Do Dwarf Gouramis Need To Be In Pairs? {Is This A Fact?}

Is it true that you need to keep Dwarf Gouramis in pairs? Will a single Dwarf Gourami get depressed? In this article, we’ll find out if these claims are true and we’ll discuss your available options.

Do Dwarf Gouramis Need To Be In Pairs? No. A group of Dwarf Gourami fish are social and more comfortable in larger numbers. Two male dwarf gouramis may get aggressive for territory. A male and female could pair up and breed often, making this a good option. A single male with multiple females or single male alone are also possible. 

How Do I Get Dwarf Gourami To Pair Up?

This is a tough task for humans to alter the mindset and behavior of our fish. It will take patience from the first step onwards.

  1. Go to your local fish shop and prepare to watch these dwarf gouramis for 30 minutes. 
  2. See how the males are chasing and darting around while the females swim without a care. 
  3. Observe a male swimming close to a female. See if the female allows it. 
  4. Keep your eyes on them and ask a friend to bring someone from the shop over. 
  5. Pick them, bring them home and place them in a tank at 10 gallons or larger. 
  6. Decorate the space with plenty of floating plants. 
  7. Notice how the male used plant matter to help build a bubble nest.
  8. Look for the female to spawn eggs that attach firmly to the nest. 

If you plan to introduce more dwarf gouramis at this point, allow for more plants and territories at opposite ends of the tank. You don’t want them competing for the same space because the paired couple will defend their territory and fry.

Is It OK To Have Just One Dwarf Gourami?

Dwarf gouramis are social fish that thrive in community tanks. They will only get aggressive when defending a certain territory or if the males are vying for the opportunity to mate with a female.

The group enjoys the strength in numbers because they are not instigators. They may back down, retreat and hide if they are alone.

These timid fish will enjoy being in pairs or groups. A single male can be kept alone, but allow for plenty of space to hide and feel comfortable. If he’s unwell, consider the stress from loneliness and add more females than males to prevent aggression and competition to mate.

How Many Dwarf Gouramis Should Be Together?

There are no rules for your tank. You are the boss and the keen observer. A single dwarf gourami mixed in with other single fish of different species may enjoy a carefree life with plenty of vegetation and decorations to swim around at the top or mid level of your tank.

Most recommendations start at keeping a pair that have successfully bonded for breeding purposes. The most popular suggestion is to keep four more more together. They are social and more secure in groups.

Many fish keepers like to keep a separate tank for only dwarf gouramis. One male to three females will keep things calmer. Males are more colorful and vibrant. You can have plenty of these social fish if your tank allows it.

What Size Tank Do I Need For A Pair Of Dwarf Gouramis?

A single dwarf gourami needs a 10 Gallon tank. After that, the general rule of thumb for 1 inch of fish per gallon could apply. These fish grow to about 2 inches, so you can add 4-5 more dwarf gouramis in a 20 gallon tank by principle.

The problem lies in the sensitivity and territorial instincts of these social fish. They will need separate spaces to call their own without fighting for them. A 20 gallon tank may not work for 6 dwarf gouramis if there isn’t enough room to place multiple plants and decorations.

  • 2 Dwarf Gouramis: 10-20 Gallon Tank
  • 4 Dwarf Gouramis: 20-30 Gallon Tank
  • 5-8 Dwarf Gouramis: 30-40 Gallon Tank
  • 9-12 Dwarf Gouramis: 40-55 Gallon Tank

These are estimates that have worked well for many fish keepers, but you are the ultimate judge of your tank’s ecosystem. Make sure the tankmates are bottom dwellers or peaceful and smaller top to mid level swimmers like tetras or guppies.

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Can Dwarf Gouramis Live With Bettas?

No, betta fish and dwarf gouramis have been known to become aggressive with each other. They are part of the same scientific family and labyrinth fish of fine colors. Their instinct to scope out and defend territories in similar locations will come into question.

Who will win? Do you wish to see them fight to the death? If you don’t wish to find out, then keep these species of fish in separate tanks. The battle for territory is just not worth the stress for them or you.

 Are Dwarf Gouramis Schooling Fish?

Dwarf Gouramis are not schooling fish. They shoal together in times of stress or fear. The following conditions may cause them to shoal:

  • Aggressive tankmates
  • Poor water conditions
  • New tank
  • Changes in their tank’s environment
  • New tankmates

Schooling fish will dart around the tank in groups. Dwarf gouramis are active, but they aren’t trying to shadow each other in rhythmic patterns like other schooling fish. They prefer to enjoy territorial spaces around floating or rooted plants instead.

How Do Dwarf Gouramis Behave?

These fish can be shy or timid at first. They would like to be groups if your tank allows it. The males are semi-aggressive in order to establish the right to mate or to protect a territory that may or may not contain a nest that they have built for their bonded female.

The males will allow a female to enter the territory they have established, but will probably chase away the other males. A male will keep busy, while a female will only become more aware and defensive after she has spawned.

Are Dwarf Gouramis Social?

Yes. When you see them at the local fish shop, they are usually flourishing in large groups without aggression. The older they get and the most limited the space, the instinct to become territorial becomes more obvious.

A harem of females with very few males will keep the tank peaceful. Many males without any territories or females may also allow for social shoaling without fighting for space.

Getting a successful pair is not easy. If it doesn’t occur, then add more dwarf gouramis. A bonded pair may need a new tank if they are constantly defending their territory and getting stressed from it.


It is not a fact that dwarf gouramis need to be kept in pairs. Pairing them is difficult and requires patience. A group of dwarf gouramis will be social, but they will require multiple territories to decrease any chance of aggression.

A single dwarf gourami may hide often and back away from other tankmates. The choice is yours to make depending on your tank’s conditions. We recommend the more the better.


Thanks for stopping by at and we hope to see you again soon for another article on these and many other fish that you may 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.