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  1. #1

    Default dwarf gouramis and rainbow cichlids...will they get along?

    0 Not allowed!
    Hi, I recently started a 40g aquarium that is densely planted with driftwood in one third of the tank (the density of tall and medium height plants concentrated around the golden ratio lengthwise, with a smattering of low lying plants/miniature grasses along the rest) while maintaining a fairly open swimming area in the rest of the tank. Its current occupants consist of:

    4 dwarf gouramis (2 dwarf honeys and 2 dwarf flames...I think, and all are 1" or less, still babies)
    4 neon tetras (added initially for cycling)

    In the future, I'm planning on introducing 2-4 more neons to complete the family, and then 2-4 tiny corys (? corydoras habrosus), and finally a couple of rainbow cichlids.

    My concern is the compatibility of the dwarf gouramis with the cichlids.... One gourami is pretty shy, he only comes out of hiding from "the forest" when I feed him, whereas the other 3 are constantly nibbling at my ferns, mini grasses, mosses, anubias, swords, and sometimes even the filter intake valve and the acrylic glass. I thought they would be top/mid level occupants...but they just seem to explore everywhere and are not shy at all. I'm worried the constantly curious (and scavenger-like) dwarf gouramis will upset the rainbow cichlids when I eventually introduce them. I read rainbow cichlids generally prefer the bottom. Unfortunately, my dwarf gouramis are not respecting the water level separation, so I'm concerned there will be fights.

    I'm wondering if anyone has had experience keeping dwarf gouramis with rainbow cichlids? Will the fish eventually figure out their own water level comfort zones and territories? I really like the look of rainbow cichlids and I hope there's a way!

  2. #2


    0 Not allowed!
    I have never kept gouramis or rainbows, so I only know what I've read in other posts. I'm not sure aboit the compatibility of the 2 together, but I am concerned that you have 4 gouramis in a 40g aquarium. They may seem fine now, but I understand that they are very territorrial. As soon as they reach maturity (or sooner) I think you are going to have some real problems with them getting along. I am pretty sure that only 1 gourami should be housed in a tank that size.
    120 gallon FW bowfront in progress

  3. #3


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks, Manna, I'll definitely keep an eye on their behavior. They're behaving famously with the tetras and each other right now (the three social dwarf gouramis seem to enjoy scavenging together....for now). I haven't seen any article with regard to minimum tank size per dwarf, and I'm sure such factors are subject to the personality of individual fish (much like compatibility of different species). If you can refer me to an article or cite a reference, I would greatly appreciate it! In the meantime, I'll remain diligent about observing their behavior.

    With regard to rainbow cichlids (original question), have you read or heard whether they might be bothered by curious/social dwarf gouramis (or curious/social small fish in general)?

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    The rainbow's will eat your neons.
    They get big enough that they'll consider neons as food.

    I'm also concerned with your gourami's.
    I've kept 1 dwarf in a 45gallon tank, and he bullied the crap out of my dwarf cichlid. anything that rivaled his size/shape/color was a threat.

    so the rainbow will challenge the gourami's and i dont think it'd end well for you

  5. #5

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    0 Not allowed!
    Give it a few months and I almost guarantee you will have WW3 with your Gouramis. My Rule of thumb is no more than 1 gourami unless it is at least a 70G tank and planted like a Jungle.
    My therapist says I need a bigger tank . . . . .

  6. #6


    0 Not allowed!
    Good to know about your experience! I didn't realize the females are also aggressive/territorial when not spawning. My one male honey dwarf seems to be the least social (swims amongst the plants only unless it is feeding time) while the remaining three (one female honey dwarf and two female flame dwarfs) are busy bodies. I was tempted to add a male flame dwarf, but decided against it because I already have one male dwarf honey. Is female aggression typical of dwarf gouramis?

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Thanks mizzoutank. So you are suggesting dwarf cichlids are, in general, incompatible with dwarf gouramis? This is contrary to the compatibility chart I've seen posted/sticky'd on this forum for beginners, so I just want to clarify. I obviously understand individual fish will behave differently. But if the compatibility chart is incorrect, perhaps we need to make that correction. They are both lovely fish and it would be a shame to give us beginners incorrect general guidance!

  8. #8


    0 Not allowed!
    I kept two Dwarf Gourami's in a heavily planted 75 gal and it didn't work out in the long run; a few months passed and the 'weaker' one started lossing ground until there was no place for it to be safe. They are terrible group fish to have - just keep one.

    Interesting you used neons for cycling - their are not very tough and often die for even minor water quality issues; either you did a really great job and/or they are a tough tanks raised strain.
    Last edited by Cermet; 03-03-2013 at 09:49 PM.
    Knowledge is fun(damental)

    A 75 gal with eight Discus, fake plants, and a lot of wood also with sand substrate. Clean up crew is down to just two Sterba's Corys. Filters: continuous new water flow; canister w/UV, in-tank algae scrubber!! Finally, junked the nitrate removal unit from hell.

    For Fishless cycling:

  9. #9


    0 Not allowed!
    The API masterkit and the little faucet-attachment gravel vacuum thing made water changes and monitoring pretty easy. The neons are cardinal neon tetras (according to the owner of my lfs, they are wild I was worried about diseases in the beginning and just wanted to test things out). Even at the peak, my ammonia level only went up to I suspect the nitrobacter load isn't as numerous as someone who cycled quickly with 4ppm ammonia in a fishless method to provide that artificially induced, nitrogen rich environment. But, nothing about aquarium keeping is "natural", per se, so I figured any attempts at "natural" is just an exercise in self-delusion. As long as the biosphere works, I support any method. hehe.

  10. Default

    0 Not allowed!
    I would be surprised if you had female dwarf gouarmis as fish stores rarely stock them due to their unavailability. Were you told they were females or did you surmise as much? the females are not as brilliant in color as the males so if they are all of the same hue, you may be looking at all males.
    I can speak from experience as I, too, started out with 3 males DW G in a 30 gallon tank. they got along great for about 3 months - then the war started and things went sideways. I moved 2 of them to my 90 hoping they would have enough territory and obstacles to coexist peacefully. The peace lasted about 2 months before they started in on each other to the point where one was so bullied and battered, I had to separate them again. So .. enjoy it while it lasts but you may want to have an alternative in the works because when it goes bad, it goes really bad really fast.
    Additional note: because you were asking about rainbow cichlids, I thought I'd share that the DW g in my 90 THINKS he's the king of the tank and tries to push the much larger angel and severums around. Only because they are larger than him and they back him down does he not succeed. He still thinks he's as big as a Mac truck and is continually picking fights. He doesn't, however, bother my german blue ram for whatever reason.
    Good luck
    Last edited by fishmommie; 03-05-2013 at 09:33 PM.
    30 g FW planted:corys, female ABNP, blue angel, harleys, zebra danios, rummies,
    15 g FW planted:2 male guppies, neons, pygmy corys, clown pleco, 4 types of shrimp, assassin snails
    90 Gal Journal:
    fishless cycling:
    fish in cycling:

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