Care Guide for Dwarf Gouramis – Feisty Relative of Betta Fish
Looking for an eye-catching fish that isn’t a betta fish? Due to its vivid colors, personality and hardiness, the dwarf gourami has become a popular choice. It is not always the most peaceful fish in a community, despite its popularity as a beginner-friendly species. Let’s discuss the care requirements for your dwarf gourami, including housing, possible tank mates, food, and breeding.
What are Dwarf Gouramis?
Trichogaster lalius is a gourami with the classic oblong silhouette and two whisker-like pelvic fins that help the fish navigate through obstacles. Growing up to 3 inches (8 cm) long, it is one of the smaller gouramis available in the aquarium hobby and is part of the same family as betta fish and paradise fish. Like the betta fish, it is a labyrinth fish (or anabantoid) that possesses a lung-like labyrinth organ for gulping oxygen directly from the air. This adaptation allows it to survive in the oxygen-deficient waters of South Asia, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Bangladesh.
What is the difference between dwarf gouramis? With its bright, shiny body and red vertical stripes, the regular variety is already striking. The powder blue dwarf goesurami is all blue with no red stripes. While the flame dwarf gourami’s body has iridescent-blue fins and has a red-orange color, it has iridescent-blue fins.
Are dwarf gouramis easy to care for? In our experience, this species is very resilient and can put up with a wide range of water parameters. They live between 2 and 4 years with good care and a healthy diet. Many online articles talk about how they are prone to having Iridovirus dwarf gourami disease – a viral infection that is nearly impossible to cure and has a high mortality rate. After years of buying thousands of dwarf gouramis for our fish store, we have yet to personally encounter this disease. However, there are rare cases when we get dwarf gouramis from overbreeding. If you do buy one at the fish shop, make sure it looks and feels healthy before you bring it home.
Pet shop: Dwarf gouramis
How to Set Up an Aquarium for Dwarf Gouramis
Dwarf gouramis are used to dwelling in slow-moving waterways and ditches that are filled with dense vegetation, so they would appreciate a 10-gallon or larger aquarium with slow flow and live aquarium plants. They can survive in areas with frequent flooding due to monsoons.
How many dwarf guramis should I keep? Because they are often sold as community fish, there is a lot of conflicting information. Many online sources recommend keeping them together. However, in reality, almost all of the dwarf gouramis you see at the pet store are male and they can be territorial bullies. When you put them together, expect a lot of squabbling, chasing, fin nipping, and other damage. A group of dwarf gouramis could work in a large tank, where males can establish their own space. However, in general we recommend that you get one fish as a centerpiece fish along with your tank mates.
Which fish can live with dwarf guramis? It doesn’t matter if there is only one dwarf gourami. Their personalities will determine if it can live in a tank. Some are quite calm and won’t bother anybody, while others get aggressive when they eat, while others attack all creatures who cross their path. Female powder blue dwarf gouramis, if you can find them are one of our favorite species. They are more peaceful than their male counterparts and still have the same bright blue color.
If your dwarf gourami has a calm temperament, you might consider keeping them with other peaceful fish such as corydoras catfish or tetras. Although they can get along with other labyrinth fish like bettas, this is largely dependent on their disposition. Like most fish, they will opportunistically snack on anything that can fit in their mouths, like cherry shrimp and baby fish.
Flame dwarf urami in a planted aquarium
What do Dwarf Gouramis eat?
Anabantoids usually hang out in the top half of the aquarium, but we find that dwarf gouramis swim at all levels and will go after both sinking and floating foods. They are eager eaters that may try to chase away other fish and eat the lion’s share of the food, so watch out for slower species getting outcompeted during mealtimes. For the best health and color of your gourami, provide them a varied, omnivorous diet of prepared, gel, frozen, and live foods. They love fish flakes, floating Betta pellets and community pellets. They sometimes like to pick on algae as well.
How to Breed Dwarf Gouramis
If you have never bred a bubble nester before, dwarf gouramis are relatively easy to reproduce. It is difficult to find a female, since they are not available in most shops. Males tend to be more colorful and have a more pointed dorsal end. Females, on the other hand, have a more round dorsal. Start with conditioning the adults by feeding them lots of high-quality foods. A 10-gallon tank should be set up with shallow water of 6-8 inches (15-20cm) depth and warm temperatures between 80-82degF (27-30c). To reduce surface agitation, use a sponge filter that flows gently and add floating plants like floating water sprite to give the male a base to build his bubble nest. Some hobbyists also like to cover the aquarium with plastic cellophane wrap to keep the humidity as high as possible for proper labyrinth organ development in the babies.
After the male has created his bubble nest, he will court and wrap himself around the female, causing her to drop a cloud of eggs that look like tiny grains of white sand. They will do this several times until they release hundreds of eggs. Each time the male picks up eggs with his mouth, he will spit them out of his bubble nest. The male will chase the female away from the nest, so remove them once they have finished mating. The male will guard the fry for a few weeks until they hatch and begin swimming freely. The male should be removed so that he doesn’t predate on the females. The baby fish should be given tiny foods, such as vinegar eels, infusoria, and powdered fried food, for the first few weeks. Once they are big enough, switch to feeding baby brine shrimp, which will help them grow fast and healthy.
A couple of powder-blue dwarf gouramis for courting
If you like the look of gouramis and want to learn about other peaceful species you can keep, check out our article on the Top 5 Peaceful Gouramis for a Community Tank.