If there was ever a beauty pageant for aquarium fish, the Dwarf Gourami would definitely be one of the top contestants if not the winner of the entire contest.
The Dwarf Gourami is considered to be the most beautiful and most colorful of the Gourami family, making it a perfect choice for tank owners who are looking to have a picturesque and colorful aquarium.
Before you head out to your local pet shop to pick up one or two of these stunning creatures, it’s important that you know a few things about the Dwarf Gourami in order to care for it properly.
In this article, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about this magnificent fish from its appearance and anatomy to its nutrition and behavior, so stick around.
Where Do Dwarf Gouramis Originate From?
The Dwarf Gourami is a native to South Asia, specifically Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. The fish, however, has been distributed throughout many places far from its origin.
Simply put, these colorful swimmers consider slow-moving, vegetated waters as their natural habitat, and they can be found swimming together or in the midst of other Gourami species.
What Do Dwarf Gouramis Look Like?
As you might have guessed from their names, the Dwarf Gouramis aren’t large fish. The largest Dwarf Gourami is only 3.5-inches long.
The males of this species are larger than the females, to a slight extent. Furthermore, male Dwarf Gouramis tend to have diagonal stripes of red and blue colors that extend to their fins, while the females often boast a silvery color.
While male and female Dwarf Gouramis can be identified through their colors, you can also find out the sex of the fish by looking at its dorsal fin.
The dorsal fins of male Dwarf Gouramis tend to be pointed, while those of the females are either curved or rounded. There’s an enormous range of color variants when it comes to Dwarf Gouramis. Some of the most popular ones include:
- Flame Dwarf Gourami – This hybrid of the Dwarf
Gourami gained its popularity 40 years ago due to its spectacular colors that
resemble those of the Ember Tetras, boasting reds and oranges all across their
body, even on their fins.
- Blue Dwarf Gourami – The Blue Dwarf Gourami is
considered to be the most appealing hybrid of them all. As you can probably
tell from their names, they boast blue colors that are complemented
reddish-brown lines, light-brown fin edges, and notably large scales.
- Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami – This hybrid
maintains the stunning blue colors of the Blue Dwarf Gourami, but it adds its
own flavor to it by making more bright and more glowy. A Neon Blue Gourami will
have red stripes across its body, giving it a more striking look.
- Honey Dwarf Gourami – Honey Dwarf Gouramis are
the less show-offish cousins of the Flame Dwarf Gouramis. Their colors tend to
be dark reds and oranges. They’ll also have colorless fins. You can also find
Honey Dwarf Gouramis with grey or totally black heads
- Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami – This variant is
very similar to the Blue Dwarf Gourami, it also boasts an array of blue colors.
However, they’re a lot brighter than their cousins. It’s also likely that
you’ll find darker colors on the bodies of Powder Blue Dwarf Gouramis.
What Are the Ideal Tank Conditions for Dwarf Gouramis?
As peaceful species of fish, the Dwarf Gouramis are very well-suited to smaller aquariums with slow-flowing bodies of water and dense vegetation.
Dwarf Gouramis are easily scared of noise, so they should be kept in a fairly quiet environment. Further, they’re not to be kept with aggressive or large fish. Furthermore, the surface of the aquarium should have floating vegetation.
As far as substrate, Dwarf Gouramis don’t really need a lot of them. However, to make your tank more appealing, we’d advise using a darker substrate that will contrast their bright colors and look more comfortable to the eye. Your best options are small gravel and large, rounded sand grains.
When it comes to lighting, Dwarf Gouramis aren’t very fond of bright light, so you should buy an aquarium lamp that’s slightly on the dim side. Ideally, you want to keep the lamp on for around 8 to 10 hours per day.
Your choice of vegetation is nearly unlimited. However, we’d highly recommend free-floating or drifting plants. Dwarf Gouramis are quite fond of floating plants that have fine leaves they make for great hiding places.
They’re also ideal places for Gouramis to build their nests in. Another thing you can do is small pieces of wood to give the fish more hiding options.
The awesome thing about Dwarf Gouramis is that they prefer slow-moving water, which means that you don’t need a very powerful filter. A medium-powered one will do.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that while
Dwarf Gouramis prefer slow-moving water, it’s necessary to have a filter that
can handle the density of vegetation in the tank. So if your tank is hosting
densely-planted beds, you’ll need an adequate aeration system to keep things
You can easily keep 2 or 3 dwarf gouramis in a 10-gallon aquarium. If you plan to add more fish in the aquarium, make sure to increase the volume of the water by 5 gallons for each fish.
As far as the water’s parameters, the temperature should be around 77-78.5°F and the hardness level should be 10-20 dGH. As far as the pH level, level let it rise above 8 or drop below 6.
Dwarf Gouramis are pretty much low-maintenance
fish, but one thing they cannot forgive is dirty water. Dirty water is the
sworn enemy of most aquarium fish anyway, so you need to make sure that you do
water changes on a weekly basis to keep the water clean and the fish healthy.
What fish can live with Dwarf Gouramis?
Like we’ve already mentioned, Dwarf Gouramis are very peaceful species and they shouldn’t be placed with larger or more aggressive fish. On one hand you want to add excitement to your fish tank, but on the other hand, it’s important to establish territorial equilibrium to maintain peace.
You want to go with tank mates that will just
leave the Dwarf Gouramis alone and not mess with their nests, especially during
their breeding process. Gouramis do very well with one another, so it’s a great
idea to add other species of Gouramis in your aquarium to liven it up.
Another bottom-dwellers that you should consider are small plecos as they prefer slow-moving waters as well. Other ideal tank mates include the Loaches, Platies, Mollies, Tetras, Rasboras, Swordtails, and Catfish. You can spice things up with a few Amano Shrimps or Mystery Snails.
Keep in mind that Dwarf Gouramis prefer
slow-moving waters, so you should completely avoid any significantly-active or
fast fish because they will charge like bullets and finish up the food in the
tank before the Gouramis get any chance to feel. A good case in point are
When it comes to keeping Dwarf Gouramis together,
you must keep in mind to maintain a good ratio of males and females in the
tank. Ideally, you want to keep two female Gouramis for every male. If you
don’t, you should know that male Dwarf Gouramis are totally fine by themselves.
How Big Do Dwarf Gouramis Get?
Reports indicate that Dwarf Gouramis can grow up
to 3 ½ inches at most. However, the average size of most male Gouramis will be
around 3 inches, with female Gouramis being a bit smaller.
Are Dwarf Gouramis Aggressive?
Generally speaking, Dwarf Gouramis are very
peaceful species. However, male Gouramis tend to be quite aggressive towards
similar-looking fish or other Dwarf Gouramis. Males can also be aggressive
towards their female counterparts. The aggression of male Gouramis becomes very
evident when a female Gourami is introduced to the tank.
At the sight of a female Dwarf Gourami, the males will display territorial behavior to impress the female and scare away other male Gouramis.
Such aggression is accompanied by flared up fins and a deep purple color on their chests. Male Dwarf Gouramis may even consider females as rivals once the nest is established and they may attack them.
Territorial aggression is present amongst all living creatures and it’s totally normal, but it’s not a thing you can benefit from when trying to build a spectacular aquarium. In order to avoid it, you have to make sure that the size of your aquarium can accommodate the number of fish inside it.
Typically, a larger aquarium will help reduce territorial aggression and promote expansiveness.
Are Dwarf Gouramis Hardy?
Dwarf Gouramis have a strong reputation for being very hardy fish to keep. If your aquarium is well-maintained, you won’t have to worry about disease.
If you fail to provide the required water quality, maintenance, and nutrition, your Dwarf Gouramis might become prone to constipation, bacterial infections, and head and lateral line erosion.
Another thing you need to keep in mind if you want to maintain the health of your Gouramis is to clean anything that you introduce to the tank, from decorations and substrate to plants and new fish.
By doing so, you reduce the chances of introducing disease and infecting the aquarium.
Are There Dwarf Gourami Diseases to Be Aware of?
Yes, there is. The first disease that you should be aware of is Dwarf Gourami Disease. This is a disease that’s very rare in its occurrence and it can be identified by deformed fin structures and fading colors.
Sadly, there are no chemical or supplemental cures to this disease. You can avoid DGD by monitoring maintaining proper water parameters.
Another disease you should be mindful of is Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, which is a highly severe infection that’s fatal in most cases. Its symptoms include darkening of color, lethargic behavior, and tumors. Unfortunately, there are no known treatments for this disease.
However, maintaining good water quality and a complex diet will help reduce the chances of DGIV targeting your tank.
How to Care for Dwarf Gouramis?
We’ve already mentioned how Dwarf Gouramis become anxious when subjected to loud noises, which can result in them swimming irregularly and getting stuck in hard to reach places. So you need to make sure that the environment is quiet and you have to keep an eye on them regularly to ensure their safety.
And again, good water quality is the key to a healthy Dwarf Gourami.
Dwarf Gouramis tend to go through an adaptation period where they become inactive and act in a strange manner. During that phase, you must do your best not to bother or disturb them in any way.
Also, you need to know that the Dwarf Gourami is a labyrinth fish, so you must ensure that the room temperature doesn’t differ a lot from that of the water to keep the labyrinth organ safe.
How to Feed Dwarf Gouramis?
In the aquarium, Dwarf Gouramis don’t mind eating all sorts of fish food as long as it can fit in its mouth. You want to make sure that the food you give them is able to float for a significant period of time because Dwarf Gouramis tend to feed in the upper levels of aquariums.
They can be fed live foods or artificial foods. Also, incorporating plant-based foods makes for a great diet.
At the surface of the aquarium, Dwarf Gouramis tend to roam until they spot an insect that they can hunt. Dwarf Gouramis have remarkable hunter instincts, they often splash water at the prey that gets away from them to sink it into the water and feed on it.
All in all, diverse diets are vital to the appearance and health of the Dwarf Gouramis, so make sure to mix it up.
Dwarf Gouramis are low-maintenance fish that provide a wide range of colors that can spark up any aquarium.
You shouldn’t have a hard time caring for Dwarf Gouramis as long as you sustain good water quality and offer them a nutritious and diverse diet.
Lastly, make sure that you don’t put them amongst large or aggressive to ensure their safety.