The Dwarf gourami is a splendid water dweller, having an interesting visual appeal with bright colors adorning their bodies. The fish is classified as a labyrinth fish. It means that they must have an access to air for breathing. Dwarf gourami, however cannot stay off water for a prolonged period. This is due to the fact that the fish needs the body moist, to absorb oxygen. The labyrinth organ, a lung-like super-fold is not an inherent bodily feature. The development however, progresses steadily. Nevertheless, most labyrinth fish breathe through their gills and it is only when they grow old, that the development of the labyrinth organ takes place. The dwarf gourami has an Indian origin and predominantly hails from water bodies, Ganges, Yamuna and Brahmaputra.
The dwarf gourami, in potamological nomenclature is referred to as Colisa lalia. Colisa cotra, C. unicolor, Trichogaster lalius, Trichopsis lalius, Trichogaster unicolor, are all names, synonymous to dwarf gourami. The dwarf gourami stands true to its name. It is approximately two inches; however, this may not apply to males, as they size up to six cm. Gourami are oval-shaped and sport variegated colors. The frontal section constitutes anal and dorsal fins, which stretch toward the caudal fin. However, there is a prominent bodily difference, worth the mention.
The dorsal fin is long and has an edge extension in males, whilst in females, the fin has a rounded, pulp like appearance. When we talk color, we find males doing better than their counterparts. They have extended crisscross strips that are a rich orange with a reddish tinge. They are also blessed with blue hued stripes. Females, with respect to their body color scheme are not as striking. They are sober, covering a matte silver-cum-blue shade. Dwarf gourami are also known by their variegated shades and are regarded as Red Gourami, Powder Blue Gourami, Neon and Rainbow Gourami.
Caring for Dwarf Gourami
Explicated here, are facets that you, as a Gourami lover, need to know.
- Dwarf Gourami are the least aggressive water creatures. They are peace-loving and do not indulge in fin wars with other inmates.
- They are, on the contrary, very reticent in their behavior, which predominantly, makes them the most congenial tank inmates.
- Males have a tendency to be very territorial in nature especially when the tank is not as spacious as it should be, or there are not many floating plants around.
- Anecdotal as it may seem, keeping just one female with three or more males could create a row. So, make sure to club at least 3 males and double the number of females in the tank. Males would appreciate this grouping forevermore.
- They get possessive about the space they swim through, which may result in a few exercising domination. On the other hand, there are no such issues faced by female tank mates as they do not practice dictatorship.
- Unfortunately, there are some males who are too shy to socialize and subsequently hide in floating plantations. For this purpose, keep them in pairs.
- It is ideal to have companions with a peaceful demeanor, those being Tetras, Dwarf Cichlids, Danios, Characins and Corydoras.
- For an aquarium to house dwarf gourami fish, care has to be administered with regards to the requirements of the tank. Have a spacious tank that has floating plantations, an ideal one being Java Fern, around, however, you may keep a few corners sparsely vegetative for them to maneuver freely.
- Consider as to how many males would you like to accommodate in your tank. To accommodate one male Gourami, you need a medium-sized tank that can contain 40 to 60 liters of water. If it is a pair of males, a large tank must hold 80 to 100 liters of water.
- Have a sober yet classy substrate color to highlight the colors of the fish.
- The water type should be relatively soft and must have a pH of 6 to 8. The water temperature should range between 26 to 28°C.
- The gourami clan should be fed with a diet that has all-round nourishment. In the aquarium, you can provide them with frozen foods as well as fresh foods.
- They also enjoy vegetables. Worms and shrimp constitute their live diet, while lettuce and spinach are vegetarian options.
- When the breeding period arrives, make sure that you club both these diet components for them to keep well.
- The dwarf gourami can breed once or twice in a month. Some caretakers reveal that they may spawn for two to three months frequently and then would be on a virtual vacation for a month or two. Whilst breeding, concentrate on the food you administer.
- As it has been mentioned, a combination of vegetables and live worms will trigger the instinct. Increase the amount of food you feed, however, make sure not to overdo it, as this may lead to the stimuli dying out.
- Gourami build bubble nests in order to breed. You may shift the breeding pair to another tank or leave the male with two or three females.
- Introduce floating plants into the tank, so that the male gets adequate space to build his bubble nest. Increase the water temperature slightly for spawning.
- The bubble nest is built of tinges of plants and little bubbles.
- The process, when the female is ready to copulate is called spawning. Be on guard, as the male might get overtly forceful with the female if she is not interested in being spawned. The situation could prove fatal for the female gourami.
- Spawning involves the male somersaulting the female. It is here that the female releases eggs and they are immediately fertilized by the male. This is repeated several times.
- Every spawn results in the release and fertilization of 80 to 200 eggs. These eggs are then placed in the bubble nest by the male.
- If, there are two to three more females in the tank, the male would indulge in spawning with all of them. In totality, 300 to 800 eggs are placed in the nest, post fertilization.
- After the spawning is complete, withdraw the female/females and leave the male in there with his bubble nest.
- The male secures the bubble nest until the fry hatch, which takes approximately a day. When the fry hatch, they remain in the bubble nest for about 72 hours and are then ready to swim independently.
- Feed the fry with tiny particles of infusoria. As soon as you observe that the fry are set free, draw out the male, as he may tend to gobble up his very own offspring. Thus, to avert such cannibalistic endeavors, make sure that you don't let the male remain in the tank for too long.
To set a thorough dwarf gourami fish care regimen, make sure that you concentrate on what you feed them and their ambiance. With these pointers nailed in mind, you are sure to become a good gourami caretaker!