Goldfish

Sunset Gourami (Trichogaster chuna)

Sunset Gourami aka Honey Gourami is, hands down, one of the most beautiful fish you can have in your tank. But What is Sunset Gourami like? How can you take care of Sunset Gourami in the tank?

Sunset Gourami is one of the hardy fish that is quite easy to care for and has very less needs even in the tank. This fish care technique can be easily handled by beginner to experienced aquarists.

They are fish with a very peaceful nature and can go along with a long list of tank mates. These small golden fish, because of their friendly nature, present themselves as an ideal choice for a community tank as well.

But even when they ask for beginner-level care, people seem to mess things and bring up issues in the tank. So, you must know what to do and what not to do with these fish.

Let’s get started to learn about these beautiful little sunset gouramis and learn how to take care of them.

Sunset Gourami: An Overview

You often hear these sunset gouramis being called with a few names like honey gourami, red flame gourami, or red honey gourami.

Don’t get confused when you hear these names as all of them belong to this single fish. Whatever you call them, they are still these beautiful small fish that make your aquarium more beautiful.

They also go by their scientific name Trichogaster chuna that describes their long narrow ventral fins in Greek.

But where are these honey gouramis from? What are the distinct features of sunset gourami? What type of water condition do they prefer?

Distribution And Habitat

Sunset Gourami is known for its South Asian origin as well. The slow-moving streams of Bangladesh, Nepal, and India houses these small fish.

From the Gangetic provinces of Nepal and Bangladesh to Manipur and Assam of India, these fish have a wide range as their home.

Ponds, lakes, flooded fields, ditches, and slow-moving rivers of tropical environments with low attitude around the far east are the very places where you will find these sunset gouramis.

They prefer to live in the slow-moving, soft water that has vegetation very thick and lush. These fish need plants to hide and hunt insects hanging around the plants.

Appearance

This beautiful sunset gourami carries their identity along with their name either it is honey gourami or sunset gourami. You can easily imagine what they look like when someone calls their name.

They range from silver-gray to golden yellow color and has a brown horizontal band that runs along with the mid-line.

And you can notice the color change during the breeding season, especially in the male species. These male species change into reddish-orange or brighter honey-yellow color.

The face of male species turns into bluish-black color along with their belly and throat. Likewise, the fins both dorsal and anal change into a bright golden color.

Sunset gourami also has a similar body structure as other gouramis, being typical with a compressed and narrow body.

These fish are labyrinth breathers, meaning they breathe directly from the air and come to the water surface for respiration.

Size

In the case of sunset gourami, the female tends to grow a little larger than the male but is generally similar in size.

Sunset gourami grows up to 2 inches on average in captivity but can grow nearly 3 inches in the wild.

Lifespan

When you maintain appropriate tank conditions for these sunset gouramis, they live for nearly 8 years.

The average lifespan of these fish ranges between four to eight years. The longer lifespan depends on how you treat your fish in the tank.

Temperament

Sunset Gouramis are known for their peaceful nature, but that doesn’t mean they are passive. These fish are very active and are generally seen at the top of the tank.

They tend to get shy and nervous when there is larger fish in the tank. These fish are easily spooked and search for safe hiding space behind the plants or decorations.

Sunset gouramis are not the ones who will start a fight or even participate in it. These small fish prefer to remain on the non-aggressive side even when some other fish are aggressive towards them.

Male species, however, gets aggressive towards female while guarding the eggs. They tend to get protective and fight with other fish to ensure the safety of the eggs.

Water Parameters For Sunset Gourami

Sunset gourami is one of the less demanding and hardy fish you can have in your tank, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have responsibilities.

These fish prefer slow-moving, acidic water with very moderate lighting and the simple temperature changes harm their labyrinth organs.

You need to look into few water conditions your sunset gourami asks for.

Tank size 10 gallons
Temperature 72 to 85 °F
pH range 6 to 7.5
Hardness 4 to 10 dKH

 

Sunset Gourami Diet

These honey gouramis are omnivores and tend to eat anything in the wild ranging from small invertebrates to zooplanktons.

The diet of these gouramis doesn’t differ in captivity as well as they eat both meaty to plant matter in the tank too.

They will eat flakes, fresh, frozen foods as well as some live foods. Bloodworms, white worms, brine shrimp, etc. are well-welcomed food for sunset gouramis in the case of live category.

Sunset Gourami Care

When you get Sunset Gourami for your tank, you need to take care of a few things to keep them healthy and happy.

They are hardy fish and will adjust to a wide range of water conditions but that doesn’t mean you can neglect them.

Tank Size

When you plan to keep single sunset gourami, you can go for the 10-gallon tank, but two of them need a 20-gallons tank.

And if you want to add more gouramis, then it is wise to add 5-gallons for each fish. Smaller space and crowds can make these fish nervous and stress.

They need space to swim around and breathe, so it is wise to get a tank according to their number.

Temperature

The ideal temperature for Sunset gouramis is between 72 to 85 °F, so it is necessary to maintain this temperature all the time.

An aquarium heater is the best option for you to keep the water warm enough for these fish. The temperature change can bring several health issues and the death of these gouramis.

Once you set the heater to the ideal temperature, it will automatically adjust the water temperature even when you are not there.

Also, your room temperature should be similar to the water temperature as well. As these fish breathe coming up into the surface of the water, the drastic temperature difference can destroy their labyrinth organ.

Filter

You need to keep water quality in the ideal conditions as any mistake can bring health problems and death to this fish.

As the heater helps to maintain the temperature, the aquarium filter helps to clean the water and remove all the impurities.

The filter with both mechanical and biological filter media helps to clear out dead plants, larger debris, and ammonia along with other pollutants from the tank.

A well-maintained aquarium always has the healthiest fish so, you need to maintain optimum water quality to keep your sunset gourami safe.

Feeding

You need to take care of the food when it comes to the health and safety of your fish in the tank. Make sure you provide the many nutrients so that they remain well-fed and happy.

Flakes or pellets that are enriched in nutrients and also are supplemented with parts of live, frozen foods help to keep your fish healthy.

Although, you need to make sure these foods are balanced and are of enough variety. Bloodworms, brine shrimp, white worms, and daphnia can cover the live food category for this fish.

And in the plant’s category, you need to feed them vegetables like lettuce, cucumber, or deshelled peas. Algae is also an ideal option when it comes to plant-based food that covers a wide range of dietary requirements.

These fish need both plant matter and meaty food to get enough protein and energy to maintain good health. Fish too need varieties and mixing things between plants and meats keeps them going.

Likewise, you need to feed them twice a day in a very small proportion. The amount of food you provide them should be what they can eat within a few minutes.

School Size

Sunset gouramis are not schooling fish and will live alone or in pairs in the tank. But when you keep them in a group of four to six fish, they thrive.

These fish, although manages without groups, stay active and playful along with other sunset gouramis.

The company of other gouramis makes them feel safer in the tank. This will help to decrease the stress and increase the lifespan of the fish.

So, it is better to keep a few of them in the tank and this will even make your tank more beautiful.

Decorations

As already stated, these fish need enough place to hide and escape when they feel like it. Decorations and ornaments in the tank guarantee these safe spaces for these gouramis.

You need to decorate your tank as you prefer and include things you think to make your tank more attractive and are safe for fish.

The black-colored substrate is an ideal choice for these fish along with some rocks and driftwoods.

Plants

These gouramis need plants as they have in the wild. These fish use plants as their hiding place to make a nest during breeding.

In the absence of plants. Sunset gourami tends to get stressed and even die sometimes so it needs its safe place in the tank.

Plants like hornwort and water wisteria are ideal for these fish. These plants go either way and you can plant as per your tank set up.

Quarantine

A new fish can bring hundreds of new issues along with it. It is wise to quarantine the fish before adding it to the tank.

Fish that are recently purchased can have a bacterial infection or parasitic presence and will eventually infect other fish in the tank.

So, you need to keep them separate and watch them carefully for any signs and symptoms. Once you are sure about the absence of diseases and microorganisms, you can transfer this fish into the main tank.

Best Tank Mates For Sunset Gourami

Sunset gourami is an attractive fish, hands down, but can attract larger predators with their beautiful color.

That’s why it is important to look at certain things before you add any fish to the tank. You need to look for fish that are similar in size and non-aggressive as these gouramis.

Of course, fish also need to have similar water conditions as these fish. Having said that let’s look into some ideal tank mates for these gouramis.

Neon tetras, ember tetras, cory catfish, mollies, guppies, small barbs, zebra danios, etc. live well in the tank with these fish.

As long as you look at the factors mentioned above, this list can go furthermore and grow longer. You can have fish of your choice as long as they meet the above criteria.

Sunset Gourami Diseases

Sunset gourami doesn’t have a specific disease that you have to closely monitor. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to look at all.

As long as you have maintained ideal tank condition and proper water quality, then it is very rare for your fish to get sick.

You need to still watch them closely for some common fish-related diseases. Few diseases make the list of susceptible ones.

Velvet Diseases

A parasite namely Oodinium pilularis that resides in the gills, skin, and mouth of these fish can bring a nightmare called velvet disease.

They cause brownish or golden dust over the body and fins of these fish and are invited due to poor water quality.

All you have to do is keep your water quality ideal for your fish and this one won’t be your headache.

Ich

The most common disease that poor water quality welcomes for the fish is white spot disease. All thanks to Ichthyophthirius multifiliis for being so constant among fish.

Ich is a nightmare that every aquarist has once faced during their fishkeeping experience and it is definitely a horror one.

You need to monitor your tank closely and make sure nothing is inadequate and fish needs are well-met. You’ll be fine till the tank is in the ideal state so try keeping it that way.

Bacterial Infection

Another horror story addition in the book of gourami is the bacterial infection that is led on due to improper tank condition and poor water quality.

So, it is kind of in the repeated mode, make sure your tank is in ideal condition all the time and remember to quarantine new fish before adding to the tank.

Hexamitiasis

Would you prefer your fish with a hole in the head? Do you want to live through this nightmare?

The answer is no, but well it will be no when you can’t take proper care of your fish. Hexamita, parasitic protozoans, is known for causing hexamitiasis in both marine and freshwater fish.

Here again, water quality, diet, tank conditions, quarantine, etc. same old things are repeated as a precautionary measure.

Breeding Of Sunset Gourami

Sunset gouramis are quite an easy breeder and will do fine in the home aquarium without giving you much headache.

But you will need a separate 10 to 20-gallons breeder tank as it will be necessary to move parent fish in and out of the tank often.

Likewise, the temperature can also be slightly different than the normal tank, and is ideal to keep it between 78 to 84 °F.

And of course, fish do fine without adjusting water levels but it is wise to keep a shallow level of water in the breeding tank.

Also, remember to keep plants in the tank as these fish are bubble nesters and males tend to create a nest to impress females.

When the female is ready to breed, it tends to get fill out and plump with eggs. Once the nest is complete and male tries to impress the female by bumping into them showing their bright colors.

After a few attempts when the male becomes successful, the female will lay eggs and let him go ahead with the fertilization.

The male will immediately fertilize the eggs and transport them into the nest with the help of their mouth.

You need to remove female fish as soon as this process is completed as the male guards the nest and the eggs very aggressively.

After one to two days, the eggs will hatch and it is your cue to remove other adults as well. Once you keep the parents away from the fries, you need to feed these small newborns.

Liquid fry food or Infusoria is a good choice for food for these young ones. And after a while when they are a little larger, you can feed them baby shrimp.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Sunset Gourami Live With Guppies?

Yes, gourami can live with guppies in the tank as they are both peaceful similar-sized fish with nearly the same tank requirements.

Does Sunset Gourami Need To Be In Pairs?

These honey gouramis can live alone, in pairs, or in a whole group but are not schooling fish. They definitely will do better in pairs though.

Can Sunset Gourami Live With Bettas?

No, honey gouramis are non-aggressive fish and won’t fight back when attacked. So, bettas are a bad choice as tank mates for them.

Conclusion

In conclusion, sunset gourami is an ideal choice for you, if you are new to fish keeping. But their hardy nature doesn’t give you a window to care less about the. Make sure you have maintained the ideal tank conditions they ask for so that they can stay happy and healthy in the tank.