Name: Trichogaster leerii
Origin: Thailand, Malaysia, Sumatra
The Pearl Gourami is one of the most beautiful and prized members of the Gourami family. It is much more peaceful than the Three-Spot Gourami and grows less (about 10 cm). However, in my experience this species isn't as hardy as other Gouramies, and sometimes shows a very shy behavior, hiding most of the time behind plants and rocks. Even so, it's an excellent addition to any Asian or community tank. Males have long, pointed fins and orange bellies; females have short, rounded fins and white bellies.
My Pearl Gourami is probably the most peaceful fish I have ever kept. He does seem to be shy at times, hiding behind everything available. Sometimes though, he swims back and forth as if no other fish was around. When feeding, my pearl gourami seems to wait until the rest of the fish have settled down a bit and then eats what is left that the other's haven't found. I guess that's an indication that it would not be wise to place a Pearl Gourami in a tank with other fast moving fish. I'll never do it again.
I've just bought three Pearl Gouramis, one died within twenty four hours. The timidness of these fish cannot be over-emphasised - a group of completely mad tetras in the tank (110 liters, with lots of hiding places) frightened it to death! The other two are starting to gain a little confidence but still won't feed.
I agree about the shyness of this fish. I have a 100 L with a Pearl Gourami, 2 Red Tailed Sharks, a Bala Shark, 2 Albino Red Finned Sharks and about 5 Cories in the tank set up. I have a huge cave at the bottom that my Red Tails share (will wonders never cease lol) and the neat thing is at feeding time the Pearl Gourami swims out of the cave that the Red Tails share. Heīs always in there. I am suprised that the Red Tails tolerate him in there, but I guess that they get along well.
I haven't been involved in aquaria for very long so maybe I've just attained a freak Pearl Gourami because mine is king of the tank! I can hardly believe every other post is saying they're shy. I have a 250 L tank with three types of Tetra, Clown and Kuhli Loaches, a Royal Whiptail and two kinds of Danios and he is not in the slightest bit shy. Maybe I just got lucky! The tank has many places to hide, three hollowed "logs" and a couple of rock caves with healthy plants so it isn't like he doesn't have the opportunity to hide. I can hand feed him dried shrimp and he seems to have taken a playful liking to my Paradise fish, especially the Apricot Paradise. These are a beautiful looking fish and whether or not you catch an occassional glimpse of them because they're shy or in my case always seeing them swim around they're great value for a community tank. I had an Opaline Gourami which didn't like the Pearl, in fact, he didn't like anything! Whether this was because of the larger Pearlīs presence or not I'm not sure.
I have a community tank set up where the Gourami is the largest fish in the lot. She's been in there for about 3 months and is the queen of her lair. The postings that refer to the Pearl as a shy fish most likely pit the fish against too aggressive tank mates. Our Pearl actually picks on the Sailfin Molly, chases the Zebra Danios, and faces off with the Spot Raphael Catfish. This is my favorite fish ever and the prize of our tank.