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 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. It is a labyrinth (or anabantoid), and it has a lung-like labyrinth or labyrinth organ to take oxygen directly from the atmosphere. 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 gourami is entirely light blue, with no red stripes. The flame dwarf gourami features a red-orange body and 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 live between 2 and 4 years with good care and a healthy diet. Many online articles talk about how they are prone to having Iridovirus dwarf gourami disease – a viral infection that is nearly impossible to cure and has a high mortality rate. We have never had to encounter this disease despite having purchased thousands of dwarf gouramis over the years for our fish shop. 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.
Pet shop: 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 with frequent flooding due to monsoons.
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. Most dwarf gouramis in the pet store are males and can be territorial bullies. When you put them together, expect a lot of squabbling, chasing, fin nipping, and other damage. 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. We love female powder blue dwarf gouramis if we can find them. They are peacefulr than males, but still have that same brilliant 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. Like most fish, they will opportunistically snack on anything that can fit in their mouths, like cherry shrimp and baby fish.
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 are eager eaters that may try to chase away other fish and eat the lion’s share of the food, so watch out for slower species getting outcompeted during mealtimes. 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. They sometimes like to pick on algae as well.
How to Breed Dwarf Gouramis
If you have never bred a bubble nester before, dwarf gouramis are relatively easy to reproduce. 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. Begin by conditioning the adults with high-quality food. 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). A sponge filter with gentle flow is best. To help the male build his bubble nest, add floating plants (such as floating water sprite). 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. 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. The male will chase the female away from the nest, so remove them once they have finished mating. The male will guard the fry for a few weeks until they hatch and begin swimming freely. At that point, remove the male so he will not predate on his own offspring. Offer the baby fish tiny foods such as infusoria, powdered fry food, and vinegar eels for the first couple of weeks. Once they are big enough, switch to feeding baby brine shrimp, which will help them grow fast and healthy.
A pair of dwarf gouramis in powder blue 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.