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Robyn's Honey Gourami Page

Last Updated: 2/7/24

My three gold honey gouramis on 7/14/01.

Quick Information
Setup and Water Preferences
My Honey Gouramis
Links and Pictures

Feel free to e-mail me with information about honey gouramis or web site links. For information on my honey gouramis' tank, visit my aquarium page.

Quick Information

Common names: Honey Gourami
Scientific/Latin names: Colisa sota, Colisa chuna
Maximum length: 2 inches
Colors: Mostly variations of orange from light orange to red in red honey gouramis
Temperature preference: 72 to 82 degrees F
pH preference: 6 to 7.5
Hardness preference: Soft
Salinity preference: Low to medium
Compatibility: Good, except during spawning
Life span: Unknown
Ease of keeping: Easy to moderate
Ease of breeding: Moderate


Honey gouramis, Colisa sota, are pretty, small gouramis. They have the typical look of a gourami. Varieties sold include the original (which I have never seen), gold (albino?), red, and more. I have had the gold and red honey gouramis. My young honey gouramis were a light orange with darker orange on their fins. Red honey gouramis are a darker red. Honey gouramis grow to about two inches in length. When mature, males develop darker coloration than females.

Setup and Water Preferences

Honey gouramis are native to India where they enjoy soft, slightly acidic water (pH 6 to 7.5). Water temperature should be 72 to 82 degrees F. They prefer live foods but will eat most prepared fish foods and vegetables. They are not picky about what they eat except in the manner in which they eat, which is to pick at things while hovering over them. Mine nip at basically everything to see what they like. Except during spawning, honey gouramis are generally peaceful and slow moving. Honey gouramis are reported to be top-swimming fish but my youngsters stayed on the bottom (perhaps due to their age and the lack of floating plants). Tanks with these fish should have lots of plants, especially floating plants (for security and spawning).


Males and females look similar except when breeding. Then, males get the "honey" color (it looks pretty dark to me), perhaps blue throats, and black on the front of the anal fins. Females remain a subdued color, sometimes called brown but it looks orange to me.

I can confirm that one of my honey gouramis became blue in multiple places in May of 2023 so males do change color.


Generally peaceful, honey gouramis become territorial when spawning. Males build a bubble nest among floating plants. Breeding occurs in the typical bubble-nester manner. Eggs hatch in 1 to 1.5 days. Fry are free-swimming about a day after hatching when they need to eat micro-foods like infusuria. After a week or two, they can eat newborn brine shrimp. Honey gourami males are said to be less nasty towards the female than dwarf gouramis.

My Honey Gouramis

My red honey gourami on 9/20/01. He died around 10/30/01. :-(

Current Honey Gouramis:

I had no intention of ever getting honey gouramis again. I was buying some angelfish and asked the guy bagging my fish what companions that he suggested, and I impulse bought three honey gouramis. They were added to my 65 gallon aquarium on 4/10/23.

Around 5/27/23, I first saw one of the honey gouramis had blue on his cheeks and underneath so that’s a boy! It is presumed the other two are female since they did not get any blue.

When I went to clean the tank on 6/24/23, I realized that the male had made a bubble nest in the corner, and one of the girls was checking it out! I know with the amount of water movement and other fish in the tank, there will never been any surviving babies but I think them spawning would be healthy for the adults. I zip tied a couple of old feeding rings in the corner as supports for a bubble nest. When I did the water change, the nest fell apart. I guess people who want fry from bubble nest species never change the water?!

I noticed at the end of January 2024 that in fact I have two male honey gouramis and one female full of eggs. The second male is non-breeding but has some blue on him. I do not know if they have spawned but the male builds a bubble nest. With the other fish in the tank, no babies could survive.

Well, there will definitely be no babies now. I saw all three honey gouramis on 2/4/24 but then the female went missing. Alas, I found her body (a bit chewed on) on 2/7/24 and removed it. I did not see any signs of illness or damage from the other fish before this for her. The congo tetras and angelfish all have fin damage though but I have yet to see who is responsible. I do not know if the female honey gourami's untimely demise was related.

Previous Honey Gouramis:

On 7/8/01, I bought three small (1 inch) gold honey gouramis and put them in my twenty gallon tank. They were so cute! Mostly orange with some darker orange on their fins, I found them beautiful (orange is my second favorite color after green). While the other fish dashed around, these guys slowly moved like little helicopters. They often stayed motionless in the water, just turning their heads to look at things. When they found something of interest, they pecked at it, like a chicken. Due to their movements, them seemed to be thinking more than the other fish. They would look at me. I wondered what they are thinking. I hoped to enjoy this species new to me.

The smallest honey gourami died on 8/4/01. She was half the size of the others and may have gotten ick from the new betta. Treatment began the day before, and she did not make it. I was shocked to find another honey gourami dead on 8/11/01. I do not know what happened! The fish showed no outward signs of bacteria, fungus, or parasites of any sort, and the water quality is fine. It broke my heart to find the last honey gourami dead on 8/13/01. He/she was fine the day before. Again, there were no signs of injury, disease, or parasites, and the water is clear with no ammonia or nitrite and neutral pH. I liked them so much that I bought a new gold and a red honey gourami on 9/16/01 (see below). They were both dead by 1/9/02.

I had two new honey gouramis that I added on 9/16/01 to my twenty gallon tank. One was a medium-sized gold honey gourami, and one was a large red honey gourami. The red one was darker at the store but in my tank, the gold and red varieties looked basically the same for a while. Later, the red one was, well, red and the gold one, gold. I previously had three darling young gold honey gouramis. I killed them all but I do not know how! They were fine one day and dead the next with no symptoms in healthy water. These two new honey gouramis were much faster than the young ones were. When I put in food, they were there before it hits the water! I was very upset to discover my red honey gourami missing. Around 10/30/01, he/she stopped coming to eat. This fish was almost two inches long and ALWAYS the first to come eat and ALWAYS patrolling the front of the tank, very personable. The fish vanished. I feared the worst but could not spare the time to sift through all the vegetation to find him/her. So, when I cleaned the tank on 11/3/01, I pulled out the huge masses of floating fern and sifted through them but found nothing. Then, I moved a large Anubias nana plant and out popped my well rotted red honey gourami. I was deeply saddened as the fish was VERY healthy. I think he/she may have gotten stuck. If only I had been there! The lone honey gourami left was so cute but seemed lonely. Without ever showing signs of any illness, this last gourami of mine died on 1/9/02. I wish I knew why. I loved my honey gouramis very much. They were one of my favorite fish!

Links and Pictures

I have yet to look up honey gourami web sites. Feel free to suggest some.

Photos of my honey gouramis:
Photo of three gold honey gouramis on 7/14/01.
Photo of one red honey gourami on 9/20/01 (died 10/30/01).

Pet Link Banner Exchange:

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