Dwarf gourami belong to the suborder of the labyrinth fish. They are very popular especially in aquarium keeping. The home of the freshwater fish is mainly in large river systems such as the Indus, Brahmaputra or Ganges. During the rainy season the colourful animals are usually attracted to nutrient-rich floodplains.
What distinguishes dwarf gourami?
The colourful dwarf gourami are known for their calm and peaceful behaviour. However, especially males can react aggressively during the reproductive period.
They are relatively short-lived animals – in the wild they often do not live longer than one year. In the aquarium they can live up to three years. The dwarf gourami belong to the swarm animals and therefore prefer to be kept with conspecifics. If the aquarium is not very large, pair keeping is sufficient.
The appearance of a dwarf gourami
The colourful fish rarely grow over five centimetres in size. The turquoise base colour is particularly striking in the trunk form, over which reddish-brown narrow stripes run. These run over the back up to the area of the belly. The fins of males are usually marked with red spots and dots, in females they are transparent.
The body of the fish is oval, elongated and particularly flat on the sides. The anal and dorsal fins extend almost over the entire abdomen and back of the freshwater fish. The animal was given the name Dwarf Gourami because of its thread-like ventral fins, which are almost the same length as the body.
The differences between the sexes are relatively easy to identify. Males are generally larger than females and also have a much stronger physique. Furthermore, females are considered to be less colourful compared to their male representatives. The latter also stand out due to their red eyes.
Further gender differences are the fins: In males they are larger and pointed, in females the fins are rounded off.
Water values for dwarf gourami
Since the colourful fish are used to tropical heat, the water temperature of the aquarium should also be between 24° C and 28° C. Furthermore, the water should have a pH value of at least 6 and at most 8. The total hardness of the water is ideally below 15°.
Food and nutrition for dwarf gourami
Basically, the nourishment of the gourami is relatively simple, since it eats everything. Although it is possible to use dry food as a basis, it should be supplemented with frozen or live food two to three times a week.
The ideal aquarium for dwarf gourami
Since males in particular are very territorial and for this reason females often get into trouble, the aquarium should have a size of at least 112 litres. If the aquarium is larger, of course two males and up to three females can be kept. In this case, however, it is important that the two males are used at the same time.
When setting up the tank, it is advisable to ensure that there is plenty of planting in the aquarium. It would be advantageous to use plants in several places that reach to the surface. These hiding places are not only used for foam nest construction, but are also suitable as a retreat for females. As the animals have to go to the surface to get air, there should be enough cover there as well.
Special features of dwarf gourami
If the freshwater fish is not kept properly, if the water values are wrong or if it does not have enough retreat possibilities, it can quickly hatch diseases. Therefore, the keeping should only be left to advanced aquarists.
Furthermore, the fish should not be socialized with animals that tend to pluck their fins – for example barbels. It is recommended to use only peaceful and small fish for the company of dwarf gourami.
Dwarf gourami are basically easy to keep, but the animal is not recommended for beginners. Even small mistakes could endanger the life of the sensitive fish. The following factors should therefore be considered:
- Varied diet – combination of live, frozen and dry food
- Aquarium with at least 112 litres
- Temperature between 24° C and 28° C
- PH value Between 6 and not more than 8
- GH below 15°
- Strong planting of the aquarium
- Sufficient places of retreat – coverage also on the surface
- Do not associate with barbs