Maximum size : 8 cm

Dwarf Gourami - Trichogaster lalius : Complete Fish Profile & Care Guide

Table of contents


The Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius) is a truly captivating freshwater fish renowned for its tranquil demeanour, hardiness, and ease of maintenance. Their striking colours add a touch of brilliance to any aquarium, contributing to their widespread popularity among enthusiasts.

Dwarf Gouramis are known for their tranquil nature around other fish species; however, during breeding periods, males may exhibit territorial tendencies, especially in more confined tanks. It is recommended to house males in odd-numbered groups within bachelor settings to minimize bullying. To safeguard the smaller, more curved females from undue harassment amid the males' fervent mating pursuits, it is essential to maintain a greater female-to-male ratio. When kept as a pair, these fish delightfully swim together in harmony.

To foster a safe and inviting atmosphere for these enchanting fish, a well-planted aquarium with abundant hiding spots and a gentle water current is ideal. As labyrinth fish, Dwarf Gouramis possess a lung-like labyrinth organ that enables them to breathe directly from the air, requiring access to the water's surface.

Among the smallest of the Gourami species, The Dwarf Gourami exhibits a slightly compressed form, accompanied by fins characterized by rounded contours and notably generous dimensions. Distinguished by their threadlike ventral fins, these possess touch-sensitive cells endowed with remarkable sensitivity. The distinguished feature of these Gouramis is their luminous, nearly translucent blue hue, elegantly punctuated by delicate stripes in hues of red or deep orange.

The Dwarf Gourami species has been subject to selective breeding, resulting in the emergence of several distinct variants. Prominent among these are notable varieties such as the Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami, characterized by its predominantly vibrant blue colouration, the Flame Dwarf Gourami, celebrated for its intense red hue; and the Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami, also referred to as the Rainbow Dwarf Gourami, boasting striking patterns featuring vivid blue and deep red stripes.

Dwarf Gourami Photos

Sexual Dimorphism

Distinguishing male and female Dwarf Gouramis is a fairly straightforward process. Males tend to be slightly larger than females and exhibit a vivid red-orange body with turquoise-blue vertical stripes that extend into their fins. In contrast, females display a more subdued, silvery grey-blue coloration and do not develop the vibrant hues characteristic of their male counterparts.

Featured Male
Featured Female
Female Male

Quick Facts

Scientific NameTrichogaster lalius
Year Described1999
Other NamesFlame Gourami, Powder Blue Gourami, Red Gourami, Sunset Gourami
OriginsIndia , Bangladesh
Max Size8 cm
Aquarium LevelMiddle - Top
Best kept asPairs
Diet & FeedingOmnivore
ReproductionEgg Depositor
LifespanUp to 8 Years

Water Parameters

Water TypeFreshwater
pH 6.0 - 7.5
GH 4 - 10
Ideal Temperature
72 - 82
22 - 27

Natural Habitat

Dwarf Gouramis thrive in the slow-flowing beds of ponds, rivers, canals, and lakes that are surrounded by lush greenery in the stunning regions of West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh in India. During the monsoon season, these magnificent creatures are free to explore new territories, thanks to the creation of small seasonal pools that are perfect for breeding. 

These temporary pools provide the ideal environment for Dwarf Gouramis, with an abundance of light, nutrients, and heat, making them a picturesque and comfortable place to live. As the season comes to a close, the fish gracefully swim back to their permanent habitats, adding to the mesmerizing beauty of their natural environment. 


The male Dwarf Gourami creates a unique floating bubble nest, incorporating plant materials, twigs, and other debris to enhance the nest's stability. During spawning, it is advisable to lower the water level by a few centimetres and slightly increase the temperature. The presence of vegetation is crucial, as males construct their bubble nests with plant matter, resulting in intricate and robust structures.

Once the nest is built, the male initiates courtship with the female, typically in the late afternoon or evening. He displays his intentions by swimming around the female with extended fins, attempting to lure her to the nest. If the female accepts the male, she will circle with him below the bubble nest before signalling her readiness to spawn by touching the male's tail or back with her mouth.

At this point, the male embraces the female, turning her on her side and eventually on her back. The female then releases approximately 60 eggs, which the male promptly fertilizes. Most eggs will float into the bubble nest, while the male gathers any stray eggs and places them in the nest. If additional females are present in the breeding tank, the male will mate with them as well. These mating sessions can last for two to four hours, producing between 300 and 800 eggs.

Once the female has laid all her eggs, the male secures them in the bubble nest with a thin layer of bubbles. The female should then be removed and placed in a separate tank, leaving the male to aggressively guard the nest, eggs, and surrounding territory. Fry will hatch within 12 to 24 hours and continue developing under the protection of the bubble nest. After three days, the fry will become free-swimming and leave the nest; the male should then be removed to prevent him from consuming the fry.

Diet & feeding

Dwarf Gouramis readily consume a variety of foods suitable for their mouth size, including flake, frozen, freeze-dried, vegetable tablets, and algae wafer options. To maintain optimal health and vibrant coloration, it is advisable to supplement their diet with occasional servings of live foods.

Frequently asked questions

Dwarf Gouramis are relatively small fish, but they still need space to swim and explore. The minimum recommended tank size for a single Dwarf Gourami is 10 gallons. If you plan on keeping more, increase the tank size proportionally.

Dwarf Gouramis prefer water with a pH between 6.0 and 7.5, hardness between 4 and 10 dGH, and a temperature range of 22 to 28°C (72 to 82°F).

Dwarf Gouramis are omnivores and will eat a wide variety of foods. A diet of high-quality flake or pellet food, supplemented with occasional live or frozen foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia, will help ensure their optimal health.

Yes, Dwarf Gouramis are generally peaceful and can coexist with a variety of other calm, non-aggressive species. However, they might be territorial towards others of their kind, especially males, and it is recommended to keep them in a ratio of one male to several females.

Male Dwarf Gouramis usually have brighter, more vibrant colors and pointed dorsal fins. On the other hand, females have a duller color palette and rounded dorsal fins.

Yes, Dwarf Gouramis can be bred in home aquariums. Males build bubble nests on the water's surface where the female lays her eggs. Afterward, the male fertilizes the eggs and guards the nest.

With proper care and optimal living conditions, Dwarf Gouramis typically live for around 4-6 years in captivity.

To maintain Dwarf Gouramis' health, provide a varied diet, keep the tank clean, maintain optimal water parameters, and avoid sudden changes in temperature or pH. Regular observation can help detect any signs of illness early, such as changes in behavior, eating habits, or appearance.

8 tank mate ideas for the Dwarf Gourami

Looking for some awesome tank mate ideas for your Dwarf Gourami? Look no further! Here are 8 of the most captivating and fascinating options that will liven up your aquarium!

Other Gouramis of interest