Dwarf Gourami
(Trichogaster Lalius)
Alternate Names:
Alternatively named by color variation

Dwarf Gourami

(Trichogaster Lalius)

Size: 3 inches

Temp Range: 72°F to 82°F

pH Level: 6.5 to 7.5

Lifespan: 2 to 4 years

Tank Size: 20 gallons

Diet: Pellet, Flake, Frozen

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Geographic History

These colorful fish come from slow moving streams and river tributaries of Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh.


You should provide slow current and lots of open swimming area in your aquarium for this little guy. They should only be put in an established aquarium because they are very sensitive to changes in water quality. Provide tall plants for cover.

Being Labyrinth Fish, Dwarf Gourami breath air. The surface of your aquarium water should be exposed to fresh air. This can be provided by leaving a couple inches between the water and hood. Using the bubbles from an airstone will also help air flow around the hood.


Dwarf Gourami do very well in a peaceful community tank. You should not mix them with other types of Gourami because they may become aggressive or be aggressed by other species. Also, don't keep them with fin nippers or larger aggressive fish.

They should be kept in small groups with one male and two or three females. This reduces aggression.


Males are more brightly colored and have pointed, elongated fins. The females may appear fatter than the males.


Males will become aggressive toward other males when females are present. Adult males will develop purple colors in their chest areas and flare their dorsal fins when challenged.

These little friends will go to the surface to gulp air periodically. They have a labyrinth organ and need to remove oxygen from the air to breath. Without access to fresh air, they will drown.

Dwarf Gourami will spend a large portion of the day grazing the bottom for bits of food and long algae growths. They do not eat enough algae to be helpful in controlling it, but plant matter is an important part of their diet. If your aquarium is completely algae free, be sure you have some plants for them to nibble on.


If you want to breed Dwarf Gourami, you will need to keep the surface of your aquarium water as smooth as possible and provide floating plants. They are bubble nest builders and need those conditions to spawn. The male will build a beautiful bubble nest that is larger than most other Gourami species.

You can tell if the female is ready to spawn when she has a fatter than normal belly. Males will be noticably more aggressive when they are ready to spawn.

The male Dwarf Gourami will build his bubble nest just before spawning activity begins. He usually does this early in the day. After building the bubble nest, the male will court the female by swimming back and forth flaring his fins and raising his tail at her. The female responds by biting the male's back. He then brushes his back on her belly and they will begin to spawn in planted areas of the aquarium. Quivering signals that spawning is near completion.

The female will lay around 600 eggs. Once the eggs are laid, the female should be removed from the aquarium because the male will become aggressive toward her if she gets to close to the bubble nest. The male will maintain the eggs in the nest and spit water to herd them all together.

The eggs will hatch in one to two days and the fry will start swimming soon after. The fry should be fed baby brine shrimp and curshed flake food. Excellent water quality is important at this stage and frequent water changes should be done. Keep the water level close to your hood. The fry need a layer of moist air for their labyrinth organs to develop correctly.

After the eggs hatch, remove the male from the aquarium because he will eat the fry.

For more information, go to Wikipedia's Dwarf Gourami page.

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PetSmart - Fish