Trichogaster Lalius Care (Dwarf Gourami)

trichogaster lalius - dwarf gourami

Last updated on July 30th, 2022 at 12:52 pm

Trichogaster lalius, commonly called the dwarf gourami or colisa lalia, is one of the most popular aquarium fish today. These gorgeous freshwater fish are beautiful, peaceful, and relatively easy to care for compared to other tropical fish. As long as you set up their tank correctly, feed them well, and clean their tank regularly, they will be very happy in their new home, and you will love watching them swim around!

The dwarf gourami, are a schooling fish native to freshwater systems in South and Southeast Asia. As with other gouramis, they prefer to live in groups of at least 6 and ideally more than 12 individuals.

The Trichogaster lalius in the aquarium industry is just as beautiful and gorgeous as the other gouramis you might have seen. This species originates from Myanmar and Thailand, and it’s easy to care for.

Here’s what you need to know about caring for this beautiful fish…

Origin and description

trichogaster lalius - dwarf gourami

The Dwarf Gourami or Trichogaster lalius is a small species of freshwater fish from south Asia. They are not to be confused with other species in the genus such as Trichopodus, Colisa, and Parosphromenus. They are popular freshwater aquarium fish prized for their bright colors, peaceful nature, and tolerance to cold water.

This low-maintenance species has made them one of the most popular fish for both beginner aquarists and professional breeders. The dwarf gourami can grow up to 4 inches long, but usually stays much smaller when kept in captivity. It is an egg layer that spawns at dusk, depositing its eggs on plants or among rocks.

Egg care is similar to that of angelfish, except slightly less demanding: after fertilization, eggs should be removed from adult fish and allowed to hatch in a separate tank. Feed fry baby brine shrimp nauplii or finely ground flake food until they are large enough to eat microworms or daphnia.

Species profile

trichogaster lalius - dwarf gourami

The Trichogaster lalius is a small freshwater labyrinth fish native to Southeast Asia. Its adult size ranges from 2.5 inches to 4 inches in length, but they have been known to grow up to 6 inches and live up to 10 years with proper care and maintenance.

Females will often get larger than males and can sometimes be identified by their plumper appearance as well as their rounded edges when viewed from above or below versus males who are more streamlined. In addition to diet and water conditions, sexing Dwarf Gouramis is one of the most common sources of frustration for new hobbyists.

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For many fishkeepers with multiple individuals in a single tank, it may take several weeks for them to observe clear physical differences; however, there are some behavioral clues that can aid in sexing your gouramis once you become familiar with them.


The Dwarf Gourami originates from India and Indonesia, so it is important to replicate a similar habitat for your fish. A ten-gallon aquarium with live plants and dim lighting works well for an adult fish, but you can keep younger specimens in smaller quarters as long as you provide them with adequate filtration.

Because of their peaceful nature, they should be kept with other non-aggressive species or on their own. When shopping for tanks and accessories, look specifically for those designed for freshwater tropical fish; these are designed to maintain proper levels of pH and oxygenation that are essential to your pet’s health.

Substrate options include small pebbles or marbles that won’t be sucked up by filter systems; sand tends to clump over time and isn’t typically recommended by aquarists.

Dwarf gourami size and weight

The Trichogaster lalius has an adult size of 3.5 inches, making it a very small fish that won’t take up much space. However, keep in mind that its tank should be large enough to accommodate growth, as well as provide sufficient swimming room for both adult and juvenile fish.

Dwarf gourami tank size

10 gallons or larger is recommended for Trichogaster lalius.

Trichogaster lalius tank set up

A 10 or 20-gallon tank is recommended for a single Dwarf Gourami. Larger tanks allow them more swimming room, which they prefer over their glass dwelling space. The tank should have multiple hiding places as these fish are shy and love to hide away from onlookers in order to feel comfortable.

Dense vegetation is preferred for these fish along with some driftwood pieces, but make sure that you do not overdo it on decorations as that can be detrimental to your water quality and leave you with an algae problem.

Rocks/rock piles are also discouraged with them as they require a soft substrate and all areas of their environment should be warm, clear of any sharp edges, stable, clean, and well maintained. For optimum health, stay clear of smaller live plants such as java moss which will only tangle up your fish’s fins.

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Additionally, Trichogaster lalius does not like bright lighting, so set-ups that use minimal lighting would work best for these fish. These guys enjoy warmer temperatures thus would prefer between 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit (26 – 28 Celsius).

While most aquarium keepers believe that neutral conditions are ideal, Trichogaster lalius prefers slightly acidic conditions. 0 – 6 dH range (20 – 30 ppm range) is ideal with low levels of nitrates since they thrive best under acidic conditions.

Dwarf gourami tank mates

Dwarf gouramis are best kept with other tank mates that can handle a similar environment, as well as its small size. Good options include similarly-sized species like neon tetras, dwarf corydoras, and other peaceful fish.

They should not be kept with aggressive fish that may harass them, such as angelfish or bettas; they are too small to survive in an environment with larger or more aggressive fish. Because of their long-term schooling behavior, they also do not fare well when housed alone. Ideally, they should have at least five individuals for company and safety from predators.

Trichogaster lalius  breeding

trichogaster lalius - dwarf gourami

Dwarf gouramis can be bred in an aquarium set up as follows: The water temperature should be maintained at 77 degrees Fahrenheit, or 25 degrees Celsius. The pH should be between 6.5 and 7.0 and they require a hardness of 2 – 10 dH.

They need good oxygenation, so a sponge filter works best with these fish, although you could use an airstone as well if that is what you have available to you. Water quality is very important when keeping these fish because it directly affects their health, color, and growth rate. The tank needs to be heavily planted on all sides except for a spot where males can establish dominance during spawning rituals.

You will want some floating plants near the surface for egg-laying and some java fern might work well for this purpose as well because it provides hiding places for baby fish once they are born.

Are Trichogaster lalius tank aggressive or peaceful?

The Dwarf Gourami is generally peaceful and can be kept with other species that are peaceful. They are not suitable for a community tank and should be placed in a smaller group of their own species, or one male with several females.

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Some males may show aggression toward other male fish by displaying intense colors and chasing them from the territory. It’s best to house these fish alone if you plan on breeding them. Also due to their small size, they should not be housed with large or aggressive fish.

Trichogaster lalius  care

trichogaster lalius - dwarf gourami

Trichogaster lalius needs a tank of at least 5 gallons. The ideal water temperature is between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit with a pH level of 7.0 or slightly acidic. It prefers hard water with medium to high levels of carbonate hardness and low levels of dissolved organics and ammonia, meaning it would do well in an area that has good filtration.

Trichogaster lalius tank (Dwarf Gourami) diet

They are omnivorous and eat commercial flake food. They also feed on zooplankton, algae, and small insects in their natural habitat. In captivity. They will also feed on some aquatic plants.

Water parameters

The temperature should be around 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. PH of 6.5 to 7.2. KH:3-8. GH:10-12 dH range of 0, Ammonia and Nitrites should be undetectable, Nitrates should be no more than 20ppm, Hardness at least 1 degree above natural levels, Water movement should also be low to moderate. Salinity is not a concern unless you live in a freshwater area that has different requirements such as rivers or brackish water.

Trichogaster lalius tank should have rocks with open spaces between them for breeding locations and retreats from large fish. A dark substrate may help stimulate spawning behavior; a soil substrate can make it easy to raise fry on crushed flake food if that is your intent. I recommend avoiding peat moss, osmunda fiber, zeolite sand, or Flourite sand due to possible hormone/endocrine disruption caused by their content as well as other unknown effects.

Dwarf gourami lifespan

The average lifespan of Trichogaster lalius is about five years in captivity. Some live up to seven years. The oldest recorded individual of Trichogaster lalius lived to be over 14 years old.

Parasites and diseases

trichogaster lalius - dwarf gourami

Trichogaster lalius are susceptible to infestations of external parasites, including ichthyophthirius (white spot disease), anchor worm, and protozoan diseases such as fin or tail rot.

These may be contracted from wild fish caught for use in your aquariums. A quarantine tank can also help minimize stress on new fish, which also reduces their susceptibility to disease. Keeping an eye out for symptoms like skin lesions and redness can help you catch a problem early before it becomes too severe. Adding salt to an infected tank is often enough to curb infections.

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If not, try changing the water every day until symptoms clear up. If a parasite begins affecting all fish in one aquarium at once, it’s usually best to euthanize them all rather than treating them with medication that may contaminate your other fish and allow future outbreaks if not properly dosed.


The dwarf gourami is a timid and peaceful fish, making it easy prey for larger predators. You should consider other smaller species that enjoy similar care parameters as it does, such as rosy barbs or harlequin rasboras.

Avoid potentially aggressive tankmates like tiger barbs, silver sharks, or larger tetras. If you’re keeping these in an aquarium with large predatory fish (angelfish or bettas are common choices), simply make sure there are plenty of hiding places and plants to provide cover from sight.

Can I keep two dwarf gouramis together?

Yes. Two male dwarf gouramis can usually be kept together in a small community tank with 4 or more females, it’s very important to house them with others of their kind. Unlike most other fish species, male dwarf gouramis are extremely territorial and will spend their days fighting with one another over territory.

If you keep two males trichogaster lalius together in a tank with no other fish species, they will become aggressive towards each other and stress is likely to result in disease or death.

Does dwarf gourami make great pets?

Yes. The dwarf gourami, also known as Trichogaster lalius, is an excellent candidate for aquariums. Dwarf gouramis grow no longer than 8 inches and are peaceful in nature. They are easy to care for and interact well with other fish in an aquarium environment. In addition, they are interesting to watch because of their size, shape, and colors.