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Pink Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temminckii)

Photo of: Pink Kissing Gourami (Helostoma temminckii)

Scientific Name(s): Helostoma temminckii


Common Name(s): Pink Kissing Gourami, Kissing Gourami, Kissing Fish, Pink Kisser


Family: Helostomatidae


Species Type: Labyrinth Fish


Maximum Size: 12 inches


Life Span: 6 years


Natural Habitat: Asian lakes


Minimum Tank Size: 40 gallons


Tank Region: All over


Possible Tank Mates: Larger community fish


Description: The popular Kissing Gourami, or ĎKisserí, originates from Thailand, where it is cultivated as a food fish. These days virtually all specimens sold in the USA are commercially bred in Florida. Two colors of this fish occur naturally; a pink or flesh colored form, and a silver-green form often referred to as the Green Kisser. In the past these were believed to be the same species, but they have since been reclassified as two separate species. The green species, which has a dark bar bordering the dorsal and anal fins, is Helostoma temminckii, the name previously associated with the popular pink variety. The traditional pink Kissing Gourami is now classified as Helostoma rudolfi. Their common name is derived from what appears to be kissing; however scientists still arenít sure of the true purpose of the behavior. Itís 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 other. With age comes wisdom, or at least the ability to peacefully cohabit with others. Both sexes of Kissing Gourami look almost identical; from their oval shape to their thick fleshy lips. What you canít see are the rows of fine teeth on the inside surface of those lips, which are used to graze on algae and vegetable matter. Another unseen structure in these fish is the labyrinth organ, which is present in all labyrinth fishes. This organ enables them to take oxygen from the air, thus permitting them to survive in waters with low oxygen levels. In fact, the gills of labyrinth fishes are usually not capable of obtaining enough oxygen from the water to survive. Therefore, they must satisfy some of their oxygen requirement by gulping air at the surface of the water. That is why it is essential to provide them with access to the water surface.


Temperature Range: 70°F - 83°F



pH Range: 6.5 - 8.5

pH 5.0
pH 6.0
pH 7.0
pH 8.0
pH 9.0


Hardness Range: 5° - 25°



Breeding Information: Potential breeders should be conditioned with live foods, and provided with a large tank with soft warm water (80 F). Unlike other Labyrinth fish, Kissers do not build elaborate bubble nests, although the male may blow bubbles randomly at the surface.


Sexing Information: Very difficult to sex by appearance


Diet: Omnivourous - does well with flake or pellet foods. Diet can be supplimented with green vegetables such as peas, spinach, romaine lettuce or zucchini


Temperament: General peaceful, but may eat smaller fishes


Common Diseases: None specific to species


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Labyrinth Fish


Keith Pardee

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