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The Dwarf Gourami - Aquarium Setup and Proper Care

Resized small image of Dwarf gourami, 1 Resized small image of Dwarf gourami, 2

Brief Description

This is a guide on raising, feeding and breeding Dwarf gouramis; Simply scroll down and in case you can't find answer on your question, simply use a form at the bottom to ask us! You might be interested in visiting this page too: Dwarf gourami - Colisa lalia profile with forum.

The Dwarf Gourami is one of the small members of the Gourami family. Males are a little bit larger than the females, reaching up to 6 cm (2.36 inch) in length. In the wild the male is very colorful while the female is less colored. There are several color variations, including Blue/Powder Blue, Neon, Rainbow, and Red/Blushing.

Aquarium setup

Dwarf Gouramis are Labyrinth Fish, meaning they breath directly from the air, so they must have access to the surface. It is recommended to keep them in a tank that is more than 15 US USgallons (roughly 57 liters, 12.5 Imperial gallons) in size. Water conditions in the tank should be stable with pH between 6.5 and 8.0, temperature from 23.0 to 28.0 °C (73.4 - 82.4 °F) and water hardness dGH of 4.0 - 18.0 °N. Keep the water conditions within acceptable intervals and these fish won't be sick, won't be stressed and will behave as naturally as a fish in an aquarium can.

Because of their peaceful and shy nature and ease of care, they are well suited to smaller aquariums, as well as community aquariums. As they're peaceful, it is quite rare for two or more males to fight for territories. In fact, this occurs when fish are kept in small tanks, if there are not enough plants present in the tank, or if only 1 female lives with 4 or more males. Simply grow more plants in your fish tank, offer your fish lots of driftwood and tall decorations including caves and rocks. Also, the truth is, that they should not be kept with very large or aggressive fish. They need plenty of vegetation, including floating plants that cover part of the surface of the water. On the one hand the Dwarf Gourami enjoys each other’s company if they are mixed and matched with a group of at least three males and about twice as many females. On the other hand the fact is that some males can be over nervous and spend most of their time hiding. If there is a pair of the fish, they will swim together.


Dwarf Gourami live in India, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh, in thickly vegetated waters. They often swim together with other Colisa species.

Feeding Dwarf Gouramis

In nature Gouramis enjoy eating small insects and larvae from the surface of the water, and graze on algae growth on plants. In the aquarium they will eat flake food, freeze-dried food like blood worms, which are actually mosquito larvae, frozen foods and vegetable tablets. For better health they should be fed by periodic feedings of live foods such as worms. Live foods should also be used to condition breeding pairs.

Never overfeed them. Amount of food that can be eaten is maximally 5 minutes is recommended to feed once a day. Juveniles should be fed twice or three times a day, the fry requires even more feeding times; up to 5-6. If you house only two specimens, then it's possible to feed them only once a day the amount that's eaten in a minute or two. The reason is that only two fish fight for food. The more specimens, the more time that's needed for weakest specimens to find and get some food.

Resized image of Dwarf gourami, 1 Resized image of Dwarf gourami, 2

How to breed dwarf gouramis

The male builds a floating bubblenest. That is why floating plants are needed in the fish tank. If the nest is built, the temperature of the water should be kept at about 82°F (approximately 28°C). After they spawn the female should be moved to a different tank if the tank is too small, which is why we recommend keeping Dwarf Gouramis in a big tank with many places to hide. The male will look after the eggs and fry, but when the fry are 2-3 days old the male will stop taking care of them. When the fry start to swim alone, they should be fed by infusoria, and later, brine shrimp and finely ground flakes. Freeze-dried tablets may also be fed to older fry.

An often question that fish keepers ask is "How often do dwarf gourami breed?". In general they can breed once a month or once per two months. But it's more likely to see them trying to spawn as much as possible during, say, 3 months and then you'll see them having a break. Then again the fish will try to spawn. Food is what affects their breeding behaviour, but feeding them earthworms all the time will lead to ignorance of this stimuli. The female will become exhausted, nothing more, nothing less.

Sexing Dwarf Gouramis is an important aspect of successful breeding, as two males won't reproduce. Sexing is already mentioned at the top of this page, but let's summarise it once again; Like all other Gouramis, males are longer, but slimmer than females. Colours of females aren't as visible as males'. Males tend to be more territorial, although Dwarf Gouramis belong to peaceful species. That's why it's possible to keep maybe 6-7 specimens in a 80 liters aquarium easily.

Once they're born, it's possible for them to live up to 4 years if kept properly. Average aquarists report a lifespan of 2-3 years.

Thanks to Jose J. for allowing us to use his picture. Dwarf gourami

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