Dwarf Gourami (Flame Gourami): Profile and Information

Dwarf Gourami

The dwarf gourami is a calm and shy fish that lives peacefully with other dwarf gouramis.

The dwarf gourami is observed to be a labyrinth fish because it uses its lung-like labyrinth organ to get air from the surface of the water.

Overview of the dwarf gourami

  • Common names: Flame gourami, powder blue gourami, dwarf gourami, red gourami, sunset gourami
  • Scientific name: Trichogaster Ialius
  • Size: Adult dwarf gouramis can grow up to 2 inches
  • Life expectancy: Dwarf gouramis can live up to 4 years if the conditions are favorable


  • Family: Belontiidae
  • Social life: Peaceful
  • Origin: West Bengal, India, Bangladesh, and Assam
  • Min tank size: 5 gallon
  • Breeding: Bubble nest, egg layers
  • Tank level: mid-dwellers, top
  • Diet: Omnivorous, algae eaters
  • Care: Intermediate
  • Temperature: Should be maintained around 22 to 28 C (72 to 82 F)
  • The hardness of the water: 4 to 10 dGH
  • pH 6.0 to 7.5

Distribution and origin of the dwarf gourami

Originating from West Bengal, India, Bangladesh, and Assam, dwarf gouramis are native to waters with thick vegetation. They can be found swimming with other species of Colisa.

They are also one of the most common fish eaten as food in the river plains of northern India. They can be bought dried or as a fish meal in markets.

Dwarf gourami colors and markings

Unlike most fishes, the male dwarf gouramis are noticeably more significant than the females, and they possess a beautiful bright orange-red body combined with a turquoise blue stripe that vertically runs into the fins. They don’t grow more than “two inches,” hence their name.

The male’s dorsal fin can be seen pointed, rather than rounded like the female’s dorsal fin.

Female dwarf gouramis don’t have the same vibrant colors as the males, as they only display dull silvery blue-gray colors.

There are numerous color hybrids which include powder blue/blue, rainbow, neon, and red.

Although neons only give off a brighter pattern of blue than the standard variety, powder blues are the dominant blue with just a little shade of red on the body. Rainbows give off a special touch of blue stripes orange-red bodies.

They also have sheens that are greenish-gold metallic. Red remains their predominant color that can be seen on most dwarf gouramis, with their dorsal fins giving off a solid blue color.


The peaceful nature of the dwarf gourami allows them to live with other gouramis without any trouble.

Not only that but they can also be kept with other species, such as the cardinal tetras, dwarf cichlids, neon tetra, as long as the fishes are not aggressive or too large.

Other fishes with bright colors may trigger aggression in male dwarf gouramis as they may see other fishes as rivals.

Small peaceful schooling fish and most bottom feeders are perfect tank mates for the dwarf gourami.

Habitat and care

Dwarf Gourami (Flame Gourami)

Due to the peaceful nature of the dwarf gourami, they can live in small or community-size aquariums. They shouldn’t be kept in the same space with aggressive or large fish.

They prefer quiet places and could get skittish if disturbed by noise. They like dark spots, so it would be nice to provide them with some vegetation and floating plants that would cover some areas of the water.

Water hardness should be about 4 to 10 dGH, while the pH level should be kept at 6.0 to 7.5, with the water temperature at 25 C (77 F).


Dwarf gourami in nature grazes on algae growing on plants, small insects, and larvae they see on the surface of the water. They can be feed flake food, frozen foods, freeze-dried food, and vegetable tablets when in captivity.

For optimal health, live foods like worms should be periodically supplemented in their diet. Live feeds can also be used to condition breeding pairs.

Sexual differences

Male dwarf gouramis are not only more colorful but are also more prominent. Males reaching maturity grow elongated anal and dorsal fin that makes a point, whereas, it’s shorter and rounded in females.


By reducing the level of water to 6 to 8 inches and increasing the temperature of the water to 82 F, you can trigger spawning.

Vegetation must be introduced in the water as male dwarf gouramis build bubble nest by using plant materials gotten from the surrounding vegetation, then binding them together with bubbles.

Nests are usually organized and secure and can take up to severely inches across and up to an inch deep.

Plants that you can use in your aquarium may include the following;

  • Riccia fluitans
  • Limnophila aquatics
  • Vesicularia dubyana
  • Ceratopteris thalictroides

Courtship usually begins in the afternoon or evening once a nest has been built. He makes his intentions known by swimming around the female displaying its colorful fins, attempting to lure her into the nest where he continues his display.

If she accepts his advances and display, she would immediately feel at home by swimming in circles with the male dwarf gourami just beneath the bubbled nest. When she is ready enough to worsen, she touches the male on the tail, or back using her mouth.

As if that’s the signal the male has been waiting for, he would then embrace the female, turning her on her side before turning her on her back. The female can now go ahead and release approximately 60 eggs which get fertilized almost immediately by the male.

Some of the eggs float up and get trapped in the bubble nest. The ones that don’t get collected by the male and then placed back in the nest. Immediately all the eggs are kept in place; the pair go back to spawning again.

Males may spawn more than once and would breed with more than one female if more is present in the tank. Spawning can last up to three to four hours, and between 300 to 800 eggs may be produced.

Once eggs are secure, and spawning is over, the males then put a fine layer of the bubble just the eggs, making sure that they are in place within the bubble nest. Female(s) should then be taken out of the tank.

Males take caring the eggs personally and may get aggressive when he feels the eggs are threatened. The fry would hatch in 12 to 24 hours and would continue to develop within the borders of the bubble nest.

They can then be free swimmers after three days when they are sufficiently ready to explore their surroundings.

The male should be removed from the tank, away from the fry, else it may start eating the young. Micro-food such as rotifers, commercial fry food, or infusoria can be fed to the fry in the first week.

They can also be given finely ground dry foods and freshly hatched brine shrimp.

Take away

If you find the dwarf gourami fascinating, and wouldn’t mind getting some along with some closely related fishes and tank mates, then you may want to look at the following;

  • Dwarf cichlids
  • Neon tetras
  • Cardinal tetras
  • Tiger barbs

I hope you enjoyed reading this article? You can leave a comment letting us know what you think about dwarf gouramis.

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