Dwarf Gourami – Trichogaster lalius

Dwarf Gourami - Trichogaster lalius

  • pH: 6-7.5
  • gH: 2-18 dGh
  • Temperature: 22-27C
  • Maximum Size: 7.5cm Male, 6cm Female
  • Minimum Tank Size: 60 litres, 60x30x30cm

The dwarf gourami is a small anabantid originating from Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but almost all dwarf gouramis available in shops have been bred by fish farms in the Far East. Unfortunately, they have been weakened by inbreeding and a large proportion carry the dwarf gourami iridovirus which is a nasty, fatal disease. The picture shows a male of the wild form of the fish; females are a plain silvery-grey fish. Due to captive breeding there are many colour morphs of this fish available.


Not a true community fish as tank mates need to be chosen with care. Do not keep more than one male in a small tank and don’t mix with other fish that occupy the top level of the tank or with other labyrinth fishes. Avoid fin nippers as the trailing pectoral fins of the Dwarf gourami will prove irresistible to them. Suitable tank-mates include harlequin rasboras, peaceful barb species’, other rasboras, loaches, non-nippy tetras, corydoras catfish and otocinclus.

Housing and Feeding

Dwarf gouramis need a minimum tank size of 60x30x30cm for a single pair. They don’t cope well with fast moving water so flow should be minimal and the tank should be well-planted.

They will take most commercial foods as a staple and enjoy occasional feeds of live or frozen foods.


Dwarf gouramis are bubble nest breeders. The male builds a nest of bubbles at the water’s surface and the pair embrace under the nest. The female’s eggs are released and fertilised floating upwards into the nest, where the male guards them. The female should be removed at this point as the male will become very aggressive towards her. The eggs hatch in approximately 36 hours and fry become free-swimming when they have used up their yolk sacs around 2-3 days later. Once they are able to swim, feeding should start, using infusoria as a first food and gradually moving to live baby brine shrimps and other foods as the fry grow. The male should be removed when the fry are free-swimming.


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