Care Guide for Dwarf Gouramis – Feisty Relative Of Betta Fish


Care Guide for Dwarf Gouramis – Feisty Relative of Betta Fish

You are looking for a striking fish that will catch your attention, but isn’t a Betta fish? Because of its bright colors, strong personality, and toughness, the dwarf gourami is an attractive alternative. Despite the beginner-friendly reputation, it isn’t always the most peaceful community fish, so before you get one, let’s talk about its care requirements when it comes to housing, potential tank mates, food, and breeding.

What are Dwarf Gouramis?

Trichogaster lalius, a gourami, has an oblong shape and two whisker-like pelvic Fins. They help the fish navigate past 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. It is similar to the betta fish and a labyrinth fish or anabantoid. It has a lung-like, labyrinth organ that allows it to gulp oxygen from the air. This adaptation allows it live in shallow, oxygen-deprived water of South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

What are the different types of dwarf gouramis? The regular variety is already stunning with its shiny, light blue body and red, vertical stripes. The powder blue dwarf gourami is all light blue with no red stripes, whereas the flame dwarf gourami has a red-orange body with 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 can live for about 2 to 3 years if they are given good nutrition and care. They are more likely to develop Iridovirus dwarf-gourami disease, a viral infection that is almost impossible to treat and which has a high death rate. This condition can be found in many online articles. 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.

Dwarf gouramis at the pet store

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 where there is frequent flooding by monsoons.

How do I decide how many dwarf gouramis to keep together? They are often sold as a community fish and many online sources suggest keeping them together. Most dwarf gouramis in the pet store are males and can be territorial bullies. Expect a lot more squabbling and chasing when you combine them. Yes, a group of dwarf gouramis might work in a huge tank where the males have space to establish their own space and can’t find each other, but in general, we recommend getting one as a centerpiece fish with other community tank mates.

Can dwarf gouramis be kept with fish? They are very similar to betta fish. It all depends on the individual fish’s personality as to whether it can live in community tanks. 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. If you can find them, female powder blue dwarf gouramis are one of our favorites because they are often more peaceful than males but still have the same brilliant blue color.

If your dwarf gourami is calmer, keep them with calmer, similar-sized fish, such as corydoras catsfish, tetras and rasboras. Although they can get along with other labyrinth fish like bettas, this is largely dependent on their disposition. As with most fish, they will take advantage of any opportunity to eat anything, such as baby fish or cherry shrimp.

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 can be aggressive eaters and may chase other fish away. 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. Sometimes, they like to eat alga.

How to Breed Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf gouramis are easy to breed if you haven’t bred bubble nesters before. It is difficult to find a female, since they are not available in most shops. Males are more colorful, and have a pointed dorsal tip. Females are more round. You should begin by conditioning the adult animals with high-quality foods. Set up a 10-gallon breeding tank with shallow water between 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) deep and warmer temperatures around 80-82degF (27-28degC). 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.

Once the male has built his bubble nest, it will court the female by wrapping himself around him, causing the latter to release a cloud of tiny white sand grains-like eggs. This behavior will be repeated several times until hundreds are released. The male will grab the eggs with his tongue and throw 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 keep the fry safe for a few more days, until they hatch and can swim 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.