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Trichogaster lalius - Dwarf Gourami


  • Trichogaster lalius - Dwarf Gourami

    Photo thanks to watfish

    Photo thanks to Jazzy

    Scientific name: Trichogaster lalius
    Common name: Dwarf Gourami
    AKA: Colisa lalia

    Country of origin:
    South Asia

    pH: 6.0 - 7.5
    Temperature: 22 - 27c
    Hardness: 2 - 18 dGH
    Water flow: low
    Oxygenation: standard (they are a labarynth fish, and able to gulp air from the surface, but forcing them to do so is not good for them).

    Maximum size: 8.8cm (Most males around 7.5cm, females 6.0)

    Diet: It is an omnivore. Despite its deceptive size, it has a comparatively small mouth. This should be taken into account when choosing food size.

    It can survive on dry food, but does best with some live or frozen food (eg. bloodworms) occasionally.

    Breeding: Male: extended pointed dorsal fin, extended anal fin. Female: rounded dorsal fin.
    The males are bubble nest builders, adding other flotsam into the nest. He will then display to the female. They spawn by an inverted embrace, then the male adds more bubbles to seal the eggs in. The male protects the nest, but will eat the fry once they emerge. The fry hatch after 12 - 24 hours, but live in the nest for the next 3 days.

    Most aquarium sold fish of this species are aquairum bred through mass production.

    Tank companions: They are not good tankmates with shrimp.
    Other peaceful fish are suitable tankmates, with the exception of guppies, endlers, bettas and other gourami species. It is shy and usually easily bullied by boisterous or aggressive fish species. Although it does hunt shrimp, it is a reasonably peaceful (in the sense of not troublemaking) tankmate. It has not been observed to nip fins.

    The males will fight each other, and in anything less than a 6ft tank with visual barriers, only one is recommended.

    Colour varients:
    - blue/red stripes "turquoise" (wild type) - see Jazzy's photo
    - blue "powder blue" (aquarium bred varient)
    - red "flame red", "sunset", "robin", "red" (aquarium bred varient)
    - plain "silver" (females)
    - blue striped with small amounts of red "neon blue" (aquarium bred varient)

    Lifespan: 4+ years

    In the tank: They are labarynth fish, and spend little time at the bottom of the tank, generally being mid-level or top level swimmers.

    They need at absolute minimum a 2ft tank for either one male or a pair. If it is a pair, the tank needs to be heavily planted to provide areas for the female to escape from the male. In a small tank they are best as the sole species. They are able to share with appropriate fish.

    Notes: They will benefit from Indian Almond Leaves (or the appropriate equivalent) in the tank, to provide tannins. This will also make their colours pop.

    They appreciate a heavily planted tank including floating plants to provide cover & shade, with a dark substrate. If they are provided with shady spots to shelter & hide in as they wish, they will come out and wander around the front of the tank.

    Over 20% of fish tested in Singapore tested positive for iridovirus. This has caused concerns by DAFF/AQIS, and there could potentially be issues in the future around this. It often presents as the fish losing wait & becoming apathetic. They are also extremely prone to presenting with ulcers, which are inevitably fatal. This starts as a white spot, then develops a red area in the centre as it spreads, then beomes deeper in the fish, until it is fatal. The virus may spread to other fish, and although it is unlikely to spread to humans, hands with open sores should not be put into the tank (as standard practice).

    For this reason (potential iridovirus contagion) on top of the usual concerns for the welfare of the released fish, for native fish & other natives that the fish could eat/harm/outbreed, and the usual concerns about transferring disease into the waterways, fish should never be released into native waterways, down drains or toilets. Local fish stores can be contacted and will usually take unwanted fish, and if they do die, they should be double bagged & placed in the rubbish.

    They are legal imports to Australia as of 20/10/2013 under the previous name Colisa lalia:

    The IUCN Red List reports Colisa lalia as a species which has not yet been assessed at 20/10/2013:

    They are a good fish for beginners.

    Relevant threads:
    Possible TB infection & euthenasia:
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