Dwarf Gourami Care Guide


The Dwarf Gourami gets it’s name from it’s small size of growth. When compared to other types of Gourami Fish, the Dwarf Gourami is the smallest. It’s average size is anywhere from 2-4 inches (5-10 cm). This particular species of Gourami is from South Asia and has been widely distributed around the world for the two reasons of aquatics and food.

The male sex of the Dwarf Gourami is the most colorful of the two sexes. The color pattern is full of light blue shimmering effect with red /orange vertical stripes going down the middle of it’s body. It truly is a beautiful fish on all levels. The image being shown is a male sex. This is the single reason why this species of Gourami is so popular amongst fish aquarium owners.

Habitat of Natural Lifestyle

The Dwarf Gourami is a tropical fish that needs temperatures between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit. It has a tendency to live in natural spots with lots of water movement in rivers and mountains. Water current is not a problem to these fish at all. It is said that a large amount of Dwarf Gouramis was accidently set free in the state of Florida and they have been living their on their own level ever since. Not creating any biological issues for the habitat but instead just keeping their peace.

Water Parameters & Habitat

Gourami fish are known as “Labyrinth” breathing fish. This means that they have a special setup in their lungs where they breath from the surface of the water. You will commonly see them swimming to the surface area to catch a breath of air. This means that they can live in hardy water parameters since they are actually breathing from the surface in a way. Clean water is still key to keeping healthy aquarium fish though. Never loose touch with that fact.

As far as a habitat setup, Gourami fish really enjoy planted tanks that give them algae to feed on. They are basically looking to feed and “nibble” on food they can eat all day long. Longer aquariums are better than taller aquariums too because of the fact of them having to reach the surface for them to take a breath of air. They will appreciate almost any aquarium with a well established setup. They are truly happy fish to be around.

Tank Mates & Roommates

Any “well mannered” fish are going to make for good tank mates for the Dwarf Gourami. What you need to watch for is aggression. Each and every gourami is going to have a different personality. I have kept all types of Gourami fish together and once and a while you will get a crazy aggressive one you need to watch. A good trick to settle down a gourami fish is to get a “more aggressive” fish like a nice cichlid species. Gourami fish will be aggressive if given the chance, but when a fish is obviously more aggressive.. they back down very fast.

Examples: Molly fish, Platies, Swordtails, guppies, and other species of Gouramis (be careful and watch), South American Cichlids, some species of Tetras, almost all bottom feeders & MORE. You will have great luck with other well mannered gouramis like the honey species and blue opaline.

Breeding in Fish Tanks

Most other species of Gourami fish breed differently than the Dwarf Gourami. It actually is different due to the fact that it creates what is known as a bubble nest. This is closely related to the Betta fish in many ways. This sometimes makes breeding a little more difficult for fish keepers due to the fact that you need to research this entirely new method of breeding. Once you do get it correctly though, one single female can lay up to 500-700 eggs at once.


Comments and Replies:


Posted by Nathan K: I’m setting up a high tech 20 long tank and I was think about putting 2 powder blue dwarf gourami, 6 harlequin rasboras, malaysian trumpet snails, and some shrimp.
My question is will the grourami tear up my plants like dwarf hairgrass. I’ve had them before and they tore up my plants. How could I prevent them from doing that?

  • I’m not sure if there are any preventive measures, but I do know that they will go after shrimp, and so might not be a compatible for them.
  • Ok well then scratch the gourami idea. What are some fish that I could put in there. I would like some relatively big fish and by that I mean I don’t want a fish the size of a minnow.
  • In general the smaller the mouth the better, but in my experience most fish with a mouth will go for shrimp. The only fish that I found to be safe are most plecos, otos, kuhli loaches, some rasboras, and so far marble hatchets.
  • Which kind of shrimps? My dwarf gouramis don’t touch my adult neo shrimps, but unless there is a lit of coverage I wouldn’t count on having baby shrimp. My dwarf never touched my plants either…
  • I want to have a big carpet of dwarf hairgrass and for the shrimp I want blue dream shrimp and candy cane shrimp. 

Posted by Megan G: Well… I can officially say I’ve been put off of ever adding another dwarfgourami to my community aquarium after yesterday’s ordeal. After treating my beautiful fire & ice gourami Goliath for weeks for the red sore that developed on his face, it was beginning to noticeably heal when I saw his stomach had became swollen and he was glued to the surface in a corner of the container struggling for air. After researching what I could do and asking on different fish forums I realized he wasn’t coming back from this. I dug out my clove oil (I was hoping I’d never have to use) and put him into a peaceful sleep… When I moved him into the fish bowl I was going to add the oil too he began darting around in a way I’ve never seen a fish move, then would float upside down, then try to get back to the surface for air… It was upsetting to say the least. I loved Goliath’s behaviour when he was at his prime. He honestly was one of my favourite fish in my community tank. For anyone else who buys a dwarf gourami, please only buy from a breeder with a great reputation. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone. I buried Goliath underneath a big tree in my backyard as I believe flushing fish is disgusting, even if they’re already passed on. Sigh, I miss him already.

  • Sorry about your fish. I have never had good luck with gourami’s either. They’ve either been very fragile and gotten sick or been very mean attacking everything else in the tank. And it’s a shame because they’re beautiful fish with interesting behavior.
  • gouramis need lots of water changes, a significant amount more then most fish. Even though they come from mirky water backgrounds they need exceptionally pristine water conditions since they are extremely susceptible to diseases. sorry for your loss.

Posted by Harley F: So my dwarf gourami‘s sore is slowly improving with regular doses of pimafix, melafix and water changes with aquarium salt added but I was thinking of doing a salt bath to see if this may speed up his recovery. He’s still active and eating, I just feel bad keeping him cooped up in this small breeder box knowing he likes to swim around his usual territory in our 75 gallon. Any advice is appreciated.

  • i had that same problem my female gourami had that same issue a few weeks ago but she died😞 I learned its cause by a viral disease you can Google just type in viral disease in gourami but it’s better know as Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus here a link thats more in depth.
  • yes I’ve aware of the viral disease. Sorry to hear about your female passing. 😢 The sore is healing up… Slowly with daily doses of melafix & pimafix into the breeder box (moved him into my largest one instead of this itty bitty one since I was beginning to really feel for the little fella) I almost just want to add him back into my 75 gallon to live the rest of his life happily where he’s happiest despite the sore. Anyone think it would be contagious to my other fish?
  • Update: I ended up having to euthanize him or her… When I checked on it this morning it was gasping for air in a corner looking very distressed. The sore was visibly healing but it’s head was tinted yellow and it would start spasming on and off. I used clove oil to sedate Goliath then buried him in my backyard underneath a big tree… This was hard for me… The only thing that makes me somewhat feel ok about this is he’s no longer suffering. Rest in peace.

Posted by Gretchen C: Hey everyone, just got a new 55g standard dimension. keeping it artificial, but was wondering for some advice of what fish to put in. It’s goign to serve as a center piece in my house so it’d be preferable to have some colorful schooling fish, but my already established, planted, tank has rummy nose tetras with with rasboras, a couple guppies and a few otos on clean up. don’t want to go too far into over lap with the same kind of fish in both tanks… i was thinking idea 1) something to compliment a large school of neon tetras, a gourami or two. w/ pictus / corys on the bottom.
idea 2 a school of roselines. with maybe a couple pictus/cory’s on the bottom and barbs, but not sure what else. any input/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  • was always a fan of congo tetras, but for some people they’re not as readily available. They do have amazing colors though. Rainbows would be a 2nd choice imo
  • this is the hardest question I’ve had to post yet but I need to know if this is the right thing to do for my poor gourami😢 he or she hasn’t eaten in two days, even when food’s been soaked in garlic. I’ve done a salt bath earlier, which temporarily seemed to make my gourami more active. now it seems to have taken a turn for the worse. I’ve used seachem’s paraguard + melafix since I know it’s good for bacterial infections… my heart is heavy just considering this but should I be considering euthanizing my sufferinggourami? I feel selfish watching it’s illness progress and part of me already knows by morning he or she will be gone, I hate that no matter what treatment I try with a sick gourami this seems to be the outcome.

Posted by Nick D: I’ve had terrible luck keeping dwarf gourami so far. I started off with four and now am down to two, and my powder blue gourami isn’t looking or acting too well. From the skinnier appearance & being lethargic most of the time / refusing food I’m assuming it has wasting disease. I’ve started treating my aquarium water with API general cure powder packets in my 75 gallon, anyone else have any recommendations to help me try and save my poor gourami?

  • You know I didn’t have luck with these guys either. Mind you a lot of the time it’s just poor genetics. I had much better luck with sparkling gouramis. They are super tiny.. or keep female bettas instead.
  • They are pH sensitive. I found the noise wasn’t a big deal as long as you have hiding spots. Your pH is high. My water is always ph higher from tap.. add driftwood to your tank. Honestly though I havent any other problems with other gouramis even with pH higher. But your pH is too high for a lot of fish. .. is it always around that mark? Even a small ammonia amount will take them out.
  • yes it’s always high. my local tap water isn’t the greatest but I use prime and let it sit overnight which usually helps.
  • Yeah ok… try driftwood in the tank to bring it down a bit. As long as the tank pH is steady should be OK probably not for dwarf gouramis though. Maybe do a bleeding heart tetras group.. cause they are real perdy like dwarf gouramis. Or female bettas