Giant gourami

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Osphronemus goramy family

Osphronemidae taxonomy

Osphronemus goramy Lacepede, 1801, Mauritius; China; Jakarta [Batavia], Java, Indonesia.

Osphronemus goramy Trichogaster leeri other common names

French: Gourami géant; German: Riesengurami; Spanish: Gurami gigante, gurami comestible.

physical characteristics

Largest species of anabantoids; up to 23.6 in (60 cm) and 19.8 lb (9 kg). High body, laterally compressed. Lateral line not interrupted and nearly straight. Dorsal fin has 11-14 spines and 12-14 soft rays. Anal fin has 10-11 spines and 20-23 soft rays. First soft ray of pelvic fin is very long, extending beyond caudal fin. Labyrinth highly complex in the adult, with the numerous folds supported by bony lamellae. Large males with prominent hump on the head. Juveniles have eight to 10 dark vertical bars and a conspicuous eyelike spot above the anal fin. Adults drab, grayish, olivaceous above and silvery or yellowish below in both sexes; no sexual dichromatism.


The species has been introduced in various areas outside of its natural range. Its original distribution probably comprised Thailand, the Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java. It now has established populations in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, West Papua, Papua New Guinea, Madagascar, New Caledonia, and Colombia.


Occurs in swamps, lakes, and medium-to-large rivers. May also tolerate brackish water conditions.


Nothing is known about the behavior of the giant gourami in the wild.

feeding ecology and diet

The giant gourami is omnivorous, feeding on plants, smaller vertebrates, invertebrates, and even dead animals.

reproductive biology

Reaches maturity after the fourth year. The male builds a spherical to oval nest 11.8 in (30 cm) long, 7.9 in (20 cm) wide, and 3.9 in (10 cm) deep, which resembles a bird's nest, close to or below the water surface using mainly plant material. Nest building takes eight to 10 days. Eggs are deposited in the nest, and guarded by the male and female, and fanned through movements of the pectoral fins. The yellowish eggs are around 0.11 in (2.7 mm) in diameter and contain a large oil globule that makes them buoyant. Eggs may number more than 1,500 per nest. Hatching occurs after 10 days. Newly hatched fry measure 0.24-0.35 in (6-9 mm). Yolk sac is resorbed at around 15 days. After four months a length of 3.9 in (10 cm) may be reached.

conservation status Not listed by the IUCN.

significance to humans

A valued, common, and delicious food fish, eaten steamed, fried or baked. It has been introduced into more than 20 countries all over the world, and is important in aquaculture in tropical Asia. ♦

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