Name: Dwarf Gourami
Scientific Name: Colisa lalia
Origin: North East India & Bangladesh
Adult Size: 2" ( 4-5 cm )
Lifespan: Roughly 4 years
Tank Level: Top & Mid-Dweller
Minimum Tank size: 10 gallons
Tank Setup: Thickly Planeted
Breeding: Egg Layer - Bubblenest builder
Ideal pH : 6.0 - 7.5
Temperature: 72-82 F (22-28 C)
Sexing : Males - Bright colors, pointed dorsal fin. Females - Duller colors, rounded dorsal
The Dwarf Gourami is one of the most unique and interesting looking fish to be kept in a
small aqaurium setup. The truly special qualities of these fish is their trademark blue
and orange stripes which cover their bodies vertically. There are many color variations
of these fish including Powder Blue, Neon, and Red.
This fish originates from Northeast India, Bangladesh, West Bengal and Assam. Their
natural habitat is in thickly vegetated waters, which if replicated in the home aquarium, will be
most appreciated. Despite hobbyist fascination with this fish, these are often sold as dried
food in fish markets in India since they are so common.
Like all Gourami's, these fish are Labyrinth breathers, meaning they can breathe air from the
surface if necessarry. They are fairly tolerable of high temperatures up to 84C , which is good
for helping rid fish diseases from an aquarium.
In the wild this fish's diet consists of eating algae off of vegetation, and munching on bugs on
the waters surface. Regular flake food is good for the home aqaurium but must be
supplemented with algae based foods, frozen bloodworms and some live treats. Also be
sure to provide plenty of both surface and subsurface vegetation to nibble on.
Another one of the roles of the vegetation in this guy's habitat is to make it feel more secure.
This is one of the most shy and timid fish I've ever dealt with, the slightest sound or movement
sends it darting for safety. Because of this, you should keep this fish tank in a low activity and
noise area, otherwise the Gourami may become very withdrawn. The Dwarf Gourami is
generally peaceful however, may show some slight agression to new tank mates to make
his dominance and territory apparent. These fish are relatives to the Betta fish and should NOT
be kept with a betta or as 2 males in a small setup.
Sexing is fairly easy with the adult dwarf gourami's. Males are usually much brighter in color,
have more flamboyant stripes, and pointed dorsal fins, while females are duller in color and
sport rounder fins.
To start breeding, all you need to do is lower the water level to around 10-15 cm in depth, and
raise the temperature to around 28-30C. Aquatic plants are a MUST! Dwarf Gourami's
build very large bubble nests ( often up to 6cm in diameter and 2 cm high) which must be
reinforced with plant and leaf material. Once built the male will seek out a femal and attempt
to impress her by flailing his fins, swimming around her and displaying his colors. She may
at first become frightened but after a few attempts will become accepting and let the male
wrap himself around her. Emerging eggs are immediately fertilized, and once layed the
female looses interest leaving the male to collect the eggs and put them in the nest. Once
the eggs are secured the male is ready to mate again, to many breeders delight, and if many
females are present the male may mate with many partners in one session.
The eggs will begin to hatch between 12-24 hours but will spend the next few days developing
from its embroyonic state. After 62 hours the fry should be developed and free swiming, once
they leave the nest the male should be removed and the fry fed regular fry food. An airstone
to provide more oxygen would also aid the newborns development.
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