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Dwarf Gourami: Care Guide, Types, Tank Mates & Lifespan (With Pictures)

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By Lindsey Stanton


The dwarf gourami is extremely popular for fish keepers who want a vibrant splash of color in their peaceful aquarium. A member of the wider gourami family, their small size and multicolored bodies look like rainbows of color peppered throughout a tank. This species is easy to care for and makes great companions for other non-aggressive, small fish that populate your tank.

If you’re considering adding a couple of dwarf gourami to your aquarium, you might have a few questions. What does a dwarf gourami eat? What are the ideal fish companions for your little dwarf gourami? You’ll find the answer to these questions and more in the guide below.

Quick Facts About Dwarf Gourami

Species Name: Dwarf gourami
Family: Osphronemidae
Care Level: Easy
Temperature: 72°F to 82°F
Temperament: Peaceful
Color Form: Multicolored: Variable
Lifespan: Up to 5 years
Size: 2 to 4 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 5 Gallons
Tank Setup: Freshwater, heavily planted
Compatibility: Compatible with peaceful and social species

Dwarf Gourami Overview

Classified as peaceful and shy, the dwarf gourami can usually be found in freshwater bodies of water in the United States, Colombia, and Singapore. These brightly colored fish are popular and quite common among fish keepers and get along well with other peaceful species, meaning you don’t have to have a separate tank for your dwarf gourami. Since males are typically larger than the females of the species, it’s easy to tell which is which in your tank, especially since the females are usually duller in color than their male counterparts.

There are several different types of dwarf gourami to choose from, so it’s easy to pick the best for your aquarium. These fish are happiest when weaving in and out of plants in their home, so make sure to have plenty of plant life for them to play in. It’s important to note that the dwarf gourami are also known as labyrinth fish because of the labyrinth organ they have that helps them breathe in water with low oxygen levels. That’s just an overview of what you can expect from your dwarf gourami fish. We’ll cover cost, behavior, temperament, and more below.

Image Credit: Pavaphon Supanantananont, Shutterstock

How Much Do Dwarf Gouramis Cost?

Dwarf gourami fish sell for $5 to $10 on average, according to the type of fish you want to purchase. Pet stores should be cheaper than ordering the fish online since you’ll have to pay shipping and handling costs if you order them from an online store. Dwarf gouramis are sold in pairs in many cases, so it’ll cost around $10 to $20 for a pair without shipping and handling.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Dwarf gourami fish are peaceful and a little bit shy, so a couple of them would fit perfectly in a communal fish tank. However, it’s important to note that since they are shy, they can easily become stressed if put in with fish who might harass them. Adding plenty of dense planting to your tank will help with that since the dwarf gourami can swim between the plants and hide when they feel the need.

Male dwarf gourami can be temperamental and become belligerent with other males or even species that look the same as they do. The males will sometimes bully the females in the tank, even during spawning, so it’s best to keep a group of dwarf gourami fish in a tank that’s big enough to give each individual fish the privacy they need when they want to get away from the others.

Image Credit: Steve Bower, Shutterstock

Appearance & Varieties

The dwarf gourami’s body is compressed, and has large, rounded fins. The fish’s ventral fins are threadlike and feature touch-sensitive cells. The male fish has a translucent blue-green color with red-orange stripes. The females of the species aren’t quite as colorful as the males and have more of a silvery, light grey color.

There are several different varieties to choose from when it comes to dwarf gourami fish. We’ll talk about a few of the different types below.

  • Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami

This fish has a body that is shaded light blue, giving its name. It has orangish lines on its tiny body and scales that are solid metallic.

  • Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami

Just as its name suggests, the neon blue dwarf gourami is neon blue, making it the brightest fish in the gourami family. Splashes of blue and red run through the fins, and it has red stripes running through its body. If you’re searching for a fish to brighten your aquarium, then you’ve found the right one with the neon blue dwarf gourami.

  • Blue Dwarf Gourami

Dark blue with reddish-brown lines running along its body, the blue dwarf gourami is easy to spot because it has large scales that are located close to each other.

  • Honey Dwarf Gourami

Last but certainly not least, we have the honey dwarf gourami. The entire body of this fish is light-honey orange in color, and you can identify it by the dark patches on its scales. The caudal fins, however, are transparent and colorless.

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How to Take Care of Dwarf Gouramis

Tank/Aquarium Size

The minimum tank size for a single dwarf gourami is five gallons. If you’re going to keep a pair or a group of these fish, then you need a tank that’s no less than 10 to 15 gallons. These fish prefer a peaceful, community tank, so make sure that there’s not a lot of busy activity.

Water Temperature & pH

The ideal temperature for dwarf gourami fish is between 72°F and 82°F, with 77°F being ideal.  You can also keep a high-quality aquarium heater in the aquarium to make sure the temperature stays constant. The water pH needs to be kept between 6.0 and 8.0 for the best results.


Dwarf gourami aren’t picky at all. Since they spend most of their time at the top or in the middle of the tank, any type of substrate will do, such as sand or gravel.


Dwarf gouramis use plants to hide behind when they’re stressed, but they aren’t picky as to the type of plants put in their tank. Some of the best plants to set in your aquarium for your dwarf gourami are floating plants and mosses.


This species natural environment is well-lit, with dense vegetation shading it at different times. A standard LED-lighting unit should suffice to give your dwarf gourami and your plants the light they need to thrive.


Although your dwarf gourami doesn’t like turbulent water, you need some type of filtration system to maintain high water quality. A canister or hang-on filter with an adjustable flow rate should do the trick.

Image By: Obble, Shutterstock

Are Dwarf Gouramis Good Tank Mates?

Introducing your dwarf gourami to their community tank isn’t as hard as you might think. They get along with any species that is peaceful. You do want to keep an eye on your male and make sure that a group of dwarf gouramis is in a large enough tank that they can get away from one another when needed.

Dwarf gouramis get along well with mollies, swordtails, rasboras, and loaches. The fish you should avoid are large and semi-aggressive, as these could harass your dwarf gourami and keep them stressed out. It’s also a good idea to keep dwarf gouramis and certain species of tetras and brightly colored guppies in separate tanks.

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What to Feed Your Dwarf Gourami

When choosing food for this breed of fish, you want to select the highest quality of food you can afford. A high-quality, balanced diet is the way to keep them healthy and to bring out their best colors. Since this species are omnivores, they can eat a combination of vegetation and meat.

A mixture of tropical fish flakes, brine shrimp, and blood worms is a perfect diet for your dwarf gourami. Keep in mind that this species does love live food as well. Just always be sure that your live food comes from a reliable and reputable source for the best results.

Keeping Your Dwarf Gourami Healthy

If you follow the steps and guidelines above, then your dwarf gourami should be healthy, as they are a hardy species. Make sure that you keep their aquarium clean, feed them twice a day, and keep their water temperature at the proper levels.

The biggest problem to watch out for with this species of fish is dwarf gourami iridovirus. This is a viral disease that has been known to affect dwarf gourami. There’s no guarantee that your fish will contract this virus, but it is something that you should be on the lookout for and take care of right away if your fish show symptoms.


Dwarf gouramis can be bred in captivity quite easily. However, the male can be aggressive with the female of the species, especially after the spawning period. It’s the male who builds a bubble nest and protects the fry. However, it’s best to take the male out of the tank after the fry are free-swimming as he might eat them when they’re born.

If you’re looking to breed your dwarf gourami, it’s best to have another tank set up to either house your fry in or your male in until they’re a bit older and don’t look as much like food to the male.

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Are Dwarf Gouramis Suitable For Your Aquarium?

If you own a peaceful community tank that has the conditions needed for dwarf gourami to survive, then they are indeed suitable for your aquarium. These vibrant yet shy fish will need plenty of plants and moss to hide in, so make sure you put these in before bringing your new fish home.

A tank that holds 5 to 15 gallons of water is the best home for these fish, and you want to ensure their tank mates are not aggressive. If you have an aquarium that meets all these requirements, then this fish species will certainly thrive there.

We hope this article has given you the information you need to determine if a group of dwarf gouramis will thrive in your community aquarium. With so many different varieties and colors to choose from, you’re sure to find the right dwarf gourami to bring a burst of color to your fish tank.

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Featured Image Credit: Steve Bower, Shutterstock

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