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Dwarf Gourami - Colisa lalia and the
Honey Gourami - Colisa sota by Skip Waskowiak

This article is really about two dwarf Labyrinth fish that are quite similar yet are very different looking. The Dwarf Gourami - Colisa lalia and the Honey Gourami - Colisa sota. Both of the fish come the same area in east northeast India to Bangladesh. both fish are very popular aquarium fish, very hardy and peaceful. They both come from vegetation clogged rivers systems in India. As far as water conditions are concerned they will take just about any type of water as long as you avoid the extremes. Water hardness of less than 15 degrees dGH , pH from 5.5 to 7.8 and a temperature of 75 to 84 degrees is ideal for these fish. Both fish are very good companions for a community tank with total length of a little over 2 inches.

All Anabantoids possess labyrinths which is a very special respiration organ. The majority of all fishes breathe solely by means of their gills which absorb oxygen dissolved in the water. Labyrinthine fish like these two dwarf gourami in addition to using normal gill respiration are able to breathe atmospheric air. The Labyrinth is an respiratory organ found in the upper part of the gill region. It is composed of layers or lamella which are covered by a thin covering tissue which is richly supplied with blood capillaries. This is the place where the exchange of gases between the blood and the air take place. Therefore most Labyrinthine type fish can survive in places where the water is very poor in oxygen content. With almost all Labyrinths or Anabantids the use of atmospheric air is necessary.

You should remember this when setting up a tank for this type of fish. Since this fish also uses the atmospheric air to breathe we should only fill the tank 2/3 full and put a cover on the tank, for the air that the fish breathe should be about the same temperature as the tank water. This is extremely important when you are spawning these types of fish as the fry will die when they take their first gulp of air and it is vastly different temperature than the water that they are in.

As for the color of these fish, the males are vastly different from each other. The females are very much alike, rather dull in color with a hint of red and blue showing through and I would be hard pressed to tell the difference between them. The male Colisa Lalia has a blue head with diagonal lines of bright red and blue and the Colisa Sota is the color of honey, hence its name, with a slash of coal black from the tip of the mouth down along the edge of the fish to the middle of the anal fin. Both fish are one of the most colorful aquarium fish that we have.

Breeding these fishes present no problem as both fish are very easy to get them to spawn. Live food as well as freeze dried foods will condition the fish and get them into spawning condition very rapidly. The only problem in spawning the fish is the raising of the fry, as they are very tiny. Set up a 10 gallon tank with about 2/3 full, and a temperature of about 80 degrees. You can maintain this temperature with a heater in an jar of water placed into the spawning tank. Remember to cover the tank so the temperature above the water is the same temperature as the water itself. These fish are buble nest builders and the tank should be supplied with a lot of floating type plants. I would recomend that you use only one pair when trying to spawn these fish as the males will defend their territory

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