Can Cardinal Tetras Live With Dwarf Gourami?

Cardinal Tetras are small freshwater aquarium fishes, similar to neon tetras but have slightly different body shapes and colorations. They are prevalent as they make excellent beginner community fish because of their tolerance for other fish species. So, can Cardinal tetras live with Dwarf Gourami?

Yes, Cardinal tetras can live with dwarf Gourami. They are both peaceful fish and get along well. However, sometimes Dwarf Gourami might harass the cardinal tetra due to their size difference. This is because gouramis can be very territorial with smaller fish that enter into its territory.

So please place them into a tank that is large enough to accommodate both of them.

Today, we will discuss keeping cardinal tetra with dwarf Gourami.

Can Cardinal Tetras Live With Dwarf Gourami?

The answer to this question is yes. Cardinal tetras can live with dwarf Gourami. These two fishes can be good tankmates. However, their temperament might be different.

The cardinal tetra is a peaceful fish and can manage by itself in the aquarium, whereas dwarf Gourami tends to nip other fishes, especially those with long fins. So you should not keep these two species together for this reason. Only else, they are good to go.

Dwarf Gourami is a species of freshwater fish present in Southeast Asia. It dwells in rivers and streams, where there are large rocks and plants for hiding places.

However, if you want to keep dwarf gouramis with cardinal tetra fishes, you need to make sure that their tank has a lot of space as these species like to swim and play around.

What Are The Similarities Between Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami?

Though these two fishes belong to different families, they both have many things in common. So, some of the things that makes them good tankmates are:

Both Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami Are Non-Aggressive

Both species are non-aggressive and peaceful. So, you can keep them together without much problem.

They like to live and swim with other community fishes. So it is better to keep them together if you want them both in your tank. You may also mix these two species with peaceful cichlids or other non-aggressive community fish.

Both Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami Have Similar Water Requirements

These two are also similar in their water requirements, so they can live well with each other if provided the required conditions. The pH level should be between four and six, while it must range from 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit for both species.

Both Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami Are Omnivores

They are not picky eaters and will feed on both plants and meat in the aquarium, so you need to provide them with a proper diet comprising flakes, frozen food (bloodworms), live/frozen worms, etc. If they don’t get their required diet in the tank, they may start bullying others.

Both Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami Are Easy To Maintain

Cardinal tetra is very easy to maintain and can handle most water conditions quite well. In addition, they are small fishes measuring only four inches in length, which makes them better suited for smaller aquariums.

Dwarf Gourami is also a hardy fish that can handle most water conditions. Moreover, dwarf gouramis are not very active and don’t have significant tank requirements either, making them easy to maintain in small aquariums.

What Are The Differences Between Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami?

Both these species look similar in shape and color, but there are still specific differences between them. Have a look at some important points that can help you decide whether both these species will be able to live peacefully together or not:

Cardinal Tetras Are More Active Than Dwarf Gourami

Dwarf gouramis are usually less active than cardinal tetras. This is because dwarf gouramis like to spend most of their time in the mid-level and bottom regions, but they will come up to eat food occasionally too. But cardinals are famous for their activity level, and you can see them swimming all around your tank, even during night times as well.

So if you are looking for a fish that will stay calm most of the time and remain confined to one region, choose dwarf Gourami.

Cardinal Tetras Have Smaller Species

Dwarf gouramis are available in more giant species as compared to cardinal tetras. You may sometimes come across small-sized dwarf gourami species, but it is actually for a limited period. Typically you will find that all dwarf gouramis have the same size and shape because they grow up to be similar in body structure. But all Cardinal tetras do not have a smaller size.

Some species can also grow up to 12 centimeters long, just like any other regular tetra species. So if your tank can accommodate larger fish, you might want to go for cardinal tetras only.

Cardinal Tetras Have Longer Finnage

Both dwarf Gourami and cardinals have a similar fin-type structure, including beautiful fins that spread out in all four directions, making them look attractive. Still, the only difference is that cardinals have a bit longer fin-type structure. So if you are looking for fish species with long fins, choose cardinal tetras over dwarf Gourami.

They Belong To Different Families

Both these species are from different families. For example, dwarf Gourami is a member of the Osphronemidae family, whereas cardinal tetra belongs to Characidae Family. So if you have any preference for one fish over another, it might be better to choose your desired family only.

How Many Cardinal Tetras Can You Keep With Dwarf Gourami?

In general, it is not advisable to keep more than one of the same type of fish in a tank due to aggression. In this case, cardinal tetras and dwarf Gourami can live together as long as at least three or four specimens of each species.

Since both types of fishes have a similar distribution area – South America – they are likely to get along well.

What Are The Things To Consider When I Keep Cardinal Tetras And Dwarf Gourami Together?

Cardinal Tetras and Dwarf Gourami are both peaceful fish. But a few cardinal tetra breeds can be nippy to the point of attacking other fish in their tank.

So it is very crucial to consider few things when you keep these two fishes together. This will ensure that the fishes live healthily and happier.

The Tank Should Be Big Enough

Both cardinal tetras and Dwarf Gourami are active fishes. So it would help if you had a giant enough aquarium for them both, which should be around 20 gallons or more in size, depending on how many fish you will keep together inside one single tank.

Place Live Plants In The Tank

Cardinal tetras and Dwarf Gourami are both schooling fishes. Therefore, they need to be in schools of six or more, which ideally should include male and female fish. But place several plants on all sides of the tank for Cardinal tetras to feel safe.

Lighting And Heating

Cardinal tetras and Dwarf Gourami are both hardy fishes. They can tolerate a wide range of water temperatures, from 73 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit easily. But lighting should be at least 0.75 watts per gallon so that they have enough light for photosynthesis in the aquarium plants and keep the fish active and healthy.

It Might Be A Better Idea To Keep Other Similar Fishes With Them

If you are keeping more than one Dwarf Gourami in a tank, then it might be better if other similar fishes like female bettas or even male guppies are also inside the same aquarium along with them. This will help the fishes feel more relaxed and safe about their surroundings.

But it would be best if you also remembered that the male guppies are not suitable to keep with Dwarf Gourami.

Also, it is advisable not to keep more than one male cardinal tetra in a tank as they can be very aggressive towards each other.

You Must Be Patient With Them

It might take some time for Dwarf Gourami and cardinal tetras to get familiar with each other. So you must be patient with them until they feel safe enough in their surroundings. Once this happens, you will see that all of your fishes live happily together inside the same tank.

Separate The Feeding Time Of These Two Fishes

Most experts recommend feeding Dwarf Gourami first, then cardinal tetras. This will ensure that the fish are healthy and active throughout their lives inside your aquarium. Since Cardinal tetras are more aggressive than Dwarf Gourami, they will eat all the food before Dwarf Gourami can get any.


Summing up, you should not house cardinal tetras with dwarf Gourami. Many hobbyists have tried to keep both fish in the same tank, but they are often unsuccessful over time. The cardinal tetras will bully the dwarf gouramis.

So, you should select another species for housing with cardinal tetras. However, if you decide to keep Cardinal tetras with dwarf Gourami, you should keep them in a big tank with enough space.

Please, share your experience of keeping these two species in the same tank! What is your advice? We will be happy to hear more opinions on this topic.

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