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 I am 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. 

male and female honey gourami

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. 

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.

male and female dwarf gourami closeup

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.

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:

  • Water Hardness: 4-15 dGH
  • Temperature: 22–28 °C (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:

  • Water Hardness: 10-20 dGH
  • Temperature: 25–26 °C (77–79 °F)
  • Lightning: Medium
  • pH: 6-8
  • Tank size: 15 gallons, 30 gallons for a pair
  • Water change: 25-30% weekly

Both species need to have a filter and a heater installed in their aquarium. Whether you are looking to get a honey or a dwarf gourami, either of these amazing fish produces waste, and that waste needs to be filtered out. A heater is needed to simply keep the water temperature stable, which can be hard during winter.

Tank Mates

Both honey and dwarf gourami 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.


When it comes to breeding, both species can breed and bring offspring in captivity, and even in your own aquarium! Honey gourami and dwarf gourami both need a separate breeding tank to successfully breed these species since the fry of the fish might not survive in a community aquarium. It is important to have both males and females present in the tank, check for optimal water parameters, and provide quality food!

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!

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 can be the perfect fish to get introduced into the aquarium hobby!

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 And Personal Experience

Personally, I believe that both species are amazing fish that every aquarist should at least keep once. Whichever you choose is up to you, and they are great center-piece fish for a smaller community aquarium!

Jaime Douglas
Jaime Douglas

Thank you for reading my blog post. This website was created with the sole intention of providing quality information regarding fishkeeping. I have been in the fishkeeping hobby for 8 years, and through many trials and errors as well as online research I gathered a lot of information, which I want to give back to the community.