Dwarf Gourami [Care Guide] – Tank Mates, Size, Diet, Disease, Lifespan, Temperature & More

The Dwarf Gourami is a beautiful and peaceful fish that makes a great addition to any community tank. Learn how to care for them with our extensive guide.

Dwarf Gourami – Quick Facts

In a rush? Check out the quick facts about Dwarf Gourami below.

Fish Info

Scientific NameTrichogaster lalius
Common NamesDwarf gourami, Trichogaster lalius, Trichogaster leeri, Colisa lalia
AppearanceSmall size, orange-red body, turquoise-blue vertical stripes on body and fins.
DifficultyDwarf gourami is an easy fish to care for and doesn’t require large tanks.
DistributionThe dwarf gourami is found in slow-moving waters in rivulets, streams, and lakes in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. It has also been widely distributed via introduction outside of its native range.
LifespanThe typical lifespan of dwarf gourami is four years.
TemperamentThe dwarf gourami is a peaceful and shy fish.
Keep in Groups of4 or more
Tank MatesCorydoras Catfish, Harlequin Rasboras, Pygmy Corydoras, Amano Shrimp, Lalia, Mollies, Danio Rerio, Catfish Corydoras, Neon, Scalare
DietDwarf gourami are omnivores and will eat both animal and plant-based food.
LengthThe length of the dwarf gourami is approximately 3.5-4.5 inches or 8.8-11.4 cm.
Sexual DimorphismMales are larger than females, males are more colorful than females, males have extended dorsal fins, and females have drab yellowy-brown coloration with a dark band running from snout to tail.
Breeding DifficultyDwarf gouramis are relatively easy to breed.

Water/Tank Recommendations

Water TypeFreshwater
Water TemperatureThe ideal water temperature for dwarf gourami is 72-82°F (22-28°C).
Water pHThe ideal water pH for dwarf gourami is between 6.8 and 7.8.
Water HardnessThe ideal water hardness for dwarf gourami is 50-150 ppm.
Tank sizeThe minimum tank size for dwarf gourami is 10 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 20 gallons.


Dwarf Gourami are one of the more underrated freshwater fish in the trade. They’re beautiful, peaceful, and a joy to care for!

However, some people are still confused about this species. There are some aquarists who don’t even know that they exist!

So let’s set the record straight: these fish make great additions to any tank (big or small). In fact, we think you should consider getting some for yourself.

In this guide, we cover everything you need to know about the Dwarf Gourami. From their care requirements to compatible tank mates, it’s all here!

About Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gourami are beautiful freshwater fish that can be found in tanks all over the world. Their unique look, gentle temperament, and ease of care make them a fan favorite among aquarists!

Like other types of gouramis, this species has an expansive distribution throughout Southeast Asia. They’re most commonly found in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. However, they have also been introduced to waters as far away as North Africa!

Dwarf gouramis get their name from their small size compared to other types of these fish (like giant or neon). But regardless of their size, these colorful creatures are just as active and playful as any other tropical aquarium dweller.

They might even be more energetic than others because they’re a shoaling species by nature (more on that later). As such, it’s important to keep at least four together for the best results.


The body of the dwarf gourami is primarily orange-red with stripes of pale turquoise blue. The coloration starts at the head and extends down to the end of the caudal fin.

Dwarf gouramis also have large eyes, small mouths for eating smaller foods like microplankton, and long flowing filaments that emerge from behind the adipose fin.

Their Length

The average length of dwarf gourami is 3.5-4.5 inches or 8.8-11.4 cm

The length of this species is rather small, which allows them to swim easily in the middle levels of the water column.


The average lifespan of dwarf gourami is four years. This can vary depending on their quality of life and the level of care you provide them with.

Poor water conditions and a lack of good food are just two ways that these fish could experience shorter lives than normal. If you want to ensure that they live as long as possible, it’s important to be vigilant about maintaining their habitat.

NOTE: There have been reports of dwarf gouramis living longer than 4 years, but that’s quite uncommon. If you do see one survive for more than 4 years it’s likely because they were a quality specimen from the start.

Sexual Dimorphism

Males are larger than females, more colorful, and have extended dorsal fins.

Females have drab yellowy-brown coloration with a dark band running from snout to tail.

It’s possible to sex them based on physical characteristics as soon as they hatch if you look closely enough.


Dwarf gouramis originate from slow-moving waters in rivulets, streams, and lakes in Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh. They have also been widely distributed outside of their native range.

These freshwater fish are found living in shallow water with sandy bottoms or rocky ledges for them to hide under. Try to mimic this habitat in your aquarium to facilitate healthy growth while keeping disease-causing bacteria at a minimum.

Dwarf gouramis need a similar environment to feel comfortable in captivity. They do best when kept in heated freshwater tanks with natural decor and plants for them to hide under.

Caring for Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gourami is fairly easy to care for and can thrive in most freshwater aquariums. However, they do have some unique needs you need to address.

These fish prefer tropical waters with a lot of vegetation and hiding spots. They like warm temperatures.


Dwarf gourami are omnivores and will eat both animal and plant-based food. They don’t have a preference, but they will eat whatever is available in the tank.

You can provide commercial flakes, small pellets, live worms, bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia – you name it!

It’s important to know that these fish do not like protein-based snacks such as raw meat or shellfish.

This is because they are susceptible to parasitic infections from these foods.

One of the best ways to ensure that your dwarf gourami gets a balanced diet is by purchasing dried food specifically made for them.

How Often & How Much to Feed Them

You should feed Dwarf Gourami fish twice per day. Make sure you don’t overfeed them, which can make your water become dirty. You should feed them an amount that they can eat within a few minutes.

Possible Diseases

Dwarf gouramis are susceptible to all of the typical fish diseases. This includes fungal infections, bacterial infections, and parasitic infestations.

Fungal disease is a common issue that plagues freshwater aquariums. It’s a problem caused by an overgrowth of fungi in closed environments like tanks. The fungi can quickly spread throughout your tank, affecting every living creature inside it!

Bacterial diseases occur when there is poor water conditions or improper care on your part (or those of other tank owners). Bacteria thrive in dirty waters, so make sure you stay on top of cleaning out waste regularly and keeping ammonia levels stable.

Tank Setup

You must set up your tank properly to make your Dwarf Gourami happy and healthy.

Before we get into the recommended tank setup, there’s a common misconception that needs to be addressed: Dwarf Gourami can live in small tanks!

This is absolutely true! However, it doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate larger ones as well. In fact, many aquarists prefer keeping them in large tanks because of how much space these fish need to swim around freely.

When setting up their habitat, stick with a natural-looking design. Choose plants and driftwood for the bottom of the aquarium so that it feels like a miniature pond from India. If possible, add some rocks or roots onto which algae will grow.

Aquarium Size

The minimum tank size for dwarf gourami is 10 gallons, and the recommended tank size is 20 gallons. If you have enough space, we highly recommend going with the larger option if possible!

These fish need ample space to swim around and stay healthy (especially when kept with other species). As such, keeping them in cramped tanks will only lead to stress and unhappiness.

NOTE: As a rule of thumb, we always recommend going bigger rather than smaller when it comes to fish tank sizes. If you want to keep more dwarf gouramis or other species, just go with the larger tank size!

Water Conditions

The best water conditions for dwarf gourami consist of a moderate hardness level, neutral pH balance, and temperatures that are within the recommended range.

It’s very important to provide these fish with the right conditions in order to facilitate proper growth as well as avoid disease. Poor living situations can lead to stress which results in immune system problems.

In addition to this, the fish’s growth can be affected if they are exposed to conditions that don’t suit them. Dwarf gourami usually live in warm lakes and slow-moving streams, so it is important for you as their owner to provide them with similar living conditions.


The ideal pH level for dwarf gourami is between 6.8 and 7.8. This means you’ll need to monitor the water regularly in order to keep it within this range (and adjust as necessary).

You should also use an aquarium test kit on a frequent basis so that you can readjust your filter if needed or prevent a rise in pH due to waste.

NOTE: Always test the pH level before introducing your fish. This avoids any unnecessary stress that might occur if the water is incompatible with their species.


The ideal temperature for dwarf gourami is 72-82°F (22-28°C).

Pay close attention if you have an aquarium heater that isn’t very accurate, or your room doesn’t stay at a consistent temperature year-round. Anything below the minimum recommended water temperature could cause health problems.

If you don’t think you can maintain the right temperature for these fish, it might be better to consider an alternative species.


The recommended hardness for the dwarf gourami is 50-150 ppm. We recommend aiming for somewhere closer to 100 ppm if possible since this will give them a better chance of thriving in most tank setups.

To keep their water at the recommended hardness level, you’ll need to perform regular water tests and make sure your filter is performing as expected. This will ensure that your water quality remains high and increases the chance of your fish living long and happy lives.

All fish need to live in water that’s the right hardness level for their specific species. If you keep them in a tank with water of an incorrect hardness, it will lead to health problems and infection.


Deciding on how to filter your tank is a crucial decision. The wrong choice can lead to an unhealthy environment for your fish and aquatic life alike.

Most dwarf gourami owners have great success with hang-on-back filters. HOB filters are small, effective, and affordable! They’re perfect if you don’t want bulky equipment taking up space in the tank (or if you have limited room).

If you have more than one or two dwarf gouramis, it might be worth getting an internal filtration system instead of using a smaller external filter. Internal canister filters offer plenty of power without taking up too much additional room inside the aquarium.

Aquarium Plants

Because of their natural habitat, dwarf gouramis do well with live plants. They enjoy hiding places and refuge from light among the leaves.

Just make sure that the plants are durable enough to withstand constant movement. Dwarf gouramis have a habit of uprooting them and scattering them around the tank!

Behavior and Compatibility

Dwarf gouramis can be quite active and lively! They love to swim throughout the tank, taking in all of their surroundings.

However, they are very shy and will hide out if there’s a lot of commotion or noise going on around them (this includes other fish).

As far as compatibility goes, this species does best with similarly small, peaceful fish. This will ensure that they don’t feel intimidated by larger bodies swimming nearby. Dwarf gourami also do well with plants and slow-moving bottom feeders.

How Many to Keep Together

Dwarf Gourami are shoaling fish so you should keep four or more dwarf gourami in one tank. But bear in mind, due to their small size and shyness, it’s important not to overcrowd the aquarium.

NOTE: If you’re looking to add an additional species or two with the dwarf gourami, then consider using a slightly larger tank size.


Dwarf gouramis are very peaceful and shy creatures. They’re not the kind of fish that want to be the center of attention in a tank! They can get spooked easily by larger or more boisterous fish.

They need peace and quiet to feel safe. This means no aggressive fish or overly active ones (like some tetras). A peaceful tank is essential for dwarf gourami because it allows them to stay out in open water without being harassed.

Tank Mates

When choosing tank mates for dwarf gourami, it’s important to consider their temperament and shyness.

These fish do best with peaceful fish. They need this extra peace of mind so that they can comfortably explore the aquarium without feeling threatened.

A list of compatible tank mates is as follows:

  • Corydoras Catfish
  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Amano Shrimp
  • Lalia
  • Mollies
  • Danio Rerio
  • Catfish Corydoras
  • Scalare


Breeding the dwarf gourami is quite easy. In fact, it’s sometimes hard to not breed this species!

These fish are egg layers and will readily spawn in captivity if given ample space and a well-maintained tank. To trigger spawning, increase water temperature by about two degrees for several days leading up to the breeding season. Add some plants into the mix as well. The plants will provide shelter for eggs once they’re laid out on their leaves.

Females lay upwards of 100 eggs at one time, usually around 600. They are deposited onto the floating bubble nest, where the make will guard them.

After around three days, the larvae start to swim and leave the nest. At this point you should strongly consider removing the male from the tank, to stop him from eating the babies.

Are Dwarf Gourami Fish a Good Choice For Your Tank?

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance fish to add to your freshwater tank, the dwarf gourami is definitely worth considering. They’re beautiful, peaceful, and relatively hardy.

They can also be fun to observe in their natural environment as they swim around your tank! We recommend trying your luck with this species if you’re on the fence.


Aside from their vibrant colors, Dwarf Gourami are hardy and easy to care for. They’re also quite shy, which means they won’t be a problem around other fish in your aquarium!

Dwarf gouramis can live comfortably with other species as well since they aren’t very territorial. This makes them a good choice if you don’t want any potential hassle when setting up your tank.

As they are quite small fish, they are suited to smaller tanks. Because of their low-maintenance care requirements, Dwarf Gourami is also a great choice if you’re a novice aquarist who is still learning the ropes.


Some owners have reported Dwarf Gourami being bullied by other fish, but this shouldn’t happen if you choose your tank mates carefully.

Dwarf gouramis can also be prone to stress-related illness when kept with aggressive or larger species of fish. Many will die if they are not kept away from potential threats.


As long as you stick to our care guidelines, dwarf gourami can be a fun and rewarding freshwater fish to keep.

These fish are not only low-maintenance but also very pretty! There’s nothing quite like seeing a group of orange-colored fish swimming through your tank.

If you have any questions about these cute little fish, we would love to hear from you. It’s our mission to help as many aquarists as possible with their fishkeeping questions, so don’t hold back!

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