Dwarf gouramis provide a solid option for beginners looking for a more challenging fish. They’re hardy little fish that get along with other members of a community tank, but males can be feisty with their own kind. They devour any type of fish food and have few specialized requirements.
Friend or Foe
Fish compatibility is essential for a happy tank. Dwarf gouramis are pretty much everyone’s friend, so they’re excellent in a community aquarium. Several dwarf gouramis can live together if you provide plenty of hiding places and plants; they’ll also enjoy nibbling on the vegetation for a tasty snack. Males are brightly colored and females a dull silver gray, although pet stores rarely seem to sell the ladies.
Although dwarf gouramis only grow to around 2 inches in length, they do require space, so pop them in 20-gallon tank or larger if possible. They don’t like too much water movement, so position the filter return spout toward the side of the tank to disperse the current a little, giving them the option of swimming in water moving at different speeds. A large, bare tank causes stress in dwarf gouramis, and they are happiest with lots of plants. Add a couple of floating ones in the corners to mimic their natural environment.
Keep your aquarium water immaculately clean and warm, ideally between 75 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Although dwarf gouramis have a labyrinth organ, which means they are able to survive in less than perfect water conditions with inadequate oxygen, that’s no excuse to neglect the little guys and not change their water regularly. Dirty water leads to disease, and dwarf gouramis are prone to bacterial infections. A partial water change every couple of weeks will keep the bugs at bay.
All You Can Eat
Don’t be fooled by their small size. Dwarf gouramis will be front of the queue at feeding time because they love any and all types of fish food. Flakes and pellets have the same ingredients, and the fish really don’t seem to prefer one or the other. Dwarf gouramis go crazy for natural food, so a weekly treat of live, freeze-dried or frozen brine shrimp or bloodworm adds variety to their diet and enhances their bright colors. They also like to pick off any scraps of algae in the substrate and on the glass.
- Dwarf Gourami & Neon Tetras image by Ronnie from Fotolia.com