The Dwarf Gourami is an exquisite aquarium fish known by various names, including Blue Dwarf Gourami, Sunset Gourami, Powder Blue Gourami, and Neon Dwarf Gourami. Originating from Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, it has now been widely distributed outside its native range, with feral populations found in Singapore, the United States, and Colombia.
They typically inhabit slow-moving streams, rice fields, irrigation channels, ponds, ditches, swamps, and other agricultural lands with dense vegetation. Often found alongside other Colisa species, they are one of the most common food fish in the river plains of northern India.
Dwarf Gouramis Overview
The Dwarf Gourami is a popular aquarium fish and a Labyrinth Fish, meaning it breathes directly from the air. It has a somewhat compressed body with relatively large, rounded, or curved fins. Males are slightly larger than females and feature a bright orange-red body with turquoise blue vertical stripes that extend into the fins. In contrast, females have a duller silvery blue-gray color with faint yellowish vertical stripes. Males have pointed dorsal fins, while females’ dorsal fins are rounded.
In the wild, Dwarf Gouramis are omnivorous, feeding on small invertebrates, algae, and other aufwuchs. In captivity, they typically consume live, fresh, and flake foods, as well as freeze-dried bloodworms, Tubifex, and brine shrimp. Males can reach up to 8.8 cm in length, while females grow up to 6 cm. With proper care, the Dwarf Gourami can live up to 7 years.
- Scientific Name: Colisa lalia
- Common Names: Blue Dwarf Gourami, Sunset Gourami, Powder Blue Gourami, Neon Dwarf Gourami
- Origin: India
- Adult Size: 8.8 cm
- Behavior: Peaceful
- Tank Level: Middle to top
- Minimum Tank Size: 5 gallons
- Diet: Omnivore
- Breeding: Egg layer
- Care Level: Easy
- Water pH: 6.0-8.0
- Water Hardness: 4-10°dGH
- Water Temperature: 77°F – 82°F
- Water Movement: Moderate to normal
- Lighting: Moderate – normal lighting
- Lifespan: 5-7 years
Background of Dwarf Gourami
The Dwarf Gourami is a stunning fish that makes a striking display in any aquarium. Aquarists adore it for its radiant, nearly translucent blue coloring, accentuated by fine red or dark orange stripes. With this attractive striping, it’s also commonly referred to as the Dwarf Banded Gourami.
Initially named Trichopodus lalia (previously Colisa lalia) in 1822 by Hamilton and Buchanan, it hails from the Gangetic provinces of India. The species belongs to the Osphronemidae family, under the order Perciformes of the class Actinopterygii. The IUCN Red List classifies this species as Least Concern (LC).
Feeding Dwarf Gourami
In the wild, the Dwarf Gourami feeds on small invertebrates, algae, and other aufwuchs. In an aquarium setting, their diet should include live, fresh, and flake foods, along with freeze-dried bloodworms, Tubifex, and brine shrimp. To maintain optimal health, supplement their diet with live foods such as white worms, blood worms, brine shrimps, and quality flake or pellet food. Vegetable tablets can also be offered. Generally, feed should be provided once or twice a day.
Housing Dwarf Gourami
The Dwarf Gourami makes an excellent community fish and is often recommended for beginners. A minimum of a 5-gallon tank is required, but a larger 10-gallon aquarium is preferable. The aquarium should be densely planted, including floating plants that cover part of the water surface. These plants provide ample hiding spots for the fish.
Since Gouramis are labyrinth fish, they are usually found swimming in the middle to top regions of the aquarium. The tank should maintain good water chemistry with a pH of 6.0-8.0, hardness of 4-10 dGH, and a temperature between 77°F and 82°F.
Regular weekly water changes are strongly recommended to keep the fish healthy, and an efficient filtration system should be in place. Air stones are also advised as these fish prefer well-oxygenated water.
Dwarf Gouramis can be kept with other peaceful fish. Suitable tank mates include peaceful cyprinids like the Harlequin Rasbora, Trigonostigma heteromorpha, other rasboras, Kuhlii Loach and its relatives, many of the Tetras, smaller catfish like Corydoras species, and smaller Rainbowfish.
Some of the peaceful barbs also work well. However, avoid housing them with notorious fin nippers like Tiger Barbs, Clown Barbs, guppies, and other anabantoids, including Bettas.
Breeding Dwarf Gouramis
Dwarf Gouramis can breed in captivity. The male Gourami builds a floating bubble nest, where the female lays her eggs. During spawning, the water level in the tank should be reduced to 7-10 cm, and the temperature should be around 82°F.
The aquarium must contain suitable plant species like Ceratopteris thalictroides, Limnophila aquatica, Riccia fluitans, and Vesicularia dubyana.
The male uses bits of vegetation to construct the bubble nest, adding leaves, twigs, roots, peat fibers, and other debris as needed. Spawning sessions last for two to four hours, with the female producing 300 to 800 eggs. After spawning, the female should be moved to a separate tank.
The male collects the eggs in his mouth and places them in the bubble nest, continuing to guard the eggs until they hatch. The eggs hatch within 12-36 hours, but the fry remain in the bubble nest for further development.
After about three days, the fry become free-swimming and leave the nest. At this point, the male should be removed to prevent him from eating the young. Free-swimming fry can be fed infusoria or liquid fry food until they are large enough to consume baby brine shrimp.
The Dwarf Gourami is a beautiful and popular choice for aquarium enthusiasts due to its vibrant colors, peaceful nature, and relatively low maintenance requirements. With proper care, suitable tank conditions, and a balanced diet, the Dwarf Gourami can thrive and provide a stunning visual addition to any aquarium.
How long do Dwarf Gouramis live?
With proper care, Dwarf Gouramis can live up to 7 years.
What is the ideal tank size for Dwarf Gouramis?
A minimum of a 5-gallon tank is required, but a larger 10-gallon aquarium is preferable.
Are Dwarf Gouramis compatible with other fish?
Yes, they can be kept with other peaceful fish species. However, avoid housing them with notorious fin nippers and aggressive species.
What do Dwarf Gouramis eat?
Dwarf Gouramis are omnivorous and can consume live, fresh, and flake foods, along with freeze-dried bloodworms, Tubifex, and brine shrimp. It’s essential to supplement their diet with live foods and quality flake or pellet food.
What are the ideal water parameters for Dwarf Gouramis?
The ideal water parameters include a pH of 6.0-8.0, hardness of 4-10 dGH, and a temperature between 77°F and 82°F.
Can Dwarf Gouramis breed in captivity?
Yes, Dwarf Gouramis can breed in captivity. The male builds a floating bubble nest for the female to lay her eggs, and he guards the eggs until they hatch.
How can I differentiate between male and female Dwarf Gouramis?
Males are slightly larger and have a bright orange-red body with turquoise blue vertical stripes that extend into the fins. Females have a duller silvery blue-gray color with faint yellowish vertical stripes. Additionally, males have pointed dorsal fins, while females’ dorsal fins are rounded.
How often should I feed my Dwarf Gouramis?
Generally, you should feed Dwarf Gouramis once or twice a day.
How do I set up a suitable environment for Dwarf Gouramis in my aquarium?
Ensure that the aquarium has plenty of vegetation, including floating plants that cover part of the water surface. The plants provide ample hiding spots for the fish. The tank should have good water chemistry, an efficient filtration system, and air stones for proper oxygenation.
Can Dwarf Gouramis be kept with Bettas?
It is not advisable to keep Dwarf Gouramis with Bettas, as both species are anabantoids and can become aggressive towards each other, especially in confined spaces.What are some suitable tank mates for Dwarf Gouramis? Suitable tank mates include peaceful cyprinids like the Harlequin Rasbora, Trigonostigma heteromorpha, other rasboras, Kuhlii Loach and its relatives, many of the Tetras, smaller catfish like Corydoras species, and smaller Rainbowfish. Some peaceful barbs also work well.