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Big Meanie: Behemoth of the Gouramis - Osphronemus goramy Golden Giant Gourami

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Big Meanie and Her Subjects

Big Meanie with Herichthys sp. turquoise 'Pantepec', chocolate cichlid, bocourti, and fat sleeper goby December 2009

Big Meanie with Herichthys sp. turquoise 'Pantepec', chocolate cichlid, bocourti, and fat sleeper goby December 2009

Update: Subjects Have Changed, but She's Still the Same!

Big Fish in a Small Body

Big Meanie wasn't always big, but she surely has always been mean. She was given to me by a friend due to her aggression toward his flowerhorns. She was literally beating them to death. Considering they were valued at probably fifty times more money that she was, he was none too happy about the situation. He has a disposition bent towards killing fish that he doesn't want any more rather than finding homes for them. Fortunately for Big Meanie, he asked me if I wanted her.

She was all of five inches or so when he brought her over to me early in 2009. The month is vague in my mind, but he thinks it was around May or June. It could possibly be earlier in the year. She was a beautiful pink with an orange hue and feisty; instantly she ruled the ninety gallon aquarium I placed her in. Her tank mates were some clown loaches, Botia modesta, and some various cichlids; which they were escapes me now.


Big Meanie is an Osphronemus goramy, also known as a giant gourami, and is the golden color form. She is not an albino, but considered leucistic since she has the pink pigment variance, but normal colored eyes. The golden or leucistic giant gourami is one of two color phases of the O. goramy. The other is a greyish-black striped fish with the same mean disposition.

There are three other Osphronemus species laticlavius (red tail giant gourami), septemfasciatus, and exodon (Elephant ear gourami). O. goramy is the most common amongst the four species. All of which reach a very large size, hence the giant in their name. Their voracious appetites match their size and they will out compete just about any other fish for food.

Queen of the 210 Gallon Aquarium

Big Meanie has lived in the 210 gallon aquarium in the living room since mid-Fall 2009. She is truly the queen of the tank and bullies any fish in the tank with a body shape similar to hers. The fish that aren't shaped like she is tend to escape her attention. One would think that it is because they are smaller and faster than her, but to the contrary she is the fastest, most powerful swimmer in her domain. Not one fish can escape her onslaught.

My fiancée has fed the fish in all the aquariums since we started dating and even more so since we've been living together. Big Meanie does not like her at all and tries to attack her through the glass. She has tried to get her hand when she puts food in the aquarium. When we sit on the sofa together, Big Meanie will head to the end of the aquarium near us and sit and stare at my fiancée. If it's just me sitting by myself, she won't display this behaviour. My fiancée threatens Big Meanie (and me) saying that she's going to filet her and cook her one day.

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The Future

A friend of mine has a normal-colored male that he wants to give me that will likely be Big Meanies' boyfriend. Unless, of course, she decides to kill him or him her. He has been entirely too busy to net the big boy out of his 2600 gallon aquarium where he is terrorizing everything. That's no easy task since the tank is twenty-six foot long, four foot wide, and three foot deep!

Once my 4300 gallon aquarium and 1500 gallon pond are finished, Big Meanie will spend Winters in the 4300 gallon aquarium and Summers in the 1500 gallon pond where I hope to have her produce thousands of fry with her mate. Until that time, she'll live in the 210 wreaking havoc and trying to bite my fiancée through the glass.


the fix on November 28, 2010:

thanks for introducing me to Big Meanie, I hope she gets along with her new Bo!

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