Dwarf Gourami: Ultimate Guide (Care, Diet, Breeding, & More)

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Written By Matt Stevens

Hi, I'm Matt! I've been obsessed with fishkeeping for over 15 years now and created this site to share my knowledge with others.

Dwarf Gourami are among the most sought-after freshwater aquarium fish that you can find out there. They have a fantastic appearance and add a pop of color to any aquarium.

However, their appearance isn’t the only thing that would appeal to you. These fish are also very easy to take care of, which means that you won’t have to put in any extra effort or perform difficult tasks in order to raise them in your home.

Thanks to their appearance and ease of care, Dwarf Gourami continues to be one of the most popular choices among both beginner and experienced aquarists. So, if you are looking to bring one or a few of them home, you need not worry about it.

Moreover, these fish are hardy and have a unique set of behavioral traits that set them apart from other species of freshwater fish. As much as their care is easy, you should know about the care guidelines so that you don’t make a mistake or risk making them ill.

This special care guide for Dwarf Gourami is specially designed to help familiarize you with everything you need to do in order to care for these fish. Plus, this guide will also make it easier for you to understand all about their habitat, water requirements, diet, tank mates, breeding, and much more.

By reading this guide, you will be able to decide whether Dwarf Gourami is a suitable species of freshwater fish for you to keep in your home aquarium or not. Let’s dive in without further ado.

Species Summary

Dwarf Gourami belongs to the family of Osphronemidae and is also known by the scientific name Trichogaster lalius. They are also part of the group of species that are called the Gourami family. They were formerly known as the Colisa lalia.

These fish are generally shy and have a laid-back temperament, which is why they don’t try to get into fights or intimidate other fish in the aquarium. Moreover, they are known as schooling fish, which is why they tend to stay and swim together in the tank.

Life SpanApproximately 5 years
Color FormMulticolored
Care levelEasy
CompatibilityWide range
SizeUp to 4-4.5 inches
Tank SetupHeavily planted freshwater
Minimum Tank Size10 Gallons

Dwarf Gourami are also known as labyrinth fish, which are a group of species of fish that have a special organ used for breathing in atmospheric air. The organ works similarly to the lungs, and it causes them to come up to the surface to take in oxygen.

When they aren’t doing this, they will spend their time around the top or middle of the aquarium. They do so to make it easier for them to come up to the surface.

Dwarf Gourami are native to the slow-moving rivers, ponds, and lakes of South Asia, particularly India and Bangladesh. In India, they are specifically found in Assam, West Bengal, and neighboring regions. They thrive in thick and hard waters that are dense in vegetation.

They have also been spotted in the USA, as well as Colombia and Singapore.


On average, Dwarf Gourami have a lifespan of four to five years, and the length of time they live depends on the quality of care you provide them, as well as the water conditions that you maintain.

If you subject them to poor conditions or an unhealthy diet, they will be subjected to stress and illnesses that can significantly shorten their lifespan. This is why you should be particularly careful about following the care guidelines.


There are several different types of Dwarf Gourami out there, and each of them differs in their coloration and appearance. Generally, they have brightly colored bodies and unique appearances, and you can learn about their varying looks in the subsequent section.

Types of Dwarf Gourami

As mentioned above, there are different types of Dwarf Gourami that you can find, each with unique appearances. Whichever type you choose, they light up your tank with their vibrant coloration.

Although they had a few variations, their appearances have become more diverse due to genetic mutation with fish that are bred in captivity. Here are some of the popular types of Dwarf Gourami that you would come across:

Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami

Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami are the most popular types of species that you can find out there. They are known for their powder blue and bright coloration, and some of them may also have darker colors on their bodies.

They are among the most beautiful species that you may find, and we highly recommend them.

Blue Dwarf Gourami

Blue Dwarf Gourami are quite similar to the blue powder variants, but they have a bright and radiant blue coloration. Moreover, they have larger scales as compared to other types of Dwarf Gourami. This helps you tell them apart from the other species.

These type of fish also have red and brown lines running along their sides and fins.

Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami

Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami has a beautiful appearance with blueish and dashing bodies, as well as red stripes that run vertically along their body. The stripes are quite vibrant, and they are brighter than most of the other types.

Flame Dwarf Gourami

Another highly popular type of Dwarf Gourami is the Flame Dwarf Gourami. They have become popular due to the color mutations that they exhibit. This is what prompted and encouraged experts to breed different species of the Dwarf Gourami.

Generally, Flame Dwarf Gourami has a very bright appearance with red and orange coloration that spreads all over their fins as well.

Honey Dwarf Gourami

Honey Dwarf Gourami has a beautiful monochrome coloring that is eye-catching and fun to look at. Some specimens may also have dark patches all over their bodies, and their heads have the same coloration as their bodies.

Honey Dwarf Gourami has an orange body with vibrant hues of red, and their caudal fins are usually colorless.


The average size of the Dwarf Gourami ranges between 3.5 to 4.5 inches. Their maximum size and growth depend on various factors, including the quality of care they are provided within captivity, especially if they are kept in aquariums from a young age.

Even with the best care that you provide, you can’t expect them to grow more than 4.5 inches in size.

Dwarf Gourami Care

The care guidelines for Dwarf Gourami are quite simple and easy to understand, so you shouldn’t have any trouble raising them. However, you have to adhere to the requirements and instructions so that you don’t stress them out or cause them to fall ill.

Sadly, aquarium owners who aren’t careful with the guidelines and subject their fish to suboptimal conditions may cause a hindrance in their growth and also result in a shortened lifespan.

Therefore, let’s have a look at the detailed instructions that you need to follow in order to stay ahead of their care.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size if you want to keep a Dwarf Gourami is 10 gallons. This gives them enough space to swim freely and grow properly. You can easily keep up to three fish in a tank of this size.

If you plan to keep more fish than this amount, then you would have to increase the tank size by 5 gallons for each fish.

This means that if you plan on keeping six to seven Dwarf Gourami in your tank, you will have to ensure that the tank size is between 25 to 30 gallons. Since they are schooling fish, it would be better if you keep them in a group.

If you fail to maintain the tank size, the waste expelled by these fish will overpower the capabilities of the filtration system you have in your tank. This causes an increase in ammonia production, which can be lethal for the fish.

Water Parameters

The water parameters are even more important than the tank size, and they play a major role in the health and growth of your Dwarf Gourami. Maintaining the water conditions and giving them a proper environment would allow the fish to live out their maximum lifespan and also grow to their full size.

First and foremost, the water temperature should be maintained between 72 and 82°F Moreover, you should keep the pH level between 6 and 8. Last but not least, the water hardness should be set between 10 and 20 dGH.

One thing you should know about is that Dwarf Gourami are sensitive to dirty water, and if a lot of them are kept in a smaller tank, the waste they release won’t be filtered and will cause the ammonia levels to rise.

To prevent the ammonia levels from rising and making the water dirty, you should perform regular water changes every week, where you replace almost 25-30% of the water in the tank. Keeping the tank clean will help them live in a healthy and familiar environment.

Generally, Dwarf Gourami are hardy and adaptable to a wide range of tank and water conditions, but this doesn’t mean that you should be lax with the care instructions.

What to Put in Their Tank?

The tank setup that you maintain for your Dwarf Gourami also plays a major role in their growth and health. Since they spend a lot of time near the top and middle layers of the tank, it doesn’t matter which material you add to the substrate.

Ideally, you should go with a dark-colored substrate that provides a background for the coloration of the fish to pop out against. You can make use of large grains of sand or small and dark gravel.

In the wild, these fish are found in rivers and ponds that aren’t typically sheltered. However, they still don’t enjoy lots of light, which is why you should have a dim aquarium lamp that is switched on for up to 10 hours.

Apart from this, you should also invest in a quality filtration system to keep the tank clean. The need for filtration is increased according to the number of plants and fish that you have in the aquarium. Since they are used to slow-moving waters, you can install a medium-quality filter that can maintain the water flow.

Since they are used to lots of vegetation in their natural habitat, you can install floating plants with fine leaves, such as hornwort. These plants will also help in sheltering the fish from natural light, but you shouldn’t fill up the tank with so many plants that it blocks their path to the surface.

Apart from this, you can also add rooted plants to the aquarium, provided that they don’t fill up the entire tank. Lastly, you can add pieces of wood or ceramics to give them hiding spots.

When you introduce the Dwarf Gourami to the tank for the first time, they will be frightened and stressed, and that is understandable. Make sure to give them their space, and they will eventually begin to adjust to the new environment.

Moreover, you should be mindful of the room temperature, as a significant difference between it and the water temperature can cause health problems for them.

Since they come up to the surface to breathe in oxygen from the atmosphere, the temperature difference can damage their labyrinth organ.

Common Diseases

Dwarf Gourami are susceptible to various diseases and conditions, most of which are caused due to poor water conditions. One common disease is called pseudomoniasis, and it causes the formation of dark spots all over their body. With time, these spots can turn into red sores and abscesses that cause pathogenic bacteria to enter the body.

To treat pseudomoniasis, you can get an over-the-counter solution called billion-5, and add 1/6th of it to 10 liters of water. Place your Dwarf Gourami into the solution for half an hour daily.

Another common disease that these fish suffer from is called infectious dropsy, which is often caused by bad quality foods that cause pathogens to enter the tank. This disease causes the scales of the fish to bulge out, and they also start becoming lethargic and losing their appetite.

Moreover, they will drop down to the bottom layer of the tank instead of being out and about.

You can make use of antibiotics to treat your Dwarf Gourami and bathe them with potassium permanganate to get rid of the bacteria completely. Apart from this, there are several other types of common diseases that these fish are susceptible to.

What Do Dwarf Gourami Eat?

Choosing suitable food for your Dwarf Gourami is very important for their growth and good health, and also for their vibrant appearance. They are natural omnivores that don’t cause a fuss about what they eat.

In the wild, they eat insect larvae and small bugs that inhabit the surface of the waters, as well as algae growth and bugs that nest on them. On the other hand, they thrive on fish and vegetation-based flakes in captivity, along with living foods.

Every now and then, you can give them worms and other protein-based live foods.

Behavior & Temperament

Dwarf Gouramis are peaceful, shy, and social species that like to school in groups. Generally, males and females like to swim together in the tank, and the males exhibit territorial and possessive behavior. They will ward off any other male fish that comes closer to their desired female.

Moreover, they are easygoing and get along well with other species. Unless they are provoked, they won’t attack or get into trouble with any other species of fish.

Another interesting trait of their behavior is their hunting technique since they have natural hunting instincts. They hide underneath surface plants in the wild and pounce on insects and bugs when they sit on the plants.

Dwarf Gourami Tank Mates

Since Dwarf Gourami has a peaceful and social nature, they thrive well in community tanks with other species of fish, particularly if they are paired with non-aggressive and similar-sized fish. Ideally, you should place them with fish that dwell near the bottom of the tank so that there aren’t any fights among them for claiming territory.

Therefore, you can place them with Plecos or other species of Gourami. Apart from this, you can pair them with the following:

Putting Dwarf Gourami in tanks with other active fish can be quite stressful and disturbing for them, and they might also start fighting for food.


When it comes to breeding Dwarf Gourami, you should decide whether to breed them in the main tank or the breeding tank. Ideally, you should choose a separate tank if they are with other species.

Make sure to monitor the water temperature when you are breeding them.

Moreover, the breeding tank should have a water level between 4 and 6 inches. You can layer the bottom of the tank with a sand substrate. Feed the fish with live food to encourage breeding.

Within six months, the females are ready to lay eggs, and the males build their egg nests. To get them ready sooner, you can raise the water temperature between 82.5°F and 86°F.

When the nest is ready, the female will start laying several eggs, which the male catches and places into the nest.

Then, the females have to be transferred to the main tank. In 25-30 hours, the first fry will start to hatch from the eggs, and you can put the male fish back into the main tank.

Start feeding your fry with artemia, cyclops, and daphnia to nourish them, and when they are at least 0.8 inches long, you can place them in the main tank.

Final Thoughts

Dwarf Gourami is a highly fascinating and beautiful freshwater fish, and having them in your tank is a delightful experience that you would certainly enjoy.

As long as you follow the tank requirements and water parameters that we have outlined in this guide, you will have no trouble looking after the fish.

So, what are you waiting for? Just go out and get a couple of Dwarf Gourami for your aquarium.