Dwarf Gourami Care + Interesting Facts [A Comprehensive Guide]

Dwarf gourami in an aquarium

Dwarf gouramis are favorites among aquarists for their stunning visual appearance, hardiness, social behavior, and low maintenance cost.

Let’s learn about these beautiful fish in more detail.

Dwarf Gourami Species Overview

Common NamesDwarf gourami, powder blue gourami, sunset gourami, red gourami, and flame gourami
Scientific NameTrichogaster Ialius

Dwarf gouramis belong to the Osphronemidae family, more widely known as the Gourami family.

They’re native to India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. However, they’re also found in the USA, Colombia, and Singapore.

They inhabit the slow-moving waters of streams, rivulets, lakes, ponds, canals, and creeks with plentiful vegetation.

Dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish with a unique lung-like organ that can breathe oxygen straight from the air.

Appearance

A beautiful dwarf gourami

Dwarf gouramis have a unique appearance because of their elongated body shape and long fins. Both their dorsal and anal fins are merged.

Wild male dwarf gouramis have diagonal stripes of alternating blue and red colors. In contrast, females are silvery in color.

Male dwarf gouramis are larger and vividly colored than females.

They have a bright orange body with vertical turquoise blue stripes extending into the fins.

On the other hand, female dwarf gouramis look duller with silvery blue-grey color.

However, dwarf gouramis are now found in several colors and patterns due to selective breeding.

The color of captive dwarf gouramis largely depends on the living conditions.

Well-nourished dwarf gourami is likely to show bright colors than a stressed one.

Names Of Species

Dwarf gouramis are found in different types with bright colors that can liven up your tank.

Initially, the variety of dwarf gouramis was limited.

Nowadays, their colors have branched out vastly due to genetic mutations, particularly with fish bred in aquariums.

Given below are the most popular types of dwarf gouramis:

  • Flame Dwarf Gouramis,
  • Honey Dwarf Gouramis,
  • Blue Dwarf Gouramis,
  • Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis, and
  • Powder Blue Dwarf Gouramis.

Lifespan

Dwarf gouramis can live up to 4 years in captivity. However, with proper care and a nutritious diet, they can live long.

A well-maintained tank is vital in increasing their lifespan.

On the contrary, poor living conditions, stress, and inadequate diet can significantly shorten their lifespan.

Average Size

Dwarf gouramis are tiny fish. The average size of these fish is around 3.5 inches.

While some dwarf gouramis may grow larger than the average size, most remain under 4 inches.

Male dwarf gouramis grow a little larger than the female ones.

Dwarf Gourami Tank Setup

Dwarf gourami tank

Dwarf gouramis are tiny fish. That’s why many aquarists feel a small tank is sufficient.

However, they can get easily stressed in a tiny tank, and a suboptimal environment can prevent them from thriving.

So let’s understand how to set up a dwarf gourami tank in more detail.

Tank Size

Dwarf gouramis are small fish. So a minimum of 10-gallon tank is required to house three dwarf gouramis.

You can add 5 gallons of water to the tank for every additional fish.

A larger tank is recommended to allow ample space for all the fish to swim freely, explore the surroundings, and keep essential equipment like filters, heater, decorations, plants, etc.

Keeping dwarf gouramis in a small tank can be stressful for them.

Even slight changes in a small tank setup can result in significant changes in the water parameters, impacting the health of dwarf gouramis.

Tank Equipment And Decorations

Dwarf gouramis inhabit the slow-moving waters in their natural habitat.

So a tank setup that resembles their natural environment is best for them.

Dwarf gouramis are shy fish that need places to hide.

A heavily planted tank with a combination of foreground, mid-ground, and background plants can provide ample cover for them to feel comfortable.

Substrate doesn’t play a massive role for dwarf gouramis.

You can either use dark substrate, small dark gravel, or well-rounded large grains of sand.

However, you should avoid bright lights as these fish don’t like lots of light.

Given below are the items required in a dwarf gourami tank:

  • Efficient filter,
  • Aquarium heater,
  • Live plants,
  • Aquarium lights,
  • Substrate, and
  • Decorations, such as caves, rocks, driftwood, etc.

Dwarf Gourami Care

A healthy dwarf gourami

Dwarf gouramis are hardy fish and need reasonable care. They’re easy to care for once you set up the proper environment.

A densely planted tank with clean water, compatible tankmates, and a balanced diet is critical for their thriving.

Let’s now see how you can take proper care of your dwarf gouramis.

Diet

In the wild, dwarf gouramis eat small insects, larvae, and other tiny planktonic organisms that settle on the water’s surface.

Being omnivores, they also graze on algae and other plant matter.

In captivity, feeding dwarf gouramis a varied and balanced diet can help to enhance their beautiful colors and keep them healthy.

You can feed dwarf gouramis commercially available high-quality flakes and pellets containing both vegetable and meat content in their daily diet.

Veggies such as spinach, lettuce, peas, and zucchini are suitable for their healthy development.

You can boil the veggies to soften them and cut them into small pieces before feeding them to dwarf gouramis.

You can supplement their diet with live and frozen food twice or thrice a week. You can also use live food to condition the breeding pair.

Some of the live food that you must feed your dwarf gouramis are:

  • Brine shrimp,
  • Mosquito larvae,
  • Bloodworms,
  • Daphnia,
  • Mysis shrimp, etc.

Dwarf gouramis are surface feeders.

So it’s better to avoid sinking food and immediately remove any leftovers to avoid waste build-up.

You should also feed dwarf gouramis twice a day and only the amount of food they can consume within three minutes.

Water Parameters

Dwarf gouramis are hardy and can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures compared to other tropical fish.

This is because dwarf gouramis inhabit the shallow waterbodies in their natural habitat, where the water is prone to frequent temperature fluctuations.

However, it’s crucial to maintain ideal water parameters to prevent stress and sickness among dwarf gouramis.

The ideal water parameters for dwarf gouramis are:

Temperature72°F to 82°F (22°C to 28°C)
pH level6 to 8
Hardness10 to 20 dH

Tank Maintenance

Dwarf gouramis are sensitive to nitrites.

High nitrate level is one of the main reasons for the shortened lifespan of dwarf gouramis.

Regular maintenance of the tank is essential for their healthy development.

To maintain water quality, you need to perform a partial water change of around 30% every week.

Regular cleaning of the tank also helps to reduce ammonia build-up and the spread of diseases.

In addition, you need to periodically clean the aquarium decorations, substrate, filter, heater, and other equipment to maintain good water quality.

Common Diseases

Dwarf gouramis are pretty hardy. However, they’re not immune to diseases.

Poor water quality is the primary reason for dwarf gourami diseases.

Symptoms of dwarf gourami disease include pale coloration, appetite loss, abnormally dark coloration, lesions on the body, distended abdomen, slow perishing of scales, and a high mortality rate.

Internal symptoms include a reddened intestine, enlarged spleen, and fluid build-up in the body cavity.

Given below are some of the common diseases that affect dwarf gouramis:

  • Dwarf Gourami Disease (DGD),
  • Bloated Gourami Disease, also called Iridovirus,
  • Red Spots Dwarf Gourami Disease,
  • Infectious Dropsy,
  • Fin Rot,
  • Ich, etc.

Dwarf Gourami Behavior And Temperament

Dwarf gouramis are generally peaceful and shy fish.

They usually don’t bother their tankmates and are a great addition to community aquariums.

However, dwarf gouramis can be skittish when subjected to loud noise or sudden movement near their tank.

They try to hide as they feel threatened.

Although dwarf gouramis are docile, male dwarf gouramis are territorial.

They tend to be aggressive toward similar-looking fish or other dwarf gouramis.

Male dwarf gouramis can get more aggressive during the breeding period or when trying to defend their territories in small tanks.

Female dwarf gouramis, on the other hand, are not as territorial as males and can stay together.

Dwarf Gourami Tankmates

Dwarf gouramis with tankmates

Dwarf gouramis are popular for their peaceful temperament when housed in a community aquarium.

You need to house similar-sized and similar temperament fish with dwarf gouramis.

The ideal tankmates for dwarf gouramis are the bottom or mid-level dwellers, as dwarf gouramis are top dwellers.

Keeping tankmates that occupy different water levels can help maintain territorial equilibrium in the tank.

Some of the compatible tankmates for dwarf gouramis are:

  • Tetras such as neon tetras, cardinal tetras etc,
  • Mollies,
  • Platies,
  • Guppies,
  • Swordtails,
  • Loaches,
  • Rasboras,
  • Plecos,
  • Zebra Danios,
  • Otocinclus Catfish,
  • Shrimp such as Amano shrimp, cherry shrimp, etc.,
  • Mystery snails, etc.

While dwarf gouramis are compatible with numerous fish species, you should avoid keeping aggressive fish with them.

You should also avoid bright-colored fish species with big flashy fins as male dwarf gouramis can mistake them as rivals and become aggressive.

Moreover, avoid keeping fish that are very active and fast swimmers as it can result in competition for food.

The fish species that you should avoid housing with dwarf gouramis are:

  • Tiger Barbs,
  • Bettas,
  • Oscars,
  • African cichlids, etc.

Dwarf Gourami Breeding

Breeding dwarf gouramis is a simple process.

First, you need to decide whether to breed them in a separate breeding tank or a community tank.

It’s better to breed dwarf gouramis in a breeding tank as the pair can be stress-free in the breeding tank without any other fish around to bother them.

Dwarf gouramis are ready to reproduce after six months.

At this age, most mature male dwarf gouramis begin constructing nests.

You can follow the below instructions to breed dwarf gouramis in captivity.

  • Place the dwarf gourami pair in a separate breeding tank. The tank water level should be around 4 to 6 inches. The tank base should have a thin substrate layer such as sand.
  • The water temperature should be in the range of 82.5°F to 86°F.
  • You need to condition the pair by feeding them live food such as worms to stimulate breeding.
  • The male dwarf gourami builds a nest using foam and saliva. Since the nest isn’t solid, it’s crucial to have weaker water flow within the tank so that it doesn’t destroy the nest.
  • Once the nest is built, the male gourami will woo the female partner. After the mating ritual, spawning will begin.
  • Female dwarf gourami will release multiple eggs. The male dwarf gourami will catch the eggs and place them in the nest to fertilize them.
  • The spawning process takes around two to four hours until all the eggs are released. A female dwarf gourami lays around 300 to 800 eggs.
  • Once all the eggs are laid, you should remove the female dwarf gourami from the breeding tank.
  • The male dwarf gourami will take full responsibility for the eggs till they hatch and the fry start to swim.
  • The fry are born within 24 hours and develop within the bubble nest for the next few days.
  • Once the fry start free-swimming, you can remove the male dwarf gourami from the breeding tank.
  • For the first week, you can feed the fry micro-food such as infusoria, commercial fry food, or rotifers. After a week, you can feed them freshly hatched brine shrimp and finely ground flake food.
  • You can place the fry in the main tank once they reach 0.6 to 0.8 inches in size.

Frequently Asked Questions