Why Is My Gourami Gasping For Air? 4 Reasons Explained

Why is my Gourami gasping for air?

Have you seen a Gourami fish surface and gasp for air and go back into the water again?. I you have seen such, or yours does that, there is every chance that you might be looking for answers to that particular behavior. Well, you are in the right place, because this article will answer your questions.

Why is my Gourami gasping for air? Gouramis have a labyrinth organ that acts as a lung, which allows them to breath air at the surface. This their ability enables them to live in shallow oxygen water.

Gouramis gasping for air at the surface of the water is very normal and calls for no action because, they use it to breath air, which they use to do many things, which we will look into in a minute.

If you are familiar with them, they do this so often because they belong to the family of Osphonemidae, Helostomatidae, and Anabantidae.

They have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breath air, which gives them the ability to stay in low oxygenated water and still survive.

Apart from to breath, there are other reasons why they take in air, which we will see below.

Why Is My Gourami Gasping For Air?

Your Gourami could be gasping for air for any of these reasons:

1. To breath: As I explained above, they normally do this to breath air.

They have a labyrinth organ that enables them to take in air, which also gives them the special ability to survive in very shallow water, or in water that is low on oxygen where other fish can’t possibly survive.

This is one of the main reasons why many people don’t bother to get an air pump for their Gouramis. They don’t necessarily need it because they can get air for themselves and still be alright, even if there is a shortage of oxygen in their tank.

So, you have nothing to worry about when they do this because it is one of their special abilities.

2. They take air for nest making:

Have you ever heard that Gouramis could blow bubbles? why do you think they make the bubbles and how?. Well, I have an article about that.

To make bubbles, they will surface, take air and use it to blow the bubbles, and if they are short of air, they will repeat the same thing, and so on until they are done with it.

Although there are other reasons why they blow bubbles, so check this article below to learn all about them.

But they use air to make those bubbles, and that is why you are seeing yours gasping for air every second or minute.

3. In some rare cases, they will gasp for air when they are Stressed:

Many factors could cause stress for them which are wrong water parameters, aggressive tank mates, etc.

When they are Stressed, they will kind of open their mouth as if they are breathing air now and then.

4. Your Gourami could do this sometimes if it is sick, but the only way to know it is sick is if it becomes very dull and inactive because they are naturally very active fish.

These are the possible reasons why your Grourami is gasping for air at the surface.

Here Are Some FAQs you might have in mind about Gouramis and air gasping.

Do Gouramis Need Air Pump?

No, Gouramis have a special organ that allows them to breath air from the surface, that is why they could sometimes gasp for air.

Although you can put in place an air pump you have other fish in the tank too, if it is only Gouramis, there is no need for that, because they can live in deep water without having the problems of lack of oxygen, unlike other fish.


These are the reasons why they do this, so you have absolutely nothing to worry about seeing your Gourami gasping for air, unless it sucks, which might require the immediate attention of a veterinarian doctor for possible medications and medical advice too.

I hope this article is helpful. Good luck.