Like most Anabantoids, dwarf gouramis do not appreciate fast-moving or turbulent water. Try to keep flow to a minimum in any set-up containing them. They do best in a heavily-planted tank with plenty of shade and hiding places. The addition of a dark substrate and floating vegetation is also recommended to calm these essentially shy fish. The addition of some twigs, branches and leaf litter could make for a very natural-looking set-up.
That said, the modern tank-bred fish are fairly adaptable and can thrive in most well-maintained aquaria, provided they have sufficient hiding places and shady areas. These are important to provide refuges for the female in the face of male harassment, also in a sparsely decorated tank the species becomes shy and withdrawn much more easily.
The dwarf gourami comes with a reserved recommendation for the community tank, not least because of associated health issues (see notes below). It can certainly be kept alongside numerous other species, but is not exactly the “ideal” community fish. It’s both shy and territorial, so in a small tank should be considered the primary inhabitant. The addition of other anabantoids (including Bettas) or gaudy species such as guppies can cause some male dwarf gouramis to become very aggressive, whilst housing them with larger or more vigorous tankmates can have the opposite effect.
Non-threatening shoals of small, peaceful cyprinids such as the Harlequin Trigonostigma heteromorpha, many rasboras and some barbs therefore make excellent companions in the more modest set-up. Loaches including Yasuhikotakia sidthimunki or any of the various Pangio species are also good choices. Some of the currently popular freshwater shrimps such as the cherry shrimp Neocaridina denticulata can also work well in a planted tank. If geography is not an issue, many of the commonly available tetras, catfish (Corydoras and Otocinclus are particularly suitable) and smaller rainbowfish could also be added.