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Labyrinth Fish / Belontiidae / Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf Gourami
Colisa lalia


Synonyms: Colisa cotra, C. unicolor, Trichogaster lalius, T. unicolor, Trichopodus lalius, Trichopsis lalius
Physical description: The body is oval-shaped with strong lateral compression. The anal And dorsal fins begin in the frontal part of the body, and extend nearly to the fan-shaped caudal fin. The ventral fins are long and filamentous. Males are generally orange-red with numerous transverse strips which are light blue in color. The back is orange and the belly is silver-turquoise. The dorsal, caudal, and anal fins are orange with patterns of light blue markings. The ventral fins are also orange. Females are duller in color.
Size/Length: To 2.2" (5.5 cm)
Similar species: The Dwarf Gourami may resemble C. fasciata and C. labiosa, although it is rarely confused with these species.
Habitat: Inhabits vegetation choked floodplains of Bengal and Assam (of India) and Myanmar (Burma).
S: middle, top
Aquarium: A tank measuring 20" (51 cm) with a capacity of 10 gallons (38 L) is recommended. The substrate should be dark to bring out the colors of this pretty fish. Plant the corners and sides of the tank heavily and allow open swimming areas in the middle. A few floating plants are recommended to provide areas of shade.
Water chemistry: pH 6-7.5 (6.8), 2-18 dH (6), 73-82°F (23-28°C)
Social behavior: This timid species is peaceful towards other species. An excellent community fish for those tanks housing other peaceful fish. This species can be kept in pairs or in groups. At spawning times, males defend a large territory.
Suggested companions: Tetras, other Colisa species, danios, Corydoras
FOOD: Live; insect larvae, Tubifex, insects, crustaceans; flakes; occasionally algae; pellets; tablets
Sexual differences: Males are more colorful than the silvery females.
Breeding techniques: The male constructs a bubble nest of bubbles and plant debris in a shallow tank. The water should be soft to medium hard (2-6 dH) and slightly acidic (pH 6.2-6.9).
Each act of spawning (embracement) results in 50-200 eggs, until 400-600 eggs are laid. The male spits the eggs into the nest. Remove the female at this point. The male will care for the brood, although he should be removed when the eggs hatch 24 hours later. Start feeding the fry with infusoria and roftiers, then with Artemia nauplii. The fry must be frequently sorted according to size or else cannibalism will occur.
Breeding potential: 6. Breeding is not difficult.
Remarks: This is among the most popular of all Labyrinth Fish. Through selective breeding numerous color variations have been produced. Included among these are the Neon Dwarf Gourami, the Sunset Gourami, and the Fire Gourami.
Difficulty of care: 3. This hardy species is somewhat sensitive to poor water conditions, thus frequent partial water changes are recommended.


By Rhett Butler   Mongabay.com