Dwarf Gourami - Trichogaster lalius

Updated May 13, 2020
Author: Mike - FishLore Admin
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The Dwarf Gourami originates in the waters of India and is not only beautiful but they can be particularly hardy as well. The male is more colorful while the females are less colorful. Usually the female is gray in appearance. There are a couple of color varieties including the Blue and the Flame Red.

Trichogaster lalius Neon Trichogaster lalius

They make a great addition to a fully cycled community tank and are easy to care for in general.

Some hobbyists find that these gouramis tend to be a bit too aggressive with conspecifics and choose to keep one to a tank.

They should accept most fish food including flakes, freeze-dried, frozen and live fish foods.

If you notice the coloration on your gouramis starting to fade, try supplementing their diet with freeze dried blood worms or live foods once in a while. They are not picky eaters.

Red Neon Trichogaster lalius Wild Trichogaster lalius

Dwarf Gourami Care Details

Scientific Name : Trichogaster lalius

Common Names: Blue, Sunset Gourami, Powder Blue Gourami, Neon

Care Level : Easy, good for freshwater beginners with a tank that has completed the aquarium nitrogen cycle.

Size : 3 inches (8 cm)

pH : 6 - 8

Temperature : 77°F - 82°F (25°C - 28°C)

Water Hardness : 5° to 20° dH

Life span : 3 - 4 years

Origin / Habitat : India and native to Asia.

Temperament / Behavior : Mostly peaceful and hardy, they are good fish for beginners. They have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air. You may see this behavior at the surface of the tank with them.

Breeding : Can be difficult. They build bubble nests for their eggs.

Aquarium Size : 20 gallon or larger.

Tank Mates : Many, given their usually peaceful nature. They may become slightly territorial if placed in a smaller tank with other Dwarfs.

Fish Disease : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment

Food : Will eat flake, freeze dried and live foods. Vary their diet for optimum health.

Tank Region : Middle to top

Gender : Easy to determine. The male is more colorful while females are usually gray.

Photo Credit : Photos copyright JJPhoto.dk

References :

Fish Lore Forum : Dwarf Gourami Forum

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Dwarf Gourami

trichogaster lalius trichogaster lalius

Dwarf Gourami Tips and Comments

From: Mandy
I put one in with 3 balloon mollies and it picks on one of them, did I make the wrong decision about mixing the two?
Response: We have heard of Gold Gouramis being aggressive toward their tank mates. There are many things that could be involved in this situation. Is the tank big enough for all of the inhabitants? If not, it could be that the Gourami is being cramped and causing it to be aggressive. Many tropical fish will become aggressive if not given enough space.

There are a few things you can try. The first option is to get another one (if you have enough space). Another one may create a diversion for the one you already have. The second option would be to return the fish to your local pet store if its aggressiveness continues.

From: grymckee
Will this fish be compatible with frontosa. I have six frontosa that are three inches in length and I'm looking for suitable tank mates for them.
Response: The dwarf and the frontosa might be able to do well together now, but not when the frontosas reach their full adult size of up to 14 inches. The dwarf will only reach about 3 inches fully grown and they would probably make a pretty good snack for your frontosas.

From: Heather
I have a dwarf gurami which has scales missing on several places on the side of his body. Where the scales are missing it is red. What is it and how do I treat it?
Response: Missing scales could be caused by aggressivness from another fish. Missing scales should be able to heal on their own in due time. If you don't have another tropical fish causing the problem then it may be a disease and you will want to treat it appropriately. It is difficult to say what the problem is without more information.

From: Pleco Lover
I have a 20 gallon tank that is home to 6 neon tetras, one glo-lite tetra, two zebra danios, and one ghost glass catfish. (the last three species are survivors, i'm not getting any more of their species) I also, if possible, am going to get a bristlenose pleco. If i were to get a dwarf, would it be overstocked? Or could I get either gourami or pleco? Or no pleco at all?
Response: The "general" rule of thumb of 1 inch of fish per gallon of water is rather silly. It could all depend on the type of fish we are talking about. Do you think a 20 inch fish would live comfortably in a 20-gallon tank? Me neither.

As adults all of your current tropical fish will total about 17 inches of fish. If you add in a Bristlenose (adult size ~ 5 inches) and a dwarf gurami (adult size ~ 3 inches) you will have around 25 inches of tropical fish in your 20 gallon. This would be an overstocked tank, but if you are set on getting more tropical fish just realize that you will need to perform maintenance more often.

From: Sierra
Would these get along well with danios? I have 8 danios and an algae eater in my 30-gallon tank. I am also looking to buy some cherry barbs and swordtails. Would this be a peaceful community?
Response: A Dwarf Gourami should get along just fine with any of the tropical fish you've listed. However, you may want to rethink adding any more fish to your setup. Having 8 danios and an algae eater (chinese or pleco?) may be alright in your 30 gallon tank right now, but adding any more fish will make the tank overcrowded. If you do decide to add more tropical fish to your aquarium be prepared to perform tank maintenance more often.

From: Teresa
I have had 2 dwarf guramis for about 2 weeks. One of them seems to have developed 2 cycst like things on it's body, but they are the same color as him and one whitish one on it's eye. He is swimming and eating fine. Is this something he has that can be given to my other fish? What could it be?
Response: Without more information or a picture of the fish, I'm only guessing here, but it sounds like it might be ichtyophthirius (ich). Please check out the Freshwater Fish Disease page for information on how to treat ich.

From: Jen
In what numbers do dwarf gouramis do best?
Response: It depends on the tank size. If you have a smaller aquarium (10 - 20 gallons) a good mix would be 2 females to 1 male. However, if you had a larger aquarium you could get by with getting more than 1 male. It's been my experience that putting more than 1 male in a smaller tank can lead to fighting between the males. They won't fight continuously but they will bother each other. It can also be difficult to locate females in the local fish stores. They usually only carry the males. So, if you have a tank on the smaller side, it would probably be a good idea to only get 1 male dwarf.

From: Phill
Great fish, the dwarf is very friendly with other fish like mountain minnows or neon tetras as I have both of these species in my fish tank.

From: Alyssa
I've got three male gourami in a 10 gallon heavily planted tank with a cave. The only problems I've had is that the blue one hides in his cave all the time while the red one and the stripey one have bubble nest fights... They've actually started getting along much better after I dropped a few Ottos in with them to take care of the algae.

From: Thunder
I have a 30 gallon tank and the general rule of 1 inch fish per gallon isn't neccessary. As long the water is being cared for and the fishes being healthy, they should be fine. I currently have 10 tiger barbs, 6 platies, and 2 striped raphael catfishes. After they all were settled, I added two beautiful blue gouramis (full blue from head to all fins and tail) and they are just awesome between each other and with the other fishes. During the first day or two, do not panic if the other fishes are naturally curious at each other, after that phase, everything will be just great. I highly recommend the dwarf, because of their size, color, behavior, and the way they bring life to the aquarium.
Response: Yes, provided that you stay on top of your water changes you will be able to support the numbers of fish in your setup, but when those raphael catfish reach their adult size they will need to be removed from the 30 gallon and placed in a larger tank. You will also end up getting lots of baby platies since they breed fairly easy. Sounds like it's time for another, larger tank!

From: Rich
I just got my dwarf guarami about a week ago. It is a beautiful fish and is rather peaceful. I currently have him in a 20 gal tank with only a juvenile blood parrot and a juvenile chinese algae eater. I plan on moving them all to a 55 gallon in a couple weeks. He keeps to himself most of the time. Every once in a while he gets into it with the parrot who is bigger then him and seems to be a little more territorial as well. Other than that I think he is a fascinating and beautiful fish that is a joy to have!

From: Maddie
In my aquarium I have two dwarfs, 3 angelfish, 2 crayfish, 2 clown loaches, 2 red finned sharks (get along fine) 1 kissing gourami, 3 silver sharks, and a paradise fish. These fish are all pretty big. We have 160 gallon tank. First of all, my blue dwarf gourami used to hang around the bottom and we were worrried about him because the red one was so active. But now it's the opposite... Maybe it's just a trait of the fish?

From: Tay
I was just wondering are these fish like bettas in that they like to be kept singly? I would like to get 1 for a 10 gallon aquarium. Also are they ever prone to fin nipping? (I have a betta that would love to be housed with a Gourami) Thanks, I am looking forward to your response.
Response: It is not recommended to keep these two species in the same tank because many hobbyists have reported aggression between these two species. However, some have kept them together and have witnessed no problems. It may have more to do with the fish's personality than with the general temperament of the species and the amount of available space (larger tank, more space). If you do house them in the same fish tank, be ready to remove one or separate them (tank divider) at the first sign of aggression.

From: Visitor
I find these fish to be very curious, mine will always come the surface if I'm near the tank, whether I have food or not. If I'm testing the water, they will come up and nip at the test tube, and if I'm feeding, they will readily take the flakes from my fingers. Great fish, glad I got them. I have a male and female in a 20 gallon tank.

From: Blue Fishy
I have two male dwarf blue gourami's in a 10 gallon tank along with 4 neon tetras and a blue snail. The larger gourami is constanly picking on the other one. I should have read more about these fish before I got them. I'm thankful for all your comments and tips. I'm taking the larger one back today.

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