Dwarf Gourami

Species NameTrichogaster lalius
Common NameDwarf Gourami
Care LevelBeginner to Intermediate
Lifespan4-5 years
Adult SizeUp to 3.5 inches
Minimum Tank Size10 gallons
Temperature77°F – 78.5°F (25°C – 25.8°C)
Water ConditionspH 6.0-7.5, Soft to medium hardness

About the Dwarf Gourami – Species Summary

The Dwarf Gourami, a tropical freshwater fish, is a favorite among aquarists due to its vibrant colors and endearing personality. Hailing from South Asia, specifically from the waters of India and Bangladesh, the Dwarf Gourami brings a touch of exotic elegance to any aquarium. As part of the Gourami family, they possess a unique labyrinth organ, allowing them to breathe atmospheric air, which makes them distinct from many other fish species. This ability to gulp air from the surface is especially handy in stagnant or low-oxygen waters, replicating their native habitat.

Being a relatively peaceful fish, they make excellent inhabitants for community tanks. However, their striking appearance – vibrant blue or orange-red hues with intricate patterns – is what truly makes them stand out. Their ease of care, combined with their aesthetic appeal, makes them a staple for both novices and seasoned aquarium enthusiasts.

Dwarf Gourami Lifespan

The lifespan of the Dwarf Gourami typically ranges between 4 to 5 years. However, with optimal care, some individuals have been known to live a bit longer. Their lifespan is influenced by several factors including diet, water conditions, and the absence of stressors like aggressive tank mates.


The Dwarf Gourami is a visual delight. Males boast brilliant shades of blue or red with vertical stripes, while females are generally more muted in color, typically displaying a silvery hue with faint stripes. Their bodies are slightly compressed laterally, giving them a somewhat elongated appearance. The dorsal and anal fins stretch across most of their body length, accentuating their graceful swimming style.

Average Size

The Dwarf Gourami usually grows up to 3.5 inches in length. While they might be small in size, their vibrant colors ensure they are always the center of attention in any tank.

Dwarf Gourami Care

Tank Size

A minimum tank size of 10 gallons is recommended for the Dwarf Gourami. However, if one wishes to keep a pair or a small group, a larger tank would be ideal to provide adequate space for each individual and reduce territorial disputes.

How To Set Up Their Tank

To replicate the natural habitat of the Dwarf Gourami, consider using a soft substrate combined with aquatic plants like Java Fern or Anubias. Floating plants can also be added to offer shaded areas, as these fish occasionally like to retreat from bright light. Decorations like driftwood and rocks can further enhance the environment, providing hiding spots and territories.

Lighting Requirements

Moderate lighting suits the Dwarf Gourami best. They are not particularly sensitive to light but prefer some shaded regions, especially if the lighting is intense. As such, floating plants can be a valuable addition to diffuse light and create shadowed pockets.


The Dwarf Gourami thrives in slightly acidic to neutral water, with pH levels ranging from 6.0 to 7.5.


Maintaining a consistent temperature between 77°F and 78.5°F is crucial for the well-being of the Dwarf Gourami.

Water Parameters

Soft to medium hardness is ideal for the Dwarf Gourami. Regular water changes, combined with efficient filtration, are vital to ensure harmful chemicals like ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates remain at minimal levels.

Disease Potential

While generally hardy, Dwarf Gouramis can be susceptible to common fish diseases. One particular concern is the Dwarf Gourami disease, a viral illness that can be fatal. Ensuring a stress-free environment, quarantining new additions, and regular health check-ups can mitigate potential health risks.

Food & Diet

Being omnivores, Dwarf Gouramis have a varied diet. They appreciate a mix of high-quality flake foods, freeze-dried brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms. They also benefit from occasional servings of vegetable-based foods, ensuring they get all the nutrients they need.

Behavior and Temperament

Dwarf Gouramis are generally peaceful and can be somewhat shy initially. They often exhibit curiosity towards their surroundings and can become quite interactive over time. Males, however, can be territorial, especially during breeding, so providing ample space and hiding spots can help minimize aggression.

Tank Mates

Choosing the right tank mates for Dwarf Gouramis is vital. Compatible companions include Tetras, Platies, Mollies, and Corydoras Catfish. Aggressive fish or those prone to fin-nipping should be avoided.


Breeding Dwarf Gouramis can be a rewarding experience. Males construct bubble nests at the water surface, under which the fertilized eggs are placed. The male guards the nest until the fry hatch. During this period, the male’s protective instinct is strong, and it’s advised to provide plenty of plants or other cover to minimize stress and aggression.

Dwarf Gourami FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)