How to Care For Sunset Honey Gourami

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Sugeesh, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sunset Honey Gourami, also known as the Trichogaster chuna, is a beautiful species of fish, native to the India and Bangladesh region in Asia. It is a part of the Gourami group of fish, which are known for their beauty, and peaceful nature. These are native to the rivers that flow near the border between India and Bangladesh. It is also found in some lakes in those areas as well. It is a freshwater species and likes to swim between the middle layers and upper layers of water. The Sunset Honey Gourami likes soft freshwater with less amount of minerals and thick vegetation. It is a species of fish that requires minimum care and can live for a long time.

Fishkeepers like them for their peaceful nature, and orange-colored scales that cover almost entire bodies of the Sunset Honey Gouramis. It is one of the smallest fish species that you can buy for your aquarium. They look beautiful when swimming and moving across the aquarium. They are fast and when they move it feels like an orange flame is moving from one end of the aquarium to another. The average size of a Sunset Honey Gourami is about 5.5cm or 2.2inches. In this species, males are known to be more colorful, as compared to females, while females are known to be slightly bigger and heavier. The article below contains a complete care guide related to Sunset Honey Gourami.

Basic Facts Table:

Lifespan4 to 8 years, under the right living conditions
SizeAverage 5.5cm or 2.2 inches
ColorsHoney-orange and black for males, females are silvery gray with a hint of orange.
Freshwater or SaltwaterWarm, soft, and freshwater.
Care LevelMinimum
CompatibilitySame species, or other species of small size and peaceful nature.

Tank Companions: (List other fish that can be paired with Runny Nose Tetra):

It is a small and peaceful species of fish, so you should only pair them with other smaller and peaceful species. If you put them with fish that are larger and aggressive, they can attack them and it can destroy the peaceful environment of the tank. Also, there are chances that larger fish would eat the fry of the Sunset Honey Gouramis. Also, aggressive and more active fish would cause them to starve as they would eat most of the food you put in the tank and leave almost nothing for the slow and peaceful Sunset Honey Gourami. These are the reasons why you should only pair them with peaceful fish of the same size. 

Here is the list of tank companions that are suitable for a community tank of Sunset Honey Gouramis.

  1. Harlequin Rasbora
  2. Pethia
  3. Danios
  4. Puntius
  5. Barbs
  6. Coolie Loach
  7. Corydoras
  8. Otocinclus
  9. Rainbowfish

Apart from fish, you can also keep the snails in your community aquarium. Avoid putting any shrimp as they will get eaten by the fish. It is always better to keep the Sunset Honey Gourami in a group of 4 to 6 individuals as they prefer the company of their species as compared to other fish.


Sunset Honey Gouramis have a honey-colored orange body. Male and females of this species show different colors and are easy to spot and differentiate based on the color of their scales. Males’ Sunset Honey Gouramis are bright and have more honey-orange color with some black spots. Meanwhile, the female Sunset Honey Gouramis have gray scales all over the body, this gray color also gives a tint of honey-orange in some females. Based on these color differences, you can easily spot a male and female, this helps during the breeding process.

The average size of the Sunset Honey Gourami fish is about 5.5cm or 2.2 inches. Female Sunset Honey Gouramis bodies become thicker as compared to males during the time of breeding as they contain eggs. The male body also changes during the breeding season, as the color around the neck portion of their bodies becomes brighter as they court the female. The undersides also become blackish during the time of breeding. The fins of males contain orange honey color combinations in the fins. The caudal fin has a different color as compared to other fins.

The male Sunset Honey Gouramis also have longer fins, one of them is a pointed dorsal fin and the other is known as the anal fin rays. Some selectively bred Sunset Honey Gourami varieties also display red-orange color combinations. But most of the fishkeepers prefer their original honey-orange color as compared to the bright red-orange mixture.

Natural Habitat:

Their natural habitats are the lakes and rivers of the Bangladesh – India border region. It is mostly found in places with slow water currents and more vegetation. Rivers that originate from the Himalayan mountain ranges towards the eastern side of India, and Bangladesh form a lot of places, such as ponds, floodwater areas, and slow-moving rivers and canals are the major sources of their origin. Warm water helps them regulate their internal temperature, which allows them to survive.

The Sunset Honey Gouramis like to float in places with more vegetation that not only protects them from water current but also other fish and predators. This vegetation also acts as a food source for them. Their natural habitat is full of larvae, and many other small foods that the Sunset Honey Gourami feeds on in the wild. It helps them survive in wild environments. Also, the Sunset Honey Gouramis like to live in places where water is warm, shallow, and soft. If water is hard and contains a lot of minerals, it wouldn’t be able to survive. Water in their natural habitat is also slightly acidic.

The lifespan of Sunset Honey Gourami:

The average lifespan of a Sunset Honey Gourami is about 6 years. They can live between 4 to 8 years. In the wild, they might not survive as long as this but in the controlled environment that favors their growth, they can easily outlive their predicted lifespan. So, if you want your Sunset Honey Gouramis to live long and be healthy, you will need to keep them in an artificially controlled environment where the conditions are optimal for their growth and survival. In an aquarium, their lifespan would depend on your care. That is why you should work on providing them with the type of conditions they need to live. 

Habitat and Tank Conditions:

As it was mentioned above, the lifespan of Sunset Honey Gouramis depends on the type of care and environment you provide. So, if you want your fish to live longer and healthier, you should provide them with the optimal conditions that mimic their natural habitat. To know the habitat and tank conditions, you will need to work on a few parameters, for example, water inlet, filtration, temperature management, the material inside the tank, vegetation, and the environment setting of the aquarium. You should start with the size of the aquarium for the Sunset Honey Gourami fish. The ideal size of the tank depends on the number of fish that you want to keep in.

To build a perfect habitat, you should use a soft and fine grain substrate but you can also use other materials such as gravel as the Sunset Honey Gourami fish does not swim in the bottom layers. Use some water-based plants that can float in the middle and upper layers of the tank. This vegetation in the middle of the tank will help them hide from other fish. Also, make sure that you use materials that are suitable for aquariums and have enough space that they can easily move around. Do not use anything with smaller holes that can trap them as that would not be optimal.

As the Sunset Honey Gourami fish are cold-blooded, they need their surroundings to help them control their internal temperature. That means you will need to work on keeping the water warm. You can use a water heater that has controlled settings to maintain the temperature. The optimal temperature range for the Sunset Honey Gourami water tank would be about 71-82°F. Make sure that water temperature remains the same during the year, except for the time when you want the fish to breed.

You will also have to use external filters to keep the water clean inside the aquarium. Make sure that about 25% of the water inside the tank is changed every week and the filtration process continues. Otherwise, pollution in the tank water would cause the fish to catch diseases, and die.

Water Conditions:

Water is the most important element here and you need to make sure that water inside the aquarium of Sunset Honey Gourami fish is according to their needs. Any type of change in the water conditions from the optimal range can impact their health and can even cause the death of Sunset Honey Gourami fish. Here are the water conditions that you should provide to them.

Water condition parameters

  1. Harness should be about 4-15 dGH.
  2. The pH of the water should be about 6.0-7.5.
  3. The temperature should be maintained at 72°F to 82°F.
  4. Movement in the water or water current should be kept slow.
  5. Add 10 gallons of water for each fish.

The Sunset Honey Gourami is small-sized fish, which means they cannot swim in faster currents. That is why you should use the lowest settings for the flow of water.

Water Source:

For the Sunset Honey Gourami fish aquarium, you can use the tap water if it is clean and contains no harmful chemicals. You should get your water tested before putting it in the tank. The lab results will tell you about the number of harmful chemicals such as chlorines, phosphates, and others in the water source. If these amounts are higher, you should not use your tap water without filtration.

fish do not need the phosphates and nitrates, but the plants inside the tank need them in trace amounts. Otherwise, they would not grow. So, to make sure that plants inside the tank get the minerals they need. But a higher amount of these minerals can lead to water being hard and that can lead to several problems for the fish. So, make sure that water hardness never crosses the recommended limits. If you do not want to use the tap water, there are a lot of places from where you can get the water for the aquarium. You can also use the distillation, and reverse osmosis process to clean the water from harmful chemicals and keep it fresh and usable. Use whichever method works for your aquarium.

Ideal Size For The Tank:

To calculate the ideal size of your fish tank, you need to know the number of fish that you want to keep in that tank. For example, if you want to keep 2 fish in that tank, you will need at least 20 gallons of water. This is because one Sunset Honey Gourami fish needs at least 10 gallons of water. The main reason that they require this much water is that they are active species and like to move around a lot. Also, they are very possessive about their territories. So, you will have to keep them apart from one another and also from other fish to avoid territorial conflicts. For that reason, you will have to use larger tanks if you want to keep more fish in the tank.

The general formula for calculating the size of a tank is given here. 1 fish =10 gallon, 2 fish = 20 gallon+ 5 gallons more, 3 fish= 30 gallons and 3 gallons more. 4 fish = 40 gallons and 2.5 gallons more. You will have to divide the number of fish by the number of gallons to calculate the extra water you need and add it to the multiple of fish number and gallons per fish. You can also ask other fishkeepers for recommendations about the ideal size of a fish tank in case you want to build a community aquarium of more than one species.

Behavior and Temperament:

The Sunset Honey Gouramis are known as some of the most peaceful species. They just like to swim around and move in their territory peacefully. Apart from this, they also like to pair within groups and move side by side and play with each other. The playful nature of these beautiful species is what attracts many fishkeepers.

The Sunset Honey Gouramis are a very active species of fish that likes to move around. Also, the Sunset Honey Gourami fish are very easily scared, they do not get into fights if other fish are intimidating them. It would run and hide in their favorite spots. Also, they do not like the presence of larger species of fish. So, if there are any large fish in the aquarium, they would remain hidden most of the time. That is why you should pair them with peaceful and small fish species only.

Breeding Sunset Honey Gouramis:

It is one of the easiest fish species to breed, as both males and females are easy to spot. So, if you want to breed them, you should get an equal number of males and females. If it is possible, try to quarantine them from one another so that they do not eat each other’s eggs or fry. Separate each pair that you want to breed, and provide them with the right conditions for breeding.

They like to breed in warm climates, usually near the spring and early summer season, so you should provide them conditions such as slightly bright lighting, and warm water within the limits. This will convince them to breed, and once they do, they will start to form pairs. Male and female would move around in the tank side by side. They will also build a nest bubble inside the tank, preferably under the leaves of plants.

You should put one male and one female in a separate breeding tank of about 10 to 20 gallons and maintain the optimal conditions as given above. Just slightly change the water temperature and let the male and female start the courting procedure. Male mostly starts by building a bubble nest and begins displaying changes in its color. Females, on the other hand, eat a lot of food and start to change the shape of their bodies.

The Male also tends to display affection, and dances around the female, and would pursue the female to follow the male towards the nest. After reaching near the bubble, spawning will start and after that, females will release about 20 eggs. This process would go on multiple times and each time, females would release a similar amount of eggs in the water. Male would fertilize the eggs and would put them in its mouth and take them to the bubble nest that is built. Once about 300 eggs have been fertilized, this process would stop.

After placing the eggs in the bubble nest, the male takes care of the nest. You should remove the female from the tank at this point as male Sunset Honey Gourami fish can become aggressive and chase the female away. Male guards the eggs and cares for them.

Eggs and Fry Care Guide:

If the water is at optimal temperature, it would take the eggs about 24-36 hours to hatch. The presence of males at this stage is not required and is considered harmful for the young fry as males tend towards eating the young fry and harming them. That is why you should remove the male at this stage and allow the fry to grow. It will take them about three days to learn how to swim.

You should feed them a specialized fry diet that is recommended for them. Liquid fry food or infusoria is known as the best food item at this stage. After a few days, they would be able to eat small baby shrimps. It is better that you should not put them in the same tank as the adults, instead, you should put them in a separate tank with the other fish of the same age.

Diet of Sunset Honey Gourami:

The diet of Sunset Honey Gourami fish is omnivorous as they eat both vegetation and small animals such as shrimps. This type of diet helps them live in wild environments. But in the aquarium, they would rarely graze the plants and would mostly use them for hiding spots. You should feed them fresh or flake food. A good balance of these two would help you keep them healthy and well-fed.

The Sunset Honey Gourami fish also eats small shrimps and bloodworms. So, you should consider feeding them live food every once in a while. You should also include vegetation in your diet. You will have to feed them twice a day. Make sure that you only feed them enough that they can eat and finish within a minute. Once the food reaches the bottom, they would not eat it and it would rot in the button of the tank.

Diseases of Sunset Honey Gourami:

There are a few diseases that can impact the health and lifespan of your Sunset Honey Gourami fish. Here is a list of these diseases and how to deal with them.

  • Velvet Diseases:

It is one of the most common diseases in Sunset Honey Gourami. The reason behind this illness is a parasite, known as the Oodinium pilularis. It is a lethal health condition that can cause death in most cases. It turns the scale of the fish into powdery brown or gold dust. Mostly it happens because of the poor filtration and pollution in the water and you can avoid it by keeping the water clean. There are treatments available for this condition but only work in the early days of the disease. So, you should look for the signs of infection and if found, separate that fish from others and get it treated.

  • Ich:

Another very common disease is found in many fish. It is caused by Ichthyophthirius multifiliis and pollution in the water. It is curable but you will need to clean the entire aquarium and will have to replace the water as well. The signs of this disease include white spots on the body of the fish.

  • Hexamitiasis:

This is a disease that is caused by a parasite named Hexamita. It comes from the poor water conditions inside the tank and also from the infected fish that you might have brought to your aquarium. So, it can be prevented by keeping the water and tank conditions at optimal range. Also, if your fish is infected, keep it quarantined, and use appropriate medicine to cure the illness.

Is Sunset Honey Gourami a Saltwater or Freshwater Species?

The Sunset Honey Gourami fish is a freshwater species.

Is Sunset Honey Gourami a Schooling Species?

No, it is one of those species that do not like schooling. They can be kept alone, within pairs, and within a group of four or five fish. They would adjust in the group and pair but would not school. Each individual would go on in a different direction and would move without a pattern. Although they play with other fish in the same group and pair, they do not like to be followed all the time. There are times when they would hide from other fish.

How Many Sunset Honey Gourami Should Be Kept Per Gallon of Water?

To keep one Sunset Honey Gourami in a tank, you will need 10 gallons of water. The more fish you add, the more water and bigger tank you will need. For example, if you want to build an aquarium with five fish, you will have to use at least 50 gallons of water or more.  This is because these fish need space inside the tank from one another. Although they get along with a group of fish, they do not like their personal space to be attacked, or evaded. So, to keep the environment peaceful, you should use bigger tanks and more water or useless fish.

Conclusion – Is Sunset Honey Gourami Suitable For Your Aquarium?

Well, the answer to this question is simple. If you want an orange-honey-colored, beautiful fish in your tank that requires minimum care, then yes, you should have this fish. It is a great fish species for the new fish keepers who are not aware of proper fishkeeping. The Sunset Honey Gourami is durable and can live through a few mistakes made by the fishkeeper. It is especially good for those who are learning to be a fishkeeper. Apart from this, they are a peaceful, beautiful, joyous species that will keep you engaged and entertained while you are watching your aquarium.


Question: What is the size of Sunset Honey Gourami?

Answer: The average size of the Sunset Honey Gourami fish is about 5.5cm or 2.2 inches. The males in this species tend to be longer while females tend to be thicker. Some healthy specimens of this fish may even be bigger than their average size.

Question: How to breed Sunset Honey Gourami?

Answer: You will have to separate the pairs of male and female for breeding. Put one pair in each tank, and provide them with the right conditions. The Male would court the female, and the female would spawn, after that male would fertilize the eggs and would take them to the nested bubble. Remove the female at this point and let the male take care of the eggs. Once the eggs start to hatch, remove the male from the tank as well and feed the cry liquid food that is recommended.

Question: What is the difference between Sunset Honey Gourami and Dwarf Gourami?

Answer: Sunset Honey Gourami has a larger size and has brighter orange-honey colors in their bodies. Meanwhile, the dwarf gourami has red, blue, and black, and orange stripes on their bodies. You can easily spot the two with the help of stripes. if it has stripes, it is Dwarf Gourami but if the body has plain orange-honey color, it will be Sunset Honey Gourami.

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