres (6.6 feet). It is native to Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. The Kissing Gourami has today also been introduced to nearby Sri Lanka, Singapore and Philippines, as well as to far away Colombia.

Kissing gouramis, also known as kissing fish or kissers (Helostoma temminckii), are large tropical freshwater fish comprising the monotypic labyrinth fish family Helostomatidae (from the Greek elos [stud, nail], stoma [mouth]).[2] These fish originate from Thailand to Indonesia.[3] They can be food fish which are farmed in their native Southeast Asia. They are used fresh for steaming, baking, broiling, and pan frying.[3] The kissing gourami is a popular aquarium fish.

The Kissing Gourami will do best if you keep the pH between 6 and 8 and the water hardiness between dGH 5 and 19. The temperature should be in the 22 and 28° C (71.5 and 82.5° F) range. If you plan to breed Kissing Gourami, you should keep the water soft.

Temperature : 72°F - 82°F (22°C - 28°C)

Diet / Foods : Will take many types of foods, including flakes, pellets, freeze dried and especially live foods.

Kissers accept a variety of foods, including flake, frozen, freeze-dried, and small live foods, such as Tubifex and Brine Shrimp. They also will accept any kind of vegetable matter and should be provided with plenty of Spirulina-based foods as well as fresh vegetables when possible.Periodically provide fresh romaine lettuce, cooked zucchini or peas to keep your Kissers in optimal health. Take care when providing fresh vegetables, as uneaten portions will quickly foul the water.

Kissing Gourami

These fish have two naturally occurring wild color forms, grayish-green and pink. The green form is a gray to green color with horizontal stripes and dark fins. The other form is pinkish to orangish pink with transparent fins. A mutation of the pink form is also being bred in captivity. It is a "dwarf" variety that is smaller and rounder and is known as the Balloon Pink Kissing Gourami, Balloon Kissing Gourami, and Dwarf Kissing Fish.

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Kissing Gourami Gender : Can not be determined by external features.

The Kissing Gourami is a prolific species in the wild and has a minimum population doubling time below 15 months. They are open-water egg scatters and will not guard or care for their offspring. This distinguish them form the other members of the suborder Anabantoidei, since these species build nest for their offspring or care for them in similar ways. Kissing Gourami spawning takes place under floating plants and the female will release floating eggs. 

Kissing Gourami Breeding : Very difficult to breed because they require large tanks.

Every aquarist who gets interested in gouramis eventually gets a Kissing Gourami because of their unusual "kissing" action. They are truly one of the most intriguing of the gouramis and quite distinct; so distinct in fact that the Helostomais genus is monotypic, meaning it contains only this one species. This gourami originates in Asia, from Thailand at the north of its range and south into Indonesia. It is also commonly known as the Kisser Fish or just Kisser.

If you keep Kissing gouramis, you should ideally refrain from cleaning the aquarium’s back glass since the algae growth will provide the Kissing gourami with a natural food source and allow it to engage in its natural feeding behaviour.

You cannot sex these fish visually outside the breeding period - only when the female then swells with eggs can they be distinguished. There are two colours in existence - the natural grey form, and the more commonly-kept rose-pink domesticated variety. These do not reflect a difference in gender.

Kissing Gourami The Kissing Gourami gets its name from the way it will kiss other gouramis and other fish in your tank. They are not kissing but they are in fact acting aggressive and having a showdown. When the Kissing Gourami does this it means that one is trying to establish dominance over the other.

These are very pretty and durable fish. They are also moderately easy to breed. But due to their size and temperament they are suggested for an aquarist with some experience. They are a lot of fun to watch and make a good display in a large roomy tank.

They are not picky eaters and will go after flakes, pellets, frozen, freeze dried and live foods.

AvailabilityThe Kissing Gourami is readily available both in stores and online and is moderately priced.

Kissing gouramis can be found of digging and this is naturally a problem since they should be kept in planted aquariums. You can prevent digging by using gravel and stones with a large diameter as aquarium substrate. This will also provide algae with plenty of surface area to grow on.