The word “gourami” brings to mind the image of pale looking, lumbering fish that quarrel amongst each other. In fact, keeping more than one gourami is advisable only in large aquariums – that’s how aggressive these tropical fish can be towards their own species.
To the Gouramis’ credit, not all species of this tropical fish are so temperamental.
In fact, one gourami species, the Dwarf Gourami, is not only peaceful, but also stunningly colorful. While the males of this tropical fish species exhibit vertical blue stripes (markings that the females lack), even the females reddish orange hue will add a vibrant burst of color to your aquarium. On top of this, there are a few color variations – namely, Red, Neon, and Powder Blue – available to the aquarium trade!
In addition to its aesthetic appeal, this beautiful fish is hardy and grows to only 2 inches (5 cm) in length! These attributes make the Dwarf Gourami the perfect fish for the community aquarium and an excellent choice for beginners.
That said, here are a few additional things to consider. As with all tropical fish, you’ll get the most coloration out of the Dwarf Gourami if you provide it with the most suitable environment. Given its peaceful nature and small size, the Dwarf Gourami should be kept in well planted aquariums that contain only peaceful fish (no piranhas, guys and girls;).
In chapters 1 and 8 of The Kick-Ass Aquarium I explain in detail that supposedly “skittish” fish just need the right environment to encourage good health, great coloration, and plenty of activity. In particular, aquariums that resemble the natural environments from which your fish originate – in most cases, this includes little nooks and caves, overhangs, and lots of greenery – provide an environment that makes fish confident. These aquariums look great too!
The Dwarf Gourami, then, will gravitate towards the font of the aquarium for your viewing pleasure if it feels safe and secure, if it has a lot of potential hiding places to dart to should danger arise.
Of course, there’s no such danger in the home aquarium. But, keep in mind that tropical fish are hard-wired to “think” this way, and you can use this knowledge of tropical fish behavior to make your fish-tank look like paradise on earth!
And, the Dwarf Gourami, given its hardiness, is the perfect tropical fish for developing your perfect aquarium setup, the best aquascaping solution.
Scientific Name: Colisa lalia
Origin: South Asia (India, Assam, and Bangladesh)
Water Temperature Range: 74-79 °F (23-26 °C)
Water pH Range: 6.0-7.5
Maximum Size: 2 inches (5 cm)
Minimum Tank Size: 10 U.S. gallons (38 liters), though, as I indicate in The Kick-Ass Aquarium, a larger aquarium size is advisable.
Diet: flake food, frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms (not recommended)