Dwarf Gourami

Scientific NameColisa lalia
Common Name(s)Dwarf gourami
Temperature Range72-82°F
Water Parameters KH 4-10, pH 6.0-7.5
Adult Size3.5in

Dwarf Gourami Facts:

  • Dwarf Gourami build bubble nests and require surface plants to create them.

  • Generally peaceful, but will fight each other for territory. Will sometimes swim in pairs.

  • Singapore raised dwarf gourami have a 22% chance of having dwarf gourami iridovirus.

Species Overview:

The dwarf gourami is a fun fish to care for, as it works well with communities and requires a heavily planted tank. They’re labyrinth fish, so generally they dwell near or at the surface, since they breathe air directly.

A good dwarf gourami habitat should be heavily planted, as they use the plants to build bubble nests and hide. The minimum tank requirement is 10-20 gallons, thought as always, the larger the community the more space is required. The real difficulty in caring for these fish comes from caring for the plants, which can be difficult for novices. The plants require a nutritious substrate, water changes, and specific temperatures and pH to thrive, but the gourami are finicky too and will benefit from a meticulously maintained tank.

Though they shouldn’t be kept with larger aggressive fish, dwarf gourami are incredibly timid and docile with other species. They won’t fight back if being nipped and bullied, so it’s important to monitor the tank. If there are multiple dwarf gourami or other species of gourami,  they may fight each other for territory, so it’s best to keep few gourami with ample space along with more timid fish. Cichlids in particular can be dangerous as they do tend to gang up on other fish. Male bettas will also pick on them, but female bettas are fine. These gourami are also easily spooked, being so timid, so the tank should be kept somewhere somber and quiet.

Feeding them is fairly easy. They’re omnivorous and will eat algae based food, as well as freeze dried meaty food, like blood worms and brine shrimp. To keep them well-fed, be sure to provide them with a varied enough diet. They don’t require anything more complex than that.

They’re a moderately easy fish to keep and the males are fun to watch. They build bubble nests using debris, which is why it’s important to have ample floating plants and plant litter. This is often done when they’re ready to mate, so if there is a nest, monitor the tank closely but be sure not to disturb the fish. They have an interesting breeding ritual, where the female swims in circles beneath the nest. Eventually the eggs will float up to the nest, and the male will collect any that haven’t. After several hours, he’ll add a protective layer to the nest and within three days, the eggs will have developed into free-swimming fry.

These beautiful fish come in red, powder blue, a turquoise variation, so even if they aren’t mating, they are beautiful ornamental fish.

Posted on August 25, 2014 and filed under Freshwater Fish.