Come and see our two giant gourami - Gladys and Gerry.
In colour, giant gouramis are a pale to golden yellow, with silvery, pale blue stripes running vertically along its body. Like all other gouramis, this fish can breathe air using a special 'labyrinth organ' which acts like a lung, enabling them to survive in oxygen-depleted waters. Giant gouramis can grow to 50 cm length.
Gouramis are active fish with a high metabolism and they eat a lot. They prefer algae-based foods, but will eat meaty foods.
Giant gouramis are believed to have originated in Java, and possibly Sumatra, Borneo, and other islands in the Malay Archipelago, but their range is much greater today. They have been introduced into a number of countries throughout Southeast Asia where they are fished and cultured as a delectable food fish.
Gouramis live in shallow weed-choked pools, where oxygen is sometimes in short supply. Being able to breathe mouthfuls of air is very useful in these conditions.
The giant gourami is now farmed for food and is in no danger of extinction. However, it is a threat to other species, as when it is introduced to pools it can rapidly out-compete and outgrow the native species.
A gourami can grow from 7.5cm to 50cm in four years. At this age, in addition to the rounded face, a mature giant gourami will have begun to develop the hump just above its eyes. You can see this hump in Gerry and Gladys.
You can find our giant gourami in the Aquarium, next to the Reptile House and Bug World
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