Care Guide for Dwarf Gouramis – Feisty Relative of Betta Fish
Looking for an eye-catching fish that isn’t a betta fish? The dwarf gourami is a very popular alternative because of its vibrant colors, bold personality, and hardiness. 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 is a Dwarf Gourami?
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 live in shallow, oxygen-deprived water of South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan 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.
Is dwarf gourami easy to care? We have found that this species is extremely resilient and can withstand a wide variety of water conditions. 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. We have never had to encounter this disease despite having purchased thousands of dwarf gouramis over the years for our fish shop. That being said, we occasionally get batches that have genetic deformities caused by overbreeding, so if you are buying a dwarf gourami at the fish store, just make sure it looks and acts healthy before you bring it home.
The pet shop sells 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 are hardy enough to survive in areas that experience sudden flooding from monsoons and can live in pH levels of 6-8, temperatures from 72-82degF (22-28degC), and soft to hard water.
How many dwarf gouramis should I keep together? There is a lot of conflicting information because they are commonly sold as community fish and several online sources suggest keeping them in a group. However, in reality, almost all of the dwarf gouramis you see at the pet store are male and they can be territorial bullies. You can expect lots of squabbling, chase, fin nipping and other damage when you put them together. 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. While some are calm and will not bother others, others can be quite aggressive and attack anyone who crosses their territory. 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 is calmer, keep them with calmer, similar-sized fish, such as corydoras catsfish, tetras and rasboras. They tend to not get along with other labyrinth fish (like bettas), but again, it all depends on the individual’s 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 are Dwarf Gouramis’ Favorite Foods?
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. Your gourami will be healthy and happy if they are fed a variety of prepared, frozen, frozen, and live foods. They enjoy eating fish flakes, floating betta pellets, community pellets, bloodworms, daphnia, brine shrimp, and more. Sometimes, they like to eat alga.
How to Breed Dwarf Gouramis
Dwarf gouramis can be bred easily if you’ve never tried it before. Finding a female is the most difficult part of breeding bubble nesters, as many stores don’t carry them. 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. 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). Use a sponge filter with gentle flow, and add floating plants (like floating water sprite) to reduce the surface agitation and give the male a foundation 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. Once the pair are done mating, remove the female because the male will relentlessly chase her away as he guards the nest. The male will keep the fry safe for a few more days, until they hatch and can swim freely. Remove the male at that point so he does not predate on any of his offspring. The baby fish should be given tiny foods, such as vinegar eels, infusoria, and powdered fried food, for the first few weeks. Baby brine shrimp can be fed to them once they have grown enough.
A couple of powder-blue dwarf gouramis for courting
If you like the look gouramis have and are interested in other peaceful species you could keep, read our article on the Top 5 Peaceful Gouramis for your Community Tank.