Fish Guide

Dwarf Gourami: Caring For These Colorful Gems

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Dwarf Gourami is a well-known species of aquarium fish. It is among the most popular picks that anyone will have as their fish pet. The dwarf gourami is mostly recognized for its vibrant color-striped feature, making it look even more beautiful.

Speaking of caring and nurturing, the dwarf gourami fish is not so difficult to look after. They can live well in a tank environment and are likely to live for enough time under normal circumstances.

If you are looking to know more about these fish, then this article has everything you need to learn about them.

Overview Of Dwarf Gourami And Its Habitat

Also known as Trichogaster lalius, dwarf gourami is a cute and tiny-sized species. It is originally found in water streams and agricultural lands of South Asian countries like Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.

Find out more about Small Tropical Fish That Does Not Require Much Space.

But these species have survived in other parts of the world too, as they are bred successfully and distributed by aquarium fish traders across the world.

Dwarf Gouramis are seen living in slow-moving waters, such as lakes, streams, and ponds. They reside in waters with plenty of vegetation and aquatic plants. Sometimes, these fish are also seen popping out on the water surface to take a breath in the air. Hence, they are part of a fish group called the “Labyrinth Fish”.

Size Of Dwarf Gourami

Normally, dwarf gourami can grow up to a maximum length of 3.5 inches (8.8cm) in the aquarium environment. However, they are seen to grow a bit larger than this size in their wild habitat. The male dwarf gourami grows bigger than its female one. Thus, under proper aquarium conditions, these fish have a life span of 4 to 6 years.

Appearance Of Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami is generally recognized for its colorful metallic stripes of bright blue and dark red colors. The male dwarf gourami appears more colorful and vibrant than the female. According to the colors, dwarf gourami is divided into the following types:

  • Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami (almost entirely glowing bright blue color with a little reddish-brown in the fins and scales)
  • Flame Dwarf Gourami (bright red with orange gradients)
  • Rainbow Dwarf Gourami (bright blue and dark red striping)

Meanwhile, dwarf gouramis are peaceful and can turn out shy as well. This is why you will need enough plants or decorations in your tank where they can hide and feel comfortable. However, this fish can show territorial behavior in instances when their tank is small with too many fishes around.

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Tank Setup For Dwarf Gourami

Setting up a suitable habitat for dwarf gourami fish seems fairly easy. You must make sure that this fish is comfortable living in your aquarium’s conditions. Make sure to maintain the following requirements to preserve your dwarf gouramis in a satisfying environment.

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Water Condition

Dwarf Gourami can live well in a tank with natural water or spring water. You can also use clean tap water that has been treated and cleansed from chlorine and chemicals. Fish pets should live in chemical-free waters. Learn more on ‘Why is Tap Water Not Safe For Fish? & How to Make It Safe?’

Water Temperature

The fish needs warm water to survive. For this, you can install a submersible heater or have the tank placed in the sunlight. The water temperature must be between 72°F (22°C) and 82°F (28°C), and you can fix a thermometer to keep check of the temperature.

hygger 50W Mini Submersible Digital Display Aquarium Heater would be best for Small Fish Tank, Compact and Fast Heating Thermostat, with External Controller and Built-in Thermometer.

pH Level And Hardness Of Water

Water conditions must be soft and smooth for dwarf gourami fish. For this, you must maintain the pH level of water between 6 and 8.8. And also keep the water hardness between 2 to 18 degrees.

Water Quality

The tank water must be kept clean and fresh. Therefore, clean the water once every two weeks by scooping out about ¼ part of the water and replacing it with a clean one. Also, do not use materials like soap while cleaning the tank, or else you could simply poison your fish.

The water current must be as low as possible. So, you can add a filtration system for your tank. A canister filter or a hang-on-back filter is preferred to maintain the water flow rate and filtration quality.

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Tank Size

The larger the tank, the better it is for these fish to be around. The tank size should be at least 10 gallons for keeping one dwarf gourami. It is preferred to increase the tank size up to 15 gallons for a pair of these fish or about 20 gallons for more number of them.

Tetra Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit, Includes LED Lighting and Decor is the best 20 gallons tank in the market.

Tank Decoration

As they are naturally shy, avoid making the tank space too open, because dwarf gouramis need a place to hide in such cases. You can add tall plants and other decorations like a large rock so they can hide while feeling shy. These fish love to play with aquatic rooted plants too. Plus, a large number of plants are necessary so that they can create bubble nests to store and hatch their eggs.

Also, you should add floating plants on the water surface, as it blocks too much light from above and the fish can enjoy the shades. You can add plants like duckweed, java moss, hornwort, etc. for this. But do not cover the whole area of the water surface from them, as the fish needs to come out to the surface frequently to breathe some air.

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Learn about How To Maintain The Oxygen Level In Aquarium?

Tank Placement

The tank containing dwarf gourami should be kept away in a quiet place. These fish are sensitive to noises, and a loud, startling sound can scare them. Have the care to avoid exposing them to loud noises by placing their tank in areas like a bedroom or basements.

What To Feed Your Dwarf Gourami?

Dwarf Gourami is an omnivorous fish type. It means they can eat both algae-based and meaty foods.

In the wilds, this fish feeds on plant matter, algae, and other small vertebrates. Thus, such food types must be practiced while feeding them in your aquarium tanks as well.

Live Food

Dwarf Gouramis mostly love live food such as:

You can feed them frozen or live in their tanks. Make sure the food is cut into smaller pieces so that the fish can easily have them.

Frozen Foods

You can find these food varieties as:

  • high-quality flake food
  • tropical fish flakes
  • and live/frozen foods in the market.

Make sure to check that its primary ingredient is ‘fresh seafood’ instead of ‘fish meal’ while buying them. Besides, you can feed them with vegetable pellets and other simple veggies as well.

How Much And How Often To Feed Dwarf Gourami?

It is enough to feed them at least 1 to 2 times a day. Live food such as worms and brine shrimp acts as a nutritious diet for the fish. You can feed this at least 2 to 3 times per week.

Furthermore, make sure you check the eating habits of your fish. If the gourami has not eaten all the food you provided in the first turn, then don’t feed it another time for the day. Or else, feed your fish twice a day if it eats up all the food.

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Care For Dwarf Gourami

As you preserve your dwarf gouramis in the tank, it is equally important to protect them too. There are many factors you must take care of in context to protect and maintain them. Let’s take a look at some common ways to take care of dwarf gouramis:

Separate The Males

Basically, two male dwarf gouramis are known to be aggressive towards each other in the same tank. If the tank size is small with two males in it, then they can turn out to act deadly against each other. Therefore, you must either avoid having two males in the same tank or have a much bigger tank to have them together.

Besides, it is better to place one male and one female dwarf gourami together in a tank. This will be safe for them as they can get together and breed peacefully.

Check Your Fish Behavior

Dwarf Gourami usually has a shy personality or an aggressive one. In most cases, they become territorial as well.

Tank Mates

If this fish is kept in a community tank, make sure that the tank is large enough for them to establish their own territories. In case they turn out hostile to others, it is better to separate them from their tanks. Dwarf gouramis are known to be hostile towards colorful fish such as guppies and bettas.

If you are looking to place tank mates for this fish, make sure to check its behavior towards the other fish. If they act withdrawn or stressed in front of them, then it is better to remove them. On the other hand, if the tank mate is overly active, it might cause your gourami to hide most of the time in the aquarium.

Besides, there are some friendly fish for our dwarf gourami, such as catfish, tetras, rainbowfish, etc.

Keep Them Healthy

Keeping this fish pet healthy is a necessary factor to keep in check. For this, feed them in time, clean the tank water at fixed intervals, and check their behavior in the tank as well. Make sure that the tank environment is suitable all the time and the systems are working well. If they are acting strange or seem unwell, you can contact the vet for your concerns.

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How To Breed Dwarf Gourami

Most of the dwarf gouramis are sold with breeding pairs, i.e. both male and female. So you can easily recognize the pair, as males are larger and more colorful than the females.

Dwarf Gouramis usually tend to breed naturally. But you can trigger the breeding process by managing adequate tank conditions too. Whatever the case is, consider the following process for breeding these fish:

Setting Up Tank Conditions

In the wild, dwarf gouramis usually breed during the dry season. Therefore, you can manage a similar environment for these fish to breed in their tank too. Make sure that you provide them with plenty of foods to gather enough energy and strength for breeding.

To simulate the tank condition for breeding, set the temperature between 82°F-86°F. And reduce the water level up to 6-8 inches too. This should trigger the breeding process in them.

You must add enough plants into the tank so that your fish can build their nests to store the eggs. Plus, cover the base of this tank with a thin layer of sand.

It is preferable to keep the breeding pair in a separate tank. This will allow them to have a peaceful atmosphere as there won’t be other fishes around to create any problems.

Bubble Nests

The male dwarf gourami builds up a bubble nest among the plants in the tank. This nest is made out of foam and saliva, and it doesn’t have a solid structure. Thus, you must maintain a low current of water flow in the tank to avoid damaging the nest.

After the nest is done, the female will slowly start laying the eggs. Meanwhile, the male starts collecting the eggs and put them into the bubble nests one by one. This process continues until all the eggs are delivered into the nest. The male will cover the eggs with more bubbles to protect them.

After the spawning is finished, prepare to separate the female from the tank. You should remove the female after this point because the male begins to guard the eggs and can turn aggressive towards its female while being protective of the babies.

Hatching Eggs

The eggs will hatch after 25-30 hours. Then, the younglings will stay in the nest for a few days, and begin to swim outside after that.

Once the little ones have left the nest, remove the male gourami from the tank too. Let the younglings grow freely in the tank. Now you need to take care of them by checking them frequently.

Make sure that they have constant food to eat in the tank. You can initially feed them with infusoria and rotifers. Slowly, they will start to grow, and then you can feed them live food such as baby brine shrimps or micro worms.

After that they have grown up to 0.6-0.68 inches, you can place them in the main tank with other fishes.

Common Diseases In Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami is sensitive to the quality of water they are living in.  If there is anything causing impurities to the water, then these fish are easily prone to diseases.

Besides, the best way to prevent your gouramis from getting ill is to feed them nutritious food, routinely change the water in their tank, and maintain adequate conditions for them to live in the water.

The reason behind these fish to fall ill is because of viral and fungal infections, bacteria, etc. Here are some common diseases found in dwarf gouramis:

Dwarf Gourami Disease (DGD)

The Dwarf Gourami Disease is a unique one, as it is seen only in dwarf gouramis. It is especially caused due to depletion in the aquarium’s water quality. As mentioned before, these fish are very sensitive to water conditions and are vulnerable to this illness in such cases.

DGD is caused due to a viral infection. It shows symptoms such as fading of color streaks and their scales falling off slowly. In some cases, there are no symptoms seen at all, as other fish in the same tank do not catch this disease.

To this date, there is no cure found for this disease in dwarf gouramis.

Learn more in Gourami Fish Diseases and Treatments

Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV)

Another common disease is the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. It is a severe infectious disease that is found to be highly contagious and can easily affect other fish in the same tank.

DGIV can show symptoms such as loss of appetite, fading of color, sores, and abdominal swelling. Just like DGD, this disease can eventually lead to the death of the fish.

Furthermore, no cure has been developed to tackle DGIV as well.

Other Diseases

Besides, other diseases are also seen to occur in these fish. Such diseases might be fin and tail rots, dropsy, ich, bloat, etc.

Get more information about Treatment and Home Remedy for Fin Rot Disease in Aquarium Fish from here.

Usually, such illnesses can be caused by bacteria, parasites, and fungal infections. However, they are not so severe in comparison to DGD and DGIV. It won’t lead directly to their fatal death.

Conclusion

Dwarf Gouramis are a bright and colorful species of fish. They can appear as the most shining ones in a community tank.

The level of caring for these fish is basically easy. They can be a great choice for beginners too. One thing that is strictly necessary to consider is to maintain clean water quality in the tank so that these fish do not fall sick. In conclusion, dwarf gouramis can become a satisfying addition to your fish collection.

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