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Kissing Gourami

Helostoma temminckii


    One of the widely available aquarium fish, the kissing gourami has been around for many years. Although often sold as a community fish they can be quite aggressive and get very large they should not be kept with smaller fish.

Quick stats:

    Size: Up to 12 inches (20 -30 cm)
    Tank: 55 gallons for young.
    Strata: Middle, top
    pH: 6.0 8.0
    Hardness: Soft to hard, dH range: 5 - 19
    Temperature: 72°F to 82°F (22°-28° C)


    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Anabantoidei
    Family: Helostomatidae
    Genera: Helostoma
    Species: Temminckii

Common name:

    Kissing Gourami , Pink Kisser, Green kissing gourami

Image gallery:

    Additional species photographs


    Badmans' Forum


    Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and Sumatra

General Body Form:

    Generally oval in shape when looked at from the side. From the front it appears very thin and compressed. In younger fish the forehead area is dimpled. Perhaps best known for the thick lips, these are protruded when the fish is grazing algae. The so called kissing behavior is not affection but a form of challenge, probably related to reproduction. The dorsal and anal fins start at the front of the body and go back to the start of the tail fin. The tail fin is somewhat concave in shape.


    The Basic background color of the the Pink kisser is a pale pink. There are no other distinguishing color variations that can easily be seen. The Pink kisser is just a variety of the Green Kissing gourami. The green kissers' basic ground coloration is a shinny green interlaced with dark reddish horizontal stripes. Two short up and down bars run across the gill covers. In well maintained specimens there is a dark bar that runs from the tail fin along the dorsal and anal fins soft rays that forms a border to the fish. Looks like a picture frame. The fins themselves are a pale green to gray in color.


    Kissing gouramis need to be kept large aquariums, I would say a 55 gallon minimum. They should be densely planted to mimic their home waters. You can use Java fern and Java moss as well as some floating plants. Artificial plants are better, as the kissers are basically vegetarian in nature and will consider your live plants food. The use of driftwood and rockwork will be beneficial as these tend to promote an area for algae growth, one of the kissers favorite foods. The kissing gourami accepts a wide range of easily available foods, including small live foods, Tubifex worms, earthworms,and brine shrimp. They also will accept flake, frozen and freeze-dried foods. Supplement with vegetable matter in the form of Spirulina-based foods. You can also add romaine lettuce, zucchini or peas as a treat.
    Water conditions are not overly critical and they will adapt to most aquariums, what does seem to matter is temperature and they do best when this is not allowed to drop below 75°f.


    Mostly still, murky and heavily vegatated waterways of Southeast Asia


    Not much is known of the sexing or breeding of the kissing fish. It has been said that the female is plumper than the male. Because of the sexing difficulty it is best to purchase a group of at least six young and let them choose their mates. Unlike other members of the Anabantoidei family they do not construct a bubble nest. They are open water breeders and can lay large amounts of eggs ( 1000+ ) They float to the surface and some add a lettuce leaf for the eggs to adhere to. You should remove the parents after spawning. The eggs hatch in a couple of days and should be fed the smallest of live foods.

Your comments:


Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.


From: Becky
We went to our local walmart and got two kissing fish, a catfish, black-tip mini shark and a sucker, two small neons. After we got them home, we were so excited and enjoyed the fish activity. The kids everyday would come home and would enjoy the tank. UNTIL, the kissing fish systematically killed everything in our tank. One by One including the sucker, shark, and catfish. Every fish was attacked and the catfish was almost eaten. We lost about $40.00 of fish because of this bully. I wish I would have known. He now chases the other kissing fish and it has had injuries also. I think it will kill it in a matter of time. DON'T PUT OTHER FISH WITH THESE FISH!!
From: Stuart
I love these guys currently got 2 in my tank there low maintenance, eat algae, are interactive (as far as fish go chasing fingers, watching what your doing, hand feeding) are a kids favourite and are peaceful I did have four originally but two died of old age they were about 10 years old, for sexing them if you guys look at the dorsal fin there's a subtle difference in shape near the tail same for honey gouramis (I've bred both numerous times)anyway if you have space you SHOULD have at least one of these guys, Wilfred when you introduce youngsters to a new tank they will try and establish territories for youngsters use the same rules for cichlids when adding them to a new tank its best done one or two at a time in different stages.
From: Jessica
I have one of these fish and it does well with the other 8 I have in the tank. I have never seen it once try to attack any of the others. He just keeps to himself sucking on the bottom of the floor and going to the top to get air. What I have noticed since his purchase in June, is that when I feed my fish he's the only one that won't come to the surface to eat. I've only seem him do that once and it was just the other day. Other than that he's got a beautiful color and is a pleasure to have.
From: Wilfred
All right, so I got one of these little creatures as a present, along with some other nice fishies. My 100 gallon aquarium had adequate room for the whole community. Come on, come all... except the kissing gourami. You see, Smoochy was a bit violent. He was chasing fish 3x his size, and beating them up. He tore up 4 angel fish, another gourami, some barbs, plecos, amongst other things. Even after he killed everyone in his size-range, he was still not happy and began chasing around my green severum that is 10.5" long. This little tiny 1/2" kissing gourami was going after the giant. The way he killed other fish was quite violent too... as you know, these things have big kissy lips. He'd kiss the other fish on the lips, and back up while thrashing a bit, essentially kissing their faces off. Needless to say, he's been bagged and dropped off at the fish store today for a whole $3 credit. I really depends on which fish you get, but my experience with this little bugger hasn't been a pleasant one.
From: Wilfred
This fish has got to be the worst fish I have ever had the pleasure of maintaining. I have a 900 gallon tank and kept 12 of these, but one ate them all, little bast***!!!!!!!!!!!!

From: Matthew
I have a Pink Kisser(named Pinky). He is about 6 inches long and has a rather deep pink coloration. I have him with a blue and a gold gourami, tiger barbs, bala sharks, and 2 kribinsis. They all get along great. Pinky is my biggest fish. His favorite past time is rolling pebbles around in his mouth to clean them. He is a great addition to my tank. He adds a ton of color and is fun to watch.

From: Sam
My oldest kissers just passed away last month after spending the past 15 years in a 55 gal tank. There were three of them all over 6 inches in length - my mom is still in mourning!
From: kyle
I have one. Its funny to watch because all it does is swim around and suck on stuff. Its my biggest fish but its not really aggressive

From: Anonymous
My big Kisser named Mr.Pinkerton chases my little Kisser named Posy. We think Mr.Pinkerton is going to eat Posy!!!






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