Dwarf Gourami Fish Care Guide Best Tank, Food, Lifespan, Breeding
By Eddie Waithaka @aquariawise
Dwarf gourami is a fish in the gourami family native to South Asian countries including Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. The species has grown in popularity in recent years due to the small fish size and brilliant colors.
Breeders have created different variations with most fish having red and blue colorings.
Dwarf gouramis are not aggressive not fussy and do well in most community aquariums. They are compatible with common freshwater species like mollies, plecos, catfish, tetras and other peaceful fish.
The fish will live in small and big tanks which are at least 10-gallons or more with plenty of vegetations to closely replicate their natural slow-flowing river habitats.
Optimal temperature conditions for dwarf gouramis are between 72°F and 82°F and a ph of 6 to 7.5. Moreover, this gourami species is quite hardy, and tolerate both soft and hard water and high temperatures.
That said, this article will take your a little deeper into dwarf gouramis world. We’ll look at their lifespan, behavior and temperament, best tanks, food, breeding and more.
Dwarf Gourami Overview
Dwarf gouramis, scientifically named Trichogaster Lalius inhabit slow-moving water in streams and lakes with plenty of vegetation. They are widely distributed across Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and everywhere they’ve been introduced, outside their native habitats.
In the wild, male dwarf gouramis have diagonal stripes that alternate between blue and red while females have a silvery color. This difference in shade is used to distinguish male from female dwarf gouramis.
However, in pet stores, they are available in solid colors on captive bred morphs. Plus you can sex dwarf gouramis by their dorsal fins wherein males the fins are pointed, but rounded or curved in females.
Dwarf gouramis can reach 3.5 inches in size, which is fairly small and perfect for most home aquariums which are small to moderate in size in most cases.
The fish are naturally omnivores hence prefer both algae-based food as well as meaty foods. Flake food, freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp are all good choices and will provide proper nutrition.
Dwarf gouramis are fairly good feeders but lose their appetite when stressed. Which is mostly coupled with the fish swimming near the bottom of the tank, and your gourami won’t be colorful as it should be when healthy.
They love heavily planted tanks which among other things help the fish build their bubble nests when they are ready to reproduce.
When breeding, a pair will embrace to encourage the female gourami to release her eggs which the male then fertilize. The eggs usually hatch within 12 to 24 hours, but fry usually remains inside the nest and only come out a little under 3 days later.
Dwarf Gourami Lifespan
With proper care, dwarf gouramis live for an average of 4 years. They can, however, live longer if kept in an appropriate size tank with regular water changes and a good aquarium filter.
Likewise, add a heater to create a tropical environment in the tank and keep your it warm enough for your dwarf gourami in cold season or region.
Aquarium water that is too cold with inappropriate ph will gradually reduce your dwarf gourami lifespan.
Also, proper nutrition goes a long way in extending your fish life.
Behaviour and Temperament
Dwarf gouramis are generally peaceful fish, unlike some other family members, in fact, sometimes they get outrightly timid depending on the tank space.
Consequently, any aggression in dwarf gourami is projected when the fish are kept in tiny or overstocked aquariums.
Also, avoid keeping them in a community with big and belligerent fish species that are intimidating and its imperative you avoid fin nippers.
Any tankmate expressing aggression will stress you dwarf gourami which you may notice hanging out close to the bottom or within the plant cover.
Nonetheless, if not stressed, dwarf gouramis are social and interactive fish so maintain them as a pair or in a small school. More so, because they get lonely when kept alone and will spend most of their time hiding.
Dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish hence another natural behavior you will observe is your fish coming to the water surface, gulp some air then swim back inside the water.
Dwarf Gourami Tank Size, Water Setting
These fish love tropical freshwater aquariums that best replicate their wild habitat. In the wild, dwarf gouramis live in slow-flowing streams with heavy vegetation.
Granted they also grow to slightly over three inches, anything from a 10-gallon fish tank is good enough for a pair. Though you will need to go with a bigger size when yours is a community aquarium.
Add a heater and a powerful filter in your dwarf gouramis tank and use soft to moderately hard water with the temperature between 72°F and 82°F and a ph of 6 to 7.5.
The fish don’t have to live in a tank with extra oxygen because they are labyrinth species thus will breathe both inside the water and on the surface.
However, they also are Anabantoidei fish that are not fit for tanks with strong water flow. Instead, they love dark bottom substrates and other items that darken the fish tank.
For the same reason, dwarf gouramis need heavily planted aquariums that provide enough hiding spaces. Also, the plants play a vital role in breeding because the fish will have a place to build their bubble nests.
Remeber to change about 20 percent of the water in your fish tank once every week to keep the fish healthy. Plus clean the tank and equipment and decorations occasionally.
Dwarf Gourami Tankmates
Dwarf gouramis are social hence will live in community tanks maintained together with other fish species.
They live with small, docile species amicably as long as they get enough space to swim. Dwarf gouramis, mostly love to hang out in the middle and top parts of the tank hence will enjoy the company of bottom-dwellers that keep them engaged but stay out of their way.
You, however, want to keep male gouramis from each other because they can be very territorial, but two females in one tank are ok as they are more peaceful and will together.
Nonetheless, don’t keep dwarf gouramis with big or aggressive fish that’ll easily stress them because they are rather timid and shy.
Fish you can put with dwarf gouramis include:
- Harlequin rasboras
- Neon tetras
- Zebra danios
- Cherry barbs
- Cory fish
- Other gouramis
What Do Dwarf Gouramis Like to Eat?
Dwarf gouramis are natural omnivores that will eat both animal and plants based food. In the jungle, the fish feed on algae and small living creatures like crustaceans and insects.
Therefore, in the fish tank, feed your fish a variety of foods to provide an all-around nutritious diet. Dwarf gouramis will gladly devour flake, freeze-dried and brine shrimp.
Supplement that with periodic feedings of vegetable tablets and live foods; which are also good to condition breeding pairs.
Feed your dwarf gouramis tropical flake food 1 to 2 times a day giving them a pinch they can devour in 3 to 5 minutes each time.
However, if your fish doesn’t finish food from the first feeding of the day, do not feed it the second time. Only feed it two times a day when it can eat all the food.
As for living foods and vegetable supplements, feed your fish portions of both 2 to 3 times a week. That should give them enough nutritional boost with live foods rich in proteins and vegetable tablets rich in vitamins.
A good diet will also keep your dwarf gourami colors vibrant and shiny. Nonetheless, poor feeding and dull colors are also classic signs of an unhealthy fish. So you may need to consult a vet in case any of these conditions manifest.
That said, make sure you chunk up fish food into small pieces, so it’s easy for your fish to fit in the mouth and digest.
Breeding Dwarf Gouramis
Part of the reason plant are so important in an aquarium with dwarf gouramis, is because the first step to breeding involves the male fish building bubble nests on aquatic plants where eggs will hatch and fry start.
Unlike other bubble nest building fish, dwarf gouramis will incorporate bits of the plants, twigs and other debris in the aquarium to hold the nest together.
Once the nest is ready, the male gourami will start courting the female by swimming around her with flared fins. Should the female agree to breed, she will release her eggs which are immediately fertilized by the male.
To set up a breeding space for your dwarf gourami, reduce the water in the fish tank during spawning and keep the temperature at approximately 82°F. This temperature and water setting will simulate the dry season in the wild when dwarf gouramis normally breed hence stimulate spawning.
Also, remember to give the breeding pair a lot of live food to keep them strong enough through the breeding period.
Dwarf gouramis eggs should hatch within 12 to 24 hours, but fry will remain in their bubble nest for up to 3 days. At which point you will need to remove the adult from the fish tank to keep them from eating the fry.
Start baby dwarf gouramis on tiny bits of baby fish food then introduce bigger food as they grow.
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