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Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami
(Trichogaster lalius)

Very popular, the Dwarf Gourami presents sublime colours and will not require a large aquarium. Benefits that will appeal to many fans! However, it is quite fragile and will need all your attention.

Find out how to take care of your Gourami in this sheet!

Scientific name

Trichogaster lalius
Formerly Colisa Lalia

Common name

Dwarf gourami
Red lalia


what are its countries of origin?

Origin: North India, Pakistan, Bangladesh
Biotope: Asian


what are the physical differences between males and females?

The female is gray or yellow and much duller than the male. This one is more colorful and bigger





what is the minimum volume for this species?

100 L / 22 imp gal / 26 US gal

Water parameters

what is the minimum volume for this species?

T°: 24 to 28°C or 75 to 82°F
pH: 5.5 to 7.5
Hardness: 4 to 12°dGH





what is the maximum size of this fish?

4 to 5 cm (1.6 to 2")

Life expectancy

what is the average life expectancy of this fish?

2 to 3 years

Living zone

in which area of the aquarium does this fish live?

Middle ant top


sociability of the species



How to feed the Dwarf Gourami?


How to feed the Dwarf Gourami?

Dwarf Gourami food

An omnivorous fish with an insectivorous tendency, Red Lalia is easy to feed: it accepts all forms of food. However, to keep it in shape, vary its diet. Regularly offer artemia, red daphnids, mosquito larvae, tubifex and bloodworms that will promote its beautiful colour (preferably live, if not frozen). Give also a vegetal part (vegetable, seaweed...).


What kind of behavior does the Dwarf Gourami have?


What kind of behavior does the Dwarf Gourami have?

The Dwarf Gourami is quite peaceful and calm. It will ignore other fish in most cases.

Despite its small size, the Red Lalia is nonetheless a Gourami. Thus, the male may be slightly territorial, especially with other males of its species. We will avoid introducing 2 males in the same tank. The male will often hunt its female.

It is a perfect choice to occupy the top of aquariums in the Asian biotope.


Who can live with the Dwarf Gourami?


Who can live with the Dwarf Gourami?

Of calm nature and sometimes shy, avoid associating the Dwarf Gourami with territorial fish of large sizes or aggressive. For less aggressive territorial species, cohabitation is possible. However, it is necessary to have an aquarium with enough space for everyone to find their place.

You can pair them with quiet barbs and Rasboras (like the barbs Cherry for example) to stay in an Asian biotope.


How to breed the Dwarf Gourami?


How to breed the Dwarf Gourami?

The breeding of this species is easy. However, for the maximum fry to survive, you will take care to prepare a tray specially dedicated to their breeding (in a community aquarium, there is no chance that your fry survive the predation of other fish).

Once the couple is introduced during the breeding season, gradually increase the temperature and make more water changes. Feed them also with live prey. This should trigger spawning.


The male and the female will build a bubble nest together on the back of a leaf or with stems of aquatic grass (Egeria Najas, Riccia, Ceratophyllum Demersum that you will float). Once the nest is over, it will attract the female for laying.

This species is quite prolific and can lay between 50 to 200 eggs. The male takes care to gather them in the nest and supervises them.

After the spawning, immediately remove the female so that it does not get mistreated by the male who is watching the nest. The eggs are small and contain a lot of fat. The incubation lasts 24 hours. When the fry appear, remove the male.

Fry growth is irregular and rather slow. They must be sorted by size regularly, otherwise the larger ones will devour the smaller ones. The young are susceptible to infectious diseases and parasites during their development.

Fry food: Autonomous for the first 3 days. Then infusoria, paramécies and hard crushed egg yolk, for 10 days, then nauplies of artemia.

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Dwarf Gourami?

Its aquarium

Which aquarium for the Dwarf Gourami?

The water requirements of farmed and wild individuals should be distinguished. For farmed fish, the maintenance parameters are fairly flexible: pH 5.5 to 7.6, temperature 25/26°C or 77/79°F (generally greater than 24°C or 75°F) and indifferent hardness. For wild fish, count a pH at 6.5/7.2, a temperature at 22/23°C or 71/73°F and a GH between 2 and 8.

Be very careful when changing the water: the clean water must have the same properties as the aquarium water, including the temperature. Indeed, the Red Lilia are sensitive to the variations of parameters. You can go on a renewal of the water up to 20% every 15 days. You will also pay close attention to its acclimatization: it is a difficult moment not to be rushed. It must be done smoothly and slowly, without stressing the fish.

Note also their sensitivity to drugs that must be handled with care (read the instructions).

It is imperative for the aquarium of the Dwarf Gourami to be covered. Thus, the ambient air is at the same temperature as the water. When the Dwarf Gourami comes to take a breath in the air, there will be no heat shock.

Dwarf Gourami enjoys densely planted and shaded aquariums. This will give it many hiding places and reduce its stress. Floating plants such as Salvinia, Pistia or Egeria Najas, Riccia, Ceratophyllum demersum floating on the surface will also be welcome as they will reduce luminosity. In fact, this surface fish does not like direct light at all.

Good to know

Good to know

Find all additional information!

It is the smallest fish of its family, hence its name of "dwarf gourami".

Like all Gouramis, it has a labyrinth, complementary respiratory organ. This allows some breathing in the air. Thus, it can survive for some time in very little oxygenated water (and even out of the water!), Because it periodically sucks in air at the surface.

The Red Lalia also has antennae (called palpi) which it uses to touch its environment. This faculty developed especially by the Gouramis family makes it a curiosity: these fish have a very particular way to understand their environment. For example, they can "taste" their food with their antennas before consuming it!

Victim of its success, the Colisa has been weakened by successive selections and consanguinity. Today, the fish sold are quite fragile.

There is a more red variety called Sunset, and an entirely blue variety.

  • Blue dwarf Gourami
    Blue Dwarf Gourami

  • Red Neon dwarf Gourami
    Red Dwarf Gourami

  • Blue Neon dwarf Gourami
    Blue Neon dwarf Gourami

  • Sunset dwarf Gourami
    Sunset Dwarf Gourami

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Many thanks to Kyllian for its help on this page!

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