Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami 101: Care, Tank Size, Diet, Tank Mates & More

Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami

The Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami is the most common and beloved color morph of Dwarf gouramis in the aquarium hobby.

Aside from their attractive appearance, these fish can also be peaceful and hardy, making them perfect for community tanks. To their credit, this fish is known to be very adaptable and fairly undemanding – enduringly has its place on any beginner’s wish list.

However, a study conducted in Australia in 2006 revealed that around 22% of the Dwarf Gouramis exported from Singapore fish farms carried the Dwarf gourami iridovirus (DGIV), a deadly virus caused by poor genetics. The Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami is also known to be susceptible to this virus.

As a result, it is important for owners to identify and choose healthy fish from retailers. Though it seems a little bit challenging, especially for beginner hobbyists, a little research can go a long way in improving the chance you’ll take home a new fish that will have a long and healthy life.

In this Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami care guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about keeping these beautiful fish.

Breed Profile

The dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius) is a beautiful species of gourami native to Pakistan, northern India, and Bangladesh. However, it has been introduced into the aquarium trade and is now widely distributed throughout the world.

In the wild, male dwarf gouramis take on alternating blue and red colors, while females are usually drab in silvery color. Nowadays, breeders have created many color variations thanks to selectively bred. The Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami is a color morph developed to bring out more blue color than wild specimens, and it doesn’t exist in nature.

These fish are considered labyrinth fish, which means they have a lung-like labyrinth organ that allows them to get their oxygen straight from the surface.

Because of this, Neon Blue dwarf gourami spend a lot of time near the top or middle level of the aquarium. This is important to keep in mind when setting up their aquarium.

Scientific Name:Trichogaster lalius
Common Name:Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami
Tank Level: Top, mid-dweller
Care Level:Easy
Origin:Pakistan, northern India, and Bangladesh
Lifespan:4 – 6 years
Max Size:3.7 inches (9.5 cm)
Temperature:72 – 82°F (22 – 27°C)
PH:6.0 to 8.0
Water hardness:10 to 20 dGH
Minimum Tank Size:10 gallons


For most ornamental fish breeds, selective breeding involves choosing and pairing specimens with particular colors to breed and produce offspring that inherit those desirable colors. This is how Neon Blue Dwarf gouramis are created.

Author note: Debate has increased over whether these color variations can quite match their natural brilliance.

Other than the more blue coloration, it doesn’t have other different physical traits from its wild relative, including the size. Thus, Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis can reach a maximum length of about 3.7 inches (9.5 cm), but this is rare. 

In most cases, they stay smaller in captivity, males tend to be a bit bigger than females, and they can grow to about 3 inches (7.5 cm) in length, while females only reach about 2.4 inches (6 cm).


As with most dwarf gouramis, the average Neon Blue dwarf gourami lifespan is between 4 and 6 years. Their lifespan can vary a bit depending on the quality of care they receive and whether there are genetic defects from the breeding strains.

To ensure your Neon Blue dwarf gourami has the best chance at a long and healthy life, it is important to provide them with high-quality food and a clean, well-maintained aquarium. What’s more, purchase your fish from a reputable source.


There’s one reason for the popularity of Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis that rises above the rest: their striking blue/turquoise coloration. Under the right conditions, their colors can be quite intense and breathtaking.

Unlike the Powder Blue morph that is covered in predominately blue color, Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami has a bright blueish color accented with bold vertical dark red stripes that run along their bodies. Because of this, they are sometimes referred to as the Rainbow Gourami, a different color variant. 

These fish have a compressed and oval-shaped body with rounded and large fins. Their pelvic fins are filamentous and are covered with touch-sensitive cells to feel their way.

Males Vs. Females

Males are slightly larger than females and have a vivid orangish red base with turquoise vertical stripes extending onto the fins, while females have a more drab blue-gray body. Mature males develop elongated and pointed dorsal and anal fins. In females, these fins are shorter and much less pointed. 

Care & Tank Setup

Since Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami has been domesticated for years, they have adapted well to living in captivity. Their small size, peaceful nature, and low maintenance make them the most beginner-friendly fish.

The lax care requirements can be managed by anyone with patience and time to spare. That said, they still require good water conditions and a little extra care to stay healthy and thrive.

Tank Size

Because of their small size, these fish don’t require you to possess a massive aquarium to keep them happy.

These small fish can be kept singly, in M/F pairs or trios (one male with two females) in a 10-gallon tank. If you have 4 or more fish with the ratio (M: F = 1: 2), you will need to provide a tank of at least 5 gallons per fish. As with all fish, it is important not to overcrowd the tank as this can lead to stress and illness. 

Water Parameters

Dwarf Gouramis are a bit more hardy and adaptable than other fish. Well, they do have their preferred water chemistry. 

Wild dwarf gouramis inhabit slow-moving streams and rivers that are heavily vegetated along with gentle water currents.

Try to recreate these water conditions closely in the home aquarium.

  • Water temperature: 72 – 82°F (22 – 27°C)
  • pH levels: 6.0 to 8.0
  • Water hardness: 10 to 20 dGH

They prefer water temperatures a bit higher; as a result, the aquatic plants are free to flourish. Failure to keep these fish in the proper water conditions will damage their labyrinth organ, particularly the water temperature. 

However, the warmer water is, the less oxygen it can hold. You will still need to provide neon blue rainbow gouramis with an aquarium that’s adequately ventilated to ensure they have enough oxygen even though they can gulp air from the surface. Meanwhile, their gills are more prone to burnout from dissolved ammonia.

Therefore, an efficient filtration system connected with an air stone is recommended. Not only will it help to make the filtration more efficient, but it will also fill the tank with oxygen.

Author note: If you’re trying to breed your Dwarf Gouramis on purpose, it’s important to have weaker water flow as it will likely destroy the bubble nest. Generally, a small air-driven sponge filter will work. 

Decorate The Tank

As any tropical fish, Dwarf Gouramis prefer biotope setups that perfectly mimic their natural habitat.

Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis will feel most at home in a densely planted aquarium with plenty of floating plants and tangles of plants as long as they can access the surface to breathe. 

The floating plants are especially important in a breeding tank as the male often incorporates them to build his bubble nest. More than that, they can block intense light and are used to anchor the nests. 

Most fish show their best colors on a dark substrate, and these colorful fish are no different. A dark substrate will really make their Neon blue color “pop.” Black backgrounds also provide a more natural setup to bring a splash of vibrant color to your aquarium.

It’s worth noting that this fish can be skittish by loud noises, so the tank should be placed in a quiet area.

Dwarf gourami Iridovirus (DGIV)

Dwarf gourami iridovirus (DGIV) is a fatal and highly contagious virus that affects all members of the gourami family. Originally thought to only affect Dwarf Gouramis, this disease has now been found in other species of gouramis as well. 

The disease is characterized by lethargy, loss of appetite, loss of color, and bloated or swollen. In some cases, the fish may also display twitching muscles and erratic swimming.

There is no known cure and treatment for DGIV. Once symptoms appear, the fish will likely die within 1 day-6 months. The death rate of dwarf gourami reaches 100%. 

Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help prevent your Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami from getting this disease.

  • The best way to prevent your fish from contracting DGIV is to purchase them from a reputable dealer.
  • Reject any gouramis from the tanks that already have sick or dead fish. Healthy Neon Blue dwarf gouramis are busy, active fish that should be swimming around the tank.
  • Healthy dwarf gouramis will take any aquarium fare. You might want to ask the salesman to feed the fish on sale and look at their reaction. Unless you can explain any unusual behavior, don’t buy fish that seem weak and lose appetite.
  • Dwarf gouramis that are displaying any of the aforementioned symptoms should be avoided at any cost.
  • When you first get your dwarf gouramis home, do not put them straight into your display tank. Instead, set up a quarantine tank and observe them for at least three months. This will give you time to make sure they are not infected.
  • The affected fish should be immediately removed from the tank to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Keeping them in a stress-free environment.

Food & Diet

When it comes to food, Neon Blue dwarf gouramis aren’t picky. They are omnivorous and accept most foods you provide in captivity.

These fish have no problem with an algae-based flake or pellet foods as their staple food. For optimal health and coloration, you should supplement their diet with periodic live/frozen meaty foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, bloodworms, and mosquito larvae. Live foods should also be used to condition pairs for breeding.

Vegetable tablets or blanched vegetables such as zucchini, cucumber, and broccoli should also be given to them regularly. This will help ensure they are getting a good balance of nutrients.

Compatibility & Tank Mates

The Neon Blue dwarf gourami is usually peaceful and hardy and can be kept with other gentle fish that share their preferences and do not look similar.

Adult males can be territorial with each other, and subdominant males are often bullied. They should be kept one to a tank or in a group with at least two females per male. If you decide to keep more than one male, it’s best to have a larger tank with plenty of covers so they can each establish their own territory.

Also, do not house them with larger or more aggressive fish as they may become stressed and stop eating.

Here are some potential Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami tank mates:


Like wild dwarf gourami, breeding the neon blue dwarf gourami is not too difficult. We already have a whole post on gender differences and how to breed dwarf gouramis, so be sure to check that out if you want more information.

Wrapping Up

Neon Blue Dwarf Gouramis are a beautiful addition to any aquarium. They are relatively easy to care for if you provide them with a good diet and a stress-free environment.

When it comes to tank mates, these peaceful and hardy fish are well suited to most peaceful, small schooling fish.

All these unique characteristics, of course, presume you have healthy fish. Be sure to purchase your dwarf gouramis from a reputable dealer and always quarantine new fish before adding them to your tank.

If you have any questions or stories about this pretty fish, we’d love to hear from you.

Good luck!

How Many Dwarf Gouramis in a 55 Gallon Tank?

How Many Dwarf Gouramis in a 55 Gallon Tank

Virtually every fish owner has asked the most common but hardest question, “How many fish can I put in an X-gallon tank?” including myself. When it comes to the most popular aquarium size and the great beginner centerpiece fish, the question “how many dwarf gouramis can I put in a 55-gallon tank?” is bound to come up.

Sooner or later, the widely known rule “one inch per gallon” will show up. You did the simple math, and viola! You have your answer… right?


The rule of thumb overly simplifies the stocking process and often gives false information, especially for new fish tank owners.

In this article, let’s use the question “How many dwarf gouramis in a 55 gallon tank?” as an example to try to find the real answer and learn about the correct stocking process along the way.

The Debate of The One Inch Fish Per Gallon Rule

The debate over the most widely known rule “one inch per gallon” has been going on for years in the aquarium community. 

Some hobbyists believe this rule is complete nonsense and shouldn’t be followed at all, while others (including myself) think that it’s a decent starting point but definitely not the gospel truth.

For a general estimate, the max size of dwarf gourami is about 3.5 inches (8.9 cm), which would make the maximum number of fish 15 in a 55-gallon tank according to this rule. 

Does this sound right? I sure hope not. IMHO this is where the debate begins – people taking the word rule too literally. When you’re on the fence, think about how many fish your fish tank can safely hold without knowing the variables, this general rule works as a rough estimate.

But that’s all it is – a starting point. You should never rely on it to make decisions.

Now that we know this rule is not the end-all-be-all, how to determine how many fish your tank will hold safely? Here is the process that I use and recommend.

How Many Dwarf Gouramis in A 55 Gallon Tank?

There is definitely more homework first before you head to the store, but it helps you determine the actual number of dwarf gouramis in your tank and save you a lot of headaches (and fish) in the long run.

Learn About Fish

The first thing you need to do is to learn about the fish species that you want to keep in your aquarium. Not all fish are created equal – they come in different genera, habitats, sizes, and, most importantly, behaviors and personalities. Some fish are peaceful while some others can be real jerks. 

Knowing about their temperament and behaviors is crucial to stocking your tank correctly; there is no way around it.

Do your research and learn everything you can about them – their natural habitat, preferred water parameters, social behavior, diet, aggression level, etc. The more you know about a fish species, the easier it will be to provide them with the necessary environment and care in your aquarium.

For our example, let’s take a look at the dwarf gourami(Trichogaster lalius).

Dwarf Gourami Specie Profile

Family:Osphronemidae (labyrinth fish)
Scientific name:Trichogaster lalius
Origin:South Asia Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan
Habitat:Slow-moving waters with heavy vegetation; avoid strong currents
Max Size:3.5 inches (8.8cm)
Lifespan:3-5 years
Water Temperature:72 – 82°F (22 – 27°C)
ph:6.0 – 7.5
Hardness:2 – 18°H
Level:Top-middle dweller
Temperament:Not the “ideal” community fish. Generally peaceful, but males are territorial.
Two males will fight in small tanks.
Behaviors:Live in trios, with one male and two females.
Pairs will swim together.
Very skittish fish; can be stressed out by loud noise.
Tankmates:Peaceful middle to bottom dwelling fish.
Breeding:A bubble nest builder, avoid strong filtration
Note:Over 22% of dwarf gouramis come out of fish farms in Singapore were carrying the fatal Dwarf Gourami Disease (also called Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus)

Fish Size

This is because fish we purchase from the store are usually juvenile and have not yet reached their full size potential. 

Dwarf gouramis can grow up to 3.5 inches (8.8 cm). But these fish can be as small as an inch in length when sold. The one-inch-per-gallon rule can apply to these juveniles. But obviously, it’s not going to be accurate for their mature size. That’s a big difference.

Behavior & Temperament

Furthermore, it’s generally hard to tell the gender of most fish when they are young, including the dwarf gouramis. The behavior of juvenile fish can be very different from its adult counterparts. Juvenile gourami might be shy and peaceful. But when they mature, males can become aggressive and territorial towards their own species.

You can imagine what will happen if you put two male or a pair of dwarf gouramis in a 10-gallon tank based on the one-inch-per-gallon rule – a bloodbath waiting to happen, especially when they are ready to breed.

Another thing to consider is that most fish are social creatures. They live in groups in the wild and prefer to do so to feel safe in captivity as well.

This is especially true for labyrinth fish like dwarf gouramis. These fish live in trios in nature, consisting of one male and two females. They will get stressed out and sick if they are kept alone. 

Different Levels of Fish

A community aquarium is a happy mix of different species of fish occupying different levels in the tank. There are top-dwelling, middle-dwelling, and bottom-dwelling fish.

Dwarf gouramis are considered top to middle dwellers. They prefer to swim around in the middle and upper regions of the aquarium.

If you have a lot of top-dwelling fish, they might outcompete the dwarf gouramis for food. Or the dwarf gouramis might feel stressed out from all the activity happening at the top of the tank.

Bioload in Aquarium

The next thing you need to take into account is the bioload (or waste load) of your aquarium. In the natural, new water is constantly being cycled in, and old water is being flushed out, so the fish waste doesn’t have a chance to accumulate and pollute the water.

In the home aquarium, we have to do our best to replicate this process with a filtration system. But there is no such thing as a “perfect” filtration system. As a result, the bioload of your aquarium should be considered when stocking it with fish.

Putting so many fish in an aquarium and the filtration system might be unable to handle it, leading to water quality issues. 

Along with not putting so many fish in an aquarium, leading to water quality issues, there are many ways to help reduce the bioload. 


Beneficial bacteria will live in your aquarium filter and help to break down the ammonia produced by the fish into less harmful nitrates. The more fish you have in your aquarium, the more ammonia will be produced, and the more beneficial bacteria will be needed to break it down.

So make sure you have a good filtration system in place. For a new fish tank, make sure it’s fully cycled before adding any fish.

Let’s go back to the example of the dwarf gouramis stocking number. Since these fish prefer slow-moving waters, strong currents from filters can be stressful for them. Therefore, you might want to reduce the number of fish in your aquarium to help reduce the bioload in your aquarium.

Aquarium Plants

Live aquarium plants are beautiful and satisfying. They also absorb the ammonia and nitrates produced by the fish and use them as nutrients, which helps keep the water quality in your aquarium high and reduces the amount of work your filtration system has to do.

Both root and float plants are a must for dwarf gouramis because they provide a stimulating environment for your fish, and males will use bits of plants to build bubble nests.

Tank Maintenance

It’s simple. The more fish you have, the more work you have to do to maintain the water quality in your aquarium. This means more water changes, more vacuuming, and more monitoring.

If you don’t want to spend much time on tank maintenance, keeping fewer fish is best.

In order to keep your dwarf gouramis happy and healthy, I highly recommend investing in an accurate freshwater water test kit. Personally, I like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, as I always found their test results to be very accurate. Plus, it comes with a handy color chart that makes it easy to understand your water quality results.

So, how many dwarf gouramis can you have in a 55-gallon tank? I can only give you a general answer according to my experience. I would say you could have four dwarf gouramis in a 55 gallons (48″ x 21″ x 12″ ) fish tank, with only one male and three females. But it depends on the other factors we have discussed, such as the other fish in your aquarium, the plants, the filtration system, and your maintenance routine.

Putting It All Together

To sum it up, when stocking your aquarium with dwarf gouramis, you need to consider the different levels of fish, the bioload of your aquarium, the filtration system, live plants, and your aquarium maintenance routine. Based on these factors, you can determine how many dwarf gouramis (or any fish) you can have in your aquarium.

Do you have any experience with dwarf gouramis? How many fish do you have in your X-gallon tank? And what other kinds of fish do you have? We would love to hear your stories and experiences in the comments below.

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Male vs. Female Honey Gourami (What’s the Difference?)

male vs female honey gourami

If you just started the hobby, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of honey gourami. This small, brightly-colored fish is one of the most popular centerpiece fish, and for good reasons – they’re attractive, easy to care for, and relatively peaceful.

The honey gourami is similar to a betta but isn’t as aggressive and incredibly territorial. This fish can play well with other small, peaceful fish in small aquariums (10 gallons and up).

They also have an interesting breeding behavior, especially if you have never bred a bubble nest builder. If you are thinking about breeding honey gouramis in the home aquarium, accurately determining the sex of the fish is important.

In this guide, you’ll learn the differences between male and female honey gouramis, plus some extra breeding info that might be interesting.

Female Honey Gourami Facts

Female Honey Gourami

Let’s start with some fun facts about this peaceful fish and their easy care requirements. If you already have thriving honey gouramis in your aquarium, then you might want to skip ahead to the section on how to identify the gender.

Species Overview

The Honey Gourami (Trichogaster chuna) is sometimes called the Honey Dwarf Gourami, the Sunburst Gourami, or the Gold Honey Gourami, and is closely related to the Dwarf Gourami (Trichogaster lalius).

This species is a Labyrinth fish with a special respiratory organ that allows them to absorb oxygen from the surface of the water. This allows them to live in water with lower oxygen levels where most other fish could not.

Distribution and habitat

These fish are native to Bangladesh and northern India, where they can often be found in the top and middle levels of slow-moving rivers and lakes that are rich with plants and vegetation. Most waters are warm, shallow, and have poor oxygen levels.


Honey gouramis have an average lifespan of 4 – 8 years. This is assumed that you are keeping them in a stress-free aquarium with good water quality and diet.


All of these common names do a great job of describing the honey gourami’s appearance. The males have a beautiful, iridescent honey-yellow coloration on the entire body besides their throats and fins.

Unlike the popular Dwarf Gouramis, both the male and female honey gouramis are quite bland when seen in a retail setting (We’ll get into the color differences between their sexes in the following section). Hence, they are sometimes mistaken for female Dwarf Gouramis.

In captivity, two basic color morphs have been selectively bred: the red variety (Sunset or Robin Red Gourami) and the gold variety (Gold Honey Gourami). These man-made color varieties are more commonly seen in the aquarium trade than their wild type since they are more visually appealing.

However, this can often lead to confusion between the red variety and the flame-red variety of dwarf gourami.

Male vs. Female Honey Gouramis

Male vs. Female Honey Gouramis
Photo: Ck Yeo

It is not always easy to tell the male from female honey gourami when they are small. Both males and females have very similar coloration before they reach adulthood.

However, Honey Gouramis can show sexual dimorphism when they mature. Sexual dimorphism is when the male and female of a species have different physical traits. There are some physical and behavioral telltale signs that you can look for to help you determine the gender of your adult honey gouramis.


Young honey gouramis look very similar, regardless of their gender. They take on a dull silvery to yellow base with a brown line running horizontally down their flat, oblong-shaped bodies, making it can be quite difficult for even experienced fish keepers to accurately sex them.

Female honey gouramis retain this basic coloration throughout their lives with little to no change. Male honey gouramis, on the other hand, will develop a much more vibrant honey color with a prominent blue-black marking on their undersides when breeding. The bright orange coloration on their throats becomes more intense, which may help them to get noticed when courting the female.

Author note: Keep in mind these color changes do not occur in males of various man-made color morphs.


Honey gouramis (Trichogaster chuna) are the smallest species in the Trichogaster – even smaller than the dwarf gouramis (Trichogaster lalius).

The size of the fish can help determine the gender of honey gouramis, with males will only reach about 1.5″ (4 cm) long, while the female honey gouramis can grow up to 2 inches (5 cm) long when fully grown.

In the wild, this species can reach a length of 2.2 inches (5.5 cm), but they stay much smaller in captivity.

Observe the Fins

The male honey gouramis have a distinct “V” shape dorsal and extended anal fin rays. When you look closely at their longer fins, you will see that there is somewhat of an orange hue absent on the caudal fin. Additionally, you may notice that the female honey gourami’s dorsal fin is more rounded than the males.

Breeding Honey Gouramis

Honey Gouramis breeding is not difficult, and they are readily bred in the home aquarium. But you have to provide them with the right environment and trigger their spawning instinct by making some changes to their tank.

Like the dwarf gourami, the honey gouramis is also a bubble nest builder that uses saliva and plant matter to create a floating nest for hatching and protecting eggs and fry.

In order to increase the chances of breeding, I strongly recommend you use a small shallow breeding tank because you’ll need to remove females and males at different stages of the cycle.

A perfect breeding tank setup should be:

  • Tank size: 10 gallons and up
  • A gentle sponge filter (avoid strong surface agitation)
  • The tank should be sealed with a tight-fitting lid to increase the humidity and maintain a warm layer of water for the babies to develop the labyrinth organ.
  • Water Parameters: temperature should be 82°F (28°C) with a pH of around 7.
  • Add plenty of rooted and floating plants. Floating plants, like water wisteria and water sprite, are important for males to anchor their bubble nests.

Honey gouramis can be bred in pairs or a trio. Before breeding honey gouramis, you will need to condition them with live foods such as brine shrimp or daphnia. Once they are ready to spawn, the male will start building the nest. After the nest is complete, he will begin to display the female honey gourami by gently flaring his fins and swimming around her.

If she is ready to spawn, she will follow him and approaches the bubble nest, where she will embrace and release her eggs. The eggs are fertilized at the same time. They repeat the process until the female honey gourami runs out of eggs.

After spawning, the male honey gourami will become very protective of the nest and chase away anything close to it. The female honey gourami is usually not welcomed back into the breeding tank and should be removed.

These eggs will hatch between 24-36 hours, and the fry will start to swim toward the surface for air, depending on the temperature. At this point, you can remove the male honey gourami because he might eat the fry. 

The fry will be free swimming after 3 days, and they can be fed newly hatched brine shrimp.

Wrapping Up

To conclude, the female honey gourami is larger than the male honey gourami and has a dull color with a horizontal stripe. The adult males have a bright orange hue in their dorsal fins that is absent in the female. Breeding males develop a dark underside and throat.

There are many honey gourami varieties available in the market today. Make sure you purchase fish that can be easily sexed if you intend to breed.

If you provide the right environment and understand their breeding process, honey gouramis are not difficult to breed. They are a great addition to any aquarium and make wonderful pets.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and found it informative. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.

Male Vs. Female Dwarf Gourami (What’s the Difference?)

female dwarf gourami

If you’re like me, your home aquarium is a source of constant fascination and delight. Watching the fish swim around in their little world never fails to make me feel calm and peaceful. And if there’s one fish that really captures my heart, it’s the dwarf gourami.

These lively little creatures are always a joy to watch, and they add a splash of color to your aquarium. Additionally, Dwarf Gourami won’t require a lot of work on your part to keep them healthy and happy.

However, telling the male from female dwarf gourami can’t be done the same way as determining the gender of most livebearers.

If you’re thinking about breeding dwarf gourami, it’s important to know how to sex them so you can choose a pair of fish that will be compatible.

In this article, we’ll learn some of the key differences between male and female dwarf gouramis and how they breed.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

Female Dwarf Gourami Facts

Before we get into how to differentiate between male and female dwarf gourami, let’s take a quick look at some general facts about these lovely fish.

Species Overview

The dwarf gourami, also known as Trichogaster Ialius, belongs to a small genus Trichogaster, which only has four recognized species. Unlike these medium sized to large species from the genus Osphronemus, Belontia and Macropodus, the Trichogaster species are a peaceful and shy fish.

Dwarf gouramis are labyrinth fish. They have a labyrinth organ behind their gills, which acts like a primitive lung, allowing them to breathe air directly from the surface.

Origin and Distribution

Dwarf gouramis hail from the thickly vegetated waters in India, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh in South Asia. They are sold as common food fish in many markets in northern India.


Both male and female dwarf gourami have an average lifespan of 4 years when well-cared for in captivity. Their lifespan may be much shorter due to stress, poor diet, and poor water conditions.

Color Variations

Since these fish are beautiful in nature, breeders have developed many color morphs over the years. The most common colors you’ll see in pet stores are neon blue, red flame, and powder blue.

Unfortunately, most selective breeding or dyed dwarf gouramis are typically only males. Female dwarf gouramis with these man-made morphs come with a hefty price tag.

Female Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami

The Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami gets its name from its beautiful, iridescent blue coloration than the standard variety. This is the most notable color morph in the trade.

Female Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami

Often referred to as Coral Blue Dwarf Gourami and Blue Dwarf Gourami, the powder blue morph is almost entirely bright blue with only a little red striping, which is one of the most solid varieties.

Female Red Flame Dwarf Gourami

The flame-red variety can be confused with the red honey gouramis. It takes on bright orange and red colors that resemble a flickering flame extending to its fins.

Male Vs. Female Dwarf Gourami

Male Vs. Female Dwarf Gourami
Photo: wikipedia

Now that we know a little more about these beautiful fish, let’s take a look at how to tell the difference between male and female dwarf gourami.

Dorsal (top) Fin

Why not start off with the most distinctive difference between adult males and females? The adult female dwarf gouramis have a curved and rounded dorsal fin, while the males are longer and pointier.

It’s hard to differentiate this characteristic when they are young since both females and males have short and rounded fins. The males’ dorsal fins will grow faster and become more pointed as they reach sexual maturity.


Its common name “dwarf” describes this fish well. It stays small in any color variation. But female dwarf gouramis are a bit smaller than males, with the average length being 2.5 inches (6.4 cm), whereas males can grow up to 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length.

Body Shape

When it comes to the body shape of male and female dwarf gouramis, the males have a smaller belly, making them slimmer and more elongated in overall girth. While females develop a rounded belly, especially when they are ready to lay eggs. 


Because the dwarf gourami is considered a sexual dimorphism, not only do the males and females have differences in size, body shape, and dorsal (top) fin but their colors also tend to differ.

In the wild, female dwarf gouramis usually have a duller greenish silvery coloration overall. Males, on the other hand, are more boldly colored with alternating red and blue stripes that are much more defined. Additionally, they may also be seen to have bars of blue and black extending onto the fins and an iridescent blue throat.

Dwarf Gourami Breeding

Dwarf Gouramis are readily bred in aquariums. The breeding is not too difficult like many other species of Gouramis, but owners have always found the behavior of male Dwarf Gouramis to be somewhat 

unpredictable, making the whole process a bit more challenging.

This species is a typical bubble nest builder. In a breeding aquarium, you can see a male busy constructing its bubble nest, usually near the surface of the water. When the female is ready to spawn, she will be introduced into the male’s territory.

When the female releases her eggs into the water, the male will quickly scoop them up into his mouth and spit them into the bubble nest. Once these eggs are secured in the bubble nest, the pair will repeat their spawning several times until all eggs (from 300 to 800 ) have been released.

If there are other female dwarf gouramis in the breeding tank, the male may spawn with all of them.

The male will then take care of the eggs solely. They often become territorial and aggressive when protecting their eggs and fry. So, in order to avoid any potential problems, it’s best to remove the female after spawning has occurred.

The incubation period for the eggs is usually between 12 to 24 hours, and after hatching, the fry will remain in the bubble nest for another 3 to 5 days until they are able to swim on their own.

Remove the male from the breeding tank once the fry are free-swimming to prevent him from eating them.

You will have to feed them live foods such as brine shrimp or finely ground flakes during this time.

Breeding Tips

To help increase your chances of success, here are a few tips:

  • Use a separate breeding tank that is at least 10 gallons in size.
  • In the wild, they live in a trio, so it’s best to have a male-to-female ratio of at least 1:2.
  • Provide plenty of live plants for the female to hide, such as Hornwort or Milfoil. Floating plants are appreciated for comfort. Sometimes, the male will use bits of plant material into the bubble nest.
  • This species is a bubble nest builder. Thus, it is important to make sure your filtration is not too strong. An air-powered sponge filter or peat filtration will work.
  • Try to adjust the water temperature to 82 degrees Fahrenheit to trigger spawning.
  • It is critical to maintain a warm layer of water at the surface for the bubbles to float in and for the fry to develop their labyrinth organ, especially during the first few weeks.
  • Keep an eye out for Dwarf Gourami Disease (aka Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus), a condition that is often fatal and has no known cure.


Are Female Dwarf Gouramis Aggressive?

Female Dwarf Gouramis are generally peaceful fish and can be kept with other peaceful community fish.

Do Female Dwarf Gouramis Build Bubbles Nests?

Yes, female Dwarf Gouramis may assist the male in building the bubble nest, but only males will take sole responsibility for the eggs and fry.

Can Female Betta Live with Dwarf Gouramis?

I would suggest not doing it unless your gouramis have different colors than the female betta in a large tank. In addition, the gouramis might nip at her tail.

What Do Female Dwarf Gouramis Eat?

In the wild, female Dwarf Gouramis eat mainly small bugs and larvae on the surface of waters. In captivity, they will accept a variety of living, fresh, and flake foods.

Where to Buy Female Dwarf Gourami?

The female Dwarf Gouram is widely available for purchase online and in pet stores. But females are generally less expensive than males.

How Many Female Dwarf Gouramis Can I Put in a 10 Gallon Tank?

Keep them in trios, with one male and two females in a 10-gallon tank. If you have four or more fish, I recommend adding an additional 5 gallons for each fish.

Why is My Female Dwarf Gourami Chasing/attacking the Male?

The female Dwarf Gourami might be chasing/attacking the male because she is either pregnant or wants to lay eggs.

Can You Keep Male and Female Dwarf Gourami Together?

Males and female Dwarf Gouramis can be kept together, but it is best to have a ratio of at least 1:2 (one male to two females). This will help avoid any aggression from the male.


Female Dwarf Gouramis can be distinguishable from males by their curved and rounded dorsal fin and duller silvery coloration.

Dwarf Gouramis are peaceful fish that makes a great addition to any community tank. They are hardy and easy to care for.

I hope this guide was helpful in giving you a better understanding of female Dwarf Gouramis. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below!

Gourami Bubble Nest: All You Need To Know


Gourami fish are beautiful creatures that can make a great addition to any aquarium. However, when it comes time to breed, there are many things that could easily go wrong. 

One of the most important things to understand is your role in the process. Yes, you’ve read that correctly – you have a role to play in whether or not your gourami fish will successfully breed.

In this post, you’ll learn what the gourami bubble nest looks like and how you can help ensure that your gourami fish have the best chance of successfully breeding.

Let’s get started. 

Do Male or Female Gouramis Make Bubble Nests? 

Males Gouramis will build bubble nests among the floating plants or objects with different sizes and thicknesses, depending on their size, territory, and personality. They prefer to use a tank corner to anchor the bubble nest. Typically, bigger males build larger bubble nests. They can also build bubble nests without females or fry, but females swimming close by will often stimulate males to start building frantically.

Some males are natural-born builders; they’ll spend their days constructing intricate bubble nests out of saliva and plant matter to attract a mate. Other males are less industrious, only building a nest when they’re introduced to a female. Many specimens do not even begin until after spawning. 

The female Gouramis usually don’t have anything to do with the construction of the nest and don’t really care about it too much. In some cases, she might help arrange some of the bubbles or add a few of her own, but this is rare.

What Does Gourami Bubble Nest Look Like?

Dwarf gourami bubble nest
Dwarf gourami bubble nest (Photo: Dunkelfalke CC BY 2.0)

The gourami bubble nests are basically air bubbles that are held together by a mucus-like substance. During breeding, the male gouramis will initiate the process by going to the surface, breathing air, and releasing it inside the water to form a circular or oval shaped nest. 

Author notes: Gourami has a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air directly from the surface. This is one of the reasons they can live in water with low oxygen levels.

Inside the nest, you’ll also find floating objects such as plants. That means that you’ll need to include floating plants inside your aquarium so that it’s easy for the male Gourami to make the nests. The alternative to floating plants could be to use styrofoam which is also light enough to float in the breeding tank.

Gouramis Breeding

The Gourami fish has been bred in captivity for years, but some effort is required to grow the fry.

To ensure a greater chance of success, you should start with a group of juveniles and allow them to pair up at their own pace.

When the male Gourami is ready to breed, he will start to build the bubble nest. He will use his mouth to collect air at the surface and then release it into the water. This will create a stream of bubbles that rise to the surface and stick together to form the nest.

You will need to set up a breeding tank before starting the breeding process. The breeding tank should be at least 20 gallons, and it should have a layer of gravel on the bottom. You will also need to add some plants to the tank. The plants will provide shelter for the fry.

The ideal water depth for breeding gourami fish is 6-inches. If you’re breeding larger breeds of Gourami, the depth should be at least 8-10 inches. The lighting shouldn’t be blindingly bright. Another important thing is to ensure that there’s minimal water movement so that there are no chances of disturbing the bubble nest.

It’s also recommended that you use sponge filters for your breeding tank so that it prevents the baby fish from being sucked up. To help your fish build their nests with ease, you can include some floating plants in the tank so that the nests are attached to them. 

The bonded pair must be well-fed before spawning. A good diet of live foods such as brine shrimp, daphnia, and bloodworms will help condition the fish.

Transfer the female to the breeding tank first and let the fish adjust to the new surroundings and locate her hiding places. After a few days, you can then add the male Gourami to the breeding tank. 

Several days prior to spawning, you’ll need to increase the temperatures steadily up to 82-85 degrees. 

When the female Gourami is ready to spawn, the male will start to chase the female around the tank and lead her to the nest, where she will release her eggs. The male will then fertilize the eggs.

The female Gourami will usually lay 500-1000 eggs that will be caught by the male in his mouth and brought into the bubble nest individually. The male Gourami will guard the eggs until they hatch. The female should be removed as soon as she has laid her eggs as she may eat the eggs.

When the fry is free-swimming, you should also remove the male at this point and feed the fry with live foods such as brine shrimp and bloodworms.

How do I Move Gourami Fish Into the Breeding Tank?

As we mentioned earlier, if you need to move or transfer the fish into a breeding tank, the female should be the first to go. After that, allow the females to get acquainted with their new home, locate hiding spots and resume their normal activities. A day or two should be enough for that. 

Next, move the males into the females and monitor to ensure that the males aren’t harassing the females. Where the harassment is too much, you can diffuse the situation by adding another female into the tank so that they distract the male.


Why Are My Dwarf Gourami Blowing Bubbles? 

Gourami belongs to a group of fish known as Anabantidae. These have an organ referred to as the labyrinth that gives the fish the ability to blow bubbles. Usually, the dwarf gourami fish will breathe in the air while at the water’s surface and release it through their gills. 

When the water gets into their body, it’s mixed with mucus, making the bubbles stick together and forming the bubble nests. The nests will then act as the places for spawning and raising the fry.

Other reasons for blowing bubbles could be to communicate their mood, trap larvae or insects, and release air onto the surface. 

Can I Ruin a Gourami Bubble Nest? 

No. You should not destroy or ruin a gourami bubble nest. That’s because it’s the onset of the breeding process where the male will make the bubble.

After spawning, the same bubble will be used to raise their fry. There is no need to worry if you’ve already ruined the nest. The male Gourami will always make another one. 

Why Did My Gourami Bubble Nest Disappear? 

There are several reasons that could make a gourami bubble nest disappear. For one, if there are a lot of movements inside the tank, the bubble will burst. Also, a lack of balance in the temperature could make the eggs become too cold, making the nest go away. 

Final Thoughts

Gourami fish are a good species to have in your aquarium. They’re beautiful, so you don’t have to try so much to fall in love with them. 

However, it’s not just enough to stop at their physical appearance as there’s much that goes into caring for and making them comfortable. 

Equipped with such useful tips, you’re all set to become a better gourami fish aquarist. Remember, the breeding phase for this type of fish is a delicate season, and therefore you need to dedicate your time to ensure that nothing goes wrong.