Dwarf Gouramis are a great fish to keep, either on their own or in peaceful community tanks. Their relatively placid nature, odd shape and bright colours make them a top pick for anyone who wants to keep tropical fish.
What if you want to add plants to your Dwarf Gourami tank? How do you know which plants are safe and if there are any, which plant species to look out for?
In this article, we aim to answer what the best live plants for Dwarf Gouramis are and why.
Do Dwarf Gouramis like real plants in their tank?
Dwarf Gouramis really do benefit from having plenty of live plants present in the aquarium; it gives them safety to hide amongst, plenty of shade and shelter from water currents, lots of areas to graze on infusoria and maintains water quality.
Wild Dwarf Gouramis originate from forested pools, thick with plant life and dead leaves. They are used to living in acidic, plant rich environments, so simulating that in the aquarium can really make a difference from keeping them comfortable to extremely happy.
How do you know which plants are suitable for Dwarf Gouramis?
Most plants are suitable with Gouramis, but they particularly like tall plants which grow up to the surface, or floating plants which provide lots of cover up top as this is where they spend most of their time.
Low growing bushes will be of little interest to your Dwarf Gourami and will be largely ignored, but tall reeds and floating plants will provide the ideal environment for your Gouramis.
What plants do Dwarf Gouramis eat?
Dwarf Gouramis typically don’t eat plants as while they are omnivores, they are more on the carnivorous side, preferring to eat small worms, larvae and insects as opposed to algae and plant life.
Gouramis also do not burrow or move objects around like cichlids, and are not destructive in nature. You don’t really have to worry about your plants being shredded or destroyed in your Gourami tank.
How to choose plants for a Dwarf Gourami tank
When it comes to choosing plants for your Dwarf Gourami tank, you have a wide range of choices, since they are not going to eat and destroy them. Gouramis also like to live in soft, neutral – acidic water, which is preferred by most plant species, meaning you don’t need to look for especially hardy plants either.
What you should look out for however, are floating plants, as they are very much enjoyed by Gouramis which spend most of their time at the top level of the tank.
Choosing the right species of floating plants however, is key, as some of them can quickly take over the tank and can be a pain to manage.
The best plants for Dwarf Gouramis
Dwarf Gouramis spend the majority of their lives at the very top level of the water, skimming along the surface of the water for mosquitoes and other tiny invertebrates.
For this reason, they prefer to have lots of cover up top in the form of floating plants and shaded branches that protect them from birds and other predators.
Of course in the aquarium, these predators are not present, but having live plants up top still gives them that sense of security and makes them feel safe.
Pennywort is a fast growing plant that can be grown on land or underwater. In water, this plant can be buried in the substrate or tied to a rock, but it much prefers to grow at the top level of the tank when allowed to float.
If you float Brazilian Pennywort, it will boom in growth and create an intricate labyrinth of stems and leaves for your fish to go and hide in.
Its roots hang down, leaching nutrients and waste from the water, and its broad leaves up top provide shade for down below.
This plant is excellent for Gouramis, who will very much appreciate its presence in the tank.
A larger cousin of Duckweed, although less irritating to remove, this is another floating plant that produces clover like leaves and has roots which hang down below that sap nutrients from the water column.
This plant is extremely easy to grow, and can be added to nearly any setup, but it can take over if not properly managed and is invasive in a few parts of the world, so if you choose to add this plant, just be careful and manage/dispose of it responsibly.
This is yet another floating plant which has broad leaves that provide shade and long roots which hang down below and absorb nitrates.
This plant resembles small lily pads which float along the surface of the water and split off, creating clones of themselves, much like Duckweed.
This plant however, is much easier to manage and can be removed with ease once it grows out of hand.
Its long hanging roots make preferred hiding spaces and spawning territories for Gouramis, who very much like this plant.
What plants should you avoid putting in a Dwarf Gourami tank?
As mentioned, Gouramis like to stick to the top of the water, and wont show a huge amount of interest in any low growing grasses or mosses that do not reach its territory.
Gouramis much prefer plants to be up top on their level, although short plants are still viable in a Gourami tank as they bring with them other benefits like oxygen production and nitrate removal.
What you should avoid entirely is wild pond plants, as they can contain parasites, chemicals which have been dumped into the water and could spread disease to your tank.
It is best to get your plants from a fish store or another hobbyist who has cultivated them in a captive environment.
Do Dwarf Gouramis need live plants?
Dwarf Gouramis do not need live plants in order to be healthy and be kept alive in an aquarium, providing you give them proper care and husbandry.
However, adding plants will make your life as a fishkeeper much easier as they keep water clean and create a healthy ecosystem in your tank.
Your Dwarf Gourami will really enjoy having plants present in the tank, and if you want the best for your fish, keep them as natural as possible by incorporating them as a way to simulate the Gouramis wild habitat.