Dwarf Gourami

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Colisa lalia - (Hamilton, 1822)
Dwarf Gourami

A wonderful beginner's fish, now available in many iridescent color morphs. JJPhoto.dk


This is a great beginner’s fish, provided it is kept with other small, peaceful species. The males are often spectacularly hued, with iridescent bars and orange-red feelers. A number of captive-bred color forms are commonly available.

Family: Osphronemidae

Other common name(s):

Native range:

Habitat: The Dwarf Gourami prefers a heavily planted tank with a cover of floating plants. A darker substrate will help show off the gourami's colors. Good filtration and regular water changes are a must, as this gourami may be susceptible to disease.

Maximum length: 8 cm (3 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 19 L (5 gal)

Water: Freshwater 22 °C (72 °F) - 26 °C (79 °F)

General swimming level: Mid-level


The Dwarf Gourami is not difficult to feed in the aquarium. It will accept a wide variety of aquarium fare, including good-quality flake, freeze-dried and tableted meaty and vegetable foods. Supplement with periodic feedings of live foods, such as bloodworms.

Aquarium Compatibility

Keep in pairs or in small groups of at least three (i.e., one male to two females), as this is a timid fish that is apt to hide among plants or in the corners of the aquarium when kept alone. This species is somewhat skittish, so keep the aquarium in a quiet location.


The Dwarf Gourami will incorporate bits of floating plants into its bubblenest. After spawning, the male guards the nest, eggs and young fry.


It is an ideal community fish that may become somewhat aggressive during courtship. Their delicate trailing pelvic fins are prone to being nipped, so avoid keeping them with known fin nippers.

Reference: 101 Best Tropical Fishes
Image credit: JJ
Text credit: KW