Beautiful translucent blue with red stripes, the dwarf gourami, Trichogaster lalius, (formerly Colisa lalia) is a small freshwater fish of the gourami family (Osphronemidae). This species was originally described as Trichogaster lalius in 1882 but soon after was transferred into genus Colisa. In 2009 Topfer and Schindler revised the group, making the genus Colisa obsolete, and the dwarf gourami reverted back to its original name, but taxonomic confusion remains. Native to heavily vegetated, slow-moving streams in Southern Asia, dwarf gourami have been introduced into many non-native countries, including Singapore, Taiwan, Columbia and the USA. Dwarf gourami are omnivorous, eating small invertebrates and algae. Like their congenitors, dwarf gourami live at the top of the water column and in conditions of low oxygen can breathe air through their labyrinth organ, an accessory breathing organ. Gouramis are "bubble breeders", with males building a nest at the water's surface, starting with a raft of bubbles which he strengthens using plant material. The pair mates and male and female simultaneously spawn below the nest so that the buoyant fertilized eggs float up into the nest (the male collects any rouge eggs in his mouth afterwards and secures them into the nest). Spawning occurs multiple times over 2-3 hours, and generates a total about 600 eggs, which the male tends to and protects until they hatch about 36 hours later. Dwarf gourami, which typically reach about 4-5 cm long, are popular aquarium fish and have been bred in many different color variations. Dwarf gourami are frequent carriers of a widespread epidemic of Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV), which is highly infectious among dwarf gourami and transmitted through contaminated water to other species as well; to date there is no treatment. DGIV is postulated to have increased in incidence due to inbreeding resulting from intense culturing of fish for the aquarium trade.
(Seriously fish; Topfer and Schindler 2009; Tropical Fishkeeping; Wikipedia 2012)
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