Honey vs Dwarf Gourami? Which is Better?

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Writer at The Aquarium Keeper

Honey and dwarf gouramis are both amazing species, that have unique characteristics and looks. Both fish have their own distinctive features. If you are having a hard time choosing which species to keep in your aquarium, keep reading because we are going to cover the differences in this honey vs dwarf gourami comparison article. 

Table of Contents

Honey Gourami vs Dwarf Gourami

Honey gourami (Trichogaster chuna) and dwarf gourami (Trichogaster lalius) both originate from slow-moving streams, lakes, and rivers in India and Bangladesh. Both species live in tropical waters and can tolerate almost the same water temperature and pH. Although these species have similarities, they can behave very differently in your aquarium. 


Honey gourami looks very different than dwarf gourami. First of all, male honey gourami will develop bright yellow, orange, red, and golden colors when they become more mature and older. Females rarely have bright colors like males, they tend to be more silver and grey. Sometimes it can be hard to sex honey gouramis at a young age since the fins of both genders tend to be the same, and males only later tend to develop bright, distinctive colors. Male honey gouramis usually grow to 1.5 inches, whereas females reach 2 inches. 

male and female honey gourami

Dwarf gouramis can come in a lot of different colors: blue, orange, rainbow, and red. Most of the time dwarfs have more than one color, which makes them better looking than honey gouramis. Females tend to be more silvery, although they also can have colorful markings as do males. Sexing dwarf gouramis is not hard, because males tend to be slimmer and shorter, while females have a rounder belly and a smaller dorsal fin. Dwarf gouramis can grow up to 4.5 inches, so they are relatively bigger and will require more space than honey gouramis.

male and female dwarf gourami closeup

Tank Conditions

Both species like heavily planted tanks, that have a lot of hiding spaces. Honey gouramis tend to be very shy, while dwarfs are more interactive, so if you want to keep honey gouramis, be sure to have lots of different plants.

The best tank conditions for honey gourami are:

  • Hardiness: 4-15 dGH
  • Temperature: 71-82 °F
  • Lightning: Medium
  • pH: 6.0-7.5
  • Tank size: 10 gallons, 20 gallons for a pair
  • Water change: 25-30% weekly

The best tank conditions for dwarf gourami are:

  • Hardiness: 10-20 dGH
  • Temperature: 77-78.5 °F
  • Lightning: Medium
  • pH: 6-8
  • Tank size: 15 gallons, 30 gallons for a pair
  • Water change: 25-30% weekly

Both species tolerate almost the same water conditions, but dwarf gouramis need more space since they grow bigger. If you are planning on keeping more than a pair of gouramis, you will need extra 5 gallons for every fish added.

If you are planning on keeping a gourami, please be sure to have a strong filter, because these species produce a lot of waste. Also, be sure to have a heater if you live in colder conditions because gouramis tend to not do well when the temperature is fluctuating.

Can You Keep Honey and Dwarf Gouramis Together?

Every gourami has a different personality. Because of the size difference between these species and the randomness of their personalities, we highly recommend not keeping both of these species in the same aquarium. Some people might have success with this combination, but that is not a guarantee that it will work for somebody else!

Tank Mates

Both species tend to be not aggressive, peaceful community fish. It is best to keep these gouramis with other small, peaceful fish. Bottom dwellers such as kuhli loaches, corydoras, otocinclus, and snails are amazing tank mates to honey and dwarf gourami.

Other small fish like rasboras, mollies, and tetras are an amazing addition. Just be sure to not add notorious fin nippers like tiger barbs or bigger fish like bettas or other cichlids to your gourami aquarium.


Both species are omnivores, that hunt bugs by spitting water at them in the wild. Honey and dwarf gouramis enjoy a lot of different meals: vegetable tablets, flakes, pellets, brine shrimp, and other live or frozen foods.

Reasons Why Should You Get a Honey Gourami

If you are a beginner, honey gourami is a better option. They are very hardy and they need less space than dwarf gouramis. Although honey gourami is not as good-looking as a dwarf, it is still an amazing fish that does not take up a lot of space.

Reasons Why Should You Get a Dwarf Gourami

Dwarfs are more colorful than honey gouramis, they also tend to be more interactive and less shy. If you are planning on getting a dwarf gourami, just be sure that you have enough space, because they grow much bigger than honey gouramis.

Writer's Thoughts

Personally, I believe that both species are very amazing fish that every aquarist should at least keep once. They are a great alternative to a betta fish, they tend to be more peaceful and still have a good personality!

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