Colisa lalia, commonly known as the Dwarf Gourami comes from eastern India, where it lives in heavily weeded still waters & thrives in humid conditions.
The Dwarf Gourami is a popular & very peaceful community fish & as widely available in an assortment of bright red & blue colour variants.
An Adult male will reach a total fully grown length of around 2 inches and is more brightly coloured than the female. The smaller female also has more rounded dorsal and anal fins than the male.
Colisa lalia come from a group of fish known as anabantoids which have a respiratory organ called a labyrinth, it enables them to breath atmospheric air if oxygen levels are too low. This is an important survival feature in warm stagnant waters, where they are naturally found.
To successfully breed Colisa, special conditions need to be maintained to ensure a healthy brood of fry that will make it to maturity.
Warm humid conditions are the key to success, & ensure that the young will develop a healthy labyrinth organ for breeding future generations.
A typical breeding tank set up is to half fill the tank with neutral pH water heated to around 30 °C. Add plenty of fine leaved plants like Cabomba and Riccia floating on the surface and fit a glass or perspex cover to maintain humidity.
Condition the adult fish with good quality flake food with occasional high protein foods such as brine shrimp & bloodworm.
Introduce the female first to the breeding tank & continue to condition her until she is distended with eggs, a few days later introduce the male to the tank.
If all goes well the male should soon begin to build a bubble nest & once the nest is complete the pair will spawn. The eggs from the spawning will fall to the floor, the male will gather them up in his mouth & spit them into the bubble nest.
Once spawning is over it is best to remove the female as the male carries out the role of guarding the nest & may attack the female.
Eggs hatch after around 2 days & the fry become free swimming after another 3 days or so, at which point it is best to remove the male.
Feed the fry on liquid fry food, infusoria, then small safe live food such as microworm until they are able to take larger foods. Growth is not rapid and the fry will need to be moved to a larger tank as they grow. Regular water changes of around 25% should be undertaken.
© Vincent Balman & Strood & District Aquarist Society 2006.