These fish belong to the Anabantid family and share the common trait that they can breath oxygen out of the air. They do this through a special organ called the Labyrinth Organ which is a modified gill which sits in a cavity above the gills. The fish is able to gulp air from the water surface which passes into the labyrinth organ where oxygen is taken out – by using this they are able to survive in small, muddy water-holes and it is often said that these species can live in elephant footprints! Bettas in particular have spectacular finnage and a huge range of colours make this an enormously popular pet. Male bettas must NOT be kept together as they will fight to the death. However, both males and females can be kept in community tropical tanks with other fish varieties but always remember – only one male per tank!
The species of gouramis found in this group generally make excellent community fish with similar sized fish and are not demanding as to water quality.