Dwarf Gourami: A Guide to Care, Breeding, Diet & Behavior

Whether you are new to fishkeeping or a seasoned aquarist tending to tropical fish, you will love Dwarf Gourami. These bright and beautiful gouramis are peaceful fish and low maintenance, making them easy to care for and enjoy with minimum effort.

Let’s learn everything you need to know about Dwarf gourami tropical fish and the best way to care for them.

Dwarf Gourami Overview

The scientific name for the Dwarf gourami is Trichogaster lalius. They are from the Osphronemidae family and originate from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and India’s calm rivers, streams, and lakes. Gourami can also be found in some Asian countries, Colombia, and the U.S.

Gourami likes thick, vegetative waters and will thrive when surrounded by plants. They survive well in various water conditions, get along with other fish, and are generally shy. For this reason, they can’t live with aggressive fish because they will get bullied to death before they fight back.

Gourami is one of the labyrinth fishes, which means they breathe from the air above the surface of the water with little effort. This is because they have an organ that allows them to take in oxygen – similar to lungs. That’s why you can find them close to the surface so they can breathe.

Dwarf gouramis can live up to four years if fed the correct diet and live in appropriate conditions.


Dwarf gourami has a small body with big, round fins. They are small (approximately 2 to 3 inches in length) and come in various colors and markings. Males tend to be vibrant blue and green colors with bright red and orange vertical stripes. The females have less color and more silver and gray. When the males attract females for mating, they will flare their dorsal fins, and their breast will change to a deep purple color.

Gourami can come in many vivid colors and look amazing in dim-lit tanks. Over the years, various color mutations have emerged as the fish’s popularity grows among aquarists and continue to breed gourami. These are the most notable colors of gourami:

  • Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami: This is the most popular Dwarf gourami and looks like a solid, powdery blue coloring.
  • Flame Dwarf Gourami: Another favorite among people with freshwater tanks. They have a striking combination of orange and red colors, adding a pop of color to your aquarium.
  • Honey Dwarf Gourami: They have an eye-catching monochrome color, and often, you can see dark spots on their head. The honey dwarf is orange with hues of red, while their fins are mostly colorless.
  • Neon Blue Gourami: The neon blue gourami is a daring bright blue with red stripes that run along its body.

Dwarf gouramis provide vivid visual effects to your aquarium with their bold and beautiful shades of blues, reds, and oranges. They have vertical stripes that extend to their fins. While females are mostly blue-grey, the males don’t disappoint in showing off their brilliant colors.


If you wonder if the Dwarf gouramis are aggressive, think again. On the contrary, these passive creatures are calm and blend very well with other small fish. They thrive in community tanks and get along with other peaceful fish. However, try to add an even amount of pairs because if there are too many males, they could show elements of aggression.

Since gouramis like to hang around the surface, consider adding bottom dwellers like plecos. They don’t do well with active fish as they may feel threatened by the competition. Consider adding other gouramis such as sparkling or pearl gourami. In addition, they do well with mystery snails or Amano shrimp. Some aquarists may add betta fish, but gouramis might see their flaring as a sign of aggression, so it is important to watch them.

Nutrition and Diet

If you want to maintain Dwarf gourami colors and ensure they live a long, happy life, they need to be fed right. Gouramis are omnivores, and they can eat both vegetables and meat. They feed on larvae and insects that grow on plants at the surface of the water. You can feed them flake food, vegetable tablets, and freeze-dried food when in your aquarium. If you want to supplement their diet, opt for live worms.

Be careful which live food you feed them because you could be introducing bacteria and parasites into their environment. It gets highly recommended that you don’t get worms from the natural environment, so you aren’t bringing pathogens into the aquarium.

Feed gouramis two to three times each day and only give them the amount they can eat in a few minutes. Remember not to overfeed your gourami as it can cause health problems, and uneaten food can pollute your aquarium.

Other food that is acceptable for Dwarf gouramis:

  • Blanched vegetables
  • Frozen brine shrimp
  • Algae wafers
  • Nutritious fish pellets

Dwarf Gourami Care Instructions

Dwarf Gourami Care

Dwarf gouramis can be completely satisfied in a 10-gallon aquarium, but you’ll need a bigger tank if you want a whole community of fish. Since they are labyrinth breathers and come up to the surface to breathe, they do well in longer tanks instead of tall ones. Since they are moderately active, gourami will prefer a rectangular due to the large surface area and space for swimming.

Remember to keep in mind that Dwarf gouramis can jump when they are frightened, and you will need to ensure your aquarium has a lid! Loud noises can also cause the fish to hide, and you should check in on them if they get stuck. For this reason, they need an adaption period where there are no disturbances.

When introducing Dwarf gourami to a tank, do the following:

  • Give them time to get used to the tank and their new environment. Gourami is shy and gets frightened easily, so giving them space will ensure they experience minimum stress.
  • Pay attention to the room temperature as it can affect the water on the surface. Also, since gourami comes to the service to breathe, this temperature can affect its health.
  • Due to poor water quality, Gourami can easily be affected by diseases and pathogens.

Tank Setup

Ten gallons for every 2 to 3 Dwarf gouramis is sufficient. However, they are territorial and will thrive in a more spacious environment. If you are considering breeding your gourami, select a 50-gallon tank. Setting up the tank for gouramis is easy! Equip your aquarium with the following:

  • Living conditions: Gouramis like slow-moving water that your filter can easily provide. Providing them with a dense environment with dark-colored stones and lots of vegetation will be sufficient.
  • Filtration: Find the filtration systems that suit the size of the tank.
  • Lighting: Gouramis prefer shaded and dense environments with plants. LED lighting will be sufficient.
  • Stones and driftwood: Having stones and rocks is important for most aquariums, and driftwood will make a great hiding place for shy fish.
  • Plants: If you intend on breeding your fish, low light and adding plants will help them breed successfully.
  • Decorations: Colorful ornaments are encouraged if you want a beautiful and colorful aquarium to match the fish.

Water Conditions

If you want to breed your gouramis and ensure it lives a long life, it is essential to take care of their water quality.

  • Water temperature: Gouramis fourish in temperatures ranging 72-82°F. The temperature must remain consistent with keeping their lungs and other organs healthy.
  • Water hardness: Gouramis are hardy fish and are comfortable with 5-18 dGH hardness.
  • pH level: Water pH level should range between 6.0 and 7.5 for suitable living conditions.

If you are replacing the water, change 10-20%. This will reduce the risk of catching a disease or harming its outer layer. In addition, it will eliminate toxins and keep them healthy.

Breeding Dwarf Gourami

If the conditions in your tank are right, Dwarf gourami is relatively easy to breed. One of the best ways to breed the fish is to separate them into a separate tank. This way, you can protect the breeding fish from other fish and watch the process. Young spawns are sensitive – more so than the breeding pair. Protect them by ensuring the water conditions are perfect and there is dull lighting.

Pairs can begin to breed after six months, and it is good to feed them with live food in preparation for breeding. Don’t worry if the male doesn’t build its nest right away. When introducing Dwarf gourami into a new environment, it’ll take some time to get used to their new environment before building their foam nest where they store their eggs.

Final Thoughts

Dwarf gourami is slim and colorful fish that will make a great addition to your aquarium. They are reasonably low maintenance and easy to breed if you take good care of their water quality. Choose between the many colors and decorate your aquarium to match your fish. Just be sure to add enough plants and monitor the amount of light.

Dwarf gourami is aesthetically pleasing, and they enjoy living in a community with other fish. Don’t be afraid to mix them up with other tropical fish with the same passive nature.