I've recently acquired a pair of pearl gouramies, and they are far from being shy. I have 120 L tank with black widows, neons, kuhlies, cories, swordtails and ancistrus and I would say that the pearls have definitely made their position very clear, they are top fish. There is certainly no timidity and face up to any fish that intrude in their territory. As yet they are only about half size, I'm very much looking forward to seeing the male in his full colours.
These are are one of the most beautiful fish I know and my dad has always had some in his tank. Now I have 6 of them myself in my SE-Asia setup (160 L) and they're really doing well in a setup that comes close to their natural biotope. They're in there with 2 Bala Sharks (5 and 6 cm) and a Firetail (9 cm) and mine are not as shy as most people above me have commented. It turned out that I had 3 males and 3 females, when I thought I'd bought 2 males and 4 females, because one was not completely developed yet as a male. No problems with aggressive males towards the females though, probably because they're in a group. It's a fish I would really recommend, but not for the absolute beginners as they can indeed be shy when kept in the wrong company or just one gourami on its own. But otherwise a great fish, really active and especially the males can look pretty cool in the right light.
Since I live in Malaysia with a warm tropical climate, I keep these fish outdoors in a 50 litre earthen pot. There are two types of gouramies in it, 3 pearls and 2 goldens. With 1/3 of the pot covered with cabomba, I seldom see them. One day I saw a huge bubble nest in between the dense cover water lettuce with a few small free swimming fry! I feed the fry infosuria. Since then, I always see the male chasing the females around the pot, trying to breed again.
I recently bred a pair of pearl gouramis in a 100 L tank. The temperature was at 28'C and the pH 6.5-7.0. Also, for plants I had amazon sword plant, some floating grass types and vallisneria. I put the female in first for two weeks, while feeding the pair brine shrimp and bloodworms. When the female was ready, the male was placed in the tank. A few days later the pair started breeding. At first the male does a display showing his brightly coloured fins. Then the male wraps himself around her, trying to squeeze the eggs out of her. After the eggs are floating at the surface, get a plastic cup, collect the eggs and separate them from the pair, or else they may eat them for dinner.
I have three Pearl Gouramis in my 75 liter tank. They are not shy, especially at feeding time. Their tankmates are 1 glass catfish, 2 berry tetras, 2 glowlight tetras and 6 zebra danios. They are getting along very well. They have become the kings and queens of the tank.
I haven't found these fish to be the least bit shy. I bought a young pair about a month ago and the male will eat food from my hand! I guess their shyness depends on the individual fish and what other fish are in the tank. These fish are generally peaceful, but I have seen some minor aggression from the male toward the female on occasion. I think it was a quarrel over food as they are voracious eaters and are always begging for food. He has not shown any aggression to my other fish (honey and banded gouramis). It seems like these fish grow relatively fast and reach a size of about 13 cm, so they require a good sized tank to thrive. I saw pictures of these fish on the internet many times, and I really didn't care for them that much. That changed when I saw some in person. A photograph can't do justice to the beauty of these fish. They are stunning and really look great in a planted tank.