Please visit our Sponsors
FAQs on Colisa lalia, C. chuna... "Dwarf" Gouramis of Many Names, Honey, Flames, Neon Blue, Sunset, Fire... Disease/Health: Infectious
(Virus, Bacterial, Fungal)  

FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease: Dwarf Gourami Disease 1, Dwarf Gourami Disease 2, Dwarf Gourami Disease 3, Dwarf Gourami Disease 4,
FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Genetic,Parasitic, Social, Treatments,   

Related Articles: Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Genera Ctenopoma & Microctenopoma, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish

Related FAQs:  Dwarf Gouramis, Dwarf Gourami Identification, Dwarf Gourami Behavior, Dwarf Gourami Compatibility, Dwarf Gourami Selection, Dwarf Gourami Systems, Dwarf Gourami Feeding, Dwarf Gourami Reproduction, & FAQs on: Gouramis 1, Gouramis 2, Gourami Identification, Gourami Behavior, Gourami Compatibility, Gourami Selection, Gourami Systems, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish

VERY susceptible to a specific viral disease:

"I cannot recommend anyone buy dwarf gouramis. They are ridden with bacterial and/or viral diseases that eventually make them sick once as they leave the fish farm"

I would appreciate advice on DGIV...?        5/31/16
I've had my 55 gallon tank for 8 months, I also purchased a Fluval G3 filtering system, and cycled my water for a few weeks before adding my fish. I sadly had to buy my fish from Petco (the nearest reputable fish store is a minimum of 3 hours away.) I have 5 harlequin Rasboras, 5 Bloodfin tetras, 5 black phantom tetras, 2 Corydoras, 1 Farlowella catfish,
<These are very tricky to keep alive... most die within a few months... do need cool water (22-24 C/72-75 F), a brisk water current, lots of oxygen, and ample green algae or equivalent to eat. Without these, usually end up dead. Compatible to some degree with your livestock, though not the Gourami, which needs warm, relatively still water.>
1 albino Bristlenose Pleco, and a red fire dwarf gourami. I have 2 10 gallon quarantine tanks that I quarantined all the fish I before adding to the tank. About 7 months ago, my gourami became bloated, it also has a slightly deformed gill on one side. I was worried, moved him to a quarantine for a month and kept a close watch on him, not once did he display a lack of appetite or even the slightest behavior change, so I thought to myself "that's just how he is going to look" and put him back in the big tank. He's stayed the same amount of bloated and has behaved like a healthy fish, until a few days ago when I noticed he was a little pale, but is eating like a pig and swimming great.
<Which is good, and unlike DGIV; the bloating could be something else.
Constipation, for example. This is covered elsewhere on WWM; treatment involves Epsom salt, which could be used alongside an antibiotic to clear up the lesions. For example, the lesions could be caused by damage (even burns, if the fish lent against a hot heater) or by rasping (some Plecs will do that to slow-moving fish).>
Today I noticed that the little guy has 2 small lesions on his side, the side with the bad gill... He's still eating fine and everything but I brought up your webpage, learned about this very sad and unfortunate disease, and I feel hopeless, do you think that his symptoms are that of DGIV?
<Not if he's still eating. But if he's off his food as well, well yes, that is rather gloomy.>
And if you do think he has the disease, should I go ahead and put him down or wait until it progresses into final stages?
<Would direct you here:
Discussion of modes of humane destruction.>
I really hate to watch anything suffer.... All other fish in the tank are perfectly fine... Also my tank is kept at 77.3 degrees during the day (due to the giant windows near the tank) and at night it lowers to 76.9, is that bad?
<It's a bit warm for Farlowella and most Corydoras, but ironically, not especially warm by the standards of Dwarf Gouramis. The impact of the small variation by day and night is trivial though.>
My parameters are : ph 7.2 ppm, ammonia 0 ppm, calcium hardness 209, nitrites 0 ppm, nitrates 0 ppm. Thank you so much for taking your time to read this (Callie)
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Dwarf gouramis; repro. f' mostly        2/7/15
Hi I have been reading most of your answers on Dwarf gouramis but can not find the answer to my question
I have bought my gouramis from a local supplier.
<Hopefully a local breeder>
I have 2 females and just bought a new male 2 days ago He mated with the smaller female straight away eggs everywhere no bubble nest I was not to worried but the 2nd female started getting bigger
The next morning she is huge in the belly she looks like she is about to pop. ( I have had the females for 6mths) is this normal ?
<Not unusual>
Because I read they will swell but this is amazing in such a short time
Any answers too this ??
<The influence of the male, the other female spawning likely inciting the other female to swell w/ eggs possibly... the "other"  female will either expel these eggs w/ or w/o the males assistance or resorb them. IF you had another system to move the spawn and male to, and wanted to try your hand at rearing the young... I might move them to it (not the females); otherwise, IF the system is large enough (a twenty long or larger let's say), all can stay in place. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf gouramis; repro....  Dropsy?      /Neale        2/8/15
Hi I have been reading most of your answers on Dwarf gouramis but can not find the answer to my question
I have bought my gouramis from a local supplier.
I have 2 females and just bought a new male 2 days ago
He mated with the smaller female straight away eggs everywhere no bubble nest I was not to worried but the 2nd female started getting bigger
<Did he mate with her (characteristic rolling, U-shaped embrace) or did he merely court her (chase her about, possibly even nipping her a little). While gouramis will interact quite vigorously, spawning is rarer, and depends upon both fish being properly "conditioned" beforehand (which usually requires the use of live or frozen foods; dried foods are rarely sufficient). You also need to provide something for the bubble-nest to be built around. Floating Indian Fern is ideal, but pieces of polystyrene cup work very well too.>
The next morning she is huge in the belly she looks like she is about to pop. ( I have had the females for 6mths) is this normal?
<Depends. Gravid (egg-carrying) females are somewhat swollen compared to normal. But Dwarf Gouramis are prone to numerous problems including bacterial infections that cause abdominal swelling.>
Because I read they will swell but this is amazing in such a short time
<Indeed. If, by the time you've read this reply, she's back to normal, then chances are she was "ripe" with eggs. But if she's still swollen, and looks more like she's swallowed a basketball than simply carrying eggs, then the problem may be more serious.>
Any answers too this ??
<Avoid buying Dwarf Gouramis! I kid you not. They're not a very worthwhile species. I hope you get lucky, of course, and have a trio of healthy, unproblematic specimens. Condition them with live/frozen foods; provide soft, slightly acidic water chemistry; and install some suitable floating plants, and healthy Dwarf Gouramis will spawn readily. They almost never spawn in hard water, dried foods rarely condition them, and without appropriate floating objects they can't build their nests.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Female Gouramis from Gail (Pimafix this time, Bob!)       2/8/15
Re: Dwarf gouramis

Thanks very much for your speed reply Neale
I do have floating weed in the tank.
And the supplier is from Brisbane and has been breeding them for ages
But the 2nd female now looks like a basketball and the male did not mate with her at all
<Indeed; she has dropsy.>
She was fine until I introduced the male then she just blew up, in 2 days.
She is still active not drowsy at all just hiding from the male. I have started treating the tank with a blue plant multi cure and PimaFix antifungal remedy in case of something else going on.
<Neither of these products is worthwhile. In fact Melafix/Pimafix are very much products sold to inexperienced or desperate fishkeepers. I know of hardly any experienced fishkeepers who buy them, and no vets/fish health experts who recommend them. At best, Pimafix might be useful for preventing external infections after physical damage (it probably is a mild antifungal to some degree) but I wouldn't use it for anything more serious than that.
The golden rule with fish medications (as with human medications) is to identify the problem first, then choose the specific tool (medicine) to treat it. Throwing in medications before identifying the problem is kind of like a doctor giving you a random packet of pills without bothering to diagnose you. Your female quite obviously has abdominal swelling, possibly constipation, but more likely Dropsy (a symptom rather than a disease, but commonly caused by bacterial infections). So, treatment would be this: Epsom salt (1-3 teaspoons per 5 gallons/20 litres) alongside an antibiotic treatment specifically tailored to internal, Dropsy-type infections (something like Seachem KanaPlex). Note that general antibiotics used for external infections such as Finrot aren't likely to be much good. If antibiotics are restricted where you live (in Europe and Australia for
example they're strictly by prescription only) then certain antibacterial medications may be tried instead. These tend to be less reliable in later stage infections, but if fish is otherwise healthy and still feeding, there's a decent chance such medications will work. My preferred medication is eSHa 2000, widely sold in the UK and Europe (and available on Australian eBay, for example), but in your part of the world you might need to ferret about to find an equivalent sold in your local aquarium shops. I simply don't know the Australian aquarium market well enough.>
And I promise I will not buy dwarf gouramis again but I would like to try and save the female if possible add a poor photo
<Understandable, and doable. Indeed, with optimal water quality, and I mean, spotlessly clean water, the Epsom salt on its own might do the trick if the problem is very mild. Epsom salt (not common/table salt!!!) is a mild laxative (which helps with constipation) and also helps to reduce swelling in fish. Sometimes, just sometimes, it's enough of a tonic for the fish's own immune system to kick in. It's certainly worth doing since Epsom salt is easy to buy locally, so you can get started today. Mail order some medications from eBay or an online retailer if your local store doesn't offer anything worthwhile, and with luck, the Epsom salt will buy your fish some time while the medications are in the post.>
So my question is should I be treating the tank with something else
Many thanks
Cheers Gail
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Female Gouramis from Gail (Pimafix this time, Bob!)       2/8/15

Thank Neale
I will on to that first thing in the morning yes I am in Australia so will try eBay
Cheers Gail
<Most welcome. Good luck!>

Dwarf Gourami illness       2/5/15
I’m hoping someone can help me figure out what is wrong with my Dwarf Gourami. I really feel helpless not knowing what to do to help him. The marks on him appeared within one day.
<?! Strange>
At first I thought maybe the second Dwarf Gourami had beat him up because he was chasing him around the aquarium. The aquarium is a 75 gallon tank. Parameters are Ammonia 0ppm, Nitrite 0 ppm, Nitrates 10 ppm. temperature is 79-80 degrees.
<A bit warm; but okay>
Tank occupants are were two dwarf Gouramis, ten Cardinal Tetras, 8 Cherry Barbs, and a Bristlenose Pleco. Everyone else in the tank is fine and seems healthy.
I fed them the evening before and watched them eat. He seemed fine. The next morning I got up and turned their lights on and he was in his usual sleeping spot so I didn’t pay much attention to him. That evening I came home from work and went to feed them. After he came up to eat, I noticed all the marks on him. I keep a quarantine tank ready so I pulled him and put him in it. At first he ate, but after a couple days he stopped eating. I had been treating him with Melafix
<Worse than worthless. See WWM re this sham; and stop pouring it in>

hoping he would show signs of improvement, but it appears he is getting worse.
I appreciate any help you can give me.
<Please see the Net, WWM specifically re the viral condition broadly labeled as "Lymphocystis"; and especially its prevalence in Colisa lalia. Is this it? All that can be done for such is improved water quality and nutrition. Unfortunately, as you'll soon more fully understand, Dwarf Gouramis have a host of REAL troubles, are subject to easily diseased conditions. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf Gourami illness
This does appear to be it. Thank you. Is there anything I need to do to my tank to make sure it's safe to ad other fish to it?
I'm not adding anything else until I know for sure there is nothing in there to harm them. The existing fish in there still seem happy and healthy with good appetites, but I'm going to continue to keep an eye on them for a while to be safe.
<All... "stress-related"... too much... given genetic predisposition... No more "Fix". BobF>

Re: Dwarf Gourami illness       /Neale       2/6/15
This does appear to be it. Thank you. Is there anything I need to do to my tank to make sure it's safe to ad other fish to it? I'm not adding anything else until I know for sure there is nothing in there to harm them. The existing fish in there still seem happy and healthy with good appetites, but I'm going to continue to keep an eye on them for a while to be safe.
<<I do concur with Bob about Lymphocystis being likely, but the size of the photos means I'm not 100% sure. At first glance I though serious Finrot, which can form nasty lumps on the fins and skin. These can be distinguished from Lymphocystis with a bit of care. Finrot is what it sounds like, rotting, decaying skin and fin tissue. Often pinkish in colour, with darker red bleeding and/or white dead patches nearby. Finrot usually begins with fin membrane turning cloudy and eroding, leaving a distinctive cobweb appearance as the transparent membranes decay faster than the bony fin rays. The dead tissue lumps on the body only appear late in the infection.
Usually caused by physical damage, exacerbated by poor water quality.
Eminently treatable if caught early. Lymphocystis is more like warts. The lumps are sometimes textured (similarities with cauliflower is often mentioned) and there isn't normally any nearby sign of bleeding or dead skin. Lymphocystis isn't treatable (it's viral), develops and progresses extremely slowly (unlike Finrot, which can go from incipient to deadly serious within a week) and may take months, even years to run its course.
Some individual fish seem to be prone to Lympho their entire lives, and may live decades with the warts coming and going, seemingly without causing any serious harm. Debate about the causes, but water quality, and in particular exposure to toxins (such as heavy metals) at persistently low rather than fatal levels being suggested. It does seem to be "higher" fish groups that are most prone -- perciformes, synbranchiformes, tetraodontiformes, etc. As Bob indicated in his reply, and as you'll doubtless find out in your reading, the Dwarf Gourami is a total nightmare so far as healthcare goes.
What was once an extremely hardy, extremely reliable community fish is now probably the most difficult to keep "common" community fish in the trade.
If you can get locally bred ones, they're great (though sadly females are hardly seen on sale). Once in a while, the farms in Southeast Asia send out some healthy specimens, but more by luck than judgment. But most are virus-ridden and juiced up on antibiotics before being sent out to the retailers. Do look out for the much better Thick-Lipped Gourami and the
Banded Gourami, both of which look similar, if less strongly coloured, and retain a much higher level of hardiness and disease-resistance. Cheers, Neale.>>

Dwarf Gourami with sores on his body, put him down or try to heal him?     9/10/14
I have a 33 gallon community tank (stocked with 3 Kuhli loaches, 5 WMC minnows, 1 dwarf rainbow fish, 4 zebra Danio, 5 Corydoras elegans, one bnp Pleco and one 5" common Pleco).
<The Common Plec will grow much too big for this tank; I would rehome promptly before it damages the water quality. Do also read on...>
I had 3 dwarf Gourami all purchased at the same time from the same store.
One by one I started losing them.
<Ah yes...>
The first developed an open sure that seemed to be caused by a nipped scale and this eventually led to massive bloating and I put him down to end his suffering, the second had something similar but just up and died overnight one night soon after noticing anything wrong. I thought when there was just one left that he would be fine because there would be no one left to nip at him and cause open wounds.
Over the course of about 3-4 days one side of his body has become thoroughly infested with open wounds. I have no idea what caused them nor why they keep getting worse, there is no aggressive behaviour ever displayed for me to see, and not and sharp objects that would have abraded his scales just rubbing next to them (just driftwood, my filter intake and the heater). I have been dosing the tank with Melafix hoping it would help somewhat but it does not appear to be helping in the least.
<Quite so. Most of the problems with these Dwarf Gouramis are a toss up between Mycobacteria infections and viral infections (look at Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus) neither of which you can treat. Mycobacteria infections are somewhat opportunistic, but DGIV is supplied as a free gift from the Asian fish farms who crank out these fish to a price not a quality. Absolutely nothing to be done except to stop buying farmed Dwarf Gouramis.>
Is there anything I can do for him? Or would it be best to just put him down?
<If he's still feeding, isolating in a quarantine tank (8-10 gallons is fine) and hoping for the best is an option. Do remember Dwarf Gouramis need soft, slightly acidic water that's quite warm; 2-12 degrees dKH, pH 6-7.5, 24-28 C. Another reason to isolate the fish is a long-shot. Some Suckermouth catfish "latch" onto slow moving fish, including Gouramis. I've seen Otocinclus do this to freshwater gobies, and others have told me about Common Plecs doing it to cichlids. Why? In some cases it may be starvation.
Plecs are big fish with big appetites, and in a 33 gallon tank chances are you aren't throwing in the head of lettuce this chap wants to get through every week! An adult Plec will eat literally a bowlful of seafood and vegetables given the chance, but in small tanks we sometimes expect them to get by on algae, leftovers, and maybe the odd pellet or wafer. In lieu of anything else, they go for the mucous on the flanks of fish. Properly fed Plecs usually never do this bad behaviour, and in fact are among the "safest" fish in the hobby when it comes to choosing tankmates. >
I have attached a picture of his condition, is there anything that can be done? Do you think this is Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus as others online have suggested?
-Thank you for your time,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami with sores on his body, put him down or try to heal him?     9/11/14

Thank you for the help,
I might put him in quarantine tonight and see if that helps at all.
Unfortunately I don't have time to go and get any meds, and the I don't think the Triple-Sulfa I tried when treating the previous sick Gourami will be effective this time when it failed last time.
<Likely won't help in this situation, no.>
I'm not very confident on his chances. Is this symptoms of DGI?
<Yes, but sores can be caused by all sorts of other things too: physical damage, Mycobacteria to name but two.>
Or something else they are susceptible to? Will I be able to have Gourami in the future?
<I wouldn't bother with farmed Dwarf Gouramis, no. But Thick-Lipped Gouramis and Banded Gouramis are pretty similar and much more reliable. If you have soft, acidic water chemistry, Honey Gouramis aren't too difficult to keep, though barely qualify as community fish (shy, easily bullied away from food).>
Are there other small colourful and somewhat non-aggressive varieties that would do better?
<See above.>
If this is DGI, is there a timeframe that I can expect it to have died out of my tank?
<So far as we can tell, DGIV only affects the Dwarf Gourami species Colisa lalia (including farmed sorts like Neon Gouramis, Red Robins, etc). The other species of Gourami seem more or less immune, or at least, very unlikely to sicken from it.>
And I'm well aware that the Pleco will outgrow the tank but am a little attached to him and am planning to upgrade tank size just for him within the next year or so. he is the lone survivor of our initial foray into fish with a 5 gal tank with the common Pleco and 3 goldfish (PetSmart needs to educate its fish people to not sell common Plecos and goldfish for small tanks...). I think he is eating fine, he gets a couple of thick slices of cucumber or zucchini almost daily.
<Cool. Would still keep an eye out. They are scavengers, and will attack weak/moribund fish.>
Thank you again for your help and time,
<Cheers, Neale.>

DGIV     9/5/14
Hi there,
<Greetings, Claire,>
I've been reading your site and have a few questions in regards to the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, since my Dwarf Gourami was presenting with a crooked back the other night when I performed a partial water change.
<Oh dear.>
He is currently in a small 2.5 gallon tank with one small Panda Corydoras.
<2.5 gallons is obviously way too small. Is this temporary? Like a quarantine tank? Really, even 10 gallons is tight for a Dwarf Gourami, and 15 gal. more realistic.>
I first got him back in March, and he's been doing pretty well as far as I can see. My original stock was him and two Corydoras sterbai. Those two lasted about two months, and I am unsure what killed them.
<Unlikely to prosper in 2.5 gallons. Do need space, relatively cool (22-25 C) water, lots of oxygen. Dwarf Gouramis are air-breathers and somewhat better suited to sluggish water flows in the wild.>
The Panda that he is in with now was one of two that I got a few weeks after the loss of the other Corydoras. Again, I'm unsure what killed the other Panda Cory, but he lasted less than two weeks. I had a brief issue with cloudy water, which I now believe was due to overfeeding and have since rectified.
<Do improve aquarium size; will massively improve your success.>
The Gourami and the Panda Cory have been doing just fine for several months now, but after reading your information on the virus I am wondering if my tank could be carrying it or Piscine TB (those are the only two diseases I could find with "crooked back" as a symptom). The thing is, after the water change, he seems to have straightened back out again and is doing just fine. Both fish are active, have good appetites, and don't show too much hiding behavior. Could he have had a virus and somehow survived it, or is he temporarily safe from ultimate doom?
<Neither. I've never heard of truly deformed or crooked backs "healing" whatever the cause was; but fish can adopt unusual body postures when environmentally stressed (the "nose down" of Tiger Barbs is the best known) and these do return to normal when conditions are better. Would be much more likely to put your observations to this, especially if the Dwarf Gourami was otherwise asymptomatic (eating, swimming, no bloody sores, etc.).>
I don't intend to put any more fish in with them anyway, but I'm curious as to the incubation periods for these two diseases and the possibility of them surviving.
Thank you in advance!
PS- The Corydoras has had absolutely no symptoms. He eats fine, looks fine, swims fine...nothing suspicious from him except his little masked face.
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: DGIV   9/5/14

Thank you for your help! I was wrong about the tank size though...they're actually in my five gallon.
<Still much too small.>
I read the wrong box when I went to check. I've attached a picture of my setup. Is there any way I could be sure he doesn't carry the virus, or is it something that can stick around indefinitely?
<Honestly, do believe the problem is/will be environmental. Do remember that "Fish TB" (more properly, Mycobacteria infections) and to some degree viral infections are mediated by the environment. It isn't so much the pathogen that's the death sentence -- these bacteria and viruses are probably in most/all tanks. It's when the Dwarf Gourami gets stressed (tank too small, too cold, too hard and alkaline, bullied) that the pathogens are able to cause problems. Five gallons is ample for a Betta, which would be a better choice here. As stated earlier, even 10 gallons is tight for a Dwarf Gourami.>
Thanks again!
<Most welcome. Neale.>
re: DGIV   9/5/14

Alright, thanks :) I'll look into new housing.
<Good to hear. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: DGIV   9/5/14

Hi again Neale (I'm sure I'm probably getting on your nerves by now),
I've looked into getting a 15 gallon, but unfortunately that's not going to be financially feasible right now.
<I see.>
I already have a ten gallon that I can set up fairly easily though, so I'll be moving him and his Corydoras pal in there either tonight or tomorrow.
Does he need to be in there mostly by himself, or can I put another fish or two in with them eventually? If so, what would you recommend?
<I would aim for the one Dwarf Gourami and maybe 3-4 of the Corydoras species you have. Should work okay.>
Also, I'd like to keep my five gallon up and running since it's in my daughter's playroom. The water tends to stay in the high 70's in here
without a heater (I have one, but it's going to have to move with the Gourami). Will a Betta be alright in that temperature?
<Could do, but Bettas aren't necessarily the best choice for kids. Can be delicate, don't do much, easily overfed. But yes, can work provided
temperature doesn't drop below 24 C/75 F. And for sure a better choice than Goldfish. You might also see if you can get Dwarf Mosquitofish (Heterandria formosa) or Cherry Shrimps locally. Both can work in 5 gallons, neither needs heat in a centrally heated home, and under reasonable conditions, both breed freely. Cherry Shrimps are colourful, while Dwarf Mosquitofish are very charming and fun to watch. I keep both in an 8-gallon tank in the kitchen, and this is the easiest tank in the house to look after.>
Thanks again! I'm a little mad at myself for not having this straight from the get go...you'd think a degree in Marine Science would have taught me better >.<
<Ah yes, the difference between theory and practise!>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: DGIV   9/5/14

Ha! I did all of my undergrad work with sharks...
<Sounds very cool indeed.>
who'd have thought I'd be thwarted by a two inch Colisa lalia?
<If it's any consolation, pretty much the whole hobby finds them heavy lifting these days. Inbreeding, mass production, and the relatively recent appearance of the DGIV pathogen have caused serious problems.>
Thanks for all of your help ^_^
<Cheers, Neale.>


Dwarf Gourami Disease, and FW chem. issues    8/4/14
Hi, so I'm currently watching my Dwarf Powder Blue Gourami swim around the tank shyly, weakly and with a bulge on his side with loss of scales and a bloody looking sore.
<Ah yes...>

Not the first Dwarf I've lost this way and I'm guessing I have 2 more to go. My guess, based on what I've read, its the virus that kills so many of them.
<Highly likely>
My question is, once my Dwarf Gouramis have passed on, how long will the virus survive in the tank without a host?
<At least weeks... best to "nuke" (usually chlorine bleach) any system that new ones are to be introduced to... Seek "local stock" (breeders)>
I would like to continue on with Dwarf's provided I can find a local breeder, although, I most probably will do as you suggested and continue to enjoy the other varieties. It just seems wrong to not have Dwarfs
represented in a Gourami tank. Thanks
Oh and one other question that is bugging the heck out of me, I can't figure out why my water chemistry is off. My PH is 6.2, ALK 40,
<What units here?>
CHL 0, HRD 300, NitrItes 0, Nitrates 40.
<Too high by at least twice>
I use all RO water
<Should be 7.0 w/ time, aeration and 0.0 TDS/Alk.>
and the RO tests low on Hardness. My tank is gravel, drift wood and plastic plants.
I had a piece of coral in there and a few rocks but have removed them all and replaced with drift.
<The gravel then most likely for source of carbonates, calcium... and the low pH due to the driftwood>
The fish seem fine but not understanding what's causing this in my tank is annoying. None of the local fish stores know and I want to start a Discus tank so I really want to understand what's happening.
Thanks. Carolyn
<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Balls on fish??      11/29/13
I have a 150 gallon tank. I have 3 powder blue dwarf gourami. One of them has what looks like round eggs all over it's top fin. I have been to three pet stores to treat this, one was a fish store only and no one knows what it is. They said to put fresh water salt in the tank and see if that helped. They are just small round ball looking things only on the top fin.
No other fish has it on them, it is no where else on the body. They are in a perfect line all down the fin. I have thousands of dollars in this tank.
Any help you could give me would be beyond appreciated.
Thank you,
<... perhaps Lymphocystis... search the net, WWM re... otherwise there are Microsporidean cysts that can look like this. There are no specific treatments for these growths on Colisa lalia... see WWM re this problematic over-manipulated Anabantoid. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Gourami disease     11/24/13
Greetings. I enjoy your most very informative forum. I've learned a lot about fish-keeping from you guys.
<Thanks for the kind words.>
Anyway, I'm writing this since I have had yet another neon blue dwarf Gourami die from this awful disease and I am resolved never to buy any more Dwarf Gouramis.
<A wise approach.>
It's awful how human's greed has weakened the immune systems of this beautiful little fish.
I have lost seven to this disease, including the one that passed away this morning.
<Oh dear.>
I have three powder blue dwarf Gouramis left that came from a different source from the others and they look really healthy but I suspect that the entire tank must be infected.
<Almost certainly true.>
I'm just hoping that maybe their immune system is stronger and they will be able to fight it off.
<Wouldn't bet the house on it.>
I guess there is nothing you can really do to protect them from it, except for good care and keeping the water quality as good as possible, right?
About 5 days ago, this male dwarf Gourami developed a white concave sore on his head that looked similar to  a canker sore in humans.
<Perhaps a wound, subsequently infected by bacteria. Treat as per Finrot, and with luck, should heal. But could be a whole range of other things, from viral infections through to Hexamita infection... without microscopic examination, all these external wound diagnoses are, at best, guesswork.>
At first he was eating and behaving normally, so I wondered if one of the other Gouramis bit him (probably not likely as they generally seem to get along well and even when they do chase each other I have never seen them try to bite another fish) or if it was simply a scrape or injury of some sort.
<The latter.>
Then yesterday, he wasn't eating and just hanging directly beneath the surface of the water. I noticed that his chest/belly area had become so swollen that the scales were sticking out in the area directly behind his gill plates.
<Would remove, isolate from others; from there, choose to either medicate or euthanise.>
I'm a vet tech and so I asked out veterinarian about it and he said it was probably Iridovirus and the swelling was likely due to an enlarged spleen. (He didn't see the fish but was going only on what  told him. Some vets don't know a whole lot about fish, but ours I think that ours tries to do better than the average.)
I was considering euthanizing him today if he was no better, but when I got up this morning he had passed on.
<I see.>
He was in a 55-gallon aquarium with the three other powder-blue dwarf Gouramis. Their other tank mates are an albino bristle-nosed Pleco, 10 long-finned white and black skirt tetras and 15 various small tetras, i.e. neons, cardinals, Glowlight and a couple of X-ray tetras, as well as several Apple Snails and 5 Otocinclus. And all these other fish seem to be just as healthy as they can possibly be.
<Likely so.>
The water parameters are ammonia=0, nitrite = 0, nitrate=30 and the tank is heavily planted. It's a well-established tank. The pH = 7.5. I change about 6 gallons of water every week and give them probiotics once in awhile. I know you're not really big on additives such as that but the vet recommended it.
<Fair enough. My understanding is that Probiotics (so far at least) have very little unbiased, reliable scientific evidence behind them (though to be fair that may be because they've not been widely tested in proper trials). They probably do no harm, so in that sense, if you can afford them, feel free to use them. But all the solid research in fish healthcare underlines the crucial importance of good water quality, appropriate environmental conditions and a healthy diet as the "holy trinity" of dealmakers when it comes to success. Get these right and most everything else takes care of itself. Modern fish foods for example are extremely well balanced in terms of vitamins and minerals, and while they may be lacking in fibre adequate for herbivorous fish, that's easy to put right. Add to that the importance of selecting healthy fish to begin with, and any minor impact things like Probiotics might have will be very much secondary to the major factors just listed.>
So, oh well, I thought I would try it awhile and see how it goes as I'm a huge believer in probiotics...my dogs and I take them too.
<Each to their own, I guess!>
Attached is a photo if the ulcer I took with our endoscope. Upon examining the fish this morning, his abdomen was rather puffy. I was just wondering if this sounds like Dwarf Gourami disease to you. Thanks in advance for your answer.
<Could well be, and as stated, I would isolate and treat this fish away from the healthy specimens if at all possible. If not, I'd remove and euthanise. Cheers, Neale.>

DGIV?   - 4/18/12
Hi Bob, sorry me again.  As you know we lost a dwarf gourami a month ago and think a second is heading in that direction.  Can you tell me if this virus is only contagious to gourami or to all fish? I have read conflicting information and want to ensure all our other fish are not going to be in any danger. We have Clown Loaches, Black Skirt tetras, Boesemanni Rainbows, a Suckermouth and a butterfly ram.
Many thanks again Rebecca
<Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus is certainly contagious to other Dwarf Gouramis, and there's a chance it can infect other Gouramis as well, though I haven't read about this yet, and other Gouramis do at least seem to be resistant to it, and viruses don't seem to be a significant source of mortality. However, there *are* reports of the virus infecting distantly related fish though, including one where DGIV was (in the lab) used to infect an Australian fish called a Murray Cod. So while it's unlikely your loaches, tetras and cichlids would be infected, it's impossible to say for sure. They may well carry the virus without getting sick, so could infect other Dwarf Gouramis. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: DGIV?     4/19/12

Thank you Neale, I don't think we will be getting anymore Gourami's after these two we have left.
<I certainly don't recommend Dwarf Gouramis or their hybrids (Robin, Neon, etc. Gouramis). But Banded and Thick-Lipped Gouramis are still pretty reliable, as are Trichogaster species like Lace and Moonlight Gouramis.>
Hopefully it if it is DGIV it hasn't been passed on.  We are still unsure why the other died as he was fine one day dead the next, the second one looks very pale in the head and chest area though eating and swimming etc he is not spending anytime at the top in his plant like he used to and hides down at the bottom behind a pot when resting.
<Do bear in mind that to the aquarist, Mycobacteria infections appear identical to DGIV -- you absolutely cannot tell them apart! Mycobacteria infections are caused by all sorts of stresses, but poor breeding, factory farming, rampant use of antibiotics on fish farms, and indifferent maintenance all along the supply chain as well as by aquarists seem to be keys. Any fish can get Mycobacteria, but Dwarf Gouramis are unusually prone.>
We will just keep an eye on him for the moment.  Again thanks for your reply. Regards Rebecca
<Most welcome. Neale.>

Dwarf Gourami illness/recovery  1/6/11
I have had four Dwarf Gouramis in a quarantine tank for two weeks. They are having health issues. As a prelude to my question'¦ you might want to take the dwarf gourami off of your list of 'Five Almost Perfect Fish.' I read through that and saw them on the list, and even though it did say that they were prone to bacteria issues, I thought there is no way that a fish that is 95% likely to die would be on a list like that. After getting them and doing further research I have read all of your responses of impending doom.
<Mmm, this piece: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/fwsubwebindex/almosperffshmonks.htm
is written by an Englishman... tongue in cheek. It actually is meant to dissuade people trying these fishes>
I wasn't even going to ask you about the fish because I assumed it was Iridovirus, but something strange has happened. After having the fish for about a week, they were looking beautiful and happy. Then the two Wild (blue and red stripes) ones started to become discolored and ill from the top fin down. After about three days of that they looked almost like leapers with rotting of the top fin and an ugly grey coloration on the front half of the top third of their body. Around the same time one of the Orange ones started staring at the corner, stopped eating, and had labored breathing for a couple of days and died. However, it had no visual symptoms of anything, and always looked bright and healthy. The reason I am asking what to do is because I got home yesterday and the two Wild Dwarfs looked almost cured. Their coloration had returned, and only the very front of their top fin looks slightly tattered. Is this something different that I can treat?
<Mmm, not really>
Also, the second remaining Orange one is starting to stare into the corner and stop eating. So, the ones that looked like death are looking better, and the ones that look healthy are dead or dying. The water
quality is good. I have tested multiple times. I change about 1 gallon several times per week. Yesterday I added Maracyn Plus. (this is after the two looked better) Will this help? I also have an Albino Bristlenose in the quarantine tank as his home.
<Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/AnabantoidPIX/dwfgdis4.htm
and as much of the linked files above as you deem useful>
Other advice, if you please. I bought the DG's to go in a 55 gal tank with 1 Macrognathus arel, 2 Rope Fish,
<Likely eaten by these in time>
and 6 Giant Danios. I want a brightly colored fish that will get along with those and PH 7.7, hard water, live plants, and 78 degrees. I would ideally buy a small school of Boesemanni Rainbowfish,
<A good choice>
but they are 18 bucks each here. Also, I would love to add neon/cardinal tetras,
<Mmm, no, not these>
but the water isn't ideal and the breeding is even worse. Any suggestions? Are any cichlids peaceful enough, since they have lots of color?
<Indeed there are... I'd look to some of the more easy-going Tanganyikans... Read here:
... and the linked files...>
Thank you so much for your help. I will not buy anymore DG's.
<Good. Bob Fenner>
Re: Dwarf Gourami illness/recovery
Thank you for the quick reply. I read through the posted link, but they seem to be different situations. I'm sorry I wasn't very direct in my questions. Do you believe they have Iridovirus?
<Likely so; yes>
Do you believe it is fin rot, if so, will the Maracyn plus help?
<Not likely, no>
Since the two that looked half dead, now look much healthier on their own'¦ if they continue to live and look healthy, how long should I quarantine them before moving them to the main tank?
<A few weeks>
Are Dwarf Gouramis such a health risk that I should never move them to my main tank even after months of good health?
<... a health risk almost entirely relegated to their own species (Colisa lalia)>
Are you saying that the Dwarf Gouramis will get eaten by the eel or Ropefish?
<Yes... their piscivorous by default:
I thought Ropefish didn't get much bigger around than a quarter if that big, how could they eat a fish that is 1.5' tall?
<Teeth, chewing>
Thanks again so much for
your help. It is much appreciated.
<Welcome! BobF>

C. lalia on the viral path out  -- 02/02/10
So I have three blue gouramis who I had for a few months now.
<Not Blue Gouramis, Trichogaster trichopterus, but the all-blue morph of Colisa lalia, the Dwarf Gourami.>
They have always seemed fine and would swim to the glass whenever I would stand by the tank. Always been active. Well suddenly I realized that one of my gouramis started developing a "bruise like" discoloration around his
<Could be from fighting, but more likely Columnaris or some similar bacterial infection. Colisa lalia is an extremely poor quality fish these days, and very prone to bacterial and viral diseases. Best avoided, really.>
He would stay at the bottom of the tank as well. Then the next day I noticed that another one of my gouramis started developing the same kind of discoloration.
<Ah, now, this isn't good. Do review Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus in particular, as this is extremely contagious.
But he stays at the very top of the tank. None of the other fish seem to be bothered by this. I went to my local pet store and asked questions and they told me to try T. C. Tetracycline.
<Useless. DGIV is viral and always fatal and completely incurable.
Otherwise, this might be a Mycobacteria infection, which is very common with Colisa lalia not kept in perfect conditions. Again, incurable. Read WWM re: euthanasia. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
I'm currently in the process of treating my tank right now with this but it doesn't seem to be doing any good.
<It won't.>
I tested the water in my tank before I started the treatment and the water tested perfectly fine.
<Define "fine". For Colisa lalia, we're talking soft water (less than 10 degrees dH) and an acidic pH (6.5 is about right). Water must be very warm, around 28-30 C, 82-86 F. This is far too warm for most community fish.>
Could you tell me what is wrong with my gouramis and whether or not the T. C. Tetracycline is going to help once I'm completely finish with the treatment. I attached a picture of one of the Gourami when I first noticed the discoloration, and then two days later the same Gourami. Thank you for your time.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>

URGENT: Dying Gourami? 1/29/10
So one of my dwarf flame gouramis has been hiding alot
<When did this become a single word? We seem to see it a lot around here!>
<<RMF would bet "dollars to donuts" that this word will become part of American English in short order... plan to see it in proscriptive lexicons w/in a decade>>
lately, and when I got home from work today, he was still hiding in plants.
I tried to flush him out, and he barely moved. Got out the net and pulled him out the plants, he floats upright and makes no attempt to move. The fish is still breathing, but I think its on its last legs. Should I just take him out and flush him?
Picture is attached.
<Indeed. Well, do start reading here:
The thing with Colisa lalia is that it is a difficult fish to keep at the best of times, and relatively prone to both Mycobacteria and Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. Now, Colisa lalia was, maybe 50 years ago, quite a hardy fish.
But at some point inbreeding and overuse of antibiotics on fish farms meant that the fish sent to shops had less and less innate resistance to disease.
Shoppers aren't as discerning as they could be, and look for things like new colour varieties (including Flame Gouramis) rather than hardiness, and worst of all, instead of ignoring tanks with one or two sick fish, they simply pick out the best-looking one and hope for the best. Writers since at least the 1980s have been warning aquarists to be careful when buying this species, and also have stressed their need for precise water conditions: 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, a pH between 6 and 7, and low hardness, under 10 degrees dH. Water temperature must be quite high, around 28-30 C, 82-86 F, which is well above the tolerances of things like Danios, Neons, Platies and Corydoras, so these aren't community fish by any standards. In short, your fish is dying and probably does need to be euthanised.
"Flushing" as you so delicately put it isn't an option. I hope you're just pulling my leg! Use a humane method of destruction, as outlined here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm
Cheers, Neale.>

re: URGENT: Dying Gourami? 1/29/10
Thanks Neale, yes, "flush" was just an easier way to type euthanasia(sp?).
<Fair enough.>
The fish past away on his own, and I figured that the fish was dying of DGD.
<Or Mycobacteria. It's really difficult to tell the two apart since the symptoms are similar.>
I assume it just a matter of time before the other dwarf Gourami I have dies?
<Mycobacteria infections occur primarily when a fish is exposed to poor conditions or otherwise stressed. A healthy Dwarf Gourami given the conditions I outlined earlier should be fairly resistant. But yes, Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus is highly contagious, and I would never buy a Dwarf Gourami from a tank of specimens containing some I suspect had DGIV.>
It is just a normal morph, and is quite the healthy fish, constantly swimming around and looking for food.
<You may be just fine. Keep an eye on it, and in future, I would recommend Colisa fasciata or Colisa labiosa as two similar, but much hardier, fish.>
Thanks again,
<Good luck, Neale.>

Pet store -- dwarf gouramis dying, Dwarf Gouramis Disease (Comments Neale and Bob?) 12/29/09
I work in the fish department of a large chain pet store. When I first started there a few months ago, the fish system was in pretty sad shape -- the UV sterilizer bulbs hadn't been replaced for god only knows how long, and other basic maintenance had not been kept up (changing out carbon, cleaning valves and flow meters, etc.). They had recently hired a new manager for that department, and since then we have dramatically improved the system's performance by replacing UV sterilizer bulbs, cleaning valves/pumps/meters/etc, and doing lots and lots of water changes and gravel vacuuming. Disease has been dramatically reduced, with only occasional instances of ich and bacterial infections, usually in the most crowded tanks.
<Good to hear that you are taking the right steps here, good for business to I bet, successful customers are more likely to return.>
The one thing that has really confounded me, however, is our problem with dwarf gouramis, Colisa lalia. We carry the three common varieties, the "regular" striped kind, the "red flame," and the "powder blue." The latter two are kept in the same tank, usually with some small 1-2" common Plecostomus. The tank itself is around 20 gallons, though it's connected to the approximately 1700 gallon system. The regular variety is kept in a different tank along with zebra Danios, black skirt tetras, and guppies -- that tank is around 30-40 gallons (I haven't taken precise dimensions).
Water chemistry is very consistent and is generally as follows: Nitrate - 20 ppm; nitrite and ammonia - 0; general hardness - 150 ppm; carbonate hardness - 80 ppm; pH - 7.2; temperature - 76 degrees F.
The problem is that we have an extremely high loss of all varieties of dwarf gouramis. The only symptoms I've noticed until recently are slightly discolored, grayish patches on some of them before they die. The other day,
however, I noticed what appears to be bacterial infections on several -- the patches look as if someone took coarse sand paper to the fish. The skin/scales are eroded, with the top layer looking yellowish/whitish, and red inflammation underneath. The odd thing is that none of the other kinds of fish are having any problems quite like this, even the ones that are in the same tanks as the gouramis. We only have a 29 gallon quarantine tank,
and right now it has about 10 small goldfish in it, and since they're nearing the end of their treatment period, I really don't want to put any other fish in there at the moment, especially when I don't know what the gouramis have.
Generally when we have severe bacterial infections that are not brought on by wounds, stress, or otherwise poor environmental conditions, it affects more than one type of fish. In fact, the first ones to start showing problems with bacterial infections are usually the livebearers, and ours have been doing quite well. Could this be the infamous Dwarf Gourami Disease? I've worked at other commercial pet stores and have not experienced a problem on this scale before. Because we're a chain, we have zero control over what fish corporate sends to us (for instance, we carry Pacu and iridescent sharks... but that's a whole other rant in itself), so we can't stop them from coming in. My manager is very good about working to find solutions, and I might be able to arrange to have any incoming shipments of dwarf gouramis quarantined in the 29 gallon, after the goldfish are removed of course, but this keeps us from being able to use that tank to isolate any sick fish, and we simply do not have the space for another quarantine tank.
Any ideas? Other stores in the same chain in our region do not seem to be having the same problem, so I'm inclined to believe that there is something going on in our system, though I can't figure out what it is. Any help would be appreciated.
<Sounds like Dwarf Gourami Disease to me, caused by the dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, which virtually all commercially available dwarf gouramis (Colisa lalia specifically) are exposed to. Not much can be done to treat
this disease, which is most often fatal. Best bet is to just not carry them at all, even though they are a high demand fish. Perhaps offering Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata in place of the Colisa lalia is economically viable as these fish are similar but not susceptible to the dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. I'll copy Neale and Bob on here to see if they
have anything to add. See here
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm  for more. >
Pet store -- dwarf gouramis dying 12/29/09
<<As Chris said, this is most likely, though not certainly, Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV). The reason why you can't be 100% certain is that Mycobacteria infections can be extremely similar. Mycobacteria infections include those called "Fish TB" and like and like DGIV are essentially incurable.
So in either case, we're talking about avoiding the problem rather than curing it. DGIV has been demonstrated to be present in 22% of the Colisa lalia exported from Singapore. Whether similar infection rates exist in stocks from other exporters I cannot say, but because the DGIV virus is extremely contagious, even one or two infected Colisa lalia can subsequently infect other, healthy, fish in the same batch or the same aquarium. There is therefore a very good case of quarantining all Colisa lalia in their own tank for an extended period, and taking great care not to cross infect other tanks by using separate nets, buckets, etc. UV sterilisers have zero impact on viruses, so even if UV is used, there's nothing to stop the virus moving from one tank to another via water circulation. If you must stock Colisa lalia, then try to find a local breeder. But I agree with Chris that both Colisa labiosa and Colisa fasciata make dramatically better investments. They are slightly larger and a shade more boisterous, but are still excellent community fish, and certainly less aggressive than, for example, Three Spot "Blue" and "Golden" Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus). If you need to offer artificial forms, both come in albino and all-red "Sunset" forms. Even if exposed to DGIV they do not seem to suffer any symptoms (though whether they can carry the virus and so infect Colisa lalia is a good point for discussion and perhaps action). They are extremely hardy, and provided not exposed to seriously bad water conditions, shouldn't come down with bacterial infections. In this regard they are infinitely better than Honey Gouramis (Colisa chuna), a species that doesn't suffer from DGIV so far as I know, but is so delicate that unless kept in soft, acidic water with zero ammonia and nitrite tends to be short lived. When all is said and done, my impression from talking with British retailers is that Colisa lalia are simply worthless fish in terms of longevity, though most suppliers keep them in because they sell quickly. So even though half the batch may die, and those sold on may only last a few months, retailers still find them profitable. This makes them a quandary for responsible retailers wanting to sell good quality fish that can do well in most community tanks. Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale.>>
Re: Pet store -- dwarf gouramis dying, Dwarf Gouramis Disease 12/29/09

Thank you, that's what I was worried about. Like I said, we have no control over what fish we get in -- every week our inventory of fish is automatically sent out to the vendor, and they restock whatever we're low on, regardless of why we're low on those fish.
<Unfortunate that they don't give you guys more input on what your individual store carries, but is the normal way for big box stores to manage inventories, supply chain.>
I did talk to my manager about performing an "experiment" to possibly rule out the disease. I was thinking that we would divide our next shipment of dwarf gouramis in half, and put one half in quarantine, making sure the water quality is excellent and the tank is cycled, and put the other half in the main system as usual. We would observe them for no less than one week (the average amount of time it takes a shipment to completely die off), providing the best possible care to the quarantined fish. If the quarantined fish are thriving and showing no signs of disease, and the ones in the main system are dying like usual, I think it would be safe to assume that it is most likely not Dwarf Gourami Disease. I understand there is still the possibility that the improved living conditions could cause the virus to lie dormant, allowing the gouramis to be asymptomatic carriers, so my other question is this: Is there any data on how quickly the virus normally kills, or how long the fish can be asymptomatic carriers? I'm aware that this experiment isn't exactly based on sound scientific methods, and the results I get from it would not be conclusive, but I figure it's a starting point... any thoughts or suggestions?
<Generally in good conditions it may take a few months to present itself, depending on previous conditions, viral load, and many other factors, so I'm not sure if this experiment will help much, but may be interesting just to see what happens. All in all unfortunately dwarf gouramis just generally are not healthy fish.>
I also have a few questions that don't really have any effect on the store's problem, but I just want to satisfy my own curiosity. I've been reading more of the FAQs on DGD, and it's constantly being mentioned that dwarf gouramis commercially bred in Asia are almost guaranteed to carry the disease, and that if you really want dwarf gouramis you should buy from a local breeder. My question is this: would locally-bred gouramis be resistant to the disease, thus allowing you to put one in a tank that previously housed a diseased gourami? Or are they a better choice simply because they aren't exposed to the virus and aren't likely to carry it?
<The latter, just a matter of exposure, not of resistance. The problem is that wholesaler and to a lesser extent local fish store's systems are generally infected, so even fish that are not exposed before shipping from the breeders are infected along the supply chain. In a way similar to the way ich is so often present in the supply chain, small volumes of water, large quantities of fish, and only take 1 infected fish to contaminate the whole lot of them.>
If it's a matter of resistance, is it some sort of genetic resistance? Or just better immune systems due to better overall husbandry?
<As above, just a matter of exposure.>
I'm also curious about how all this applies to wild Colisa lalia.
<Is present in wild populations obviously, but due to large water quantities, separated populations, and the fact that any prey animal even slightly sick tends to become someone's dinner rather quickly keeps this disease in check.>
Thanks for your time, this website is a fantastic resource!

75 gallon community; all sorts of selection and compatibility "issues" - 11/07/09
Dear WWM,
<Hello John,>
I currently have a 75 gallon FW aquarium with a canister filter, heater, and bubbler running for the past month. This tank is a direct upgrade from a 30 gallon tank I had been running and only has 2 additions in the past month. The tank currently is stocked with a
1 Tinfoil barb
<Schooling fish, will get very big eventually.>
1 Plecostomus
<Gets big, very quickly, and is incredibly messy; usually recommend Ancistrus (Bristlenose cats) instead.>
1 Dalmatian Molly
<Does best in brackish water; tend to be delicate in freshwater.>
1 Kissing Gourami
1 Red Tailed Shark
<Aggressive, but this tank should be adequate to avoid serious problems.>
1 Albino Rainbow Shark
<Ditto; in fact, be surprised if these two Shark-Minnows don't spend all the time chasing each other.>
1 Eclipse Catfish
<Also known as the Sun Catfish, Horabagrus brachysoma; gets very big (45 cm!) and is a schooling, non-territorial predator; will eat many of these fishes.>
1 Pictus Catfish
<Also a schooling predator.>
1 Albino Cory Catfish
<A schooling fish; likely terrified kept on its own.>
1 Snail
1 Dragon Goby
<Gobioides sp., I take it? Definitely a brackish water fish, and will not live long in freshwater.>
and had had 1 Powder Blue dwarf Gourami.

<Dead, I take it; no surprise, these are garbage fish in my opinion. Avoid.>
Now that you know about me let me tell you my problem. Attached is a picture of my Dwarf Gourami, note the perforations in his tail and odd spots on his side.
<Could be bite marks, to be honest. In a tank with these animals, a Dwarf Gourami is at best a sitting target for aggression, and at worst, live food.>
I believe this to be Dwarf Gourami Disease or perhaps a bacterial infection like fin rot but I do not know.
<Could be either.>
The problem is that I had a fire red Dwarf Gourami about 2.5 months back that came down with a very similar disease, that fish died. I am wondering if all my other fish are at risk or if this is simply a manifestation of DGD and I should not worry for the rest of my aquarium?
<I'd write of Colisa lalia and be done with them. So, do you have problems with the aquarium? Yes indeed! The mix of fish is, let us say, adventurous, and the Dragon Goby at the very least has a limited lifespan without being moved to a brackish water aquarium.
There are schooling fish in there that need to be kept in groups, and some of the fish get extremely large and/or are predatory. Time to pick up a book about aquarium fish, read up on what they need, and concentrate on keeping fish that you are prepared to provide for properly. Keeping single specimens of schooling fish isn't fair, and keeping brackish water fish in a freshwater aquarium is doomed.>
Thank you for your time
<Always happy to help.>
<Cheers, Neale.>


Dwarf Gourami Question, hlth. 9/17/09
Hi Gang!
First off, thanks for the informative website and straight to the point answers.
<Thank you.>
Tank info: 29g Established for 6 months. 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, 10 nitrates, pH 7.6 I recently lost a DG to what I believe was DG Disease. As much as I didn't want to believe he had it and searched exhaustedly for any other answer, he had all the classic symptoms as described on your site.
<Do bear in mind Mycobacterium infections can look very similar, and unless you're a microbiologist, telling them apart is, ultimately, impossible.>
I finally put him down in a peaceful manner. I only had him a few months, but I loved the little guy.
<They are nice fish, but with infection rates as high as 22% (from Singapore) I simply don't recommend people keep them *unless* you can source a locally bred supply of them.>
I also lost a cardinal and a guppy around the same time. They didn't show any outward signs of illness. I can't help think they were related.
<Deeply unlikely. DGIV only effects gouramis, and primarily Colisa lalia.
While it might affect the odd Gourami from other species now and again, the chances of its killing Guppies and Tetras is exceedingly low. On the other hand, conditions that lower the immune response of Dwarf Gouramis and thereby allow them to die from Mycobacterium infections can also allow similar problems with other species. A good general rule is this: if three specimens of the same species die from something mysterious, it may well be something viral particular to that kind of fish; if three completely different species die, then the problem is almost certainly environmental.>
What are the chances of 3 fish dying and it not being related?
<If the aquarium has a problem, the chances are very high indeed.>
Anyway on to my question. I stupidly went out and bought a Powder Blue Dwarf Gourami. Thinking I asked the store the smartest question, Are they tank bred? When he said yes, I was pretty excited that this would decrease the chances he had been exposed to DGD.
<Eh? It's the tank-bred, i.e., farmed, specimens that have DGIV.
Wild-caught specimens -- which are virtually absent from the trade and very expensive when they do appear -- should be DGIV-free.>
On the drive home two light bulbs went off in my head. The first being Tank Bred could mean he was still imported. Duh!
I should have asked if he was locally bred. (smacking myself) The other light bulb moment is that I read (can't remember where) that this virus can be transferred through the water.
<Yes. I'd allow a tank to be 6 months Gourami-free before risking it. That said, I don't think that's the issue here. I'd suspect Mycobacterium or even a simple case of opportunistic bacterial infection (Aeromonas,
Pseudomonas, etc.).>
I thoroughly sanitized the quarantine tank (20g) and anything that came in contact with it and my new DG is in there now. My concern is after quarantine time, can he go into the 29g tank that the original DG was
living in when he got sick?
<If the tank with the dead Dwarf Gourami has been Gourami-free for six months, then you should be fine. If not, then yes, there's a risk of contamination.>
There are tetras, cories and a snail in there and I don't see a way to thoroughly sanitize it without cross contamination through nets, water on the fish etc. Is this tank destined never to see a DG again?
<Would be my recommendation, insofar as Colisa lalia is largely worthless as an aquarium fish anymore. But as I said earlier, I don't suspect DGIV is the issue here, and would strongly recommend you keep an open mind here, and review other potential sources of trouble.>
Oh, and will I received an e-mailed answer?
Your website is so huge, I don't know If I'll ever find your answer, should you choose to answer. :)
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Alice
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Dwarf Gourami Question 9/17/09

Thank you for your quick response, it's much appreciated.
<My pleasure.>
I called the store I purchased the DG from, he was bred in Florida, not imported, if that means anything.
<Not much. To be fair, we don't know how the farms in Florida compare to those in Singapore in terms of DGIV prevalence, since the scientific study was specifically on Singapore. Colisa lalia from Florida might be fine for all I know.>
At any rate the DG that I lost was from a chain store, they have no idea where they get their fish.
I have another established 20g tank my new DG can live in.
No other fish in the 29g appear to be ill. I don't want to treat healthy fish but your mentioning other bacterial infections are concerning. Would you recommended treating the tank with a gram pos/gram neg anti-bacterial medication or wait it out?
<Wait. Don't treat the fish unless there's sign of disease. Instead, watch the fish, optimise water chemistry and temperature for the species being kept, ensure good water quality, and provide a balanced diet. All the usual stuff, really.>
Thanks again. :)
<Cheers, Neale.>
re: Dwarf Gourami Question

Will do, thanks again for your help and such a great website :)
<Thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale.>

Question for the crew/ dwarf powder blue Gourami hlth. 8/26/2009
I am new to the world of keeping aquariums, and I have spent many hours reading through your website and have learned a great deal about providing the best care for our fish.
<Very good.>
I am writing for guidance about a dwarf powder blue Gourami I recently (9-10 days ago) purchased from a LFS. Unfortunately it was after this purchase that I read all of the warnings about avoiding this particular fish because of the susceptibility to diseases. Nonetheless, here I am with a problem.
<Indeed, not a fish recommended for beginners. While once a good, reliable fish, this is certainly not the case any more.>
The tank: The fish is in a quarantine tank that was our original aquarium before upsizing (he was placed in there for planned period of quarantine after we purchased him, prior to introducing him to our main tank). It is an Eclipse 6 with a thin layer of rocks, a few artificial plants, and an air stone.
<This tank is only 6 gallons in size, and even as a quarantine tank, of marginal value.>

It was well cycled prior to introducing the fish, using substrate from our main tank and a filter I kept in the main tank. There are no other inhabitants of the tank currently, since I removed 2 female platies the other day to put in the main tank and to isolate the Gourami. I check the chemical parameters almost daily since putting him in quarantine, with the following results: ammonia 0 ppm, nitrite 0 ppm, pH 7.0. The nitrate did increase up to 20ppm but is now about 5-10 after a 25% water changes (which I am doing every 4 days or so), vacuuming the gravel, and removal of the BioWheel (I read somewhere that BioWheels may contribute to high nitrate levels). For the record, there was little in the way of uneaten food when I vacuumed, though I will admit I am probably guilty of overfeeding my fish. Tap water for water changes is prepped with Tetra AquaSafe and Proper pH 7.0. He is fed TetraColor flakes and occasionally freeze-dried blood worms or peas.
<All sounds fine.>
The problem: We first noticed a couple of wart-looking growths on his left side just below the dorsal fin line. Initially they appeared more rust-like in color, sort of like his stripes and other markings. They are unchanged in size but now more tan in color with nothing protruding and nothing looking like ulcers.
<If the "warts" are off-white to cafe-au-lait in colour, there's a good chance you're dealing with Lymphocystis. While related to environmental problems, and so a sign to review tank conditions carefully, it is not normally fatal. It isn't treatable as such, but given good water and a varied diet, most fish recover in time, typically several months.>
Over the past several days, we have noticed increasing number of "holes" in his fins - first his anal fin, then his caudal fin and now his dorsal fin.
The "holes" have increased in number over the past 4-5 days since I first noticed them. The edges of the fins appear normal and not frayed or torn.
<Ah, now, this is more serious. When holes appear, there is usually one of three things going on. Firstly, there's physical damage, e.g., when a Betta gets sucked by a strong filter and only gets away after losing a bit of fin material. Secondly, there's biting, e.g., when fish are nipped by tiger barbs. Finally, there's bacterial infection, though this is usually associated with obvious signs of death and decay, typically things like
spots of bloody inflammation on the fin membrane. So, review these possibilities and act accordingly.>
The Gourami is feeding vigorously and is not appearing to be gasping or in respiratory distress (at least as far as I can tell and I am a pulmonologist!).
<Heavy breathing can be a sign of a variety of problems, but the converse, regular and steady breathing, does not necessarily imply good health.>
He is swimming in a normal fashion in all areas of the tank - not erratic, tilted, darting or rocking. He is not bloated and he does not appear to have dropsy. He has no white spots or red streaks. His eyes appear normal and not bulging or discolored. His stools look normal in color, and are not pale.
I have not started any medication, though I have Maracyn and Maracyn 2, which I could use for fin rot.
<Does not seem warranted yet; would observe, consider the options first. Over-medicating fish can cause problems.>
I was not thinking this was fin rot initially since the edges of the fins are not frayed or torn, and I had not seen any photos that looked similar to what we have seen. I was also hoping frequent water changes and ensuring good quality water would help clear things up, especially since he does not appear ill in any other way. However, the number of holes appears to be increasing more quickly over the past day or two.
I appreciate any guidance.
Regards, Laura
<It sounds vaguely as if this fish is being physically damaged somehow, perhaps by another fish, or over-strong filtration, or rough handling, or something abrasive in the tank. A mild antiseptic like tea-tree oil
("Melafix") might be appropriate to avoid secondary infections. Hope this helps, Neale.>

Sick Gourami 05/27/09
I did read through all of your articles and the disease chart, but nothing fit perfectly...
<And yet somehow I have a feeling it's going to be the usual Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus problem. When will people stop buying these fish?>
I just started up my tank about a week ago. I used the tetra cycle stuff to get the nitrate cycle going. I'm thinking I may have overstocked my tank for just starting one up. I have 2 molly's, 2 small gold gouramis, and 2 dwarf gouramis in a 20 gallon tank.
<Mollies do need different water chemistry to Gouramis, so you shouldn't keep them together.
If your water is hard and alkaline, you might be okay, but it's always best to keep Mollies with fish that tolerate small amounts of salt: other livebearers, rainbowfish, halfbeaks, glassfish, etc.>
They all seem to be doing fine except the one dwarf Gourami. Now, I got the two dwarf Gouramis from a friend, who I don't think had had the fish for long. I'm aware that a lot of the problem is probably due to stress from moving these poor fish twice in a short period of time. She did not notice any symptoms prior to giving them to me. The Gouramis symptoms include a reddish wound/bump on its lip, and a group of light pinkish bumps by its one gill. Also, he swims to the surface to get air, then releases air bubbles, then swims to the bottom and hides. He then repeats this over and over about every minute or two. He is swimming okay; slowly, but normally.
<Might be an opportunistic bacterial infection, in which case antibiotics can help. But Dwarf Gouramis are peculiarly prone to Mycobacteria-type infections (often called, inaccurately, Fish TB) when stressed, and a good proportion of them also carry the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. Neither of these diseases is curable, so euthanasia is the only option; see here:
http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasia.htm >
He hasn't been eating much mostly because he's so slow and not able to compete with the other fish to get any I think. One of my mollies has
really started beating up on him too... Is this because he is sick?
I treated my tank just once today with Melafix (before reading your website haha).
<Indeed, "ha ha"; doesn't cure much of anything.>
I don't really have any other tank for isolation, would any sort of container do for a temporary fix?
Thank you very much. I hope you have some ideas :(
<Do review the needs/hardiness of fish prior to purchase.
Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Dwarf Gourami 3/23/09
I have spent the last couple days reading everything I could find on the web about Gourami diseases, but cannot find anything that addresses the issue my Gourami seems to be having.
I have sent a couple pics (not great, still learning to take pics of fish) to hopefully help in diagnosis.
It started as a small red spot/area in his anus fin, it turned white and seemed to be "healing" or going away. Over the last month or so I lost two other dwarf gouramis to what appeared to be dropsy. I medicated my entire tank with Maracyn-two, losing the first fish.
Shortly after (maybe two weeks) the second Gourami had dropsy. I medicated again with Maracyn-Two, losing the second fish only a couple days into the medication. During this second medication the red sore on the third Gourami came back and started eating away his fin and now it is eating into his body. He is eating, his poop looks normal. It looks much worse than fin rot, it doesn't appear to be Hexamita.
Is it just a bacterial infection?
<Does appear as such>
Should I try medicating with Maracyn?
<Mmm, no... I'd try a Furan compound here... will "dirty" your water...>
I have been medicating the whole tank because I figured I need to in order to stop the other fish from getting sick as well, but not sure how all this medication is affecting all the other fish.
Don't have a quarantine tank, but can get one if needed.
<I would move this fish to such a treatment tank for sure... ten gallons would be fine>
Some info on my tank:
55 gallon
80 degrees
7.0 ph (has recently been up to 7.5, got it down to 7.0 with this last water change)
<Not a worry>
Ammonia 0
nitrites 0
nitrates 0
20% water change monthly
<I'd change more frequently>
5 dwarf gouramis (4 male, 1 female)
2 gold gouramis (male)
6 glass catfish
1 Indian glass fish
1 Pleco
I would appreciate any help you can give me!
<Unfortunately, Colisa lalia are very prone to disease issues... Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm
and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwantibiofaqs.htm
Bob Fenner>

Mmm, RMF is unable to copy, move from root web... try on ret.
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami 3/23/09
"Should I try medicating with Maracyn?
<Mmm, no... I'd try a Furan compound here... will "dirty" your water...>"
I've not heard of Furan before, is it sold under that name?
<Yes they are. Please read where you were referred to Re. B>

Dwarf Gourami with sore on side 10/16/08
Hi Guys,
Congrats on having such a great site. I have learnt a lot from reading the Q&A's but still can't find what I'm after.
I have got 3 Dwarf Gouramis which I have had for about 3 months. About 4 weeks ago I noticed one of them had 1 or 2 scales missing from the side of him. The colour of the flesh didn't change. Everything looked fine.
<It's an ulcer, and will need to be treated with a suitable antibacterial or antibiotic to prevent secondary infections. With luck, the fish will heal just fine. I say "with luck" because Colisa lalia is a very sensitive species, partly because of inbreeding and partly because commercially bred fish are routinely exposed to viral infections for which there is no cure. I do not recommend aquarists keep this species.>
About 7 days ago I got home from work to find it had turned into a patch that looked like raw flesh that was white in colour but looked red from inflammation or infection. It was also raised from the body a few mm's. I put the Gourami into my 40l tank and started treating it with Furan-2. After 2 days the redness had gone away. I continued treating as
the sore is still an open. Today I have noticed 2 holes in the white flesh area that are red. The sore is still raised from the surface and looks worse in real life, than in the photos. The fish is still eating normally and looks fine, he is sitting down by the heater a fair bit but I think it is because he is the shy one of the lot and its a good hiding spot. What else can I try?
<Very, very difficult to say. The problem with ulcers is that they are not only infected wounds that need healing, but also gateways through which infections can travel into the body of the fish. Small fish like yours are particularly at risk because even a relatively small ulcer will "dig" quite a distance through the body, well into the major blood vessels, muscles and nerves.>
My tank details are:
190l tank, 26deg, I top up the salt after every few water changes, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0, Nitrates 5, PH 7.2, lots of real plants, big bits of bogwood, Fluval 405 filter, tank has been running for about 5 months
<In theory all sounds fine, though adding the salt shouldn't be necessary when the fish are healthy, and long term we really have no idea what harm constant exposure to salt does to freshwater fish. At least some react very badly, as is the case with Malawi cichlids, so broadly speaking salt should only be used therapeutically, not as a routine additive.>
Fish are:
Guppies x 10 (about 14 babies as well), rummy nose x 9, Danios x 3, Bristlenose x 1, Corys x 2, Neons x 7, Gouramis x 3, pretty tetras x 2, bleeding heart x 2, harlequins x 6
<Should be fine with Colisa lalia.>
The Gourami has been moved to a 40l tank, internal filter, 27 deg, salt added, ph 7.2, amm 0, nitrites 0, nitrates 5
Thanks for your help,
<All you can really do is carry on treating for ulcers and Finrot, and hoping for the best. To be honest, this species is so weak I can be especially confident of a positive result, but who knows? Cheers, Neale.>

  Bite? RMF

Sick dwarf Gourami   7/12/08 Hi We have 2 dwarf Gouramis. The male died yesterday and the female is now in our quarantine tank. We have had them one month in a tank along with platys, neon tetras, silvertip tetras and zebra Danios. We noticed discolouration around the mouth a week ago. They both also had/have a white patch on the side. It looks like a wound but there are no signs of aggression from the other fish. Water quality- NO2 25mg/l NO3 0mg/l ph 7.6 temp 25C. Can you offer any suggestions before we lose the female too? Thanks. Grace <Hello Grace. If the fish has patches of fluffy or slimy stuff around the mouth and on the body, the chances are you're dealing with Finrot, Fungus, or "Mouth Fungus" (actually a bacterial infection). These can only be treated using antibacterial or antibiotic medications. In the UK, I recommend a product called eSHa 2000; in the US the antibiotic Maracyn seems to be preferred. As with any medication, remember to remove carbon from the filter if you are using it (and I don't recommend freshwater aquarists bother with it, to be honest). Now, with this said, there is a major problem with a viral infection known as Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. This is untreatable, 100% fatal, and highly contagious. Because it is so common, I do not recommend aquarists bother with Colisa lalia, and instead suggest they go with other, unaffected species like Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/dwfgdis.htm  The symptoms are very consistent: first the fish becomes shy and loses its appetite, then it loses its colour, then discoloured patches and sores develop, and finally the fish swells up with dropsy and dies. It's a shame aquarium shops still stock Colisa lalia, and I've talked to managers of many shops over the years. They all say the same thing -- as much as they'd like to stop trading these fish (which die just as quickly in their tanks!), less expert fishkeepers just keep buying them, so they keep stocking them! It's a vicious circle really, and until aquarists stop buying them, the mass producers in the Far East will keep cranking out low quality, widely infected, Dwarf Gouramis. Anyway, I do hope you have your "NO2" and "NO3" readings back to front, by the way -- 25 mg/l nitrite (NO2) would be deadly to any fish! Hope this helps, Neale.>

Gourami with a bloated abdomen. - 7/2/08 Hello there. I have a dwarf Gourami with a bloated abdomen. It looks pregnant however, it also looks as though it is bruised. The area in front of the bulging abdomen is dark purple/blue like a skin bruise on a human. Half of the lower fin is this color too. The only tank mate is a giant golden snail. I clean the take regularly and change the filter as recommended. Please help. Thanks. Sincerely, Glenda <Glenda, your Dwarf Gourami almost certainly has Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus; an untreatable, highly contagious to other Dwarf Gouramis, apparently 100% fatal viral disease. The symptoms are very consistent: loss of appetite and shyness; loss of colour; appearance of blisters on the body and fins; swelling of the abdomen; death. Your mistake was buying this species at all -- in my opinion the prevalence of the disease amongst mass-produced Dwarf Gouramis is so high that spending money on them is a waste. My recommendation is to painlessly destroy this fish and then switch to a reliable small Gourami species such as Colisa labiosus or Colisa fasciata. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/dwfgdis.htm http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm Cheers, Neale.>

Dwarf Gourami problem -- 03/18/08 Hi. I have 3 dwarf Gourami's, I took one of them out and put it in a small 1.5 gallon tank as it had a swollen upper body and seems to spend a lot of time at the bottom <Dwarf Gourami Disease; caused by a virus. Incurable. See here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm  I cannot state this more clearly: People, stop buying these fish!> The other tank is all out of whack chemically .75ppm No2, 20 ppm No3, 1.00 ammonia and 7.5 PH. I am really new at this and can't figure out what to do. <Buy a book, read about fishkeeping. Obviously you've added a bunch of fish to an immature aquarium. Nitrite and ammonia at these levels will quickly kill your fish. Start here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwlivestk.htm > The small tank I set up is 00ppm No2, 5 No3, .15 Ammonia and 7.6 PH. The temp in both is 78. I tried putting in RidIch+ which is supposed to help with a variety of problems. <Yes, but doesn't "cure" bad fishkeeping. Nor does it help deal with viral infections. The ammonia in here will kill this Gourami even before the virus. Go here to see how to painlessly destroy this fish: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/euthanasiafaqs.htm > I hope I'm not to late as he looks worse and is staying at the bottom. I noticed while in the other tank he did not eat anytime I was watching. <Doomed.> Sorry for the anxiety. I just hope to be able to be better at this whole thing. <You can be, but you have to read. You also need to make sensible decisions. For beginners, buying tanks smaller than 20 gallons is stupid. They're too difficult to maintain and choose stock for. So I'm hoping you have a tank 20 gallons or larger. Next up, you choose hardy fish, not "pretty" fish you pick without research. Dwarf Gouramis for example are among the WORST choices for beginners because they are plagued with disease and weren't even all that hardy in the first place. Danios and peppered Corydoras for example would make much better choices.> Please help. <Have done so.> Thanks. Tina <Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Dwarf Gourami problem 03/19/2008 Thank you Neale <You're welcome.> I really was not properly informed when I was given the tank (70 gallon) I should never have taken it without doing more reading. The people who had it wanted it gone. I have however been reading instead of taking anymore advice from the tank donors. <Very good!> The fish that were in it were not my choice. <I see.> I am very thankful for the information that you have given. I am glad I came to you for help. I hope that no more fish die because of my lack of knowledge. <So do I!> Thanks again and I'm hoping the readings on the tank will clear up soon as I do more water changes. Tina <Good luck, and happy fishkeeping! Neale.>

More of a comment, really....Dwarf Gourami disease  2/10/08 Having found a sore on the lip of my male dwarf Gourami early last month, I looked for info on the internet and found Neale Monks' material as posted on your webpage (below): http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm  (FAQs on Colisa lalia, C. chuna... "Dwarf" Gouramis of Many Names, Honey, Flames, Neon Blue, Sunset Fire... Disease/Health) I was horrified to hear about Dwarf Gourami disease as described in these pages, as I - perhaps naively - believed the breeding of tropical fish for the pet market to be 'all right' (ecologically, in animal welfare terms, ethically) and having purchased the fish from a reputable supplier, I assumed he would be in good health. My despondency deepened the more I read of the webpage....after some time I was convinced that my Gourami was doomed to a painful, wasting death, and was considering euthanising him to prevent further suffering. My husband suggested that I was perhaps being a bit too hasty about all this, and that we give the fish a chance since he seemed to be alert and happy (feeding well, obsessed with his bubble-nest). The sore lip slowly healed and now (touch wood) he is OK. The information you provide on your site is an invaluable resource, and Dwarf Gourami disease certainly seems to be a terrible problem that needs to be eradicated at source. Neale Monks obviously - and rightly - feels very strongly about this disease, but my point is that perhaps his opinions on the Dwarf gouramis (the ones that have already been bred and exported by disreputable suppliers, and are pets currently living in peoples' homes) are at times a little too pessimistic - my very limited experience (this far at any rate) shows that gouramis can recover from slight abrasions and do not always succumb to bacterial infections immediately. Of course I don't know that my fish isn't affected and can only hope that he survives to a good age. This is a minor comment on an excellent web-based resource, and I hope it hasn't caused offence. With all best wishes, Katrina <Hi Katrina. No offence at all taken. It's always good to get comments about things I write, even when people disagree. Yes, I do feel strongly about Dwarf Gourami Disease. And it isn't me saying these things are disease-ridden. Australian vets looked at Dwarf Gouramis closely because the virus they carry is very similar to one that's suddenly appeared among populations of a native fish, the Murray Cod. The vets found that 22% of the Dwarf Gouramis exported from Singapore carried the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, and they believe the virus at some point mutated and then started infecting the Murray Cod. Furthermore, the quality of Dwarf Gouramis has been declining for at least ten years. Wholesalers in the UK have been attempting to source Dwarf Gouramis from better suppliers. http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/item.php?news=1139 As I hope my comments in those Dwarf Gourami articles implies -- Dwarf Gourami Disease (DGD) has a very specific pathology. Not all Dwarf Gouramis with scratches or sores are infected with DGD any more than not every human who coughs has Bubonic Plague. But if you have a Dwarf Gourami that loses colour, hides away, stops feeding, has stringy faeces, develops bloody sores on the body and ultimately keels over and dies, then there's a pretty good case to believe this fish has DGD. If all your Dwarf Gourami has is a small blister or something, then by all means isolate the fish (always a good call with any sick fish) and monitor for other symptoms. If the fish swims and feeds normally, then precisely as you've reported, the damage could be something as simple to treat as Finrot or plain mechanical damage that needs time to heal. But if the fish subsequently develops the full set of DGD symptoms, then isolating that fish is critical, because infected fish rarely (if ever) get better, and the viruses can spread very easily through the water. In other words, not all sick Dwarf Gouramis have DGD, but some do, and the aquarist should *aggressively* isolated suspected cases, particularly if the tank contains other Dwarf Gouramis (and potentially other Gouramis I suppose). Hope this helps, and thanks for writing! Neale.>

Gouramis disease, Colisa lalia...  1/18/08 Hi, I have a 130lt aquarium and it hosts 9 fish (6 gouramis, 2 goldfish, 1 angel and 1 neon tetra). 4 days ago all of a sudden my 2nd angel died (didn't show any symptoms before that) and ever since I have the one problem after the other in the aquarium. I did partial change of the water but the next day one of my gouramis (red in colour) stayed at the bottom of the tank swimming only to go up and grasp some oxygen and then come down to the bottom of the tank again. I decided to get my water tested, so I took a sample to the pet shop that showed a small rise of nitrates in the tank and he gave me a liquid to change the nitrate levels that I used in conjunction with sera Nitrivec, after another partial change of the water. The day before yesterday my sick Gourami got a swollen belly and I decided to look for a cure. It seemed like an internal infection and I found a treatment with sera BACTOPUR direct that I used today. Yesterday, after the med for the nitrates a few other gouramis started showing weird behavior. They swim like crazy up and down, and one of them seems like it's fainting for a while, then getting up and swimming normally. Today, nearly none of my gouramis ate, and the sick one cannot swim at all, it has the swollen belly, the colour of the Gourami becomes darker and it seems like he is peeling off at a small part of her body. I went to the pet shop and bought sera BACTOPUR direct today, and added 2 tablets to the tank. I took out the sick Gourami and put it in 2 litres of water 1 tablet of sera BACTOPUR direct for a more drastic treatment, left it for 30 minutes and put it back in the tank. I didn't see any change yet, and I really do not know what to do. I only have the aquarium for a month, I do not have any live plants, and they're the first fish I introduced in it. I also rose the temp to 28 Celsius degrees. Please help me, if I can save their life. Thank you Elena <Hello Elena. Are these Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia) by any chance? If they are, then the problem is almost certainly "Dwarf Gourami Disease". This is not curable, at least, not at the point where the fish display symptoms. Typical symptoms are: first shyness and loss of appetite, then the colour fades, then ulcers and lesions appear on the body, then the abdomen swells, and then the fish dies. The best you can do is painlessly destroy sick fish, because they won't get better. (Or at lest, I've yet to hear of any Dwarf Gourami with Dwarf Gourami Disease get better.) Dwarf Gouramis are simply not worth keeping any more. Avoid, and never keep them again. If you must keep a small Gourami, then look to hardier species such as Colisa fasciata and Colisa labiosus. Do also understand that a "new" aquarium (which yours is) doesn't have a fully mature filter. Many fish will become sick when kept in such a tank. Use a nitrite (with an "I", as opposed to nitrate-with-an-"a") test kit to measure the nitrite level; if you detect nitrite, the tank is still immature and potentially deadly to your fish. Do lots of water changes! I'd suggest 10-25% per day for the next week or two. Stick with a few, very hardy fish to begin with. Corydoras paleatus for example, or Danio species. Only keep things like Gouramis and Angelfish after 2-3 months. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gouramis disease 1/18/08 Hi Neale. Thanks for the quick response. Yes, I checked now on Google, I have the dwarf gouramis (Colisa lalia). Ok, so I will take back to the pet shop the gouramis that don't look sick and the angel. I will only keep goldfish in for a couple of months. Do you think that this disease will affect goldfish now it exists in the tank? I have to admit I am new in the aqua world and I hardly know anything about fish. I am constantly trying to read and learn now though. Ever since I set up the aquarium I change the water every week. I didn't know gouramis were so sensitive, but I got really upset not being able to help them. When I take gouramis out, do I have to change the water? Because the medication is still in the water. I am supposed to change it in 3 days. I live in Cyprus and in pet shops I couldn't find a huge variety of species but I will do exactly what you said if I am to avoid having them suffering again. Thanks again, you have a wonderful website. <Hello Elena. Goldfish will be fine, provided you keep on top of water changes. No, Goldfish don't catch Dwarf Gourami Disease (as far as we know!). Not much is known about the virus that causes the disease, except that it is VERY widespread. http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/pfk/pages/item.php?news=1139 Yes, change some of the water after you remove the Gouramis, but not because of the disease, but because that's a good thing to do. Water changes are GOOD! They're the cheapest and easiest way to have healthy fish. 50% per week is what I recommend. But finish to coarse of medicine first. So if it says no water changes for 3 days, then don't do water changes for 3 days. Wow, Cyprus would be a GREAT place to keep fish. If I was there, I'd spend all my time at the beach, collecting cool gobies and blennies. The Mediterranean is just packed with excellent fish that do really well in aquaria. But if you want FRESHWATER fish, then you'll have to work with what's available! Dwarf Gouramis just aren't worth it in my experience. Lots of better gouramis. Avoid MALE blue or gold gouramis though (Trichogaster trichopterus), as they can be very aggressive. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gouramis disease 1/18/08 Hello Neale. Thanks for that. I will do as you told me. Thanks again. <Very good. Enjoy your fish! Neale.>

Sick Gourami   11/14/07
Help!!! I need to see if you folks can help me figure out what could be my problem- before losing any fish? I have a pair of Powder Blue Dwarf Gouramis and a pair of Paradise Gouramis.... One of my Powder Blues seems to be acting ill in many ways- Hangs to the top or bottom, labored swimming and breathing, swimming at an angle rather than vertical, also eats/acts normal for short periods of time hit and miss, also on both sides of the fish is a small bulge (equal on both sides) which none of the other 3 have.... This recently happened just before a water change and after the water change, 3 days past now, and nothing has changed- which my water checks out fine.... What could be wrong/ What can I do???
<Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but this fish will die. And so will the other one, even if it is healthy now, because it is almost certainly infected by now. This is Dwarf Gourami Disease, a viral infection without a cure that infects a large proportion of commercially bred Colisa lalia (including all the varieties: powder blues, reds, Neons, etc.). The only "cure" is to get people to stop buying the damn things so the breeders stop producing them. But capitalism being what it is, there are always enough people out there who haven't heard about Dwarf Gourami Disease, so our friends on the fish farms crank out more of these disease-ridden animals. Your Paradise Gourami (presumably Macropodus opercularis, the Paradisefish) should be immune to this virus. But do not, under any circumstances, either transfer livestock from this tank to another with Dwarf Gouramis, or else add more Dwarf Gouramis hoping to "try again". They will die, as sure as God made little green apples. I really can't say this strongly enough: DO NOT BUY DWARF GOURAMIS!!!! Remove and humanely destroy the infected fish. Praying to the Fish Gods is about all you do to save the other one. Nothing else helps. The symptoms are consistent: first a loss of vitality and appetite, then shyness, then bumps, then sores, then obviously bleeding on the skin, then death. If you want a small Gourami species, my recommendations are Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata. Both are hardy and long-lived, and generally peaceful (though your Paradisefish, if males, will become incredibly aggressive as them mature and will certainly harass any Gouramis kept with them). Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Gourami, Colisa lalia   11/16/07
One more question, I don't know that this affects the prognosis, or the future of my other dwarf- but this Gourami that is ill now, was fine until I let the tank go too long without cleaning or a water change- so the ammonia rose, as well as poor water quality came.
<Possibly a triggering factor, but the virus would make its presence known eventually, regardless.>
This was fixed after a 30% water change and some ammonia reducer/stress coat. I have numerous other fish in my tank as well that all tolerated this fine (zebras, algae eaters, and a guppy)... does it still seem as if this is really the case?
<Yes. Trust me, I have seen so many sick Gouramis that I have no doubt in my mind about this.>
What are some Gouramis that I can still expect to be able to keep?
<Many, in fact most Gouramis on sale are excellent value and can be expected to live a long time. Pearl Gouramis and Moonlight Gouramis are among my favourites. Banded and Thick-lipped Gouramis are also excellent fish, and quite similar to Dwarfs in shape and colour. Three-spot Gouramis (including the blue and yellow varieties, among others) are also good, but the males tend to be aggressive. Honey Gouramis tend to be somewhat delicate unless kept in soft, acidic water, but that aside, they don't seem to be troubled by the Dwarf Gourami virus. Cheers, Neale.>

Dwarf Gourami/Colisa Lalia, dis...  09/29/07
Hello. I have a problem that I hope you will help me with. One of my dwarf Gouramis has developed a swelling on his upper back, near the dorsal fin. I first noticed it Sunday. He is in good color, eating like a pig, swimming fine, clear eyed, fins erect, etc. My concern is the rate of growth and changes in the swelling. From the first sign of swelling, Sunday, through today, it has grown a little in size, but of more concern to me, is the 'pimple' like heads developing on the swelling. The swelling appears equal on both sides of the fish (size and shape). However, one side has a single 'pimple', the other side had one, and then yesterday a second one developed. It doesn't match anything in my fish books, and I couldn't find anything on your site (although I'm sure it's there somewhere). Can you please tell me what it is?
<Gone over and over here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm >
What can I do about it? Is it contagious? Etc.
<Read the link/citation and the linked files above>
I've attached a picture and I'm hoping the size, 386 kb, is suitably small enough. It's not a great picture, but it is the best of the ones we were able to take tonight. He's slightly twisting in it, because he was starting his dash for cover. He's afraid of my husband, especially with the camera in his hands. I hope it helps. The tank is a standard 20 long. Temp. is in the range of 78 to 81, depending on time of day, how long the lights on, etc. Filtration is an Aqua Clear 30 and a Whisper 10i. Until last month, I had a second 10i in the tank, but it stopped working, and I didn't think it needed to be replaced. The tank is separated into three sections. The two ends are each less than 1/3 of the whole tank, but over 1/4 of it. In other words, the center area is larger than each of the separate ends, but the two ends added together are larger than the center area. I have a standard dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia/pictured) on one end, which is the fish in question. I have a powder blue dwarf Gourami (Colisa lalia) on the other end. In the center I have four adult female bronze Cory cats (Corydoras aeneus). I also had one large golden mystery snail (Pomacea bridgessii) in the tank, until yesterday. Ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, and Ph is 8. My normal GH is 1 - 3, so I use vitamin/mineral supplements. I put in one of the 10 gallon dose/sized pyramids (standard LFS/lps type) every week or so, basically adding one when the old one is almost gone. I also use Boyd's liquid freshwater vita-chem with their water changes. Altogether, it makes the GH closer to 'medium' hardness. I usually don't try and alter water chemistry, but the snail's shell was starting to show some erosion before I began adding the supplements. The tank is cycled and has been running over a year with it's current filters. I also have extra bio in the filters. I have an extra bag of AC's BioMax in the AC 30 and I use a replacement insert that has it's own frame, carbon/pad, and bio sponge in the 10i, along with the stock bio frame. The tank has standard lighting (florescent tube), three kinds of standard aquarium gravel, an ornament (cave for my Cory cats), and a lot of cloth plants, including floating lilies. There is a bubble wall in each end section, and an air-stone bar in the center section. The dividers are standard LFS/lps variety. One is about a year old and the other I replaced a few months ago. I replace them when they start to fray. I use the center like a DMZ between the two gourami. They started out in a 30 together, but the addition of a third dwarf Gourami set it, and the standard, against the powder. I've kept them separated ever since. The third Gourami was in the 20 long as well, but he died about three months ago. I think/believe he died from old age, as he was full grown when we got him. He was huge compared to the other two. He also didn't show any signs of ill health, but had developed a bit of a hunch-backed look. We've had the two remaining Gouramis almost 2 years now. Two of the bronze Cory cats are also almost 2 years old, and the other two are the offspring of one or both of the other two (separated Mom(s) and daughter(s) from the males). The apple snail was born in the tank, and lived in it her whole life (a little over a year). She was bigger than a golf ball, and surprisingly heavy. I have no idea if she died from anything related to Frack's swelling, or if she died due to age. I'm not sure how long mystery snails are supposed to live? Frick (powder blue) does not show any signs of the swelling/pimples, so far. Lastly, water changes average out to about every 2 or 3 weeks. When the Nitrate reading is around 30 ppm, I do an 80-85% water change and vacuum the gravel at that time. I service the filters every 4 to 6 weeks, and they usually don't have a lot of junk/gunk in them. I only rinse the bio medias in discard tank water. I replace the 10i's carbon pads, and rinse out the AC 30's mechanical sponge in tap water during servicing. The Gouramis eat a mix of flake food twice a day, and I use a feeding ring with each of them. I mix several brands (Tetra, Omega, LFS brands, etc) of tropical flakes and crisps, along with Hikari's freeze dried brine shrimp (with and without algae) and daphnia, into one container, along with one container of algae flakes. I use small containers since I'm mixing around 5 of them together. The Hikari comes from whatever size I already have open, for the other tanks, at mixing time. I occasionally feed the Gouramis' mix to some of the other tanks as well, to help use it up quicker. It ends up being around 3 fresh mixed batches a year. I also give them Hikari frozen (defrosted) bloodworms a few times a month, which I feed by hand (large plastic tweezers). The Cory cats get (again, a mix of brands) sinking wafers, sinking pellets, and the bloodworms. The snail had access to the Cory cats' food and also had her own mix of sinking algae wafers. She would also let me feed her a few of the defrosted bloodworms, every once in a while. I would appreciate any/all the help and advice you can spare. Thank you!
<Colisa lalia used to be one of my fave species... but the incidence of these diseases... Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Gourami mouth problem
Hi, I have a 10 gallon tank with a dwarf powder blue Gourami, 2 fancy guppies, a halfbeak, and a small Pleco. I do water test 2x a week and water changes weekly. My Gourami has been fine until 2 days ago when I noticed a small white growth near his mouth, kind of where the gills meet on the bottom, but a little to the left. Since it first appeared, it seems to have turned a bit reddish, but not gotten any larger. He eats fine, swims fine, acts fine in all other respects, can't think of anything I've done different of introduced into the tank that would have brought this on. Sure hoping you can help. Thanks much --Melanie
<Hello Melanie. Without a photo, impossible to be sure. But almost certainly the first stage of "Dwarf Gourami Disease". This has traditionally been blamed on a bacterial infection but recent research by vets suggests a virus may be to blame. Regardless, it is next to impossible to treat. The series of symptoms is very consistent: small blisters or reddish sores, loss of appetite, odd behaviour (hiding a lot), difficulty swimming, then death. The problem is that virtually all mass-produced dwarf gouramis are exposed to the disease because of the very low standards of hygiene used by the fish farmers in Southeast Asia. The more responsible shopkeepers here in the UK simply won't stock dwarf gouramis, or will only use locally bred ones. Less ethical retailers keep bringing them in, despite the fact that the vast majority of them die after a few weeks or months. All you can do is keep is isolate the fish to another tank or destroy it painlessly. Under no circumstances buy another dwarf Gourami unless you are 100% sure it is locally bred. Even then, it is possible the virus could remain in your aquarium and infect the new fish. The best thing to do is avoid the gouramis sensitive to this disease (dwarf gouramis plus the various hybrid/varieties like "robin" and "neon" gouramis). Instead stick with hardier, look-alike species such as Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata. Cheers, Neale>

Flame Gourami with 'ulcer' & other gouramis
Dear Crew, Thank you kindly for your efforts. I have a 2-year old 38 gallon tank: temp 75 F, ph 7, ammonia 0, nitrite 0. Its a community tank with several peaceful fish: gouramis, Killies, Corys, Otos, rainbows & one baby whale (I'm overstocked by 2 inches). Recently my flame dwarf Gourami (1- years old) developed a white raised pimple / ulcer on his side, the area around it is reddish, there's another reddish area further down without the pimple / ulcer. I'm treating him with Maracyn II & salt (tablespoon per 5 gallons) at 80 F in a hospital tank. My honey Gourami (1-year old) now has a few missing scales on different parts of the body (this is how it began with the flame) so I moved her to the hospital tank. The blue dwarf Gourami (1-years old) has one scale missing that seems strangely similar, but I left him in the main tank. Questions: (1) How should I treat the two gouramis now in the hospital tank?; (2) Should I move the dwarf blue Gourami into the hospital tank?; (3) Should I treat the main 38 gallon tank, if so, how? And would the baby whale survive the treatment? I read baby whales often perish with some medications and I'm quite fond of this nocturnal little guy who lives under the driftwood. Thank you very much, Michelle
<Hello Michelle. Second dwarf Gourami question of the morning, and second time to bear bad news. This is almost certainly "Dwarf Gourami Disease" an apparently viral disease that cannot be treated. The end result is almost always death. The problem for aquarists is that fish farmers in Southeast Asia are mass-producing these fish in ponds where the fish are exposed to the virus. So virtually all the cheap dwarf gouramis sold today carry the virus. It's usually just a matter of weeks or months before they show symptoms. It is extremely contagious, so sick fish have to be removed at once, otherwise other dwarf gouramis in the tank (plus hybrids/varieties like Neons and Robins) will come down with the disease as well. I simply can't say this often enough, but aquarists **just shouldn't, ever, buy dwarf gouramis**. Retailers should stop stocking them. Until the fish farmers lose a market, they'll carry on breeding these unhealthy animals. Anyway, to answer your questions. (1) No treatment exists. Isolation and euthanasia are really the only sensible options. (2) Yes, but don't expect it to get better. It might, under perfect conditions (soft/acid water, live food, excellent water quality). But don't bank on it. Since it's a viral disease, medications, even antibiotics, won't help. (3) Baby whales, like all Mormyridae, are extremely intolerant of medications and should never be exposed to them *unless* you have a guarantee from the manufacturer (or a vet) that said medication is harmless to them. Most are not at all harmless! Cheers, Neale>

Sick Blue Dwarf Gouramis   5/18/07
I purchased a pair of blue dwarf gouramis two days ago.
<Your first mistake. I cannot recommend anyone buy dwarf gouramis. They are ridden with bacterial and/or viral diseases that eventually make them sick once as they leave the fish farm.>
One seems to be doing fine, but the other has developed a brown "area" from about the center of his body all the way back to his tail.
<It's going to die. Quarantine it if you want, try and optimise water conditions, and if you want to consult a vet. Given the disease appears to be viral (specifically, Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus) in at least some cases, antibiotics can't even be relied upon.>
It seems to be getting progressively worse as the hours go by, in fact I have pulled him from the tank and put him in a separate tank. He seems to swim fine and has even been eating a little bit.   The tank that I had him in is approx 3 months and I haven't had any problems with any of my other fish, in fact I have baby mollies and a pregnant guppy. Any help that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
<Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Chances are the other one will die. Dwarf gouramis aren't worth buying, period. They are raised in antibiotic laden ponds where they all infect one another but don't succumb to the symptoms just yet. Once moved to the pet store, the antibiotic effect fades away, and the bacteria start to take over. The symptoms are always the same: first lethargy and loss of appetite, then discoloured patches on the body, then open sores, and finally death. Horrible, but the result of a demand for cheap rather than good quality fish. Until people stop buying them, fish farmers aren't going to switch to producing healthier stock. Tell your friends about it.>
Thank-you JMS
<Once both fish have died, which they will quite soon because the one has already infect the other, opt for species of Gourami that don't get "dwarf Gourami disease". The thick-lipped Gourami (Colisa labiosus) and the banded Gourami (Colisa fasciata)  are similar in pattern if slightly bigger, but altogether more hardy. Your tank is now infected with dwarf Gourami disease, so any new dwarf gouramis you buy will likely come down the disease even if healthy at point of sale. Cheers, Neale>

Dwarf Gourami disorder... and successful trtmt.   3/3/07
Hello BobF and crew,
I've seen a few reports of bloating in dwarf gouramis on the WWM Daily pages lately and wanted to report a cure of this using Metronidazole/Praziquantel medicated food and erythromycin in the water.
<Please do!>

One of two dwarf gouramis in a US 10 gal tank began showing symptoms.  The tank is well planted, pH 7.0, 4*dKH, 8*dGH, 10mg/L nitrate and no detectable ammonia or nitrite (AP liquid test kits).  Other inhabitants were four Brochis cats.
<Need more room when grown...>
The symptoms displayed (only the one male Gourami had symptoms) were: First, he hung out at the top of the tank, gulping air, and then seemingly almost floating himself out of the tank with each gulp of air.  That lasted a day.  The next day he began laying on the bottom on his side, at about a 20 degree angle from horizontal.  This continued for a week during which I began a four week treatment with Jungle's anti-parasite food (Metronidazole/Praziquantel) consisting of three days feeding medicated food, then four days of regular food per week.  Halfway through the treatment, the dwarf Gourami did not appear to be getting any better and had developed open sores on his side.  After much frantic reading, I came to the conclusion he was experiencing "dwarf Gourami disease" a.k.a. "epizootic ulcerative syndrome", and expected to lose him very quickly.  I performed seven days of dosing 200mg erythromycin/day into the tank, and by day six he was eating and defecating again.  Completed the anti-parasite course, and he is looking very well -- no more lying on his side, very active and paying a lot of attention to the female dwarf Gourami.  Through all of this, the female never displayed a single symptom that anything was wrong.
Now, six months later, he is still doing well, only the slightest discoloration on his side where the sores were that I can only see in certain light. The Metronidazole/Praziquantel food plus erythromycin appears to be effective on this problem.  He (Lazarus) went from nearly dead to a continued healthy life. Thank you for your efforts at WWM, -Brian
<Thank you for this important sharing, relating... You have very likely saved MANY Colisa lalia and hobbyists! Bob Fenner>
Re: Dwarf Gourami disorder  3/3/07

Hello again BobF,
I never meant for the Brochis to be in the 10gal for an extended period of time.  It was a quarantine tank until the Gourami got sick and the 29 gal the Brochis were meant to go to lost nine Corydoras in a very short time, losing both new young ones and a beautiful six year old C. julii.  Fearing a Corydoradinae-specific disorder the Brochis were never moved.
<Ah, thank you for this. Understand that I (sense that I should) respond to such open statements for the sake of others reading... on the Net... all goes on for quite a while, circuitously... Just wanting to make useful remark re the genus...>
Do you think the four fully-grown Brochis cats would be suitable tankmates for an 8" Chocolate Cichlid (H. temporalis) in a well-planted 75 gal tank?
<Yes, likely so... This species of Neotropical Cichlid can be a "wild card"... some becoming quite agonistic... but the Brochis are indeed tough.... and I do think having a school of them will be useful here>
The cichlid has been alone in the tank for 15 months, but seems friendly enough.  I've had to move Corys in the past whose fins were being nipped by a territorial Blood Parrot cichlid they had lived with for years, so I want to make sure the cats will be safe with the big H. temporalis. I really do hope some dwarf gouramis can be saved with the Metronidazole/Praziquantel + erythromycin treatment -- this fish's recovery was nothing short of miraculous.
<I assure you... your observations will be of tremendous value to others>
   I also found a very interesting reference while trying to sort this out - the American Society for Microbiology's 1974 "Evaluation of Aquarium Antibiotic Formulations" (Trust and Chipman, http://aac.asm.org/cgi/content/abstract/6/4/379).  Reading through the concentrations required for effective inhibition of particular organisms helps in treatment selection. Thanks again to all the crew! -Brian
<Ah, yes... the industry has had this sort of "wake up" call before... the occasional challenge to prove the efficacy of such "med.s"... I do believe this (legislature) is due. BobF>

Sick Gourami
Hello!  I've been reading through your FAQs and articles and I have found them very useful.  They have made my job a lot easier, because I just started fish keeping about a month and a half ago.  Anyways, here is my question.  I have a 10 gallon quarantine tank with two dwarf Gouramis in them for three weeks.  The water quality is ammonia=0ppm, nitrites=0ppm, nitrates=10ppm, pH=7.6.  I did a 30% water change last night and the nitrates dropped to about 5ppm.  Back to the question... About four days after putting the Gouramis into the tank, I noticed brown splotches on their heads.  That was the most obvious feature.  The splotches are not regular or in any particular pattern.  The splotches have been there ever since.  Last night, everything changed because I found one Gourami lying nearly on its side on the tank's bottom.  Its gills and mouth were flapping rapidly. Also, I noticed that their feces were awfully long and light colored.  On the other hand, this morning, the healthier Gourami had a dark feces trail. The sicker Gourami looked even worse.  What can I do about this?  Thanks a lot.
<<Hello. Dwarf Gouramis are specifically prone to bacterial infections. You can try your LFS to see what meds they have in stock to combat external bacterial infections. Salt may help in early cases, as will Melafix, but if the disease has not been caught at the beginning, you may need something stronger. Good job on the testing, keep it up! -Gwen>>

Disease of my Dwarf Gourami
Hi, I was wondering if you would be able to help me diagnose what my dwarf Gourami died of half an hour ago.  I have a 10 gallon tank with: 5 - Neon Tetra 5 - Fancy Guppies 1 - Male Dwarf Gourami Two days ago I noticed a small whitey patch, irregular in shape on the side of my gourami's head. The patch wasn't smooth, more like cotton wool in water; waving in the current.  I decided to put him in a breeding cage that you can put in the aquarium, just so that he wouldn't come in contact with my other fish. Yesterday (a day later) he looked worse.  The white patch had increased in size slightly and there was a tiny bit of it on the top of one fin.  I quarantined him in another tank that day.
<<It sounds like fungus. Im sorry to hear that he died. For future reference, one of the Mardel products (Maracyn, Maroxy, Maracide, etc) treats this but I cant remember which one exactly. Fungus Guard by Jungle will also treat this. I've had the best luck with the one by Jungle.>>
This morning the white patch was larger and looked like a scab: I could see a little red patch in the middle of it.  The white stuff was about 0.5 cm in diameter.  The fin that previously had the white patch on it was completely opaque  and shredded.  His other fin was perfectly functional and clear. Over part of his body was a mucusy white, not quite as white as the initial patch. He no longer made that crest on his back stand up and it was coated thinly will mucus.  His colour was duller and he mostly stayed sunken on the bottom of the tank, apart from making quick dashes to the surface now and then. In the end he lay horizontally on the bottom.  The white patch protruded from his scale approx 1/3 of a centimeter and was a cloudy white.
<<Definitely sounds like fungus.>>
Well, that's everything.  I know that I sound very concerned, it's just that I would like to know what I did wrong and hopefully save my other fish, so it won't happen again.
<<Watch your other fish very closely and if they show any symptoms, immediately quarantine them and treat with a medication for fungus. Sometimes they will get it, other times they wont so its hard to say.>>
Thanks Jess
<<You're welcome. Ronni>>

Furunculosis (likely Columnaris, as in Chondrococcus bacteria)
I have one remaining dwarf Gourami that has Furunculosis. I've had 3 die from it. Thanks to your website, I've finally determined what the problem was and have been treating him with fabulous results. My question is, how long can I treat him with the medicine? As of this date, he's had 4 doses, can I continue until he's completely healed?
<yes...and you should until the fish is clearly cured and then some. As with people, you will treat the condition with antibiotics for slightly longer than the malady is evidenced. Extra water changes just before each application of medicine will also be quite helpful>
Please respond soon, Thankfully, Heather
<with kind regards, Anthony>

Sick Gourami
I have a 10 gallon tank, with 3 Red Dwarf Gouramis and 2 Neon Rosy Barbs (also 1 Pleco). This is my first tank and I've had the same healthy fish in it for about 11 months. One of my Gouramis recently became sick. His mouth started to swell and now he can hardly close it. He seems to be staying close to the top and is breathing heavily, but is still trying to eat. My local pet store suggested drops that fight "internal infections and diseases" so I have started with the treatment.
<does not sound like an internal problem.>
I've never had a sick fish, so I'm not quite sure what to do. I've been doing research for a few days and haven't found much helpful information. Could you please let me know if there's anything else that I could try. Any info would be greatly appreciated.
<This sounds like it could be a fungal infection.  If you are not already doing so I would be add salt to the water add about a tablespoon of aquarium salt per gallon.  Make sure your temperature is in the upper seventies without any major swings.  Also medicate with a medication that has both Nitrofurazone and Furazolidone in it. 3-5 days consecutively with small water changes daily just before the new dose.  Best of luck, and please check out the article below. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/AqBizSubWebIndex/fishdisho.htm  -Gage>

Gouramis with multi symptoms? Colisa lalia import stock problem
Hi people,
I know you've heard this a million times before but here it goes anyway (HELP I'm a total newbie and I'm killing my fish!). Story goes like this....  After finally setting up and stabilizing a community of fish in a 100? gal tank for a couple of months (current tenants: 2 small angels, 2 neon blue gouramis, 2 tiger barbs, 5 black widow tetras, 1 sword and 1 Pleco) we decided to replace a couple of the original lost gouramis and add another Pleco to help control the algae. I had a second 'hospital tank' set up ready and waiting to QT these guys as recommended. Two days after QTing them, the water became pretty cloudy (whitish) and I admit that I panicked and put the gouramis into the general population. By morning the smallest of the two new ones had developed a red underbelly, approx. half the length of the belly and it extended upwards about 1/4th of the total depth of the body in a very elongated oval shape, and the discoloration extended into the lower fins. Not only just streaked but the color seemed to fully saturate the appendages. I assume (after doing some quick research) that this was some sort of hematoma or septicemia of some description. The other symptom exhibited was the rocking back and forth described as 'Gourami disease'. I transferred him late afternoon into my newly cleaned out hospital tank filled 2/3rds full of water from the big tank and 1/3 of dechlorinated water that I doctored with all that was available to me at the time "Tetra General Tonic". Well, I wasn't successful as by late that night he was found floating nose up but the top of his head was blackened. The 2nd new Gourami so far is fine, but day 3 one of the 'old' gouramis is showing the same red underbelly and has been transferred into the hospital tank (I'll know more when I get home from work - am hoping NOT to see that rocking motion or him nose up!!). I've been desperately searching for medications I can buy online as much of what is discussed on these forums aren't available in the middle east (where I am living currently). I've only found one water test for ammonia and one for ph which I've not had a chance yet to do so I know that the big tank surviving and thriving as it has been up to this point has been probably more due to dumb luck than anything but... what happened to the Gourami has made me very aware of getting hold of the appropriate treatments for these emergencies. I don't have any of the numbers to give as I'm writing you from work. But my main question is first 'by the description does anyone know what really killed the Gourami' and second 'what would be the best meds or treatments in your opinion'. I've been sifting through as much info on your site as possible but I think the fish's time is limited and I'm feeling like I need someone with experience to tell me what's what! Thanks for any insights or suggestions you can offer! Sue
<Thank you... for your concern, and writing so well. I want to impress on you that this "type" of Gourami, very hybridized Colisa lalia... sold variously as this and that dwarf gouramis are VERY likely to die in the sort of fashion you describe. They are raised under "exacting" circumstances (in filth really) in the Far East and seasonally "break down" badly as you describe... people in the trade actually use the term "time bomb"... What am I trying to impart, state emphatically here? That by and large their loss has very little to do with anything (other than buying them) that you did or CAN do. So, first off... DON'T buy any more of this species. Now, it may seem counterintuitive, but other Gourami species are fine.... very hardy, disease-resistant by comparison. Don't know how much you'd like to hear/read re the "arrival/acclimation/curing" of Colisa lalia by importers/wholesale distributors, but I'd like to state it here for others use. There have been successful protocols of administering Furan compounds... at ten-twenty five milligrams per gallon, with half or so water changes (off line centralized systems) every three days for a good ten days... but who knows what happens to this dwarf stock afterwards? Look to other species for stocking your system. Bob Fenner>

Become a Sponsor Features:
Daily FAQs FW Daily FAQs SW Pix of the Day FW Pix of the Day New On WWM
Helpful Links Hobbyist Forum Calendars Admin Index Cover Images
Featured Sponsors: