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  1. breeding Dwarf Gouramies
    by oleg-at-Veritas.COM (Oleg Kiselev) (26 Jan 93)
  2. [F] [Q] breeding Dwarf Gourami - longish
    by (Kenneth J McNeil) (Sat, 4 Feb 1995)
  3. Breeding Dwarf Gouramies
    by David Kessner <> (21 Jul 1995)

Pearl Gourami

Gold Gourami

photos by Jim Hurley

Dwarf Gourami

photo by Erik Olson

breeding Dwarf Gouramies

by oleg-at-Veritas.COM (Oleg Kiselev)
Date: 26 Jan 93 writes:
>Also one more question, does anybody out there know anything about breeding
>Dwarf Gouramies?  I can't seem to find any specific information on the

Try Ines Scheurmann's book "Aquarium Fish Breeding" published by Barron's.

In brief: 
Put a male and 1 or more females in a 15-20 gal aquarium (or larger if
possible; in a 10 gal tank the male might kill the females).  Use a
tank with as much surface area as you can find (i.e. tall tanks are not
recommended).  Stock the tank with a lot of plants for the female(s) to
hide in.  Floating plants are of great benefit because they make it
easeier for the male to keep his bubble nest intact.  Water sprite in
particular is a great plant for this.  Use filtration that does not
create strong surface currents.

Feed the fish a diet heavy on live foods (brine shrimp, mosquito
larvae, etc.) and keep the water warm.  Eventually the male starts
building his bubble nest and the females that are ready to spawn
approach the nest.  The spawning takes place in an embrace
characteristic of the gouramies in general.  An egg is released and
fertilized.  At this point the male catches the egg in his mough and
spits it into the nest, adding a few more bubbles for a good measure.
If the female is still hanging around, the male will attack her to
drive her away.  In a few minutes the female comes back to spawn
again.  This goes on for many hours.

When the fry hatch in a few days and are free-swimming, remove them or
the male into another tank.  Feed the fry infusoria at first, then baby
brine shrimp.
Don't blame me, I voted Libertarian.

Oleg Kiselev                                   
VERITAS Software                           ...!{apple|uunet}!veritas!oleg

[F] [Q] breeding Dwarf Gourami - longish

by (Kenneth J McNeil)
Date: Sat, 4 Feb 1995
Newsgroup: rec.aquaria,alt.aquaria (Anne Hull Seales) writes:

>We have a pair of Colisa lalia in a 10G, all N products nil/negligible,
>temp 80F, hardness medium, pH 7.5.  Feeding a variety of "fresh-frozen"
>foods.  Tank has been running & stable for 10-11 months (has had a varied
>population of fish on their way to our other tanks).  Healthy air-powered
>UGF, aquaclear mini with sponge, sometimes peat, sometimes carbon.  Water
>changes about 30-40% every 2-3 weeks. Airstone bubbling in back to aid in
>prevention of surface film.  Not exactly a recreation of a lily covered
>hot n'still gourami pond, but oh well.

>The male is making a bubble nest like crazy (right at the outflow of one
>of the UGF tubes - go figure).  He consistently, but not violently, chases
>the female away.  This has been going on for a few days.  The nest is
>beautiful - juts an inch out of the top of the water, about 3" in
>diameter, has bits of plants in it (tank has hornwort & Java Moss only -
>40W of incand. light + a *little* sun keeps the hornwort happy).  We both
>work long days, and may well have missed seeing important clues.

>Our books are not shedding light on some aspects of this procedure - I'd
>really appreciate anyone who knows being willing to share info.  

>* how long does he typically continue building the bubble nest before
>spawning is initiated - or does this depend on the F's readiness?  

In my 10 gallon, the spawning took place about a day after he had 
produced the nest. Look for an orange region in the middle of the nest. 
If you look closely you should see the orange is due to the eggs that 
have risen to the top of the bubble nest.

>* does the appearance of the nest change once spawning has occured?  I
>know the eggs are tiny - but could we tell w/naked eye if there were eggs
>amongst the bubbles?  Does the nest flatten, or some other "sign"?  Does
>his manner of tending the nest alter?

See above.

>* it was recommended to lower the water level 6 inches - but this would
>have stopped our UGF.  We have left it full - what is the reason for the
>lowering of the water?  Is it likely to be a problem that we didn't?

The biggest problem is that you don't want the water movement to break 
the nest apart. Dropping the water level is supposed to help get the fish 
interested in spawning, but that doesn't seem to be a problem, so don't 
worry about it. The biggest problem is that the fry will be easily sucked 
into the power filter unless you have a sponge covering the intake. For 
now you may want to just have the UGF on.

>* he is supposed to become VERY insistent that the female vamoose once
>they have spawned.  Does this always happen?  He's pretty mild mannered
>for a Gourami...

In the 3 anabantid species I've spawned the male chases away everything 
that gets too close to the nest or the fry. He is very protective. My 
golden gourami and paradise males were both good parents, but the dwarf 
was appeared to be ready to consume the fry as much as protect them. The 
paradise fish was good about collecting the newly hatched fry and 
spitting them back into the nest. When the dwarf collected some, he 
seemed to forget to spit them out, I guess they were just to tasty a 
treat to pass up. 

>* assuming they do spawn, will his behavior change once the fry hatch? 
>Will we be able to see _them_ with naked eye? Is the F removed just so the
>M doesn't hurt her, or so she doesn't eat the fry?

Pull the female. Start some infusoria ASAP. If the first batch doesn't 
survive and you think the male may be at fault, pull him out as well as 
soon as the eggs have been placed in the nest. Another choice is to get a 
tank going with green water (algae filled water). Place the fry in the 
green water and feed with infusoria. I found I was able to get about 50 
fry to saleable size starting this way and I didn't have to feed them 
infusoria every few hours. To the green water tank I added infusoria once 
a day or so, as well as vinegar eels and boiled egg yolk that had been 
ssuspended in water. As they mature brine shrimp seem to produce the best 
results, with microworms added also. 

>* he was once treated for Hexamita with Metronidazole (many many months
>ago) - is this likely to have made him sterile?

>TIA for sharing -


Breeding Dwarf Gouramies

by David Kessner <>
Date: 21 Jul 1995
Newsgroup: alt.aquaria,rec.aquaria,sci.aquaria

Well, it finally happened.  I got my Dwarf Gouramies to breed!  It
was an interesting ordeal, since I got very little help from 
people and books.  Because of this I thought that I'd post a
message explaining what I did and what happened.  I learned a lot
from this, and hopefully someone else will too.

I started with a 10 gallon stock tank.  It had three "normal" Dwarf
Gouramies, four Dwarf "Blood" Gouramies, several guppies, and a 
pleco.  I know this is too many fish, but...

I set up a new 20 gallon high tank for breeding.  I used dark, 
reasonably fine gravel (not sand), and an under gravel filter.  I
used lots of plastic plants of different heights, two flower pots,
and three bunches of a fine-leaved live plant (foxtail or hornwart,
I think).

As a side note:  I placed the flower pots with their open side to
the gravel and broke a section out of the sides to form a "cave 
entrance".  Breaking a normal flower pot is not easy.  I tried
drilling holes in it, then hitting it with a screw-driver and 
hammer.  That didn't work too well.  Then, I figured I'd just use
pliers and gradually chip away at it.  That didn't work quite 
right either.  Hindsignt being 20/20, I think I'd use a saw the
next time.

I bought two female Dwarf Blood Gouramies.  They were about 1.5
inches long.  The males were about 2 to 2.25 inches.

The first book I read said to use a water level of around eight
inches and to place the pair into the tank and let them do their
thing.  So that's what I did.

Another book I read said that males were generally not monogomous,
so if there were two females in the tank, he would probably
spawn with both.  So in went the second female.

A few days later it was obvious that they wern't going to spawn.
I was thinking that the females were not mature enough.  A female
guppy was very pregnent, so in she went into the breeding tank.

At this point, the breeding tank had one male and two female 
gouramies as well as one female guppy and five baby guppies.  
(The female guppy was small, so she didn't have a lot of offspring).

Since nothing was happening, I assumed the females were too young.
So, I figured I'd just let things be for a while and let them 
grow and mature.

A week later I got another book that said to keep the males and 
females separate.  To introduce the "well rounded" female into
the tank several days before the male.

So, I figured what the hell.  I put the male back in with the other
males.  About a week later the two females were either getting 
playful or agressive.  The more agressive one was visably fatter
than she was a week before.  

I had no idea what the book ment by "well rounded", but I figured
that this could be it.  Since I'm getting married in a few weeks
and going on a week long honeymoon, and I know that the fry need a
lot of attention for the first few weeks, I figured they should 
spawn now or after the honeymoon.

So, out came the second female gourami and the female guppy (the 
babies stayed) and in went the male.

At this point, the water was about 5 inches deep (measured from the
top of the gravel).  Water quality was "moderately hard", pH was
around 7.4-7.6, no ammonia or nitrite, and the temp was around 
82-85 deg F.  

Some of the plants in the tank broke the surface of the water.  The
live plants were about 8 inches long, so they were bent over and
half-floating just under the surface.  I couldn't find any floating
plants, so I figured this would have to do.

I built a baffle around the UGF lift tubes.  This was a two inch
diamater tube that extended from the gravel to just under the hood.
I bought this tube from a hardware store where it was sold as a 
"cover" for flourecent lights.  I cut holes into the tube near the 
gravel.  The top of the UGF lift tubes were about 1/2 inch under 
the water level.  When in place, bubbles would draw water up the 
lift tubes.  When it reached the top, the water would flow down
but the bubbles would not.  So, there was water flow, but the
surface of the water would remain calm.  Too calm, in fact.  The
waters surface was mirror smooth, but the UGF flow was not 
impacted.  I used a "curtain of bubbles" to give a little surface
agitation-- but not enough to disrupt any nest the might be built.

The male went in in the morning, and by the afternoon he was 
building a bubble nest.  The female was skitish as usual (she
was only agressive tward the other female) and got chased around
the tank.  At times I thought the male was going to kill her.

The bubble nest was built by the mail going to the surface of the
water and gulping in air.  He would then go under the nest and
spit them out.  He would also take bits of plants and push them
into the bubbles.  At its best, the nest had about 1/2 inches of
bubbles with anouth 1/2 to 3/4 inches of plant bits stuck to the
bottom.  It was about 3-3.5 inches in diamater.  The size of the
bubbles were about 1 mm.

The morning of the second day, the bubble nest had gone into 
dis-repair and the male was still chasing the female.  I've read
that female chasing is usually a sign of a female that isn't
ready to mate.  But around mid-afternoon she was "nudging the male
on the side with her mouth".  This is a sign to the male that she's
ready.  At this point, the male resumed his effort to make a bubble

Several times that second day, the pair started to do their little
"mating dance".  Quickly, however, the female would dart off before
the male had even touched her.

The morning of the third day, the nest was not in bad shape, but
worse than the second day.  I took a close look at it-- no eggs.
During the day my bride-to-be reported that the nest was looking 
impressive and there was a lot of activity-- mostly the male was
chasing the female.  I checked that night-- again no eggs.

At the end of the fourth day, the female was being severly chased 
around the tank and the bubble nest wasn't looking good.  The plants
that were in there were decaying and there were few bubbles left.

I figured that this experiment was over.  I was going to move the
male back into the stock tank.  Clean up the breeding tank.  Bring
the water level back up to normal.  And let the females mature
for another month before trying again.

I started cleaning by taking the nest of decayed plants and removing
it with a net.  This net, and all the live plants I could grab
went into a bucket.  Then I went and did something else for 5 min.
When I went back to clear out the bucket I saw lots of little specks
still in the net.  I thought these were bits of decayed plant, but
on further inspection I found baby gouramies!

In a mad effort, I put water into the bucket.  Cleared out the 
breeding tank of everything (plants, pots, fish).  And put the 
fry and live plants back into the tank.

The fry were not free-swimming at this point.  Most of them still
had the egg yolk still attached.  It was difficult to see how 
many survived my blunder.  By the second morning, it was more
clear.  Some of the fry were covered in a fungus like fluff while
others were clearly not "infected".  Most of the fry were still
floating on the top near at the edges of the tank (where surface
tension held them).

Gradually, less fry could be seen floating.  Now there is almost
none.  It seems that as the fry begin to swim the tend to hide on 
the gravel where they are invisible.  Occasionally I see one or
two swimming around.  When it is dark, however, they tend to 
come out more.  One night I turned on the light and counted around
20-30 fry.  The books say that dwarf gouramies can lay up to 600
eggs, so I must have killed off a lot.  However, I think I'm 
lucky that 20-30 have survived.

Less than a week after spawning, the fry are a little larger than
1/32nd of an inch long (1mm).  While they "swim" they tend to just
float with the current more.  Most are still nocturnal, although
they are becoming more brave with the light now.

When I started this I was disappointed by the books on breeding
these fish.  None of them mentioned what the eggs looked like, or
how to tell when a fish is mature.  On other issues, the books
didn't agree.  They couldn't even agree on what "well planted" was.

So, here are the answers:  The female was about 1.5 inches and 
only slightly fatter.  Most people wouldn't notice that she was
"fatter".  The male was about 2 inches long, although I think that
a 1.5 inch male would be OK.  The water depth was 5 inches, but I
don't think that it's that critical.  The eggs look like, well, 
bubbles.  I didn't even notice them!  I still don't know what 
exactly they look like.  Judging by the one I saw with fungus on
it, they are about 1mm or less in diamater but I don't know anything
else.  And, the fry are damn small-- about 1/10th the size of a 
newborn guppy.

When I try this again, I know I'll do some things differently.  I 
will plant the tank so that the nest will be built in a spot that
can be easily inspected.  While I had it well planted, there wasn't
enough nooks and crannies for the female to hide in.  I will also
have less plants touching the surface (I had problems with food
getting stuck in the plants and not being eaten).

I hope this experience will benefit others-- I've learned a lot.
I'll try breeding them again once my "fry tank" turns into a 
"breeding tank" again.

-David Kessner

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