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Dwarf Gourami
Veterinary & Aquatic Services Department, Drs. Foster & Smith
Gouramis
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Colisa lalia

Dwarf Gourami

Quick Stats:   Dwarf Gourami

Family: Belontiidae
Range: Ganges, Jumna, Bramaputra
Size: Up to 2 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Tank Set-up: Freshwater: Plants
Tank Conditions: 72-82°F; pH 6.0-7.5; dH 4-10
Minimum Tank Capacity: 15 gallon
Light: Medium
Temperament: Peaceful
Swimming Level: Top to middle
Care Level: Moderate
Reproduction: Egg Layer - Bubblenest Builder

The Dwarf Gourami is found in several color variations including the Powder Blue, Red, and Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis. The Dwarf Gourami has an iridescent sheen to its body, more prominent in the male. The male is a vivid orange-red with turquoise-blue vertical stripes that continue into the fins. Females are pale, silvery blue-gray with very faint yellowish vertical stripes. The Powder Blue is iridescent blue with red vertical stripes. The Neon Blue is also iridescent, the male being a vivid turquoise-blue with orange-red stripes. The Dwarf Gourami is one of the labyrinth fish, meaning it has gills and a special organ which allows it to also breathe directly from the air. As a result, it prefers to have access to the surface of the water in the aquarium.

The Dwarf Gourami requires a tank that is 15 gallons or larger. The aquarium should be heavily planted and have at least part of the surface covered with floating plants. A darker substrate will help show-off the gourami's colors, and peat filtration is recommended. Regular water changes are a must, as this gourami can be susceptible to disease. The Dwarf Gourami is a peaceful, shy fish. If in a pair, the two fish will swim together. It should not be kept with large, aggressive fish, but is compatible with other small, peaceful fish as well as fellow gouramis. Loud noises often scare them, so the tank should be in a quiet area.

Besides the difference in color, the sex can be determined by the dorsal fin. The male's dorsal fin is pointed, while the female's is rounded. The Dwarf Gourami is an egg layer, and prior to spawning, the male builds a bubblenest that uses plants to help bind together the bubbles. The water level should be reduced to 8 inches during spawning, and the temperature should be approximately 82°F. After spawning, the female should be moved to a different tank. The male will tend to the eggs and fry, and when the fry are 2-3 days old, the male should also be removed. When first hatched, the fry should be fed infusoria, and later, brine shrimp and finely ground flakes. Freeze-dried tablets may also be fed to older fry.

The Dwarf Gourami is an omnivore and prefers both algae-based foods as well as meaty foods. An algae-based flake food, along with freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp will provide this fish with the proper nutrition.

Ideal tank mates include:

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