Care Guide for Dwarf Gouramis – Feisty Relative Of Betta Fish

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, and how do they work?

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. 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 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 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. With good care and diet, they tend to live about 2-4 years. 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.

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 can survive in areas where there is frequent flooding by monsoons.

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. 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. Although a group of dwarf gouramis may work well in large tanks where the males have their own space and can find each other, we recommend one as the centerpiece fish for a community tank.

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. 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. Although they can get along with other labyrinth fish like bettas, this is largely dependent on their disposition. They will snack on any food that is available to them, including baby fish and cherry shrimp, just like other fish.

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. Your gourami will be healthy and happy if they are fed a variety of prepared, frozen, frozen, and live foods. They like fish flakes and floating betta pellets. Sometimes they also like to eat algae.

How to Breed Dwarf Gouramis

Dwarf gouramis are easy to breed if you haven’t bred bubble nesters before. The main difficulty is locating a female since most stores do not carry them. Males tend to be more colorful and have a more pointed dorsal end. Females, on the other hand, have a more round dorsal. Start with conditioning the adults by feeding them lots of high-quality foods. You will need a 10-gallon tank that holds shallow water, between 6-8 inches (15-20cm), and warmer temperatures of 80-82 degrees F (27-28c). 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 made his bubble nest, the male will court the female and wrap himself around her, causing her drop tiny white sand-like eggs. They will do this several times until they release hundreds of eggs. Each time, the male will pick up the eggs with his mouth and spit them back out into his bubble nest. After the male has finished mating, the female should be removed. He will continue to chase her around as he guards his 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. For the first few weeks, give baby fish small foods like infusoria and powdered fry food. 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 and feel peaceful gouramis, you might also be interested in learning more about peaceful species that you can keep. Check out our article on Top 5 Peaceful Gouramis for a Community Tank.