Well known for being extremely territorial, the males cannot be kept together or they will attack each other instantly.
Dwarf Gouramis make excellent aquarium fish unlike the Giant Gourami, which grows to a colossal size.

The Aquarium

A tropical aquarium will require:

A heater thermostat to control temperature;
A filtration system to clean and purify the water;
Lighting units to illuminate the habitat.

Heating thermostats are usually a long glass tube similar to a test tube. They should be kept upright at a 45o angle. Water should be able to easily circulate around it. Water temperatures should be set to around 24-26oC for most species. A good quality thermometer will help you check.

The filtration system is the most important piece of equipment for maintaining a healthy aquarium. Always invest in a good quality filter, there are many to choose from. A filter should be made up of three chambers.

The first of which should house the mechanical material for the filter. Mechanical material is there to remove any solid matter from the water, it is usually a sponge or floss type media. This requires regular cleaning to keep water flowing through at its maximum level.

The second chamber should contain the biological media. Biological filtration is the use of nitrogen fixing bacteria to break down lethal ammonia (which is produced by fish waste) into less toxic nitrate. Biological media usually comprises of natural/ceramic nodules with a large surface area.

The third chamber should contain the chemical media. Chemical media is material that can absorb toxic chemicals from the water. The most commonly used chemical media is activated carbon.

Aquariums are generally lit using florescent light tubes. Most aquariums require two tubes, one to illuminate the habitat and one to aid in healthy plant growth.

Once an aquarium is set up it is a good idea to give it a few days to run before adding any fish. This time allows the water to settle and enables you to make sure all the equipment is working correctly. Once you begin to add fish, start very slowly. With an average size aquarium (about 90cms/three feet long) only add approximately 3-5 fish at any one time and leave 5-7 days in between stocking. This gives bacterial colonies time to catch up, to prevent over polluting the aquarium with toxic ammonia.


Tropical fish require regular feeding to remain healthy, but they must not be over fed. Tropical fish should generally be fed twice per day once the aquarium is fully established. A good quality complete flake food should make up the main diet. This will provide all the nutrients required to keep fish healthy. Frozen food such as bloodworm or black mosquito larvae can also be used as the second feed to boost protein levels. If the aquarium has several ground/bottom feeding species then the use of sinking foods will be necessary to keep these species healthy. Always feed sparingly and only as much as can be eaten within a few minutes.
Aquarium Plants

Plants not only make an aquarium look beautiful, they also help to remove toxins such as nitrates. Most plant species given the right amount of light per day, are healthier as long as the aquarium is not over oxygenated.

Many aquatic plants grow quite quickly and will need pruning from time to time. Dead and dying leaves must be removed regularly since this decaying matter will only add to nitrate build up.

Common plant species available that are easy to grow include: Hygrophila, polysperma, cryptocoryne sp. Anubias sp. Echinodorussp. (sword plant) and java ferns.

Fish Species

There are many hundreds of species of tropical fish available to hobbyists today. The vast majority are bred in captivity across the world, mostly in Asia and Europe. To avoid disappointment always research species properly before purchasing them. Many species are not compatible with others and can become aggressive in the aquarium.

Some good species to choose include neon tetras, rosy tetras, rosy tetras, zebra danio, harlequin rasboras, dwarf gourami, rainbow fish, small angel fish, cherry barbs and corydoras catfish.

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