Name: Colisa lalia
Origin: Bengal and Assam, India
Dwarf Gouramies are excellent beginner fish, since they're relatively peaceful and undemanding, and because of their small size (about 5 cm) can be kept well in smaller tanks. In the wild strain the male is very colorful while the female is plain silver. Several color variants have been bred though, some of which also have colored females.
The only slight drawback to this species is the fact that some males can be over nervous and spend most of their time hiding. A possible alternative choice could be the Thick Lipped Gourami which looks so similar it is difficult, at first glance, to see that they are a different species. The males of this species are far less timid.
In a 40 liter aquarium it is best to keep only one male, with two females who will divide his attentions. Dwarf Gouramis appreciate a gentler current and a densely-planted tank. Floating plants are especially important to their sense of security, and when the male begins building his famous floating bubblenest, he will often include wisps of fine-leaved plants like Java Moss or Cabomba. An ideal tank would have a dropped water level, so that the water surface isn't hidden from view. A glass cover is also important, not because Colisa lalia is a jumper, but to keep the atmosphere over the water as warm as the water and very humid. Humidity will encourage piles of Water Sprite leaves, and if you are successful in raising fry, they will depend on the atmospheric warmth and humidity.
Over the past few decades millions of Dwarf Gouramis have been manufactured in SouthEast Asia and unfortunately their quality and vitality have suffered. You are entitled to have a perfect fish, one whose thread-like ventral fins are not nipped or bent, one whose stripes are clear and continuous and above all a healthy fish with no unusual swellings or lumps or "ripples" in its musculature, which often betray the presence of parasites, to which the Dwarf Gourami is unusually susceptible. A quarantine of three weekls in a separate tank is always a good idea for a new addition to your aquarium, but with the Dwarf Gourami it is a necessity. During quarantine medicate your new Dwarf Gourami for intestinal nematodes, and you will have a stronger and healthier fish.
I have 4 variations of the Dwarf Gourami in a 200 liter community tank (inlcuding the Dwarf Gourami, Neon Dwarf, Flame Dwarf, and Red-Fire Honey Dwarf with Neon Tetras, Blue and Gold Rams, a Rainbow Shark, Kuhli Loaches and Plecostomus). The Dwarf Gouramis are a very peaceful, easy fish to keep in a community tank. However, they tend to bicker between each other but never to the point of damaging fins or scales. They are busy-body types, always wanting to know what the other is doing, always curious as to what I am doing to the tank when I am cleaning, and always searching for food bits left on plant leaves. Since I only have male pairs of each variation I've noticed a very interesting "dance" they do when a confrontation occurs. The two males will form a circle, nose to tail, with their bodies curled in a semi-circle shape and dance around each other. Then they get bored and go on their merry way. Dwarf Gouramis are lovely fish with brilliant colors and their busy antics add a lot to any community tank.
My pair of Dwarf Gouramis are my favorites in the tank. In the beginning, I had purchased only a male, and he spent his time sulking is dark corners or nipping at other fish. A female companion was all he needed to be peaceful and content. The two are a joy to watch - lots of personality - they're curious, lively, fearless, and fluidly beautiful to watch. I recommended plants (real or synthetic), because they usually like to use them for refuge. The male is known to be aggressive, but with my experience, add a female and he'll be whipped.