Freshwater Fish

18 Best Dwarf Gourami Tank Mates And Care Guide

Most aquarium enthusiasts are captivated by the gourami charm. You can’t really blame them, as gourami species are a bunch of beautiful fish.

Gouramis come in different sizes and colors, each with its respective qualities and care requirements. Yet, the most popular variant among them is the dwarf gourami.

With that said, are you planning to add a dwarf gourami species to your collection? Or did you just purchase dwarf gourami, and you’re not sure if it will get along with other species in your tank?

If so, you’re in luck; this article will give you a comprehensive overview of dwarf gourami species, their potential tank mates, and helpful care guides. Learn everything you need to know about dwarf gouramis and more below.

Dwarf Gourami’s Origins And Other Characteristics

Dwarf gourami, as its name suggests, grows only to around two inches in length. It comes from the Gourami family or Osphronemidae.

Dwarf gourami is known scientifically as the Trichogaster lalius. The gourami family is native to the freshwater of Southern Asia, specifically India, West Bengal, Assam, and Bangladesh. However, they can also be found in Singapore, the US, and South America nowadays, particularly in Colombia.

These species thrive in lakes, slow-flowing rivers, ponds, especially in thickly vegetated water like rice fields.

Male gouramis are typically larger and more attractive than females, similar to other fish species. Gouramis typically need a tank that has a capacity of at least 10 gallons. This fish species also prefer freshwater aquariums with live plants, dark substrate, and places to hide as they love to hide. 

Aside from that, they are easy to care for and has peaceful and shy temperament. Their lifespan is more or less five years, depending on their condition. They are a schooling type of fish, so they prefer to stick together.

Although they are typically a peaceful species, males can sometimes become overprotective of females and harass other male fishes in the aquarium. Therefore, it’s recommended to only keep one male and two females in a tank if you’re going to care for more than one dwarf gourami.

neon dwarf gourami

Dwarf Gourami Profile

Family: Osphronemidae
Origin: Southern Asia
Natural Habitat: Vegetative Waters
Care Level: Easy
Temperament: Peaceful
Color: Blue, Powder Blue, Neon Blue, Bright Red, Bright Orange, And A Combination
Lifespan: More Or Less 5 Years
Size: 4 to 4.5 inches
Diet: Omnivore
Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
Tank Setup: Freshwater, Heavily Planted
Compatibility: Widely Compatible

What Does A Dwarf Gourami Look Like?

Dwarf gourami is the smallest of the gouramis. Males are slightly bigger and have brighter and darker scales than females.

The most common gourami colors are a bright orange-red body and turquoise blue with vertical stripes that extend into the fins. Other color variants are blue, powder blue, neon blue, and red.

  • Honey Dwarf Gourami
Dwarf Gourami

They display a combination of dark red and orange mix, and they have an almost colorless caudal fin. Their heads are usually black or grey.

  • Blue And Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami
Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami in an Aquarium

Blue and powder blue dwarf gourami are almost interchangeable. Both types of dwarf gouramis display a bright blue, glowing color. Aside from this, their distinguishing mark is reddish-brown lines across their sides and fins.

  • Flame Dwarf Gourami
Flame red Dwarf Gourami aquarium fish

They have a bright red body with an orange gradient. Interestingly, their colors are a product of mutation and interbreeding.

  • Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami
neon blue Dwarf gourami

Like blue and powder blue, neon blue dwarf gourami displays a strikingly bright color with red stripes across their bodies.

What Is The Feeding Pattern Of Dwarf Gouramis?

In their natural habitat, dwarf gouramis usually eat insects and larvae on the water’s surface and feed on algae growth on plants. In an aquarium, you can give dwarf gouramis flakes, vegetable tablets, and freeze-dried food. You can also supplement your gouramis with live worms periodically.

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honey dwarf gourami

How Many Dwarf Gouramis Should Be Kept Together?

Dwarf gouramis are schooling species, which means they are social creatures who love to swim in groups. Therefore, it’s best to keep at least four dwarf gouramis in your fish tank if you want them to be happier. After all, the more, the merrier.

However, if you have a smaller 10-gallon tank, the ideal number of gouramis to keep is around 2 to 3 dwarf gouramis – one male and two females. For each additional gourami, you need to add five more gallons.

Are Dwarf Gouramis Aggressive?

The larger cousins of dwarf gourami can become aggressive but not dwarf gourami. Dwarf gouramis are generally peaceful and docile, and they don’t fight back when bullied by other fishes.

So, it’s crucial to choose suitable tank mates for your dwarf gouramis; otherwise, they will not thrive in a violent environment.

Should Dwarf Gouramis Be Kept In Pairs?

As mentioned, dwarf gouramis are social fish. They are classified as schooling species. So, keeping them alone can make them lonely and sick. In general, it’s advisable to keep them in pairs if not in small schools. They thrive in a community of nonaggressive fishes of similar sizes, such as tetras, guppies, and mollies.

Why Is My Dwarf Gourami Chasing Other Fish?

Gouramis can be territorial, particularly with the same sex. Moreover, male gouramis are overprotective of female gouramis. As a result, they tend to become aggressive when fishes of the same sex threaten their partners.

So, to solve their territorial nature, they must have bigger space to lessen the chance of bumping with each other. For example, for a 10-gallon tank, the ideal number is 2 to 3 dwarf gouramis.

How Can You Tell If A Gourami Is Stressed?

You can tell if your dwarf gourami or other fish are stressed if they gasp their mouth at the surface. If this happens, you should check your water condition. This behavior can indicate they’re suffering from poor water conditions, such as a lack of oxygen.

You may also notice a loss of appetite in your dwarf gourami. Other signs to look out for are their odd swimming patterns. You may see them swim without direction, crash at the bottom of the tank, or rub themselves on any object in the tank.

The most common reasons that may make your dwarf gourami or other fish are poor water conditions, being threatened or bullied by other fish, and poor diet.

Top 18 Best Tank Mates For Dwarf Gourami

Before adding gouramis into your community fish tank, you need to make sure that the fishes in your tank are compatible with gouramis. With that said, find out the 18 best tank mates for gouramis below.

1. Betta Fish

betta fish siamese

Betta fish is recommended for beginners as it is effortless to keep. They thrive in the same condition as the gourami, so caring for both at the same time won’t be a problem. In fact, mixing them with the gouramis makes your tank a fantastic display of colors.

A word of caution, though, sometimes bettas are territorial, so you must take immediate action if you observe this characteristic in your betta fish.

Betta Fish

  • Care Level: easy
  • Temperament: peaceful
  • Size: 2.5 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size: 10 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore

2. Otocinclus Catfish

Otocinclus fish sitting on java fern

When in their natural habitat, this fish species lives exclusively off algae. So, if you have them in your tank, you won’t have a problem with algae as they will feed on them and keep your tank clean. Yet, what makes them a good tank mate is that they mind their own business.

However, otocinclus catfish are a little fragile, so you will need to be an experienced aquarist to care for them. Although they are algae eaters, you will still need to keep your water pristine for the sake of the community.

So, you need to make sure that you keep only a few of them so as not to starve them; otherwise, you should provide algae wafers and blanched veggies.

3. Corydoras Catfish

Corydoras bondi catfish

Another catfish species you can pair with your gouramis is the Corydoras. Unlike the mollies, corydoras catfish are bottom feeders. Most aquarists get them because of this quality; they are often called the clean-up crew.

They are happier when kept in groups of five or more. They are considered suitable tank mates for gouramis because of their peaceful nature and are entirely nonaggressive.

4. Glass Catfish

glass catfish (Phantom,Ghost Catfish)

What’s interesting about glass catfish, or also known as ghost catfish, is its transparent body. Like the gouramis, they are native to South East Asia and prefer vegetative water.

The glass catfish is peaceful and highly timid. Like the gouramis, they like to hide behind plants. With that said, if you want to break the monotony of the colorful gouramis, adding some glass catfish can be a good idea.

Catfish Family

  • Care Level
    • otocinclus catfish – moderate
    • corydoras catfish – easy
    • glass catfish – moderate
  • Temperament: peaceful
  • Size
    • otocinclus catfish – 1-2 inches
    • corydoras catfish – 1-4 inches
    • glass catfish – 5 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:
    • otocinclus catfish – 10 gallons
    • corydoras catfish –  20-30 gallons
    • glass catfish – 30 gallons
  • Diet
    • otocinclus catfish – herbivore
    • corydoras catfish – omnivore
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5. Zebra Danios

Zebrafish (Danio rerio)

Danios are naturally calm fish, and they tend to their own business and do not want to fight. There are different kinds of danios, such as zebra, pearl, and rosy danios. However, the zebra danios serve as the best tank mates for the dwarf gouramis among all the listed kinds.

Aquarists call them adorable little fish because of their small size and cute appearance. They are characterized by their blue and yellow iridescent stripes. However, you should note that these species are hyperactive, so that they will need bigger spaces to dart around.

Danios Family

  • Care Level: easy
  • Temperament: peaceful
  • Size: 2 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size: 20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Diet: omnivore

6. Pearl Gourami

pearl gourami (Trichopodus leerii)

Among other gouramis, the pearl gourami is considered more compatible with dwarf gourami. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about care requirements as they have the exact needs of the dwarf gourami.

However, pearl gouramis need more tank space as they can be prone to illness in smaller tanks. Other than that, it makes sense to pair dwarf gouramis with pearl gouramis. After all, they are cousins.

Pearl Gourami

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:  4.5 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  30 gallons
  • Diet:  omnivore

7. Fancy Guppies

Fancy guppies

Fancy guppies can add more beauty to your fish tank because of their fancy flashing colors.

Aside from their tiny size, fancy guppies are compatible with the dwarf gouramis because they’re not sensitive to water conditions. In fact, they can tolerate most water conditions and are highly adaptable.

It’s for this reason that they are also called the beginner’s breed. However, if you want to breed guppies, they might not thrive as much with dwarf gouramis as they eat the fries of the guppies.

Fancy Guppies

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:  1. 5 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons
  • Diet:  Omnivore

8. Zebra Loach

zebra loach, Botia striata

Zebra Loach is a good tank mate for gouramis because, unlike other loaches, a zebra loach does not grow very big.

The Zebra loaches prefer to stay at the bottom of the tank, so they are not meant to be paired with other fishes who are also bottom dwellers as they will compete with territories.

As for the case of dwarf gouramis, they complement each other since one is on top and the other at the bottom. You’ll experience no territorial competition at all.

9. Kuhli Loach

Kuhli loach in freshwater aquarium with aquatic plants

Kuhli loach is another loach species that makes a great tank mate for gouramis. Like the Corydoras, loaches are bottom feeders, so if you want them as companions for your gouramis, you may also get pellets that sink.

One unique characteristic of Kuhli loaches is that they are nocturnal fishes. This means they hide all day long at the bottom behind your decorative objects in the tank during the day and get very active at night.

Loaches Family

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament: peaceful
  • Size:
    • Zebra loach – 3.5 to 4 inches
    • Kuhli loach – 2.75 to 4 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons
  • Diet: Omnivore

10. Mollies

Mollies sailfin

Mollies are available all year round in almost all aquarium fish stores. They are top dwellers, which means they often stay on the surface of the water.

Although they are generally peaceful, they tend to display more aggressive behaviors during feeding time. They are fast eaters, which leaves little to no food for slow eaters. So, make sure you give a better chance for gouramis to partake of their share by putting food in different areas of the aquarium.

You should also note that mollies are livebearers, which means they give birth to young fish.

It’s also effortless to breed mollies. Before you know it, your aquarium will be swarming with the mollies’ fries.

Despite their less pleasant eating habits, they can quickly adapt to a wide range of water temperatures without becoming a threat to gouramis.

Mollies

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:  3 to 6 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters)
  • Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Diet:  Omnivore

11. Platties

Platties bumble bee

Another popular fish among fish tank owners is the platy fish. They are the perfect tankmates for gouramis because they have many things in common.

Like gouramis, they like happier when kept in groups of five or more. They are also active swimmers and prefer to move in between plants.

Although they are usually enthusiastic and energetic, they are harmless and friendly, making them the perfect tank mates for dwarf gouramis.

Platties

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:  3 inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters)
  • Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons (76 liters)
  • Diet:  Omnivore

12. Chili Rasboras

chili rasboras, Boraras brigittae

Chili Rasboras is a schooling fish type that does best in groups of 10 or more. They share the same origin as that of the gourami. As a result, they also thrive in the same temperature and water conditions.

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Some aquarists choose gouramis and chili rasboras combinations because of their contrasting colors. Chili rasboras possess a bright red color and dark iridescent stripes on each side.

The good news is that they are effortless to keep. You only need to maintain pristine water and avoid overfeeding them.

13. Harlequin Rasboras

Harlequin rasbora (Trigonostigma heteromorpha)

Harlequin Rasboras species have the same characteristics and water conditions as chili rasboras. In fact, they only differ in size and physical appearance. Harlequin is an aquarist favorite because of its uniqueness.

They display a red, gold, or orange color and a noticeable black triangle mark on both sides. They flaunt their color even brighter when they are in a group.

Rasboras Family

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:
    • Chili rasboras – 0.75 inches
    • Harlequin rasboras – 2 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  
    • Chili rasboras – 10 gallons
    • Harlequin rasboras – 20 gallons
  • Diet:  Omnivore

14. Bristlenose Plecos

Bristlenose Plecos, freshwater algae eater fish

Aquarists also consider the Bristlenose pleco as a good tank mate for dwarf gouramis. This species is timid and spends a lot of time at the bottom of the tank attached to the glass, so it won’t pose a threat to your dwarf gouramis.

However, you should note that bristlenose plecos are classified as herbivores, so make sure they are fed accordingly.

15. The Common Pleco

Common Pleco, hypostomus punctatus

Just like their cousin, the common pleco is a bottom-feeding and bottom-dwelling species of catfish. It’s also a good companion for dwarf gouramis because they won’t bother dwarf gouramis at the top. Although they are bigger than gouramis, they rarely fight with other fishes.

Plecos

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:  5 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  30 gallons
  • Diet:  herbivore

16. Swordtail Fish

swordtail fish Santa Claus

The distinguishing mark of swordtail fish is their tail that looks like a sword. They are one of the common aquarium fish for beginners as they are easy enough to care for.

They are usually paired with other fishes because of their harmless nature, making them ideal tank mates. Aside from that, swordtail fish are tropical fish, so they prefer warmer water. Another thing you should note about swordtail fish is that they are livebearers.

Swordfish

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:  3 to 4 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  20 gallons
  • Diet:  omnivore

17. Neon Tetra

Neon tetra fish

Neon tetras are also schooling fish, so they should be kept in at least five or more groups. This breed is a mainstay in the aquarium industry.

True to their name, Neon Tetras display a neon iridescent blue that highlights the upper part of their bodies while the lower part towards the tail is bright red.

They can be perfect companions to gouramis because, like gouramis, they are a peaceful species. This means they tend to their own business and never bother anyone. Like gouramis, they also like a heavily planted tank and thrive in soft, slightly acidic water.

18. Cardinal Tetra

Cardinal tetra (Paracheirodon axelrodi)

Some people confuse neon tetra with cardinal tetra because of their similarities. However, the cardinal tetras tend to be larger in size than their cousin.

Another distinguishing mark of the cardinal tetra is its blue and red color extending up to the tail. In contrast, the neon tetra tapers off halfway. Besides their difference in size and slight color difference, everything else is basically the same.

Tetras Family

  • Care Level:  easy
  • Temperament:  peaceful
  • Size:
    • neon tetra – 1.5 inches
    • cardinal tetra –  2 inches
  • Minimum Tank Size:  10 gallons
  • Diet:  Omnivore

Since dwarf gouramis are peaceful fish, they deserve to be treated the same way. To avoid stressing them out, they need to have tankmates they can live in harmony with.

With that said, the most recommended tankmates that meet the criteria of dwarf gouramis are tetras, loaches, catfish, swordfish, rasboras, platies, guppies, and mollies.

dwarf gourami tank mates

Gourami Care Guide

Dwarf gouramis are typically low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them proper care. So, when caring for dwarf gouramis, the first thing you must do is replicate their natural habitat.

Since they thrive in highly vegetative waters, you need to add live and rooted plants to your tank. Moreover, dwarf gouramis love to explore and hide, so you must put some explorative features in your tank.

Dwarf gouramis are also very particular with the condition of the water.

They quickly react if the water is not pristine. With that said, you should keep your water at 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level between 6 and 7.5.

Feeding Your Dwarf Gourami

Although dwarf gouramis are not picky eaters, you still need to feed them a good diet to maintain on top shape. You will know that you’re feeding them correctly if they retain their bright, attractive colors.

As mentioned, when they are in their natural environment, dwarf gouramis eat insects, larvae, bugs, and algae growth.

Conclusion

Having an aquarium is still a responsibility. Therefore, you must commit a tiny portion of your time to keep your pet fish in top condition. In return, it can be an excellent stress-reliever.

Moreover, colorful, attractive, active fish tanks add vibrance and life to one’s home. So, whether you are a beginner or just want a companion for your dwarf gouramis, it’s best to follow all the information in this article so that you won’t feel lost.

Lastly, choosing the best tank mates for your gourami can make your fish community stress-free.

Edwin

Passionate fishkeeper. Nature lover. Creative thinker. Music junkie. Adventurer.

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