Dwarf gourami – Colisa lalia

This is a very splendidly colored freshwater fish. It belongs to the labyrinth fishes, which are also called climbing fishes. It comes from South Asia, more precisely India, and is at home in the well-known rivers of the Indus, Bramaputra and Ganges. The gourami is a schooling fish. Normally at home in the river systems, it has the opportunity to expand its territory during floods, i.e. the floods of the monsoon. As soon as the water overflows its banks, the ornamental fish can also be found on the mainland.

Nutrition Dwarf Gourami

The diet is very simple. The dwarf gourami will eat anything that gets in its way, provided it can swallow it. No matter if it is dry food, vegetable food, frozen food or live food.

When rearing the baby fish you use paramecia for the baby fish and Artemia for advanced size.

Aquarium keeping and equipment

Dwarf Gourami © k966 Fotolia.com

The dwarf gourami adapts to its environment, which means that if you use a particularly small tank, the fish will not reach its full size. This is a disadvantage, especially for breeding (see breeding and reproduction). The colorful fish is very relaxed and peaceful and can be kept without problems in a large community tank with many other species.

It is important that the other species are not aggressive. But this frugal fish also gets along very well with very small tanks from 50 cm. But keep in mind that the fish forms a territory in its breeding season, which it will defend. It defends both the foam nest and the brood.

Attention: The dwarf gourami reacts sensitively to poor water quality. A regular water change is very useful.

To make the ornamental fish feel comfortable, it is best to work with floating plants and dense planting. The bottom plants grow as high as possible and have stems, so it is best to imitate the natural habitat. The ground cover can be sand or gravel , as long as it is kept dark.

Dwarf Gourami fact sheet

Size: up to 5 cm
Aquarium size: very small, from 50 cm
Differentiation male/female: light, female paler, different fin shape
Group behaviour: very peaceful, forms territory during the breeding season
Facility: dense planting with floating plants
Food: Omnivores
Water temperature: ideal 22° – 28 ° C
pH value: 6,0 – 7,5
Water hardness: 4° to 10° dGH

Dwarf gourami habitat

In nature, the dwarf gourami lives together with the striped gourami and the honey gourami in one body of water. It is a schooling fish, although the size of the school can also be chosen smaller. The river basins along the Ganges and Bramaputra offer it a large habitat. But you can also find it in the Indus in the west. The name Colisa lalia is derived from its name in Assam – its home. Here the fish is called Lal kholisa. In nature the fish lives very hidden between plant parts. This is also where its reproductive behaviour comes from.

In its natural habitat, reproduction occurs from April to October, just when the water temperature rises. Regionally the mating times can vary.

Colourful appearance – the appearance

The dwarf gourami is probably the most colourful of all labyrinth fishes. It has an elongated body, whereby the basic body resembles the shape of an egg. Characteristic are the threads on the belly. These threads are the extended hard ray of the ventral fin. In nature it has a very strong, bright reddish-orange body colour and diagonal stripes ranging from turquoise to emerald-green. The rear fin is coloured red with turquoise spots. The ventral fin is half turquoise and half orange-reddish, depending on its shape. Meanwhile there are also cultivated forms in pure colour – i.e. turquoise or orange. These breeds are again clearly smaller than the original form.

Males and females can easily be distinguished by their colouring. The female is relatively pale. The male has rounded flippers.

Breeding and reproduction

Thebreeding of the dwarf gourami is relatively easy. This ornamental fish reproduces already in a very small space, but with over 600 eggs it lays an enormous amount and you should either have a large rearing tank or plenty of buyers afterwards. After reproduction the dwarf gourami creates a foam nest on all plants that swim in the aquarium, sometimes even on dead material. In contrast to the Dwarf Gouramis, where the male makes growling noises when excited, the Dwarf Gourami has its own sound. This sounds rather creaky. By the way, you should take care to use only the biggest and most splendid males for breeding, otherwise the offspring might turn out very puny.

Among the labyrinth fish, the dwarf gourami is one of the most meticulous nest-builders. It works these very cleanly and neatly. Important to note during the mating season: The water temperature here must be increased to up to 32° C. The larvae of the fish hatch very quickly, within 24 hours the nest is full of small dwarf fish. As soon as the fish are born, the temperature must be brought back to the optimal range. Normally, this is first set at 28°C for small fish. At the beginning the small fish do not need any extra food, as they feed on the yolk sac. They have eaten this from about the third day. Then the nest escape takes place and a large tank should be available. Immediately after the egg deposition the female is removed and after 3 days the male.

For easy breeding, we recommend to lower the water level to 20 cm and to do without a current system. Under “Nutrition you can read how you can best feed the freshly born fish.

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