Pink Kissing Gouramis
It's that time of the year when all thoughts turn to love and romance! And what better way to focus on this time than to have a pair of kissing gouramis? Be aware, though. Things aren't always what they appear to be.
I have always thought of kissing gouramis as "gimmicky fish." Allow me to explain. After watching the behavior of kissing gouramis, most people think they are actually kissing. When my wife first saw kissing gouramis doing their thing, she insisted on getting two of those "cute kissing fish." Most folks, especially females, feel the same way. There is just one little problem: they are not kissing! It only appears that they are kissing. (Guys, this excuse will not work on your girlfriend if she catches you kissing another girl!)
This may come as a bigger shock than the fact that kissing gouramis don't kiss. The gouramis that only appear to be kissing, are usually both male! Now before anyone goes there, this kissing act is a simple act of aggression. A test of strength, if you will. It's similar to when two rams butt heads, to see who is the stronger of the two. Except this test is performed with lips. Macho, huh?
Another misconception about kissing gouramis is that they are one of the peaceful community fish. This couldn't be farther from the truth! Most gouramis will show a little aggression toward smaller fish. In fact, one of the two "cute kissing fish" I had constantly harassed four much larger cigar sharks in their community tank. Some gouramis can become so aggressive that they will even be okay in an aggressive tank. Right now I keep three gouramis with two oscars, and they more or less get along just fine. But when it comes to kissing gouramis, they can take out their aggression on each other through their "kissing."
Now, don't get me wrong. Kissing gouramis are not bad fish to keep. They can be very beneficial. When they are not "kissing" each other, you may find one "kissing" the walls of your aquarium. If they haven't just seen a reflection of themselves, odds are they are cleaning the algae off of your aquarium walls.
Kissing gouramis aren't picky eaters. They not only dine on the algae that shows up on your aquarium walls, they will also clean the algae off of the tanks decorations. As for regular feeding, they are satisfied with normal fish flakes. For a special treat, try feeding you gouramis with freeze dried bloodworms.
A lot of pet stores and fish publications recommend kissing gouramis for beginners. Now while I think many gouramis are great for beginners, I don't think the kissers are beginner fish. This is mainly due to their aggression. If you know about this possibility going into choosing a kisser, you should be okay. Gouramis are notoriously a hearty fish because they have a specialized organ called a labyrinth. If their water has a low oxygen content, they will be able to breathe air from above the water surface and pass it over this labyrinth. The labyrinth will then filter out the oxygen the gourami needs.
Another reason, beginners tend to pick these fish is the fact they are mostly very affordable. And they usually will grow no more than 4 inches in length, although they have been reported to grow up to a foot in length in their natural habitat in southeast Asia and Thailand.
So during this time of love and romance, you might consider a pair of the kissing gourami. But only if the love of your life is not aware they really aren't kissing, they both may be male and they are a really cheap Valentine's Day gift!