Do Dwarf Gouramis Eat Plants? {How To Stop Them From Destroying Your Plants}

Are you concerned about Dwarf Gouramis eating your plants in the tank? Will they uproot and destroy your planted tank? In this article, we’ll discuss if Dwarf Gouramis eat plants.

Do Dwarf Gouramis Eat Plants? Yes. Dwarf Gouramis are omnivores and their natural habitat is lush with vegetation. They will nibble or pull leaves, but a male dwarf gourami may do this to help them build a bubble nest instead of using the plants as a food source. 

Is It OK For Dwarf Gouramis To Eat Plants?

Dwarf gouramis are not picky eaters. They are omnivores and will nibble on plants. It’s hard to predict which ones will and which ones won’t. Some fish keepers don’t notice it while others say that their dwarf gouramis pull, nibble or uproot their plants in the tank.

Broader leafed, bushy or floating plants tend to be used for hiding places or shelter, while stringier plants are easier to nibble or pull to help create bubble nests for breeding.

Which Plants Do Dwarf Gouramis Eat?

There are countless choices of plants available for you to place in your tank. They oxygenate the water and provide comfortable spaces for your marine life to enjoy. A dwarf gourami is territorial at times and would appreciate a planted area to call its own.

The following plants are more susceptible to be eaten, pulled or uprooted by your dwarf gourami:

  • Cabomba
  • Rotala Indica
  • Rotala Wallichi
  • Ludwigia Repens
  • Heteranthera zosterifolia
  • Twisted Valis
  • Mayaca
  • Foxtail
  • Ambulia 
  • Elodea

Why Do My Dwarf Gouramis Pull Out My Plants?

A male dwarf gourami could be busy tugging away at plants to help him build a bubble nest. In the wild, you can notice groups of males 3 feet apart from each other, blowing bubbles and using plant bits to bind them together for the perfect bubble nest.

They wish to impress a female who will eventually lay her eggs to attach to these bubble nests if the male is successful. When a male turns blue or purplish in color around his face, he’s getting ready to attract a female and it’s time to pull or chomp some plants to help him build the nest.

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How Do I Stop Dwarf Gouramis From Eating My Plants?

First of all, you have to check if they are actually swallowing all the plants they are chomping on or pulling out. If you have a breeding pair, your plants will receive more damage due to the constant building of bubble nests.

Many dwarf gourami keepers believe it’s better to keep them in groups with more females to males and avoid the act of pairing them up. They become less territorial or aggressive and usually leave most of your plants alone.

You can also help them construct these nests by offering floating plants instead. The bubble nest will be built at the surface of the tank so you’ll make it easier for the male to quickly snatch pieces off nearby floating plants instead of swimming down and possibly uprooting your more prized plants.

  • Don’t keep them in bonded pairs.
  • Add more dwarf gouramis.
  • Add more floating plants.

Are Dwarf Gouramis Good For Planted Tanks?

Dwarf gourami fish come from slow moving rivers or lakebeds native to Bangladesh, Pakistan and India where there is plenty of vegetation. They will find safety and security in planted territories that you establish in your tank.

It’s best to separate the plants at opposite ends or keep enough distance between them for your dwarf gourami to stake out individual or paired territories within them.

Can Dwarf Gouramis Eat Vegetables?

Absolutely! If you notice that your dwarf gourami has a strong appetite for the vegetation in your planted tank, you may try to thwart any destruction by offering more vegetables instead. The following plants would be great for your dwarf gourami:

  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber 
  • Zucchini
  • Lettuce

You can blanch or boil them slightly for easier digestion. It’s best to serve vegetables that float more easily since your dwarf gourami would like to eat from the top or mid level of your tank.

Do Dwarf Gouramis Eat Algae?

Dwarf gouramis have adapted to snatch insects and larvae from the surface of the water. Algae that grows on the surface will also be nibbled on and easily digested by these omnivores.

You can try to feed them floating algae wafers if your tank is free of algae. They are not algae cleaners and won’t be able to eradicate any issues with algae in your tank, but they’ll gladly try to nibble on bits of this nourishing vegetation.

Do Dwarf Gouramis Need Floating Plants?

It is strongly recommended to keep floating plants with your dwarf gouramis. This is because they enjoy residing at the top or the tank to build nests, mate and raise their fry.

The plants serve as building blocks to help bind the bubbles that the male gourami expels while constructing a nest for the female to lay her eggs.

He will gladly pull pieces off your floating plants to help him with this process instead of pulling leaves or uprooting more valued plants inside your tank.


Dwarf gouramis have adapted to prefer larvae, insects and worms, but they aren’t picky eaters. They will enjoy the flakes you offer them, but they will also request some plant matter to satisfy their needs as omnivores.

They will enjoy planted areas for territories to call their own. The floating plants are better for male gouramis to construct bubble nests. Floating plants may help to leave your rooted plants free from getting pulled, yanked or eaten.


Thanks for visiting and see you again soon for another article on these and other wonderful marine life that you wish to keep in your aquarium. 

Brian Arial

Brian Arial has kept fish for leisure and worked with fish stores for most of his life. He enjoys writing and caring for aquariums and ponds.