Care Guide for Dwarf Gouramis – Feisty Relative of Betta Fish
Are you looking for an attractive fish that’s not a betta? Because of its bright colors, strong personality, and toughness, the dwarf gourami is an attractive alternative. 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 that has a classic shape and two pelvic fins like a whisker. These fins help the fish navigate around 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 adaption allows it to live in the shallow, oxygen-deprived waters of South Asian countries like 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 powdered dwarf gourami comes in a pure blue color, while the flame dwarf have a bright red body and iridescent blue fins.
Are dwarf gouramis difficult to care for? According to our experience, this species can withstand many water parameters. With good care and diet, they tend to live about 2-4 years. Iridovirus dwarfgourami disease is a viral infection which can make it difficult for them to live. There are many online articles that discuss this condition. We have never had to encounter this disease despite having purchased thousands of dwarf gouramis over the years for our fish shop. However, it is possible to get genetic deformities from overbreeding.
Dwarf Gouramis in the Pet Shop
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 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. In reality, dwarf gouramis are mostly male and can be territorial. When you put them together, expect a lot of squabbling, chasing, fin nipping, and other damage. 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.
What fish are compatible with dwarf gouramis and what fish can they live with? The dwarf gouramis can be housed in one tank. This is because each fish has a unique personality that will decide if the fish can be placed in a community 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 is calmer, keep them with calm, 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. Like all fish, they will grab whatever is in their reach, including baby fish and cherry squid.
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 will eat anything and everything, even if they are trying to eat other fish. 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 may also pick up algae.
How to Breed Dwarf Gouramis
Dwarf gouramis, if you have never bred one before, are very easy to reproduce. Most stores do not sell females, so it is difficult to locate one. Males tend to have more color and a dorsal tail with a sharp end. However, females have a rounded dorsal tail. You should begin by conditioning the adult animals with high-quality foods. You will need a 10-gallon tank that holds shallow water, between 6-8 inches (15-20cm), and warm temperatures of 80-82degF (27 to 28 degC). 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.
After the male has built his bubble nest, they will court and wrap themselves around the female to produce a cloud full of eggs. These eggs look almost like little grains of white sand. They will continue this behavior for many times until hundreds of eggs have been released. Each time, the male will pick up the eggs with his mouth and spit them back out into his bubble nest. Remove the female once the pair has finished mating. The male will continue to pursue her as he guards their nest. The male will keep the fry safe for a few more days, until they hatch and can swim freely. At that point, remove the male so he will not predate on his own 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.
Two powder blue dwarf gouramis are 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.