Dwarf gouramis (or “dwarf minnows” as they are sometimes called) are easy-to-care-for freshwater aquarium fish. They are members of the family Osphronemidae, which means they have no true scales but are covered with tiny skin flaps.
They are native to Asia and are widely kept as pets. Although they can grow quite large, the average size for an aquarium-bred specimen is only four to six inches long. Dwarf gouramis are omnivores and will eat almost anything you give them. Some of their favorite foods include brine shrimp, algae, mosquito larvae, insect larvae, and mosquito eggs.
They are active hunters and will actively seek out their prey. Therefore, it’s important that their aquarium be well-planted so there are plenty of hiding places where they can retreat if necessary.
Dwarf gouramis are peaceful and non-aggressive and are rarely kept in community aquariums. However, if you get one as a pet, you should never put it in a tank with a cat or other predatory animal.
How to feed them?
Dwarf gouramis are very easy to care for and should be given a diet rich in both vegetable and meat items. Ideally, you should change the food every week or two and make sure that the amount of algae is kept to a minimum. You should also add a little salt to the water once a month.
Dietary items that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates work best. Examples include bloodworms, brine shrimp, and commercial fish food. You should avoid foods that are too high in fat because dwarf gouramis have an oily layer on their skin which can lead to problems when they are washed with water.
You should provide your dwarf gourami with hiding places such as empty snail shells, wood chips, and aquatic plants. Keep the aquarium clean and uncluttered so there is nothing for the gourami to hide under or behind if he gets scared.
How to maintain their tank?
Dwarf gouramis require very little maintenance. However, it’s a good idea to check the water quality every month to make sure it is free of debris and has a healthy amount of algae. If necessary, use a small cup or plastic syringe to siphon off some of the water and replace it with fresh, clean water. You should also clean the gravel and bottom of the tank at least once a month.
You should also top up the water level once a month to ensure the water is always covered by at least two inches.
Dwarf gouramis are not particularly active during the day but become more active at night. Therefore, it’s best to place the aquarium with its lights off so it will be more appealing to them.
Dwarf gouramis have very good eyesight and are able to see perfectly well even when the light level is as low as 10-percent of what it is in normal daylight.
Although dwarf gouramis are omnivores, they do have a preference for meat. Therefore, you should provide some meaty foods every week.
There are actually three species of dwarf gourami which are easily confused with each other. The most obvious difference is that the male of the red-finned gourami has a much shorter, blunt snout than the other two species.
Red-Finned Gourami: (Osphronemus red-fin)
The red-finned gourami is native to Southeast Asia and prefers a water temperature of 72 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. It is omnivorous and will eat almost anything you give it. Red-finned gouramis are often kept as community aquarium pets and are not aggressive towards other fish.
This is one of the easiest fish to keep in an aquarium and they require little care at all. However, like all freshwater fish, they do require clean, freshwater.
If you choose to add this fish to your aquarium, make sure there are plenty of plants for it to hide among.
Yellow-Belly Gourami: (Osphronemus Exiguus)
The yellow-belly gourami is native to East Africa and prefers a water temperature of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also omnivorous and will eat almost anything you give it. Yellow-bellies are much more active than the red-finned gourami and will often chase other fish.
This is another species that is often kept as a community aquarium pet and is very aggressive towards other fish. This is one of the harder species of gourami to keep in an aquarium.
Like all freshwater fish, they do require clean, fresh water. If you choose to add this fish to your aquarium, be sure there are plenty of plants for it to hide among.
Black-Necked Gourami: (Osphronemus black-necked)
The black-necked gourami is native to East Africa and prefers a water temperature of 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It is also omnivorous and will eat almost anything you give it.
Black-necks are much less active than the red-finned gourami and will often allow other fish to eat most of the food they consume. This is the hardest of the three dwarf gouramis.
It will tolerate a wider variety of water conditions than the other two species and can even be kept in an aquarium with a water temperature as low as 59 degrees Fahrenheit. Black-necks are very territorial and will aggressively defend their territory against other fish.
They are not as aggressive as the yellow-bellied gourami but they will still chase other fish away from their feeding area. This species is often kept as a community aquarium pet and is quite aggressive towards other fish.
Like all freshwater fish, they do require clean, fresh water. If you choose to add this fish to your aquarium, make sure there are plenty of plants for it to hide among. All of these three species of dwarf gourami have been raised commercially in captivity for use in the aquarium trade.
They are all extremely hardy and can survive for long periods outside of their native waters. All three of these species of dwarf gourami are very popular as community aquarium pets. However, because they are so easy to keep and very hardy, they are also popular as “pets-by-the-foot”.