Can Gourami Change Gender? - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #1 of 2 Old 04-08-2012, 05:14 AM Thread Starter
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Can Gourami Change Gender?

Hi guys, I've seven female gourami living together in a large tank for a few months now without any issue. I started noticing the fins on one Opaline gourami becoming longer a few weeks ago and three days ago she went into a cave a refused to come out until today. However, the fish who came out of the cave looks very, very male. Her top fin is now long and pointed where it used to be rounder and shorter. Ever since she/he came out of the cave, the other gourami have been hiding and a bit aggresive.

I'm considering taking this one back to the aquarium. Do the males come into their pointed shape later in life? Or if it was a female who changed to a male, if I return it, is it likely one of the other gourami will start changing into a male as well?

Thanks for any advice you can give me. ^_^
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post #2 of 2 Old 04-08-2012, 05:31 PM
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As far as I am aware, freshwater fish generally cannot change their gender, although in the far recesses of my mind I do recall reading something a while back about a specific fish... but it wasn't a grouami.

In some species of cichlids, there will be a dominant male and the other fish in the group will externally appear to be female even though some might be males. I experienced this with a group of Apistogramma bitaeniata. Upon the death of the "male" some months later, one of the assumed "females" developed the extended fins and dominant behaviour and then spawned with one of the true females. This was not any sort of gender reversal, but simply a male not developing the characteristic male features due to the presence in the confined space of the tank of a dominant male. I have not read of this occurring in gourami.


Byron Hosking, BMus, MA
Vancouver, BC, Canada

The aquarist is one who must learn the ways of the biologist, the chemist, and the veterinarian. [unknown source]

Something we all need to remember: The fish you've acquired was quite happy not being owned by you, minding its own business. If you’re going to take it under your wing then you’re responsible for it. Every aspect of its life is under your control, from water quality and temperature to swimming space. [Nathan Hill in PFK]
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