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Gouramis and other Anabantids including the ever-popular Bettas and Siamese Fighting Fish have an internal organ called the labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe atmospheric air in addition to using their gills. This is an adaptation to the rice paddies and stagnant pools in which these fish often live. All gouramis also have specialized pelvic fins that look like long filaments that they use to sense their surroundings.
Gouramis, like bettas, are bubble nest breeders. The males build floating nests out of bubbles that the eggs are deposited into until they hatch and develop into free-swimming fry. Breeding is fairly simple. Males and females can be differentiated by colors in many cases (males being more colorful) and male fish develop a dorsal fin that is elongated and ends in a point while females stay short and rounded.
These fish will accept a large variety of floating pellet and flake foods. Gouramis are generally suitable for planted aquariums, as they will not damage the live plants. As they get larger they can become slightly aggressive, particularly to other gouramis or in confined conditions. Tank mates should be chosen to able to handle this aggression. They do well with barbs, loaches, large tetras, and semi-aggressive cichlids. Dwarf gouramis are less aggressive and can be kept with smaller or more peaceful tankmates, or in smaller aquariums than their larger counterparts. Some species are highly specialized and may grow very large or need a very specific pH range or other water parameters.