Do Dwarf Gouramis Get Lonely? {Will It Feel Stress?}

Can you keep only Dwarf Gourami? Will a single Dwarf Gourami get lonely and stressed? In this article, we’ll find out if Dwarf Gouramis actually get lonely.

Do Dwarf Gouramis Get Lonely? Dwarf Gouramis are social fish who enjoy the safety in numbers. They are not schooling fish, but enjoy pairing or interacting in groups of 4 or more. A lonely Dwarf Gourami will most likely hide, become stressed and die early. 

How Do Dwarf Gouramis Behave?

Here are some character traits for Dwarf Gouramis:

  • Shy/Timid
  • Social
  • Secure in groups
  • Aggressive for territory of mating

Dwarf gourami fish belong to the Osphronemidae family native to Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The slow-moving waters in rivulets, streams and lakes, create a comfortable atmosphere for docile dwarf gourami fish.

They are timid or shy, but some can exert dominance by aggressively chasing or nipping other for territory or the right to mate.

Dwarf gouramis are social and feel more secure in larger numbers. If you have enough space in a larger tank, consider placing more than 6 dwarf gouramis together.

Can I Keep 2 Dwarf Gouramis?

Dwarf Gourami can be kept as a pair. If they bond and mate, they will defend their fry and their territory. The male may dance or chase the female to prove his strength and ability, but aggression will not be observed if they are given the space to exist together.

Two females or two males alone without mixing the sexes will work if they aren’t fighting for limited space or trying to access only one territory. Add decorations and plants in separate sections to increase the peace.

It’s preferred to keep four or more dwarf gouramis. They are social and comfortable in groups. They will shoal in times of stress when there are aggressive tankmates, but they are not schooling fish.

How Many Males To Females Dwarf Gouramis Should I Keep?

If you want to mimic their natural conditions in the wild, keep more than one dwarf gourami. Add as many as your tank allows. Try to keep the ratio of males to females as follows:

  • 1 male: 2-4 females

Too many males will continuously chase or fin nip for the right to mate with the small number of females. The female may also become weakened or stressed when the males constantly try to mate with her. All females or a single male to multiple females work well.

Can Dwarf Gouramis Live Alone With Other Species?

A single dwarf gourami will most likely spend a large portion of its time hiding in a populated tank with other species. They are not aggressive enough to survive bullying. A dwarf gourami is known to back down and hide away.

They are sensitive to water changes, aggression, overcrowding and bullying. Many dwarf gouramis don’t survive such conditions.

Try to stock more bottom dwelling fish like cory catfish, plecos or Bolivian rams while allowing your dwarf gourami swim at the top to mid level with guppies or tetras.

What Can Happen To A Lonely Dwarf Gourami?

A lonely Dwarf Gourami may exhibit the following behaviors:

  • Lethargic or sluggish swimming
  • Excessive hiding
  • Lack of appetite
  • Loss of color
  • Cloudy eyes

A paired couple of dwarf gouramis will keep busy with their breeding periods and caring for their fry. They will stake out a territory to enjoy together.

If one of these dwarf gouramis die first, the attachment between them may lead to the remaining dwarf gourami becoming weak or possibly dying very soon after. This has happened to us before and it only took 2 days for the survivor to die out of loneliness or grief.

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Can I Keep One Dwarf Gourami?

If you are choosing to stock your tank with only one dwarf gourami, we suggest a single male over a female for the following reasons:

  • Energy
  • Hardiness
  • Coloration


A male dwarf gourami has adapted to expelling more energy to defend territory, build bubble nests and impress females with his swimming ability. The male must survive the tame battles with its counterparts for the chance to breed with a female.


The male is suggested to be more hardy because he doesn’t get harassed as often as a female. The female may have arrived from a larger breed of dwarf gouramis already exhausted or stressed.

She may have been receiving the unwanted attention from countless males in the breeding tank at your local fish shop or the wholesaler’s tank. The male may have a better chance of survival.


Most people wish to keep a single male over a female clearly because the male dwarf gourami has brighter and more vibrant colors. These fish are your show fish in your community tank. Males are also more readily available in shops over females.

How Do I Prevent A Dwarf Gourami From Loneliness?

The following tips have come form members of our community who believe that dwarf gouramis can endure being alone. The popular consensus however still remains that they are better off in groups or pairs.

  • Get more dwarf gouramis
  • Add more floating plants 
  • Increase or adjust your decorations
  • Provide the healthiest food
  • Make sure there are no bullies
  • Give it space

More Dwarf Gouramis and Plants

Provide these social fish a chance to enjoy each other and live in a community. The floating plants provide shade, oxygen, hiding spaces and plenty of plant material to munch on or help them to build nests at the top of the tank.


Move around the existing decorations if you notice that your dwarf gourami can’t find a place to be comfortable. You want to avoid glass surfing when they just swim and down trying to escape.

Immune System Boosting Food

The best food can still be fortified with liquid garlic (Garlic Guard) or vitamin solutions (Selcon). You can dip bloodworms, daphnia or brine shrimp into this liquid to enhance their immune systems.


No matter what, aggressive tankmates will lead to stress. Smaller, peaceful or bottom dwelling fish will allow more comfort for your dwarf gourami. A healthy community balance will be created when one type of fish doesn’t outnumber the rest.

Consider the following suitable tankmates:

  • Tetras
  • Loaches
  • Catfish
  • Swordtail Fish
  • Rasboras
  • Mollies


The larger the tank, the more available space for a single gourami to remain busy or hide. Active swimming is common and plenty of room reduces the chances of bullying for territory or food.


We hope the information provided serves you well in your decision to stock a single, a pair or multiple dwarf gouramis. Thanks for visiting and see you again soon!

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.