Dwarf Gouramis are courting
I purchased 2 Dwarf Gouramis plus a few floating plants a couple of days ago. Now my male starts building a bubble nest underneath the floating plants - which is a bit difficult to watch since the floating plants are in the back of the aquarium. The pair has been swimming underneath the nest rather often, and also embraced, but I did not see eggs coming out of the female. Is it possible that she is not ready to spawn yet, but if so, why would she be willing to mate?
it is unlikely that the female is not ready to spawn. On the one hand, it would not accept mating, on the other hand the male would not be interested in the female at all, and would chase it away!
How do Dwarf Gourami eggs look, and how large are they approximately?
They are crystal clear, tiny spheres, considerably less than a millimeter in diameter.
I once bred the closely related Colisa labiosa many years ago (somewhen in the late 1980s). The eggs were sized about half a millimeter (the fish spawned directly behind the front pane, at a time when I was sitting in front of the aquarium anyway) - and C. labiosa is somewhat bigger than C. lalia after all. Casually speaking, literally whole streams of eggs came out of the female.
I also noticed the male chasing away all other fish that come close to the floating plants.
This is normal - he defends his offspring against enemies. And every other fish is predatory considering eggs...
This certainly means stress for the other fish, doesn't it?
It is usually not too bad; sufficient aquarium size and a sufficient number of hideaways are of course obligatory.
Should I rather put the male and floating plants carefully into a breeding container placed inside the aquarium, or should I rather not do this?
I would not do so as long as the male still guards the nest. When brood care behavior vanishes you can still carefully put the nest (make sure it does not get dry - use a bowl held underneath it to transfer it!) into the spawning container.
How long does it take until the fry hatch?
This takes place rather quickly, usually within 2 - 3 days (this also depends on the water temperature to a certain extent). It then takes about that long once more until the larvae swim freely. The fry need extremely small food once they are swimming around, brine shrimp nauplii or sera micron as such is still much too large!
Micro organisms (parameciums, rotatoria, microscopically small algae etc.), are therefore by all means required. You can breed them yourself by adding sera micron to some aquarium water (ideally add a small amount of filter sludge). You can place the infusion on a warm window sill, quite some microscopic life will form within three days (it will not smell bad if you cover the glass with a paper kitchen towel - i.e. not airtight). However, you should not take the micro organisms directly from the infusion container but clean them first: Fill the infusion up to the shoulder of a bottle with a narrow and long neck to do so. Then insert a medium firm cotton fluff stopper on top and carefully pour clean water on top, avoiding to mix it with the infusion. The micro organisms will soon wander through the stopper into the clean water, when they run out of oxygen. You can then take them out with a pipet without the heavily organically polluted infusion water.
Does the male guard the hatched babies, or will he eat them?
He will guard them at first (see above, please). When brood care behavior stops they do not bother him anymore, and in the worst case he even eats them. However, you will easily notice diminishing interest in his offspring!
Dr. Bodo Schnell