Kissing Gourami

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Helostoma temminckii - Cuvier, 1829
Kissing Gourami

Actual kissing between fish is a rarely seen phenomenon. Aaron Norman


This species is a curiosity, a fish with prominent fleshy lips that it uses to “kiss” plants, aquarium walls and, occasionally, its tankmates. Wild forms are gray to green, and most aquarium specimens have been selectively bred to display a pink color. Lip-to-lip kissing is a rare event and is a behavior indicative of the manner in which males fight over territories—they “press” their mouths together.

Family: Helostomatidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: Prefers a well-decorated tank with ample swimming space. It is good to choose artificial plants or unpalatable live plants, such as Java fern, as this fish will eat plants.

Maximum length: 30 cm (12 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 208 L (55 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Midwater to top.


Herbivore. Will eat algae off plant leaves and aquarium glass. Accepts a wide range of vegetable-based aquarium foods, including Spirulina flakes, frozen and freeze-dried foods, as well as well-rinsed Romaine lettuce, parboiled zucchini or peas.

Aquarium Compatibility

Tolerant toward conspecifics and other fishes of similar size, and although males may occasionally become aggressive toward one another, no harm is done during these interactions. Can be housed with larger mid- to top-water swimmers, including barbs, danios and angelfish.


They do not build bubblenests. Eggs adhere to floating plants or leaves. No parental care and may eat the fry.


This is a large gourami that will outgrow small tanks.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: AN
Text credit: KW