Why is Your Three Spot Gouramis Chasing Each Other?

When you have a three spot gourami in your fish tank, it’s inevitable that at some point you’ll see them chasing each other. But why do they do this? In this post, we’ll explore the possible reasons behind this behavior and what you can do to discourage it.

Why Three Spot Gouramis is Chasing?

There are several reasons that your fish might be chasing each other, the most common being:

  • Fish have been placed in too small a tank.
  • The male is chasing the female in preparation for spawning.
  • There isn’t enough surface area for all three fish to breathe from.
  • One or more of the fish are sick.

Let’s explore these further to understand how you might be able to stop them from chasing each other.

Too Small a Tank?

One common reason for chasing is that your three spot gourami has outgrown its tank space. These fish can typically reach around 8 inches in length, so a 30 gallon tank would be the minimum you should have. If you have a larger aquarium, even better!

If your tank is smaller than this and you still have three or more gouramis in there, they’ll likely start to display territorial behavior towards each other. It’s hard to stop them from chasing once this happens, so the best thing to do is prevent it from happening in the first place.


Your male fish might be chasing the female fish because they are preparing for spawning. You mustn’t allow this to happen unless you plan on breeding them. They’ll need a specially designed tank for this process, and ideally, the tank should only have the two fish in it. Watch them closely to make sure they don’t try to eat each other.

Sick Fish?

Your fish may be chasing simply because they are ill. This is especially common with the three spot gourami since they produce a toxin as part of their immune system, so if they become sick, other fish in the tank will be affected as well. Make sure you take a good look at your fish and check them for any signs of injury or disease.

Not Enough Surface Area?

The last common reason that your three spot gourami might be chasing each other is that there isn’t enough surface area for all of them to breathe from. In the wild, these fish don’t occupy the top of the tank, so they need a lot of open space for water to flow over their gills.

If you have an air pump in your tank with several bubbles going upwards, this can help your fish to get plenty of oxygen and discourage them from chasing one another.

Is it Possible to Stop the Chasing Behavior?

Fish who aren’t in a spawning cycle will often stop chasing each other once they become familiar with their tank space and you add some plants and other décor items which shelter them. 

However, if your fish continue to show signs of stress or aggression (such as tail biting, fin biting, or excessive hiding), you might want to re-home one or more of them.

In summary, there are many possible reasons behind the chasing behavior your three spot gourami is exhibiting. If you’ve ruled out other causes such as disease and injury, take a good look at the tank size and make sure they have plenty of room to hide and get fresh air.