Can Angelfish Live With Gouramis? (6 Tips For Coexistence)

Not once, I’ve noticed my angelfish nibble on their companion gouramis. Since both are quite popular fish, I kept asking myself whether or not angelfish can live with gouramis. Over the years, I’ve learned a few techniques to increase the chances of coexistence. So without further ado, let’s dive right into it.

Yes, angelfish can live with gouramis as long as the two do not differ much in size. For that reason, Dwarf Gouramis may be excellent tank mates for angelfish. To increase the chances of coexistence, stick with at least 55-gallon tanks and a sufficient amount of plants and decorations.

However, things might not be as simple as they sound. Sometimes you’ll have to make a few adjustments in your tank to lower the aggression between the two species. As we move forward in this article, I’ll show you a few techniques I’ve learned over the years.

Will Angelfish be Able to Live With Gouramis?

Well, the answer is yes and no. It all depends on the fish in question. Gourami fish are not all the same. You can get them in types like Dwarf, Chocolate, and Blue.

Though, of all these varieties, dwarf gouramis are the most common as potential angelfish tank mates. That is because they are relatively calm. To determine whether or not these two species can live together, you have to take their respective attributes into account:

The Angelfish’s Perspective

Angelfish have a reputation for being aggressive. However, this isn’t always the case. Plenty of fish owners will tell you that their angelfish have never shown any significant signs of aggression. 

That being said, aggression is a commonly observed trait among angelfish.

This is often attributed to their territorial nature. Angelfish are at their most hostile when spawning. But they will also bare their fangs in smaller tanks where they have to fight for resources. 

Young angelfish, on the other hand, are not as problematic. They don’t manifest territorial behavior, and mating isn’t an issue. This is why your chances of successfully keeping angelfish and gouramis in the same tank increase if you introduce angelfish to the tank when they are young.

It was mentioned above that dwarf gouramis are prevalent tank mates for angelfish because of their calmer temperament. However, it is worth noting that dwarf gouramis are small fish that rarely exceed two inches in length.[1]Opens in a new tab. And because angelfish can exceed 6 inches, this disparity in size could encourage them to act aggressively towards their smaller tank mates.

Nevertheless, your angelfish may already be in its maximum size. Sometimes its genetic code brings up small results. To determine your angelfish status, I highly recommend an article I’ve written about when do angelfish reach full size. This will help you to determine whether or not your fish is likely to grow any further.

The Gourami’s Perspective

Gouramis are somewhat similar to angelfish in that they prefer slightly acidic water. They also thrive in environments with plant life because they use the plants to hide.[2]Opens in a new tab. Some people think that gouramis are antisocial because they tend to get behind plants. But this isn’t the case. Some have called them shy, which is somewhat true. 

When you first introduce gouramis to a tank, they need time to grow accustomed to it. This is why they frequently hide. Some gouramis will maintain this behavior even after acclimating to life in the tank simply because they enjoy hiding in the foliage. 

In that regard, it probably isn’t wrong to call some of them anti-social. Though, as with angelfish, this trait doesn’t manifest in all gourami fish. The majority of gouramis prefer a communal lifestyle. 

While ordinary fish only frequent the top of the tank when oxygen levels in the water have fallen, gouramis breathe easier near the top of the tank because of their labyrinth organs. So this behavior shouldn’t concern you. They are not gasping for air out of distress. 

Amateurs will also appreciate the fact that gouramis are omnivores that will eat whatever you give them, including pellets, flakes, live food, and freeze-dried items. So their diet doesn’t have to vary drastically from whatever you feed your angelfish. 

Because flakes and pellets are not that hard to come by, you need not worry about inadvertently creating the sort of food deficiency that could cause aggression between your angelfish and gouramis. 

The Final Verdict

So what does all this tell you about the possibility of keeping gouramis and angelfish in the same tank? It is possible to keep these two species together. However, you have to understand that some gouramis are so small that bigger fish tend to bully them.

If your angelfish are vastly more extensive than your gouramis, then violence could ensue. Even if the size isn’t a factor, some angelfish are simply too aggressive to be kept in the same tank as gouramis.

You must also consider the impact a small aquarium can have on your angelfish’s attitude, not to mention all the hostilities that can arise during spawning. 

You have to take it on a case by case basis. Are gouramis suitable tank mates for angelfish? Yes, they are. Gouramis are calm fish that tend to thrive in community tanks. In an ideal scenario, they will get on splendidly with your angelfish. But there are cases where the angelfish is simply too aggressive to permit a gourami fish, especially dwarf gourami, to live with it. 

Believe it or not, despite their seemingly shy personalities, some gouramis are also aggressive. You need to experiment. Observe the fish you already have in the tank, be it angelfish or gourami, and determine whether its temperament will permit it to share the tank.

How to Keep Angelfish And Gouramis in The Same Tank?

While you can find angelfish and gouramis that can live harmoniously with one another, it is relatively commonplace for a tank housing both species to become an environment of violence and aggression. 

If you are having trouble maintaining the peace between your angelfish and gouramis (or you simply want to increase the chances of your future angelfish and gouramis living together peacefully), keep the following in mind:

1. Stick With Large Tanks

This goes without saying. Most types of fish will resort to aggressive behavior if they are forced to share a small aquarium. This is particularly true for angelfish. The species is known for its territorial nature. A small tank will trigger a violent response from them because they will feel compelled to keep as much of the aquarium as possible for themselves.

To keep the peace between gouramis and angelfish, give them ample space. Angelfish require a tank that is at least 22 gallons. Even though dwarf gouramis are known for their small size, you still need a tank of 55 gallons or more to ensure that your fish have no reason to compete for resources.

In case you don’t own one, I highly suggest that you take a look at my aquarium kits buyer’s guide. I reviewed there the aquarium kit I’ve been using for years with great success. I also elaborated on one of the most recommended 55-gallon tank kits, which had received hundreds of five-star reviews. 

Also, keep in mind that the more angelfish you grow, the bigger the tank you’ll require. I’ve talked about it here and summed up how many gallons you’ll need for each angelfish you are likely to introduce. 

2. Use Plants & Decorations

This is where you have it easy. Both angelfish and gouramis require plants and decorations. They enjoy swimming through these obstacles and hiding behind them. In some cases, it is a simple matter of seeking out privacy. In other cases, plants and decorations provide a hiding place, allowing your fish to feel safe and secure.

Secured fish have no reason to resort to violence. Fish will either cower or act aggressively in the face of fear. By adding plants to the aquarium, you are giving your gouramis and angelfish peace of mind. 

More importantly, your angelfish can use the plants and decorations to establish their territory with ease. Therefore, they don’t have to turn to violence. 

Even if your angelfish starts acting aggressively, your gouramis can simply hide, giving the angelfish plenty of room to dispel its aggression. It sounds like a simplistic answer, but it works. Experiment with natural rocks and driftwood. Anything that can break the line of sight between your fish will keep the aggression at bay.[3]Opens in a new tab.

3. Introduce Young Angelfish

As was mentioned above, angelfish are aggressive and territorial, especially when they are spawning. But this is only true for adults. Young angelfish are calmer. If you introduce them to your tank at an early stage, they will live harmoniously with your gouramis. 

Of course, your angelfish will eventually mature, at which point they could still resort to aggressive behavior. But by introducing your angelfish to the gourami tank when they’re young, you’re giving yourself time to assess the situation. 

This will help you determine whether or not the species can live together peacefully. If they can’t, you also have the time to concoct a solution that will maintain the peace once your angelfish is fully grown.

4. Avoid Mating

You are better off keeping female angelfish with gouramis. This is because angelfish get aggressive when spawning. However, this isn’t a factor when you have female angelfish. 

They still lay eggs, but they require a male to fertilize them. If you have a collection of female angelfish, you don’t have to worry about the aggression that manifests during spawning. 

Also, keep in mind that male angelfish are somewhat more aggressive. It could be apart of territory establishment or competition over a mating female. Either way, I suggest that you pick the females as companions to gouramis. They also grow relatively smaller than males. 

5. Proper Feeding Schedule

Make sure that all the fish in your tank are adequately fed. Angelfish are aggressive eaters that can show violent manners if they feel like they have to compete for food with the other fish in their tank. 

But gouramis can also get aggressive if they don’t get enough food. It is an issue of survival. This is why you have to keep all your fish correctly fed. Otherwise, your angelfish might conclude that they need to fight for what they perceive to be limited resources in the tank. 

6. Make Some Company

If your angelfish keeps bullying your gouramis, add more fish to the tank. Other fish will act as a buffer between the angelfish and your gouramis. You have many options at your disposal. Silver dollar fish can live very peacefully with angels.[4]Opens in a new tab.

The same goes for Rams.[5]Opens in a new tab. They prefer to occupy the bottom of the tank, so you can trust them to steer clear of territorial angels. Corydoras catfish are similar. They stay at the bottom of the tank. Swordtails are friendly with most varieties of fish. 

Avoid neon tetras because your angels will simply eat them. Angelfish also tend to act aggressively towards blackshirt tetras. However, if you insist, you may read another article I’ve written. I’ve mentioned there a few techniques to increase the chances the two will get along.

To be clear, while there are ways to reduce the aggression between angelfish and gouramis, none of the methods above can guarantee positive results. If your angelfish keeps attacking your gouramis despite your best efforts, you are better off putting them in different tanks. 

Conclusions

Keeping angelfish, along with gouramis, might work on the first attempt. Sometimes the ideal conditions already exist in your aquarium, and you can save yourself the trouble. However, in many cases, the angelfish or the gourami may present aggressive behavior.

To avoid that, you should make adjustments, like choosing merely female angelfish or introducing them at a young age. That is because many times, the angelfish are the more aggressive species. 

Remember, if they insist on presenting negative behavior towards each other, it is likely they should be permanently separated. Either way, I wish you the best of luck in growing these two beautiful creatures in your tank.

References

  1. https://www.ratemyfishtank.com/blog/keeping-dwarf-gouramis-in-the-freshwater-tank
  2. https://www.tropicalfishcareguides.com/aquarium-fish/gourami-fish-tank-mates/
  3. https://www.aquariumnexus.com/angelfish-discus-fish/
  4. https://petponder.com/angelfish-tank-mates
  5. https://www.tropicalfishcareguides.com/aquarium-fish/freshwater-angelfish-tank-mates/

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