Fish Species Profile: Dwarf Gourami (Flame Gourami)

dwarf gourami

The dwarf gourami is a quiet and calm fish. The two fish will swim together if you have a pair of them. Dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish, which means they breathe directly from the air through a lung-like organ and require access to the water's surface. If you continue to breed this species, its intricate bubble nests will demonstrate outstanding building skills.

Species Overview

Common Names: Dwarf gourami, flame gourami, powder blue gourami, red gourami, sunset gourami

Scientific Name: Trichogaster Ialius

Adult Size: 2 inches

Life Expectancy: 4 years


Family Belontiidae
Origin India, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh
Social Peaceful
Tank Level Top, mid-dweller
Minimum Tank Size 5 gallon
Diet Omnivore, eats algae
Breeding Egglayer, bubble nest
Care Intermediate
pH 6.0 to 7.5
Hardness 4 to 10 dGH
Temperature 72 to 82 F (22 to 28 C)

Click Play to Learn More About the Peaceful and Shy Dwarf Gourami

Origin and Distribution

The dwarf gourami is endemic to densely vegetated lakes in India, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh. They are frequently seen in groups with other Trichogaster (also known as Colisa) species. They are one of the most frequent food fish in northern India's river plains, and are sold dry or as fish meal in numerous marketplaces.

Colors and Markings

The popular name "dwarf" is a good match for this fish, as it is one of the tiniest gouramis. Males have a vivid orange-red body with turquoise-blue vertical stripes that continue into the fins, and are somewhat bigger than females. Females have a duller, silvery blue-gray tint and never acquire the spectacular colors of their male counterparts.

Blue/powder blue, neon, rainbow, and red/blushing are some of the color variations. Powder blues are mostly blue with a small amount of red on the body. Neons have a brighter blue pattern than regular neon lights. Rainbows have a very bright orange-red body with blue stripes and a green-gold metallic gloss. Reds have solid blue dorsal fins and are almost completely red throughout.


This species is normally docile and may be housed with smaller, less aggressive species. Male gouramis can become hostile when they are mistaken for rivals by other brilliantly colored species. Most bottom-dwelling species, as well as peaceful, little schooling fish, are ideal tank mates. Dwarf cichlids, cardinal tetra, and neon tetra are all possible tankmates.

Dwarf Gourami Habitat and Care

Dwarf gouramis thrive in tiny aquariums and community aquariums alike. Gouramis can be frightened by noise and should be maintained in a peaceful environment. Because these labyrinth fish require access to surface air on all sides of the aquarium, provide lots of vegetation, especially floating plants that cover only a portion of the water's surface.

Dwarf Gourami Diet and Feeding

Gouramis feed on algae growth on plants and devour tiny insects and larvae from the water's surface. They eat flake food, freeze-dried food, frozen meals, and vegetable tablets in captivity. Supplement their diet with live items like worms on a regular basis to keep them healthy. Breeder pairs should also be fed live meals to keep them in shape.

Gender Differences

Males are often bigger and more colorful than females. Males grow enlarged dorsal and anal fins that come to a tip as they mature. These fins are shorter and rounder in females.

Breeding the Dwarf Gourami

Spawning is triggered by lowering the water level to six to eight inches and boosting the water temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Male gouramis build bubble nests from of plant components that they subsequently bind together with bubbles, therefore vegetation is vital. The nests are large and strong, measuring several inches wide and an inch deep. Limnophila aquatica, Riccia fluitans, Ceratopteris thalictroides, and Vesicularia dubyana are excellent aquarium plants for a breeding tank. Peat fiber may also be used as a construction material.

Following the construction of the nest, the male will begin courting the female in the afternoon or evening. He tries to attract the female to the nest by swimming around her with flared fins. If the female accepts the male, she will swim in circles beneath the bubble nest with him. When she is ready to spawn, she uses her lips to contact the male on the back or tail.

The male will hug the female at this signal, turning her on her side first, then back. The female will then release roughly five dozen transparent eggs, which the male will fertilize right away. The majority of the eggs will rise to the top of the bubble nest. The male collects stray eggs and places them in the nest. The couple will spawn after all of the eggs have been secured in the nest.

If there are several females in the breeding tank, the male may spawn with them all. The spawning periods will last two to four hours, with 300 to 800 eggs being produced. The male will next deposit a thin layer of bubbles beneath the eggs to ensure that they stay in the bubble nest once completed. To relieve stress on the male, the female(s) should be removed from the tank at this stage.

The male will subsequently be solely responsible for the eggs, guarding the nest and surrounding area vigorously. The fry will hatch in 12 to 24 hours and continue to develop under the bubble nest's protection. They are adequately mature to be free-swimming after three days.

If the fry have left the bubble nest, remove the male from the tank or he will eat them. For the first week, feed the fry micro-foods like infusoria, rotifers, or commercial fry food. They can be given freshly born brine shrimp and finely crushed flake meals after a week.

More Pet Fish Breeds and Further Research

If dwarf gouramis appeal to you, and you are interested in some compatible fish for your aquarium, read up on:

Check out additional fish species profiles for more information on other freshwater fish.