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)
Habitat and Ecology
Diseases and Parasites
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Trichogaster lalius
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 10
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Potential threats to this species and impacts of aquarium trade on the populations need to be identified.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
Distribution and habitat
The dwarf gourami is native to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. However, it has also been widely distributed outside of its native range. It is an inhabitant of slow-moving waters in rivulets, streams and lakes occurring in areas with plentiful vegetation.
Appearance and anatomy
This species can reach a length of 8.8 centimetres (3.5 in) TL. Male dwarf gouramis in the wild have diagonal stripes of alternating blue and red colors; females are a silvery color. Besides the difference in color, the sex can be determined by the dorsal fin. The male's dorsal fin is pointed, while the female's is rounded or curved. They carry touch-sensitive cells on their thread-like pelvic fins. Dwarf gouramis sold in fish stores may also be solid colors (e.g., powder blue dwarf gourami or red flame variety).
In the Aquarium
|This article is written like a manual or guidebook. (September 2014)|
Most dwarf gouramis live for about four years. However, with proper care, they can live longer. Dwarf gouramis are generally peaceful fish. The much larger standard gourami can become aggressive. They do well in most community aquariums and they are good with most fish: beta, platys, Mollys, plecs, ghost catfish etc.They require a tank that is at least ten gallons (twenty gallons is much better). They are usually found swimming on the middle to top regions of the aquarium because gouramis are labyrinth fish - they can breathe oxygen from the air through their labyrinth organ if necessary. It is important, therefore that the surface of the water be exposed to fresh air. This is usually accomplished by using a hood that allows air ventilation. If efficient air pumps are used, this is not always needed, since the air pumps will refresh the air above the water.
The aquarium should be heavily planted and have at least part of the surface covered with floating plants, though not essential except for breeding. A darker substrate will help show off the gouramis' colors, although a predominantly white substrate that resembles a marine environment is more attractive.
Peat filtration is recommended. Dwarf gouramis should not be kept with large, aggressive fish, but are compatible with other small, peaceful fish as well as with smaller fellow gouramis. Dwarf gouramis should not be kept in tanks with any breeding fish which provide parental care, such as cichlids, as they will likely badger the timid gourami relentlessly in defense of their young. Dwarf gouramis are so docile that they will allow themselves to be bullied to death rather than fight back. Male Siamese fighting fish may attack dwarf gouramis and should be avoided. The males of larger gouramis species may also bully dwarf gouramis. Despite their shy and docile nature, they are aggressive towards fellow dwarf gourami. Each fish tends to establish a territory, and hiding places are a must. Loud noises often scare them, so the tank should be in a quiet area. Regular water changes are necessary, as this gourami can be susceptible to disease.
A varied diet is very important to the dwarf gourami, which is an omnivore that prefers both algae-based foods and meaty foods. An algae-based flake food, along with freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex, and brine shrimp, will provide these fish with proper nutrition.
The male builds a floating bubble nest in which the eggs are laid. Unlike other bubble nest builders, males will incorporate bits of plants, twigs, and other debris, which hold the nest together better.Once the nest had been built the male will begin courting the female, usually in the afternoon or evening. He signals his intentions by swimming around the female with flared fins, attempting to draw her to the nest where he will continue his courting display. If the female accepts the male she will begin swimming in circles with the male beneath the bubble nest. When she is ready to spawn she touches the male on either the back or the tail with her mouth. Upon this signal the male will embrace the female, turning her first on her side and finally on her back. At this point the female will release approximately five dozen clear eggs, which are immediately fertilized by the male. Most of the eggs will float up into the bubble nest. Eggs that stray are collected by the male and placed in the nest. Once all the eggs are secured in the nest, the pair will spawn again. If more than one female is present in the breeding tank, the male may spawn with all of them. The spawning sessions will continue for two to four hours, and produce between 300 and 800 eggs. Dwarf gouramis have a fecundity of about 600 eggs. Upon completion, the male will place a fine layer of bubbles beneath the eggs, assuring that they remain in the bubble nest.The male will protect the eggs and fry. In 12 to 24 hours the fry will hatch, and continue developing within the protection of the bubble nest. After three days they are sufficiently developed to be free swimming and leave the nest. When the fry are two to three days old the male should also be removed or he may consume the young.
The water level should be reduced to 7–10 cm (6-8 inches) during spawning, and the temperature should be approximately 28-30 °C (82 °F). Vegetation is essential, as males build their bubble nest using plant material, which they bind together with bubbles. Nests are very elaborate and sturdy, reaching several inches across and an inch deep. Limnophila aquatica, Riccia fluitans, Ceratopteris thalictroides, and Vesicularia dubyana, are good choices for the breeding tank. Peat fiber may also be offered as building material.
After spawning the female should be moved to a different tank. The male will now take sole responsibility for the eggs, aggressively defending the nest and surrounding territory. When first hatched, the tiny fry should be fed infusoria, and later, brine shrimp and finely ground flakes. Freeze-dried tablets may also be fed to older fry.
Breeders have created different colour variations, varying degree of red/blue colouring. The powder blue variant is almost entirely bright blue. The reddest variety (flame red) can be confused with the red variety of honey gouramis (Trichogaster chuna). One of the most common color morphs is the turquoise / neon blue, featuring stripes of dark red and bright blue.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Trichogaster lalius.|
- Vishwanath, W. 2010. Trichogaster lalius. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 29 March 2014.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2014). "Trichogaster lalius" in FishBase. February 2014 version.
- Ristic, Mihajlo (1973), Sex, Nolit
- Sanford, Gina (1999). Aquarium Owner's Guide. New York: DK Publishing. ISBN 0-7894-4614-6.
- Clarke, Matt (2006-11-23). "Aquarium trade may have spread gourami virus". Practical Fishkeeping magazine.
- Axelrod, Herbert R. (1996). Exotic Tropical Fishes. T.F.H. Publications. ISBN 0-87666-543-1.
To request an improvement, please leave a comment on the page. Thank you!