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FAQs on Colisa lalia, C. chuna... "Dwarf" Gouramis of Many Names, Honey, Flames, Neon Blue,  Sunset Fire... Disease/Health 4

FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease: Dwarf Gourami Disease 1, Dwarf Gourami Disease 2, Dwarf Gourami Disease 3, Dwarf Gourami Disease 5, Dwarf Gourami Disease 6, Dwarf Gourami Disease 7,
FAQs on Dwarf Gourami Disease by Category:
Diagnosis, Environmental, Nutritional, Genetic, Infectious (Virus, Bacterial, Fungal), 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,

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.>

Gourami with Dark Spots and Trouble Swimming      5/28/13
Hi, I have a male Dwarf Gourami who has lately been staying at the bottom of the tank and has some odd discoloring.  His normal coloring is a pale blue almost the color of the sky but now he has some spots that are odd.
One is on his tail and is nearly the color of a purple bruise fading out to yellow near the edges.  On the  spots on the top of his head they have a lighter muddy brown color. The same patches appear throughout his body but are far more common on his front halve than back. his front halve has become a white or quite pale blue where the spots are not whereas on the back side he has normal coloring where the spots are not he is standing nearly straight up and at a slight angle on the bottom of the tank and only moves when frightened or by the prospect of food. he is eating his fish flakes normally and his fins are normally moving even though he is not swimming but his breathing seems to be that he is taking more and more labored or larger breaths. About a month ago we were having problems with nitrite but we have gotten that under control. the test results from about 1 week ago are.
ammonia 0
nitrite 0
nitrate 0-20
ph 7.2
alkalinity 180
hardness 300
chlorine and chloramine 0.
Our tank has been set up since Christmas and have had trouble with ick, swim bladder disorder, aggression, and mouth fungus on one fish.  We have 1 Dwarf Gourami, 1 Bumblebee Platy, 1 Adult Balloon Molly, 1 baby Balloon Molly (parents died from overaggressive fish we took back to the store), 1 baby Guppy (was mistakenly given to us by PetSmart and is in a baby net)1 Lyre-tail Guppy, 1Yellow Guppy, and 2 Mystery Snails who recently  died. We hope not to lose another fish so please help. Thank You, Mary
Note: I had frightened him while taking the photo.
<Hello Mary, do read here:
The modern farmed Dwarf Gouramis are a sickly species to begin with, and if you keep them in "liquid rock" hard water like yours, even the ones that aren't sick at the time of purchase often fail to stay in good condition for long. As a good rule of thumb, if your water is good for livebearers, it's probably bad for Dwarf Gouramis as they need opposite things. There's a limited amount you can do for an ailing Dwarf Gourami, as the article will tell you. Possibly a course of antibiotics such as Maracyn, but don't get your hopes up, especially if water chemistry is wrong to begin with.

Ailing Gourami 1/18/2013
Hi. Hoping you can help me again, my Gourami has small white spots on he’s body almost Ich looking but I don’t think it is Ich, I had Ich twice before from introducing infected fish into the tank (learnt that lesson) but this looks different.
<Such white "dots" can be a few things... parasitic to "just" accumulated body mucus>
It started about 4 weeks ago with the Gourami flashing then one of my Cory’s started flashing also, apart from the tiny white spots on the Gourami there are no other visible signs, the Gourami now has one eye swollen with a small white spot on it. The rest of the fish apart from the Cory flashing seem healthy, the tank is not overcrowded and the water parameters are all good, nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are all 0 ph7, temperature 25c. Tank has been running for about two years. I have treated with NT labs anti fluke and wormer which is Flubendazole based
<A good choice>
4 days ago but the situation hasn’t improved, as nothing new has been introduced to the tank for at least 3 months I think this may have been bad advice from the guy at the aquatic shop. I have also crept the temperature up to 29c just in case it is Ich, but none of the other fish are showing any signs. I would appreciate any advice as to what to try next as I am clueless as to what this could be.
<I'd try lacing some foods w/ Metronidazole... as long as you're trying most
Almost forgot the Cory also has a problem with he’s dorsal fin, it’s not ragged but it almost looks like someone has cut it from top to bottom with a razor in several places, it doesn’t look infected just the membrane between the spiny bits is missing, I only noticed this when he started flashing so may be connected. Thanks in advance, Chris.
<As usual I urge caution, less treatment than any... I'd do what you can to boost immunity (HUFAs, vitamins soaked into food) and be patient. Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Gourami. 1/21/13
Hi Bob. Thanks for the quick reply, unfortunately the Gourami has taken a turn for the worse, he is now spending most of he’s time sort of sitting on the bottom of the tank and has rapid gill movement.
<Not good>
The Ich like spots are now covering he’s entire body and he’s colour seems to be fading, he’s head seems to be turning much greyer than it was also.
<... I'd be sampling, or taking the fish somewhere to have them sample, look under a scope...>
Some of how he looks is very similar to my other Gourami that died about 6 months ago, could this be velvet?
<Highly doubtful. Velvet is so deadly it kills w/in hours generally to a day>
Is it possible for velvet to stay dormant in the tank for months?
P.S Sorry I forgot to add the subject line in my last e-mail in my haste for some help.
<No worries. BobF>

Re: Sick Gourami. Colisa lalia, Ich  - 1/25/13
Hi Bob, Well my Gourami is still alive, so it doesn’t look like velvet the fluke treatment doesn’t seem to be having an effect, but at least he’s still eating.
He’s eyes have clouded over and I noticed he’s feeler type things are getting shorter and starting to split at the ends.
I have attached a couple of pics and thought you might recognise or at least have some idea of what might be happening.
Thanks Chris.
P.S  Great site.
<This Gourami has multiple things wrong with it. For a start, it's got Whitespot, so treat accordingly. It also looks to have Finrot, an opportunistic bacterial infection. If you're in the UK (which your e-mail address suggests) then I'd use a combination of eSHa 2000 and eSHa EXIT, widely sold in aquarium shops at around £5 a bottle. They're reliable, can be used together, and don't harm other fish or filters. Make sure to remove carbon from your filter though. Why your Gourami is suffering these problems is a whole other question, and unless the Gourami was recently bought (the most common reason for Whitespot) then some sort of stress is to be suspected (ammonia spike, heater failure, etc). Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Gourami. - 1/25/13
Hi Neale. Is there anything else you can think of that looks like white spot, I do appreciate you taking the time to help me and I know it’s hard to judge from a photo but I have my doubts about icy?
<Whitespot is very distinctive. Like salt grains on the fish. Velvet is similar, but has a much finer grain so it's more like icing sugar. Often, but not always, has a golden sheen to it, hence the "velvet" name. Finally, there's Slime Disease (also known as Costia). This is another skin parasite, but you don't normally see the parasites, just the dead white skin and clumps of greyish slime as the fish reacts. It's trickier to cure, but can be done using commercial medications (I've had success using eSHa 2000 alongside 2 to 20 minute seawater dips).>
I have had ich twice before in the tank both times through introducing infected fish (stupid me) but this seems different.
<I see.>
There are 15 small fish in this tank none of the other fish show any sign of ich, the last times I had ich most of the fish got it. I have upped the temperature to 29c for the last four days which cured ich before where meds failed, but to no effect.
<Do try the eSHa 2000; it should work against all three possibilities.>
This all started about three weeks ago and I would have thought that at least some of the other fish would have been infected if it were ich. I can’t think of any reason the fish would be stressed the water parameters are spot on and I do a weekly 20% water change, the Gourami is the biggest fish in the tank and very much in charge so bullying isn’t an issue and the heater is fine, my tank maintenance routine hasn’t changed since I had the Gourami, about 18 months now.
<Does sound weird.>
I have treated for fluke (Flubendazole) for a week and have just switched to velvet and slime coat meds (Formaldehyde, copper EDTA) which I believe also treats ich four day ago, but no improvement.
<Do bear in mind copper and formalin are both quite toxic, and can stress your fish severely, making what was merely Whitespot to begin with something much more serious.>
He is still eating well, and is moving about the tank but sometimes hides for an hour or so. I know it’s not good practice to  switch meds like I have, but with no sign of improvement and the desire to help the fish I felt I had to try something else.
Thanks again for your input. Chris.
<Hope this helps, Neale (who's been out of town a few days).>

Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?    9/16/12
My name is Jesse I have a 40 gallon tank with one male and female Dwarf, one Opaline, one Pearl, ten Neon Tetras, one Bristlenose Pleco, and one baby Swordtail (parents both died).  Tank is Cycled water quality Nitrite 0 Ammonia 0 Ph Varies 7.5 -8.0 temp 76f and its slightly hard .  
<Sounds within the tolerances of the species being kept, so should work.>
My Opaline I believe has not recovered from the stress of a larger Opaline who beat him up to the point of almost death, the bully went back to the store unfortunately the place I got him wouldn't take him back so I had to drive an hour and a half to a place that would.
<Ah yes, males of this species (and in fact all the Three-Spot Gouramis, Trichopodus trichopterus) can be aggressive.>
The one Opaline still sits around only moving from shelf in tank to breath air at surface, eating a bite here and there every other day and it's been two weeks.  The plan was with him to nurse him back to health and re-home him because I don't want an fish notorious for aggression, my fault for not reading up on them before purchase.  Any suggestions for him would be great.
<Time. So long as he's eating, he's probably okay. There's nothing you can add to speed his recover, but do check water quality is good (seems to be) and ensure there's a good variety of food. If he doesn't like one thing, try something else. Make sure other fish aren't harassing or nipping him.>
My male Dwarf has a patch on his what you may call a chin that almost looks like a feather.  He also constantly rubs his head up and down the side of the glass vigorously.  His appetite is great and vary energetic. I've read on your site a lot and it sounds like a possible fungus.  I would just like a little more info for proper treatment. 
<If it's fluffy, often what people describe as "cotton wool", then that's Fungus; various treatments, with Methylene Blue being the mildest and safest, provided the fungal infection hasn't gone too far.>
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving?      9/23/12

Thanks for the quick response the other day. It was unexpected for a Sunday evening and in great timing. I work on the road a lot and pay the neighbors kid to feed and watch the tank while away.
<Ah, well, unless you're gone more than a week, there's usually no need to feed tropical fish. But if you trust these kids to at least do no harm, then sure…>
The Opaline has proceeded to make a great comeback in the last week another week and he may be ready to go. Ill keep him unless he becomes (overly) aggressive.
The Dwarf has stopped rubbing against the wall but still has the spot (cotton wool) however still appears healthy and strong. Should I continue treatment?
<Always complete a course of medication as instructed by the manufacturer. If symptoms remain after medication, then do a 50% water change, and start a second round of the medication the next day.>
Off the subject of the original email.  I kept tropical fish for 10 years than went on a 10 year break. I've had my new tank for about 6 months and have got the itch all over again.
<Have fun!>
This time with a little more knowledge and patience.  I love the swordtails and would like to try another pair.
<Would not keep any Xiphophorus species in "pairs"… males are aggressive, prone to pestering females. But by all means get a trio (one male, two or more females). Swordtails are nice fish, though the males are aggressive, and do bear in mind they prefer (do best in) water that is hard, neutral to basic, and somewhat cool (22-25 C/72-77 F) and fast-flowing. They are, after all, fish that came originally from streams rather than ponds or sluggish rivers.>
Do you think with my current tank and stock it would be to much? I'm thinking it might be boarder line.
<Can be good community fish, and perfectly suitable for lightly to moderately stocked 40 gallon tanks with decent filtration (turnover at least 6 times the volume of the tank per hour) and the right water chemistry, temperature.>
However I've been scoping out the 100 plus tanks since I have so much room in my new place.
<Most welcome, Neale.>
Re: Dwarf Gourami Possible Fungus - Opaline Starving? – 09/24/12

I do trust the neighbor kids care have a hard time sending him home when I'm home. I am usually gone for a week or two at a time. Since I live far north, lake superior and temp swings are the way of life it I think is necessary unless I want to come home to a ice tank. I have two heaters rated for 55+ gal working together during the fall months until full winter heating season begins. Then I turn the house furnace on.
<I see.>
As far as flow I am over filtered. I have a magnum canister filter (running foam outside of 1lb of carbon which I shut off during medication) which is restricted from to much flow, and a penguin hang on filter rated for 55 with just mechanical filtration.
Either way ill probably just wait tell I get a larger tank to get a proper home for swordtails and the gourms. Along with the seemingly indestructible group of neons.
<Good going! Neons aren't the easiest fish to keep, but that you have success with them perhaps says something about your ambient water chemistry. Maybe choose fish from similar environments, Corydoras for example, and keep those.>
Again thanks for the advise.
<Most welcome, Neale.>

Colisa lalia... hlth.    8/10/12
Hi. Just found your site by accident and I am hoping you can help with my dwarf Gourami problem I have two male dwarf Gourami's in a 180 litre tank; the tank has been running successfully for about 18 months now.
One of the Gourami’s has developed a bloated stomach, it started about two weeks ago and it increased in size for about seven days, for the last seven days it has remained the same size he also has long stringy white waste (see photo).
<Yes... evidence of a likely lumenal parasitic involvement>
He seems to be eating normally but hangs near the top of the tank and doesn’t move about much except at feeding time he’s scales are not sticking out and he seems normal apart from the above symptoms.
He has been in this tank for about a year and always seemed quite happy until now.
I do a 20% water change with gravel vac every week the tank temperature is 25c.
The tank is not overcrowded and the only recent additions were two freshwater clams a six weeks ago, both alive and well.
<Rare... most of these clams starve in short order>
I did have a white spot problem a couple of months back which I treated with WS3 (malachite green) for two weeks unsuccessfully, but eventually eradicated the problem with heat alone as advised on another forum.
<And WWM>
My water parameters are all good Ammonia, Nitrate and nitrite all 0’s and Ph. 6.5.
<A bit low>
I have been to several aquatic shops and have been told the problem is.
Dropsy, Internal bacteria, Internal Parasite, Worms, Hexamita, with so many conflicting diagnoses I don’t know how to treat this fish.
<A combination of Metronidazole and an anthelminthic (likely Prazi/quantel)... laced in foods... you can buy it commercially prepared or DIY... See WWM re... and the diseases of this species period on WWM. Bob Fenner>
Hope you can help. Chris.
P.S great site will be here often.

Re: Bloated Dwarf Gourami     8/11/12
Hi. Just big thanks for your help, I’m guessing you guys are USA based and the problem I have is that the remedies suggested are not always available here in the U.K,
<Ah yes. Neale Monks is in the U.K., and I know of no other place where treatments are so available as the U.S.>
or if they are the guys at the aquatic centre look completely lost when you ask for them.
<Mmm, yes... IF you consider the expense, general resource "worth it", you might contact a veterinarian...>
Anyway on the positive side you have given me the information as to what I am dealing with, a parasite.
<Likely so... A simple/r treatment is Epsom Salt, Magnesium Sulfate... should be available from the drug store>
I decided to treat with a Flubendazole based treatment and after just 36 hours my Gourami is looking much less swollen, he still has the white stringy waste but I am much more optimistic about he’s chance of survival now.
He is eating well which is a good sign, and moving about a bit more, in he’s weakened state he is being bullied by the healthy Gourami a bit more but I am not overly concerned as it doesn’t seem too serious, will keep an eye on the situation.
Regarding the clams, yes I was aware they do tend to starve, so as an experiment I tried them on finely crushed algae wafers and so far they seem to be thriving.
Thanks again for a great site. Chris.
<Thank you for contributing to it, sharing. Bob Fenner>

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.>

Sick Gourami, Colisa lalia, no rdg.     3/6/12
I am inquiring as we have a sick little blue dwarf gourami and I think our sunset platy isn't feeling well either.
<... have you read before writing us?>
We are very new at having fish (yes, I thought some water and a couple of fish would be a nice easy pet for my kids who are allergic to fur...)
<Here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/AnabantoidPIX/dwfgdis4.htm
and the linked files above>
At any rate, we started with a 2-gallon Glo Fish
<Death trap>

tank at Christmas which quickly turned into a disaster.  After several trips back to my local PetSmart they told us we had too small of a tank. (Wish they would have told me that when they sold it to me!) So, they suggested upgrading to a 5 gallon tank.  That just seemed silly, so I got a 10-gallon (had I done my own research, I would have gone for a  20-gallon, but too late!).  We just started the tank about 6 days ago, and put fish in on Day 2 (what is says on the instructions).  We moved our poor little gourami from the poisonous Glofish tank (the girl at the store told me it was the WORST water she'd ever tested).  Along with him (or maybe her) we added a Sunburst Platy (female) to cycle it.  Our new 10-gallon tank has lots of plastic plants, a few real plants, a filter, air bubbles, and a cave - plenty of cover.  The heater has been pretty consistent at 79 degrees. The two fish took a couple of days to get used to each other but have seemed to get along well the last couple of days.  We have had the two fish in the tank for a total of 5 days right now.
Last night, the Gourami was hovering near the heater/top corner/mouth at the surface.  He seemed to not be using one of his fins much (clamped fin?), and wouldn't eat anything.  I changed a couple of gallons of water (using aquarium salt and water conditioner in our hard AZ water).  NOTE: I used RO water in our last tank and it was super-acidic, so the pet store told me to use hard water from outside + conditioner. 
This morning both fish were hovering near the heater together (not quite huddled up, but definitely within an inch of each other). The platy swims around a bit, then comes back to the corner, but the gourami has stayed there all day. This fish is named "Hunger" because he eats all the time, but wouldn't even swim to snack on bloodworms today, poor little guy. 
Today, he has long strings hanging from him - does that mean parasites? 
Poop didn't look like this before. He also looks a little darker in color. 
I don't see anything that looks like Ich.
I had PetSmart test the water this morning and they said it was perfect (it's hard/alkaline but they said these fish like it that way instead of acidic/soft. Ammonia, Nitrates, Nitrites all in perfect range.) So, what can I do to get these little guys better? My kids are going to be heartbroken if we loose more fish (we lost a few in the 2-gallon "Glofish" tank) - What bad marketing to call that thing a starter Glofish tank! But I digress.
Back to the new 10-gallon tank:  I plan to continue to change a bit of water daily while they are sick (using syphon), keep up the aquarium salt (1 tbls per 5 gallons, just adding a proportionately to new water, not to existing), I upped the temp just a bit to 80, and got him some bloodworms to entice him to eat, as well as a home water test kit (although that isn't the problem this time).  Is it parasites? Something else? Should we get him medicine?
Help! I'm trying but this is so frustrating to keep losing fish. Sorry, that's so much info.  Hope it makes sense and you can help us.
Symptoms of the Blue Dwarf Gourami (from failed old tank since January, but in this tank for 5 days - seemed fine and happy until last night):
Breathing at surface
Not eating
Not moving around much (using only one fin at a time)
Darker in color
Long strings of feces
10 gallon Tank (6 days old):
Good water readings (Ammonia, Nitrites, Nitrates in good range, according to pet store)
Lots of plastic plants & cover (just a few real plants)
Bubbles, heater at about 80, filter
Other fish is a Platy, seems a little sick too.
Using hard water + conditioner & salt
Usually feed them fish flakes, and just introduced blood worms today.
<Unfortunately, you've chosen one of the most dismal species sold for aquarium use. I'd re-try w/ more hardy stock. Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/stkgSmFWSysF.htm
Bob Fenner>
Re: Sick Gourami    3/7/12

Thank you so much for your quick reply. Your links are most helpful.
<Sorry to be the bearer of such ill news>
 I had read around the site quite a bit before e-mailing, but didn't quite know what I was looking for (I still have so much to learn!).  I have spent some time reading more today, and, as I'm not quite ready to give up on this little guy, wondered if he's having a hard time because we switched from the soft RO acidic water that the pet store told me was toxic to him, to the outside hard water that is nice and alkaline.
<Actually; unless the "outside" water is extremely alkaline, hard, this is a move in the "right direction"... What is the measured water quality?>
 We are using a dechlorinator/conditioner  (Tetra or Top Fin) and aquarium salt (I thought the aquarium salt would soften it a bit since salt is what is used in our "people" water softener.)
<Mmm, much to state here... the extra sodium is usually not a big deal for potable purposes... but... I'd be reading re, considering using just RO...>
I tested the water again today (test strips) and had Nitrates in the "safe" zone (20 ppm),
<... this is the most I'd allow>
 Nitrite in between the Safe (0) and Caution (.5)

 zone, Total Hardness was very hard (300),
<Ours is higher...>
Chlorine (0), Alkalinity was ideal (between 120-180), PH was about 7.8, and Ammonia was ideal (0).  After the test, I changed out 2 gallons (20% of the 10 gallon tank) and replaced with our outside hard water + conditioner + salt, then treated the tank with the Jungle Lifeguard All In One treatment
<Mmmm, mostly salt>

(the only thing I could find that said it was for "fin clamp" - this is day one of a 5-day course of the "full spectrum non-antibiotic agent"). Both fish seemed sick and we don't have a hospital tank set up yet, so I figured it would be best to treat the whole tank.  If they live, then great, and if not, then the future inhabitants won't get sick - right? (We can discuss that further if they don't make it.)
<... iridoviruses are pretty species specific, if this is what the "cause" is here. Otherwise, Protozoans do have longish lay-overs at times>
The Platy can't decide whether she's sick or not (rests on the bottom, hovers on the top, hides, then swims around just fine and still eating - might be preggers), and the Dwarf Gourami is definitely still sick, but he came out and swam around and ate dinner tonight, so he's certainly perkier.
 I know this medication is not supposed to be for use in a new tank, but I'm ignoring those directions. I have pulled out the carbon filter (but the filter thing is still running) and air stone and heater are of course still going. I saw some info that said to leave the carbon filter in, and some that said to take it out so I went with "take it out".  According to the directions, I'm supposed to put the carbon filter back in on day 6 and at that point do a 25% water change  (or a new filter?, but mine is only 7 days old).
<The carbon alone>
 I assume since I have a new tank and the bio filter is not fully established
<... also deadly toxic>
(I mean the tank is not cycled yet, we have only a "carbon" filter), that my best bet will be to still check/change the water daily while treating the tank?  I presume that I am "decycling" the tank with the meds while trying to cycle the tank, so I just have to be extra vigilant with the water.  I realize that I have the wrong fish all together, but he's still alive and we like him.  Other than our fish selection (too late for that!), am I doing anything terribly wrong with the above steps?
<... Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwcyctrbfix.htm
  It may be to no avail, but at least the kids will know that we tried.
<Better to inform oneself than experiment...>
Thanks again for all your insights!
<Keep reading. BobF>
Re: Sick Gourami
– 3/7/12
Thanks again. Once I realized I didn't know as much as I thought (I read the tank directions very carefully:-) I have been reading as much as possible, but also have sick kids and general crazy life at the same time as my sick fishies, so I appreciate your quickly pointing us in the right direction.  I based my "experiment" on reading as much as I could find.
<I see>
Actually our little guy is doing great this morning. (And the Platy, too.) 
They're both swimming around, eating and using both fins... I wasn't sure from your answer below if I should keep using the hard water, but I think that's what you said.
  So, I'm going to keep changing that water every day, and keep doing the treatment (salt or whatever it is) for the rest of the 5 days, and just try to keep it non-toxic while cycling.  I assume that it's better to cycle him in the 10 gallon tank than to have tried to keep him cycling the 2-gallon "death trap" - yes that's a good name for it! 
I also told the kids no more fishies until the tank is all settled/cycled. 
After reading the tank directions, the kids were all set for several more fish this week (week 2) - ha ha! Who writes those directions for brand new tank owners!  This is what I get for asking the "knowledgeable" staff at PetSmart.  I asked a lot of questions before I ever bought fish, thinking I had done all my research, but apparently just asked the wrong people and got the wrong answers!
Thanks again.  I will continue to educate myself on our new pets and check in with you again if you don't mind before adding any more friends to our tank - AFTER it cycles all the way, right?
  I am so thankful I found your site and truly appreciate your personal assistance.
<Welcome. B>

Re: Sick Gourami - Salt Question
– 3/7/12
Ok, I think I have this temporarily under control and understand how to proceed. Just one more quick question on salt.
My understanding is that in our tropical tank we should be adding aquarium salt with every water change (1 rounded tablespoon for 5 gallons, so adding about 1.5 flat tsp per 2-gallon water change to keep the fishies happy).
<Read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/SaltUseFWArtNeale.htm
and the linked files above>
 And as per the directions, I'm always to add salt, not just when they are sick. I'm only adding new salt to the tank with water changes. However, since I'm also doing the 5-day jungle all-in-one treatment (which you said was mostly salt), should I continue to add the aquarium salt with the water changes, or is that going to be too salty?
<Likely fine>
  (Assuming I'm going to be changing 20% of water daily for the next week or so, or longer until we cycle, based on current conditions.)  Both the Dwarf Gourami and the Sunburst Tetra are still swimming around (with all fins!) and happy this afternoon, and I'd like to keep it that way.
<As many welcomes. B>

Dwarf Gourami with dropsy    1/13/12
Dear Crew
I've noticed over the past few weeks that one of my male Dwarf Gourami is becoming quite pale in colour and has started to show signs of dropsy.
<Dang! This species, Colisa lalia, really should be banned from the trade. Too many problems, easy deaths>
  I believe him to be about 2 years of age.  He is still eating but his rear half has turned almost white and is showing the associated pine-cone appearance of dropsy.  Anything I can do for the little fella or is this just something that happens as they get older?
<IF they even live half this long in captivity, not uncommon, and naught to do... really. You can peruse WWM, the larger Net, books... this condition is almost never stoppable>
 Tank param.s all normal although it is quite a busy tank and quite full.
Many thanks
<Am very sure you've read it, but here's our cumulative bad news re the species:
and the linked files in the series... Bob Fenner>

Likely sick Gourami and question about tankmates... mis-mix env.     1/4/12
Hello there. I'm new to your site (just discovered it about half an hour ago, in fact..), and found it through some searching on Google. I have two questions, one about my Gourami (you can ignore this one if you want, I've decided on it already, but extra assurance would be nice), and another about potential tankmates.
I have a 10 gallon tank with 2 Silver Lyretail Mollies (both are happy as could be, they're a pair),
<Mollies doesn't "pair" so this happiness could well be short-lived. Male Mollies simply mate with any female they can catch up with, and they will attempt to mate over and over again, whether she's receptive or not. As the females become bigger and slower through pregnancy, this unwanted attention becomes increasingly stressful and can cause harm to the female as well as miscarriages. Mollies should be kept in groups of at least two females per male so the male cannot harass just one female all the time, and in any event, 10 gallons isn't enough space for a species that will become 8-10 cm/3-4 inches in length when fully grown.>
a Red Swordtail (male),
<An aggressive, fast-moving species adapted to cool, fast-flowing streams. Not suitable for this aquarium.>
and a Powder Blue Gourami.
<Colisa lalia
, a species that needs softer water than either Mollies or Swordtails, and furthermore, intolerant of brackish water (so not a good choice for use with Mollies) and needs warmer water than Swordtails.>
I have a heater (and a thermometer) that keeps it at the correct 70-something degrees,
<Meaning what? Swordtails come from cool streams and need to be kept between 22-24 C/72-75 F. Farmed fancy Mollies do better in warmer water, around 25 C/77 F, and Gouramis need hothouse conditions because they inhabit swamps and ponds with no water current, so 25-28 C/77-82 F is required for them. Can you see the pattern here? At least one of your fish species will be unhappy (and therefore stressed, more disease-prone, and probably shorter-lived) at the conditions needed by the others.>
and an over-the-tank filter.
<Do bear in mind Mollies and especially Swordtails are "jumpers" that will escape from any openings around the side of the tank.>
This is a relatively new set up, and so it is sparsely decorated (a skull decoration for them to hide in and two fake plants), but I'm working on filling it up with more plants via live growing bulbs that are beginning to sprout. By the way, yes, the water is brackish, just as these species prefer, if I've read correctly.
<You haven't. Mollies do indeed do best in slightly brackish water. It isn't 100% essential, but 50% of the time it makes them easier to keep. But Swordtails do not want or like brackish water, and Gouramis will be harmed by it. Again, a mismatch of aquarium fish species.>
First question;
From my understanding, this variety of Gourami is part of the Dwarf Gourami family, which is prone to DGD. From everything I've read on your site, it would appear mine has come down with it.
Symptoms are as follows:
Slight lack of interest in eating.(TetraMin flakes for tropical fish) Seems to be skinny; bulges on both sides and near its tail fin. Lethargic, sits in the top left corner of the tank and doesn't move. Sometimes turns on his side and swims in a totally incorrect manner, or only favors one fin for part of the day. Seems to have lost some of his color, less vibrant than before.
<Could be the Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus, but could just as easily be poor environmental conditions. Your tank doesn't sound right for this species. It's a swamp-dwelling species that needs soft, slightly acidic water conditions and little/no water current. Such conditions would pretty much kill Mollies and Swordtails stone-dead, so I'm assuming you aren't providing them. My gut feeling here is that poor care, rather than the virus, is the problem here. Do also understand that many Dwarf Gouramis die from opportunistic Mycobacteria infections (what aquarists, inaccurately, called "Fish TB") and these infections are mostly triggered by environmental stress rather than bad luck, though inbreeding may play a part too.>
Also, I've observed my Swordtail picking on him,
<See above. This is an aggressive species that needs a tank at least 90 cm/3 ft long to give it space to race about in. Look at its long, streamlined shape. This is a fish designed for swimming! It doesn't want to be cooped up in a 10 gallon aquarium.>
and earlier today noticed that his(or her) bottom fin and tailfin seem to be picked on, and are a dull red color. His fins seem to be smaller as well, and show the same signs of being picked at, but they're still the same color. Could this disease(if he in fact has it, but he shows all classic signs) have been triggered by stress? I only got him about...maybe two weeks ago along with the others. At first the Swordtail ignored him but he's been pestering him for a few days now.
Originally the mollies were the bullies to him, but they seemed to stop (even though they look tempted to every so often.) Now, the Gourami's tankmates at the pet store all looked happy and healthy, but I will admit this specific one seemed a bit more dull and timid, the employee didn't really let us choose which one we wanted so we got stuck with this guy.
<As I've written many, MANY times on this web site and in fish magazines, Colisa lalia is a species best avoided.>
So, is this truly DGD, and if it is, what can I do in terms of painlessly killing him? That doesn't cost, obviously. I'm just a kid.
<Unfortunately, being 8 years old or whatever doesn't really let you off the hook when it comes to treating animals humanely. So while the Clove Oil method is cheap, it isn't free. Here in England a bottle of Clove Oil costs £4-5, and it can be bought at drugstores and health food shops. It's sometimes called Eugenol and is sold as a treatment for toothache. The method is described here, about halfway down:
None of the "free" methods is humane, and aren't recommended by me or by vets.>
And, of course, if he doesn't die before you respond... It's been about five days now.
<Actually, your problem is most likely the tank, not the fish. Move him to his own soft water aquarium and he'll probably be okay.>
I wish I had known about how they were farmed and the fact they had such a common disease, or I would have never bought one, especially not for the five dollars I paid.
<You're learning the hard way. Stores will take advantage of ignorance, and if you think they go easy on kids, you're in for a disappointment. Spend the five dollars on an aquarium book, read it, and then go shopping. You life will be a lot better!>
Secondly, when/if he dies, do you have any suggestions for tropical tankmates for my remaining three fish?
<The fish you have don't belong.>
I don't want to overstock the tank but I think just the three fish will be a bit empty, especially considering the Mollies stick together nearly constantly, making it seem even more empty than it is.
<Read: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/ca/volume_5/volume_5_3/stocking.htm
I don't want more of the same fish, unless the Swordtail would be happiest with a second. I've seen varied opinions on how happy Swordtails are alone... Would tetras of some sort(obviously in schools) be okay with the brackish, tropical water, and go well with my obviously mean Swordtail? I was considering those already. As a note, the Swordtail doesn't pick on the Mollies but loves to bug the Gourami. What kind of fish will do with these? How many more small fish (about the same size as a Molly, I mean) could fit until the tank is 'overstocked'?
<Your tank is already badly stocked. Time to figure out what to do with the ones you have, then restock with sensible choices as per your water chemistry (is it hard or soft) and the temperature.>
As a side note, are Swordtails meant to be jumpy?
<Yes, especially in small tanks.>
Mine constantly spooks at the slightest sudden movement, and jumps when the tank light goes out, but the other fish don't.
<He doesn't belong in a 10 gallon aquarium. In fact beginners shouldn't buy 10 gallon aquaria!>
Thanks for your time,
<Glad to help. Cheers, Neale.>

Dying Dwarf Gouramis
I am an employee at one of the big box pet stores and I have a customer having an issue that I have no idea how to proceed. He has a 125 gallon heavily planted tank that has been running mostly without incident for around 6 months.
<Sounds good.>
About 3-4 months ago he purchased several dwarf gouramis.
They have been thriving along with all of his other fish since he purchased them. However, in the last week he has lost almost all of them within a few days of each other.
<Yes; not atypical with this species.>
I had read a reference of dwarf Gourami disease some time ago and figured that this might be the culprit so I came to your site, which is where I can typically find an answer I need. The problem is that none of the fish that have died or are still living are showing any sores or other visible signs of any kind of infection.
<Not all Dwarf Gourami deaths are down to Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV). At least some are due to Mycobacteria infections, what aquarists often, if inaccurately, refer to as Fish TB (which is actually something quite distinct and not really common in freshwater fishkeeping).>
He still has a few that appear to be doing fine but is worried. I read through the four pages of information you have posted on diseases in dwarf gouramis and none of the other inquiries sound like this. Have you ever heard of anything like this before?
Is it likely to be DGIV even though there are no sores or discolored patches?
<It's impossible to say for sure. Diagnosing diseases caused by viruses requires expert analysis.>
He tests his water regularly and brings it in to be tested. His parameters are as follows: Ammonia-0, Nitrite-0, Nitrate-less than 20ppm, pH-7.0, Alkalinity-120, Hardness-150, Temperature-78.0F.
<All sounds good.>
Thank you for your help with this, you guys are awesome. Also, I discovered your website from an interview of Bob Fenner by Marc Levenson from Reef Addicts.
<Thanks for the kind words, Jennifer, and I'm sorry I can't pin this down any better. Do be aware that DGIV is more a symptom of the less than perfect way this species is farmed in Asia, and there may well be free use of things like antibiotics and hormones on fish farms that wear off once you get the fish to your store. I'm wary of this species, alongside Neons and Ram Cichlids, the three of them forming an infernal triumvirate of species that often mysteriously die for reasons never easy to identify, cure or prevent. Cheers, Neale.>

Stupid Dwarf Gourami! 9/12/11
I have 2 powder blue dwarf Gourami, I have read that they die easy from dwarf Gourami disease. They are both males, my tank is 55 gallons and I have a rose line shark and 8 tetras in it. One is doing good, he's active but the other one hides all day in is lays on his side on the bottom of the tank and I notice he gets bullied by the other Gourami. I am new to the fish world but learning, and I have read the post about the dwarf Gourami, I bought them cause they are pretty. If he does have DGD will my other fish be infected with it if so what do I need to do?
Thanks, Nicole
<Dwarf Gouramis are territorial and males will often fight, even in quite large tanks. With territorial fish it's best to keep one or else three or more; when kept in twos, it's easy for the dominant one to bully the other
one all the time. So I'd return this chap. Dwarf Gouramis are so disease-ridden that you want to quarantine them before adding them to your community tank. If you didn't, then yes, if one fish is a carrier of the DGIV virus, they all are. But not all "Dwarf Gourami Disease" cases are viral; many are bacterial and caused by Mycobacteria species latent in most tanks. These bacterial infections are stress related, so triggering factors can include bullying, poor diet, low temperature (26-30 C surely essential for these Gouramis), and hard water (chemistry needs to be soft and acidic, 2-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5). Cheers, Neale.>

dwarf Gourami... lack of hlth.   9/5.5/11
hey guys. I got a dwarf Gourami 3 days ago. did well at first but now is turning black near the gills and underbody. I read some articles on your site about it being a sign of stress and could be linked with bad chemistry in tank or water quality or even another fish attacking it. well my water quality I have checked and ammonia is zero, nitrite is zero, ph is 7.0-7.2, and nitrate around 10-20ppm. I did have a rainbow shark in there yesterday with him but noticed he was giving him a bit of hassle so I took the shark back. but now there's nothing attacking him but he still is near the surface of the water almost gasping for air. is there anything I can do to help him relax or get better? I used a stress coat, not really helping. thanks again.
<Dwarf Gouramis are difficult fish to keep even at the best of times.
Partly this is because farming and inbreeding hasn't done them any favours, and over the years they've become more delicate, and partly because they've been exposed to viruses and bacterial infections against which they have little or no resistance. As a species, I don't recommend them. They do need a quiet tank with soft, acidic water (2-12 degrees dH, pH 6-7.5) and relatively high temperatures (26-28 C/79-82F). Water current should be minimal, preferably air-powered. The aquarium must be quiet and well-planted, and lighting levels should be low or at least shady.
Tankmates must be small, gentle species. The aggressive Shark-Minnow likely did a lot of psychological harm here, and possibly physical harm too, as any fin damage can quickly become an entry-point for opportunistic bacterial infections. Realistically, there's nothing you can do right now beyond ensure environmental conditions are optimal. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: re: dwarf Gourami    9/6/11

thanks a lot Neale. I will take your advise into action. maybe get a few more plants for him to hide in and see how he does. thanks again, Chris.
<Most welcome. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Dwarf Gourami   4/28/11
I have a 38 gallon tank that recently had twenty or so fancy guppies. I've had this tank set up for 9 months with varying numbers of the guppies. As of a month ago, I moved and had to switch the tank to a harder tap water -much harder.
<How hard, how measured? Have you read on WWM re?>
Four days ago, I gave away all the guppies except four tiny babies that I unfortunately missed. The next day, I went to Petco and bought two medium sized blue Gourami, both male.
<Mmm, will fight. I'd trade in at least one for a female>
The day after that, I purchased one small veil angelfish, three flame dwarf Gourami (all believed to be male), three Cory catfish, one small yoyo loach and one rainbow shark from Petco as well. They all seemed to be doing fine until this morning (two days after I purchased the newest batch), when the angelfish died. It was then that I noticed that all three of my dwarf Gourami have changed color. They seem to be acting normal, but their heads, chest and dorsal fins have turned a chalky gray / black color with white / light splotches. The coloration is becoming weirder by the hour.
Attached are pictures of the sick Gourami. Aside from the dead angelfish, the other fish in the tank are doing well. Is this a poisoning or an infectious disease?
<Likely the latter, but... could be just a reaction to water quality>
Also, will my other Gourami or other fish be affected by this? Thank you; have a good day.
Kirstin E.
<... read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/dwfgdis.htm
and the linked files above. Bob Fenner>

Or even a "grub" infestation

Re: Gourami's Injury   2/8/11
Thanks for your reply but my Gourami's condition has not improved since then and she is rather plump from the region behind her gills. She relaxes in a corner of the tank in the top strata. Please help!
Thank you in advance.
<Hello. Do need more information on your fish. I don't personally recall any previous conversation with you about this fish. In the meantime, if this is Colisa lalia, do review my comments on this species. Among other things it is prone to both viral infections (Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus) and Mycobacteriosis when stressed (Mycobacteria spp. infection). Neither is curable. Isolate the sick fish and euthanise, my preferred method involving adding 30 drops of clove oil to a litre of aquarium water in a large container, stirring well, and then placing the sick fish into the container. Because gouramis can breathe air, it's important to keep the fish underwater, e.g., by using a net, otherwise this won't work. It should die painlessly within a minute or two. Death is usually confirmed 10 minutes after the time the gills stop moving, but with air-breathing fish I'd wait a bit longer, maybe half an hour or more. Cheers, 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>

Sick Dwarf Gourami -- 09/09/10
Thank you for your help! I have a 10 gal freshwater tank with an AquaTech filter.
<Too small for Dwarf Gouramis, to be honest. Yes, they'll fit, but they're so sensitive and so disease-ridden, you really want "excellent" not "tolerable" conditions.>
It is the one that also has the Bio pad. Not a fancy set up...
NO2 is <.03
<Needs to be zero. No ifs, no buts. This species is so difficult to keep anything less than perfect water quality is asking for trouble.>
PH is 8
GH is 5
KH is 3
My tap water is hard @ 9 so the past 3 water changes have been with distilled water which has reduced it to 8.
<A 50/50 mix of tap water and RO water should create good conditions for Dwarf Gouramis. I would not otherwise mess around with pH or hardness unless you're a real fishkeeping expert -- and fishkeeping experts don't keep Dwarf Gouramis!>
I do a 20% water change weekly but did miss one weeks change due to illness.
<Not the end of the world.>
The last change was on 9/3. I wash out the filters monthly but have not done much gravel vacuuming because of the Kuhli loach. Also, I have run out of regent to test for ammonia. Am I safe in thinking that as long as NO2 is in line the ammonia is also?
<Both need to be zero. A nitrite test kit is all you need, and yes, once nitrite is zero, you can be fairly sure ammonia is zero too.>
I have 3 sunset platys, 2 double bar platys, 5 small neon tetras, 1 small Kuhli loach, and 1 powder blue Gourami. I am writing about the Gourami.
<Far, FAR too many fish for 10 gallons. This aquarium would be about right for, say, 8 Neon tetras and 3-4 Kuhli loaches. But that's it.>
He has not been eating well for over a month now. He has only eaten maybe 3 times in the last 3 weeks but until 3 or 4 days ago no other changes. He is now hiding excessively, will not come out, does not swim to tank front or swim at all really... When I first got him he was very social and friendly. Anytime I was close to the tank he would swim and wiggle just like the others but now seems scared of everything. I have never seen any of the other fish nip or bother him. His sides are looking sunken and I believe he is starving himself to death. I have 2 different flake food, dried blood worms and also feed green peas weekly. I can not see any type of parasite, no sores or lesions of any kind, his gills look OK. I just don't see what could wrong with him. I am not seeing any clear or stringy feces... He has never been aggressive and would often hang back at feeding time so I would make sure he did get food by feeding him at the opposite end of the tank from the others.
<Overall environmental stress would be my guess. Plus, this species is prone to both Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus (DGIV) and various Mycobacteria and Nocardia infections.>
I have seen him brush a plant briefly twice but don't know if he is "scratching"? I have also seen him sort of flinch (for lack of a better word), like a quick jerk really, but not shimmy... and only one time. I am really at a loss'¦
<Doesn't sound like Whitespot/Ick to me.>
He is my favorite and I hate to see him die or have to put him down but don't know what may be wrong with him. I hate to just start dumping meds in unless I know specifically what may be wrong with him. Also so many meds are not safe with the loach. I do have a 5 gal set up as well that I could move the loach to but don't want to spread anything that might be contagious. All the other fish seem happy, healthy, active, and have voracious appetites! Typical fish I guess!
I have just found out about this bacterial infection affecting so many gouramis. I didn't know about it until I had purchased 3 already. The first one in the 10 gal tank died within a week of bringing him home. It was one of the sunset gouramis. He was bought at Petco and they put him in a bag with 2 yellow mollies that almost pecked him to death before I could get him home. Seemed he just never recovered. Now I wonder if he may have had some disease that the blue one has gotten from the tank?
<DGIV is highly contagious, and if one fish in the shop has it, they likely all do. As for Mycobacteria, this disease may be quite common, but it's environmental issues that trigger it from a latent into its deadly phase. Neither are curable. Do read WWM re these diseases and euthanasia.>
I would be grateful for any help you can offer. I am a real softie and can't stand anything to suffer... even the little fish. I will be happy to answer any questions. I may be overlooking something that would help you with a determination. Again, thank you!
<Hope this helps. Cheers, Neale>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami   9/10/10

Thanks for the much needed advice! I can do another water change and also I have a c-100 Zeolite pillow I can put in the filter if need be. I have read mixed reviews there. Some like them and some say will absorb all ammonia and the beneficial bacteria will die off because they starve. That would get the ammonia and nitrate/nitrate to 0. Wont do anything until I hear your recommendations.
<Jan, Zeolite is for very specific situations. It's needed ONLY where biological filtration can't happen. For example, hospital tanks where antibiotics are used that kill filter bacteria (not all antibiotics have that effect, but some do). Another example is very low pH systems, because below pH 6 biological filtration doesn't happen. If biological filtration is going on, you DO NOT need Zeolite. Frankly, 99% of the people who buy Zeolite haven't the foggiest idea what it's for or how to use it. Retailers will happily sell you the stuff of course. After a couple of weeks the Zeolite will be saturated with ammonia and/or covered in organic slime, so will be useless anyway. In short, pointless. If you have non-zero ammonia and nitrite levels, your issue is with overfeeding, overstocking, and/or poor quality biological filtration. Look to those issues and fix them.
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gourami Eye Problem  11/26/10

My gourami is still not well, so can I use sodium chloride (common salt) in place of magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt)
<Salt won't make any difference. As stated before, your problems are entirely made by YOU, because you are keeping TOO MANY fish in TOO SMALL an aquarium. Cheers, Neale.>

Dwarf Powder Blue Gourami damaged his dorsal fin   5/26/10
I have looked for some advice on this problem, but as of yet, I have not had success. I have a Dwarf Powder Blue Gourami that became stuck in an opening in a castle we have.
<Really, this is unlikely. Fish don't tend to get stuck in things because their fins can be lowered. If they seem wedged, they either are doing that deliberately, or they're so weak for some other reason that they can't swim out themselves. It's exceptional for a fish to really get itself stuck. Not impossible, but do keep an open mind.>
He was extremely wedged in, and I had to wiggle him to and fro for several minutes before he was able to swim free.
<Hmm... the problem here is the physical damage from being manhandled.>
Now his dorsal fin is badly damaged
<Should heal.>
and his belly appears to be slightly dented in, as well.
<Now, his belly can't be dented any more than mine can -- there's no bone or anything there to deformed. It's all soft tissue. Fish may exhibit a "hollow" appearance around the belly if they're starving. So again, keep an open mind.>
Is there anything I can do to help him?
<Hard to say. Provided the fins don't show signs of Finrot, then there's no need to medicate. If he's swimming and feeding normally, he's unlikely to be in any distress.>
I imagine he is in pain from his injuries. I feel badly about damaging him, but I didn't think there was any way he would be able to free himself.
<Like cats up trees, it's usually best to let the animal work its way out.>
We have a heavily planted 39 gallon aquarium with plenty of hiding places.
Do you think he can pull through this on his own?
<Probably, if the only problem is a little bruising. But if he was sick already, or you caused damage to the internal organs, then all bets are off.>
I know there probably isn't too much I can do, I just feel so bad about it.
The water temperature is 78, ph is 7.0, and nitrite is 0. Thank you for your assistance,
<Colisa lalia is a species with such a dismal track record as an aquarium fish that I strongly recommend people avoid it. To be aware of this species' shortcomings, particularly its predisposition to Mycobacteria infections and the prevalence of Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. Oddly, the wild fish is quite tough and hardy, but mss production and inbreeding -- especially in the case of artificial forms like your powder blue -- have rendered what was a lovely fish something about as robust as wet tissue paper.>
<Cheers, Neale.>  

Dwarf gouramis and zebra Danios 4/24/2010
Hey there from Australia!
<Hello to you from the East coast of the U.S.!>
My name is Jess, and I have kept tropical fish on and off for years, though a few months ago I bit the bullet and went all out to get a nice setup. I have a 4ft (approx 200L) tank which is very heavily planted with driftwood and rocks. The driftwood has been leaking colour (as expected) so I have been making 30-50% water changes approx every 10 days. I am yet to get a canister filter, so I'm pedantic about changing the carbon and sucking up grunge from the gravel frequently.
Onto the fish! I have 7 zebra Danios (4striped, 2 leopard and one is white/gold in colour), 3 male dwarf gouramis, a large red tailed shark
<Do keep your eye on this last... can be very aggressive>
and one Bristlenose (my2yr old bristle died recently :( )
Firstly, the dwarf gouramis. When I first got them about a month ago, the blue one (there is a blue, blue/orange and orange) was bullied, and his dangly fins eaten. They have since grown back well. About 1-2 weeks ago the pecking order completely reversed, and now he (blue) is dominant and as much an eater as my zebras. The other two love to hide and come around to have a little dig, only interested in food that falls right in front of their faces. One of them (orange/blue) has just started to swell up evenly on either side in his upper half close to his fins - I would take a pic but the plants block my view. I have used some Epsom salts and just added some Metronidazole this morning on advice from my fish store. Is there any chance this is more than swim bladder?
I have also placed some peas in the tank (which the shark loved) though this guy is yet to touch them. Does this sound genetic? Because only a few weeks ago he was boss!!
<Colisa gouramis, particularly C. lalia have many troubles... Read here:
and the linked files in series above>
Now my zebras. The zebras have been here for about 3 months, and eat like little pigs, swimming at the top of the tank all the time - the happiest fish I have ever had. I got some brine shrimp this morning for the first time to mix up their diet. I put in a considerable amount, say 1/3 of a cup.
<!? This sounds like a bunch!>
They went crazy, and gobbled them up though one of them seems to have severely overeaten. His stomach is bulging so much that I can't believe he hasn't exploded!! This was definitely caused by the eating, though he is the only one to have pigged out this much. He did spit out a little, though I had a sports game I had to go to so haven't seen much else. He still wants food - I walk past the tank and he swims up eager for more!! I am worried he will die from overeating - should I quarantine him to make sure he doesn't eat for a couple of days?
<Just leave be, feed all sparingly from now on>
Thank you so much guys, this is an awesome site!
Ps I test my water regularly, and got my aquarium store to check it as well and it came up 100%
<Objective information is preferable>
so it can't be anything to do with the water, which is about neutral ph (slightly alkaline I think) and 23 degrees Celsius.
<Bob Fenner>

Gourami... 10 gal. hex... dis... inherent, other errors, no reading    4/17/10
I am a new aquarist with multiple problems. I have a 10-gal hex,
<Have to tell you up front these are a total waste of money. In terms of stocking, because they are tall and narrow, with a poor surface area to volume ratio, they hold about as many fish as an 8 gallon tank. Basically this tank is viable for a Betta, a few Cherry shrimps, and maybe a couple of Dwarf African Frogs. That's it.>
with a blue dwarf Gourami and golden Chinese algae eater.
<Dwarf Gouramis are notoriously delicate and plagued with viral infections, so a poor choice for a tank like this, and certainly need 15+ gallons anyway. As for the Chinese Algae Eater, a fish neither from China nor good at eating algae, you need to return this, NOW. Properly called Gyrinocheilus aymonieri, it's a nearly useless fish, very big and very aggressive. Maximum length is 35 cm/14 inches, and it'll get that size within a year or so. Above 10 cm/4 inches it is psychotically aggressive, especially in small tanks. Who recommended this species to you? Either you read nothing at all before shopping, or relied on a very untrustworthy retailer who took advantage of your ignorance.>
I have live vegetation. (moss ball, and some other standard pet store plant.) First, my tank is very hard to keep balanced, Ph wise. ( I had a rock that caused massive imbalance.)
<Because it's uselessly small. If you have soft water to begin with, the fact it's overstocked means pH will drop dramatically between water changes.>
Secondly, I was having trouble with one of my fish, but could not resolve the problem before going on a vacation. Caliente ( the red one) was acting violently toward Frio (blue) before vacation; hiding, and swimming erratically. I put in a vacation feeder, but I suspect it didn't work.
<Probably worked fine, but overfed the tank. As we've stated repeatedly, leave fish hungry when away. Much less harm.>
When I came back one of my fish (flame dwarf Gourami) was missing and my other fish (blue) looked as if it had scars on it. I found its chunk of flesh, bones, and brain case at the bottom of the tank. I think he was eaten.
<Likely died, or at least became moribund, and the Gyrinocheilus acted precisely as you'd expect, becoming a scavenger.>
Now, Frio has a spot near its head that looks as if it's deteriorating away. I've been told it's a flesh eating bacteria , but it might be Furunculosis.
<Nope, almost certainly standard issue Finrot caused by very poor water quality.>
What do I do?????!?!!?!?!?!!!!!
<Read. Buy a bigger tank. Cycle without fish. After 3-4 weeks of cycling, choose species appropriate to that size aquarium.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but this system is doomed. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gourami   4/17/10
Thank you, I will more thoroughly research which fish are appropriate for which tank, their susceptibility to diseases, and so on. (Remember I'm a * new* aquarist)
<Lots of stuff here for beginners. Plus books galore. Do look here for some of our favourites:
Many available online via Amazon for pennies if purchased used.>
I'll let my current fish run their course then get a larger tank and try again, but how do I treat for fin rot?
<Commercial Finrot remedy should work well, though remember to use carbon; avoid salt and tea-tree oil "remedies" as these tend to be unreliable. Fish won't get better if water quality and chemistry are poor.>
By the way my tank is more base than acidic. If I get a 20 gal, what are some good starter fish?
<Do read:
In soft water aquaria, most tropical fish are happy with the exception of livebearers, some Rainbowfish and some cichlids. But soft water tanks are prone to pH changes, so don't overstock. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Gourami   4/17/10
Ok, are you sure it's fin rot? (Pictures attached)
<Not sure from these blurry photos. Looks a bit like a Mycobacterium or even viral infection (e.g., Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus). Neither are curable, and DGIV is also high contagious. Mycobacterium infections are contagious
too, but tend to occur where chronically poor water conditions exist, such that the fish's immune system can't protect the fish naturally. Both these diseases are discussed in depth elsewhere on WWM. I've also written many
times here at WWM how I wouldn't even think about recommending or buying Colisa lalia, the species you have here. Among other reasons, the quality of commercial stock is so dire, and so inbred, that Mycobacterium
infections are much more common that they should be. This has been discussed for at least 20 years -- I've got a old copy of Baensch's Aquarium Atlas that mentions the problem. So once again we come back to the issue of reading about the needs of fish before buying them. Online sources vary wildly in quality, whereas books tend to be written by genuine experts and edited professionally. So if you're a beginner, you really can't afford NOT to buy a decent book. Colisa fasciata and Colisa labiosa are infinitely better choices for beginners. One last thing, we do specifically ask for photos to be no larger than about 500 KB in size; yours were 3-4 MB each!
That clogs up our space available for other people's messages. So please, if you send more photos, do reduce them in size before sending them along. We offer just about the best fishkeeping help you're going to get anywhere without paying for it, but we do ask that our few basic rules are met; not because we're jerks, but because those rules exist to make life easier for everyone who visits WWM. Cheers, Neale.>

Sick Dwarf Gourami... is it 4/1 already?   3/26/10
I`ve got a Dwarf Gourami named Snookeroo. I bought him in October 2009 around Halloween, a few days after the Breeder`s Cup races (if you watch horse racing that`d help...lol I don`t keep track of days well.). I keep him alone in a large (1 3/4 gallons, I was told it was OK),
<Is definitely NOT okay. Is this an early April Fool's joke? Or a typo? I hope so. But if you really are keeping this fish in a 1.75 gallon tank, then frankly, that's why he's dying. 1.75 gallons isn't an aquarium, let alone a "large" one; it's a bucket. You CANNOT keep this fish, or indeed any tropical fish, in 1.75 gallons. Stick some cut flowers in it instead. They're already dead, so there's no harm to be done.>
with a fake plant and a small toy polar bear. I couldn`t afford floating plants really, so I put in a floating toy fish (I know I should probably get a floating plant, but he likes the fish, lol).
<Look, I don't want to be mean, but saying "laugh out loud" doesn't diminish the fact you're being cruel to this animal, and what's worse, you seem to know that. You have some vague sense of what this fish needs, but instead you choose not to offer those things. It's hard for me as someone who likes animals to be polite in situations like this, so please forgive me my bluntness.>
He`s got gravel at the bottom of course, so the habitat should be right.
<It's not.>
Everywhere I`ve read they said no bubbles were necessary (part of the reason I chose Dwarf Gourami), so he has no bubbles.
<Bubbles? Do you mean filtration or aeration? Gouramis absolutely do need filtration. In short, they need at least a 15 gallon aquarium with a heater and a filter. Water temperature should be not less than 28 C/82 F given that this species comes from hot, humid ponds. Water quality must be excellent as this species is rather delicate; we're talking 0 ammonia and 0 nitrite. 25% water changes per week will be important. A hood is required to trap a layer of warm, humid air on top of the tank. Without this, they are easily "chilled" because they are air-breathers.>
I`ve put a paper towel (with air holes between the bowl and the paper towel) over the tank to keep him from jumping (I had an incident with a Betta, and wanted to discourage any jumping) and to help increase humidity.
<A paper towel won't increase humidity; it is porous and wicks away moisture. It's a towel! That's what towels do! I mean honestly, what are you thinking? Tiny tanks, seemingly no filtration, paper towels for hoods...? Did you read ANY aquarium books before you spent your money?>
He seemed fine and happy, but was uninterested in food on and off and had kind of labored breathing, he seemed well otherwise.
<You are killing him.>
I got busy though, and didn`t clean his bowl like I should`ve (though he still seemed OK) so I cleaned it and now here I am.
<With a dying fish. And me, my teeth are grinding just reading this.>
His color dulled almost immediately and the scales around his gills became scruffy (over a few days).
<You are killing him.>
I gave a small dose of Melafix to see what that did, and he seemed to like it, but the next day when I went to give him a second dose, he freaked and started darting around the bowl.
<You are killing him.>
I did an immediate water change and discontinued the treatments. I came home today, and he was almost sideways floating at the top gasping for air and his water smelled peppery (it didn`t smell weird yesterday, that I know of).
<You are killing him.>
I removed the paper towel to allow for more oxygen and that helped, he now right side up. I did a water change as well (not much of one, maybe 10-20%). Oh yeah, his poop`s been stringy and white and red (normal colored) striped.
<You are killing him.>
I believe he`s dying as I`m typing.
<Thank all the gods! She finally understands! Yes, you are killing him.>
I haven`t tested the pH, I didn`t even know that test kits existed until recently (never needed them, my only other fish are 6 Bettas and 2 guppies with no problems except one Betta gets fin rot real easy (inborn problem I think) if moved to a new location.
<I don't even want to think about this...>
But the water is room temperature (my room stays about 70-75 degrees F).
<Too cold. You know when you went to the pet shop and it had a big sign that said "tropical fish"? Well, the word "tropical" means "from the tropics" not "from places about as warm as your house". It's actually quite simple. Keeping tropical fish? Don't live in Southeast Asia? Buy a heater.
If you don't want to buy a heater, then don't buy tropical fish. What you're doing is animal cruelty. You can dress up the tank with plastic toys and give the fish a cute name, but you're still abusing that animal.
Sticking it in a food blender would at least be a quick death. What you're doing is slowly killing it.>
So now, his symptoms are labored breathing, unbalanced, dulled color, white and normal colored poop, roughed up scales on the gills, and almost complete loss of appetite.
<You are killing him.>
It`s been around 5 months since I got him. I`m just hoping its not Dwarf Gourami Disease (I knew about it before I bought him, but got him anyway despite the risk, I tend to gamble on things a lot).
<Not Dwarf Gourami Disease. It's actually something else called "Pet owner who seemingly doesn't give a damn disease". Note the use of the word "seemingly" there. I really, really am a nice guy, but since we'll never meet you'll probably never know that. So I have to take what you've written on face value. You may be someone who is really nice to animals, but from your e-mail, I can't see that at all. And I'm here spending 20 minutes of my life writing back to you because I REALLY DO CARE. But honestly, you're doing everything wrong here. I can't make up my mind whether this is a joke or you really are treating this poor fish this way. If it is a joke, then ha ha, you got a rise out of Neale. But if this is for real, then good heavens you have a lot of work to do! Do start by reading here:
Please help.
<Short of buying a proper aquarium with a heater and a filter and a hood, this fish WILL die. And you will have killed it. So before you write back telling me what an awful person I am for being so rude when you came here for help, think about that. You are more than welcome to write back and yell at me. I don't mind in the least. But I'd also like you to write back telling me what you propose to do to turn things around. Can I help? Yes.
Can this fish be saved without spending some money on a proper environment?
No. Good luck, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami... Not a prank   3/26/10
I`m not gonna yell at you, its not your fault. I checked several websites and they all said the same thing and I never found anything about tank size.
<Oh, I see. Well, you've discovered Wet Web Media so that shouldn't be a problem any longer.>
Can't afford books and the library doesn`t have any good fish keeping books,
<Can you get an interlibrary loan? Here in England at least, even if you have a tiny local library, for 50 whole pence about 80 cents) they'll get in any book you want that's owned by the county library system.>
its all fishing guides and a book on what kind of fish are available to fish keepers, and that only gave a brief about the fish. That`s the book that led me to want a Dwarf Gourami.
The PetSmart guy said they needed about everything a Betta does (that`s what I`m used to keeping, and successfully. My first Betta is about 3 years old), except different food.
<No, unfortunately while Bettas can survive in jars of water (hardly optimal, but it *can* work sometimes) Gouramis most certainly cannot be kept this way. Let me put it another way, if you can afford the three dollars or whatever for a Dwarf Gourami, you would be very wise to spend those three dollars on a used aquarium book. Over on our section of books for beginners, we have a listing of some books you can buy this way from Amazon.
I just looked and the "A Practical Guide to Setting Up Your Tropical Freshwater Aquarium" is selling, used, for one whole cent. Sure, delivery will be a couple bucks on top of that, but really, it's a steal.>
The paper towel was temporary until my parents could get me the pet store. I thought bubbles were just for putting oxygen in the water...
<Not really, no. What air bubbles do is move the water about. The bubbles pull water from the bottom to the top, and the circulation improves the rate at which oxygen gets into the bottom layer of water. It also helps even out the water temperature. But by themselves bubbles are trivially important, and most aquarists don't need to add bubbles to their tanks.
Heaters and filters are much more important.>
I keep my Bettas in tanks without bubbles or filter (I clean and do water changes instead).
<Just about acceptable for Bettas, but to be reliably, you need the Betta jars to be kept in a heated fish room and the water changes need to be daily. Most folks who keep their Bettas in unheated jars end up with a dead Betta.>
Everything I was told was wrong, everyone I talked to said I was doing it right, and now I`m paying for it.
Gah, screw ups seem to be centered on me now. I`ve been screwing up a lot lately (on other things, not my fish except Snookeroo), now I just want someone to cuss me out and punch me in the face or just flat out beat me up.
<I'm sorry to be that one. But honestly, I really do care about you and your fish. That's why I spend so much time here at WWM.>
I deserve it.
<I guess.>
Thank you though, every forum I`ve tried never said anything, You`re the only one who`s given me the answer. He died an hour after I wrote this, at least he`s not being tortured anymore. If I`d have found ya`ll even a day sooner, I could`ve gotten a 15 gallon and possibly saved him.
<May well be. Do read around though. We have some ideas on good species for small tanks and for beginners. Start here:
If you don't want to add a heater, there are plenty of coldwater fish that can do well in a filtered 15-gallon tank. North Americans are particularly well served in this regard, with some lovely (and lively!) small livebearers and killifish they can even collect themselves.>
That`s my luck though, always too late. I do care, otherwise I wouldn`t have wrote. Thank god I`m better with mammals.
<In fairness to fish, they're actually longer-lived and generally healthier than most mammal pets, and much easier to keep than reptile pets. But they do need a couple of non-negotiable things like clean water and the right temperature. Get those right, and choose the correct fishes for your aquarium size and skill level, and they're actually very easy to keep!
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami   3/26/10
My Bettas are doing well, my 3 year old is still in good condition, as well as the others, I don`t think the lack of a heater is affecting them much.
<It's a gamble. Bettas are probably annual fish in the wild, or close to it anyway. In captivity keeping them a little cooler than their preferred 28 C/82 F will extend their lifespan, but the risk is that the colder a fish is kept below its optimal temperature, the more likely it is to get sick.
On the other hand, if a fish is cooler rather than warmer, its metabolism is slower, so it's producing less ammonia, so poisons will accumulate in the water more slowly. But then again, below its optimal temperature a fish can't digest its food properly. For most fish, the perfect temperature is what they'd experience in the wild, and for Bettas, that's warmer rather than colder. Visiting Fishbase is a great way to check the conditions a fish is known to tolerate in the wild or under lab conditions.
See here for Betta splendens: http://www.fishbase.org/summary/Speciessummary.php?id=4768
I meant physically, I wish someone would punch me.
<I don't do that... sorry.>
Ya, fish are very long lived. They can get into their 40s and 50s some of them. I don`t have PayPal or any kind of card so internet buying is kind of out. I can get books from other libraries for free, but you have to know the title of the book and I didn`t know of any.
<Hence that web page of books all of us at WWM recommend. To be fair, we also *write* books, so you can trust us! There's lots of information on the Internet of course, but it isn't edited and you can't always tell who knows what they're talking about and who doesn't.>
I`ll look for the set up book though. Thanks, I`m going to read the page you sent. What`s the worst thing a guppy could pass to another guppy besides Ich?
<Not much really. Crossbred ("feeder") Guppies are pretty hardy right out of the box. Fancy Guppies, not so much.
I want to move mine to a 15 gallon and get 2 more, but I don`t want to risk disease. If they`re at high risk I`ll get an extra pump and use their old tank for quarantine. This is the last time I listen to a pet store worker.
<Hmm... well, while some pet store people are skilled hobbyists well worth talking to, others are less valuable in this regard. Basically treat them how you'd treat someone selling a car or showing your around a new home -- listen politely, but verify everything they say yourself.>
What about blind cave fish, would they be OK to keep without a heater?
<Depends. This species comes from Mexico, so we're talking fairly warm water. To be fair, the caves are cooler than above ground, but going below 18 C/64 F won't be good for them. Best kept around 22-24 C/72-75 F. They also need somewhat hard, neutral to basic water to do well.>
Would they live OK in a 15 gallon with guppies?
<No, Blind Cave Tetras are very nippy. They're also hyperactive, and a 15 gallon tank is a bit small for a fish that gets to a good 8 cm/3 inches long. You need a school of them, too. Wild fish feed of bat droppings, but in captivity they're very hardy and easy to keep, and in the right aquarium, fascinating pets. They look lovely in a tank with a dim red light, black sand, and lots of rocks -- like a cave!>
Thanks for the help.
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami   3/26/10
Ok, thanks!
<You're welcome.>
Heaters are kind of expensive and I don`t have the money to buy 6 of them right now, especially since the water isn`t too cold.
<"Too cold" is a subjective term. What's warm to you may be too cold to a tropical fish...>
I should be set now. I`m going to move them to a 15 gallon with a heater and ad 2 more. I`ve got 2 Fancy guppies.
Ya, there`s a lady at PetSmart who`s a fish keeper, I listen to her and I`ve got a friend who works there too, and I listen to her. They`re the only 2 that I pay much mind to.
I`ll start reading more fish books, knock down 2 sticks with one whack. I needed something to read, I finished my list of books. I`ll get Blind Cave Tetras sometime, but I don`t have any room for anything bigger than a 15 gallon anymore (I have a lot of interests, to say the least). I`ll probably get one of those huge aquariums, the kind used for
reefs, and deck it out cave style, maybe buy a fake skull of some sort. I found out we still have a 15 gallon, actually 2, but one was previously used for a lizard/lizards and one for a king scorpion. Would that affect the Fancy Guppies even after cleaning with just water, or should I use something to help decontaminate?
<Simply cleaning with warm water should be fine. No detergent.>
The rocks I have are cycled, so would the tank still need cycling?
<Yes. Rocks don't carry many bacteria. If they did, why do you think we'd bother with filter? The bacteria need to be in a porous place with a constant flow of oxygen-rich water. Sponges, ceramic noodles, etc.
Undergravel filters are good, but just a bed of gravel won't work.>
Sorry if I`m taking up a lot of time, I just want to make sure I get everything right this time.
<Plenty to read here. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami
Thanks for your help. Its good to know that someone`s there to help.
Keep up the good work.
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami  4/11/10

Ok, I got a filter, could I cycle with just a filter?
<You cycle aquaria only when there's a source of ammonia. Daily pinches of flake similar to what you'd use to feed your fish would do the trick. Test for nitrite until it rises and then drops to zero. Should take at least 3 weeks, potentially up to 6.>
It`ll take a while to get the heater and I`d like to get the tank cycled as soon as I can. I`ll probably need to increase the temperature slowly to 70 degrees when I put`m in so I don`t stress them anyway, right?
<Stress who? The existing fish? Keeping tropical fish at room temperature will be stressing them already. The quicker you install a heater, the better. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: Sick Dwarf Gourami
That`s why I was asking, cause the sooner its cycled, the sooner I can get them in the 10 gallon, and the heater should be installed around that time.
<Indeed. Well I guess my work here is done. Good luck, Neale.>

Orange Dwarf Gourami Issues... hlth., comp.    3/26/10
<Hi! Melinda with you here tonight.>
I have a problem!
I have a 30-Gallon tank (my first one)
<Congrats on the habit... err, I mean, the hobby!>
with 5 black skirt tetras, 5 zebra Danios, a Plecostomus, 2 orange dwarf gouramis, and 2 baby angelfish.

<Hmmm... have you been reading about each species prior to purchase? These fish don't necessarily "fit..." try using the Google search bar on WWM.
Depending on your Pleco, it could outgrow this tank, especially if it's the "common" type, the Danios are more a cooler-water fish, and the Angels may cancel each other out unless, by chance, happen to decide to be a mated pair, or at the very least, both female, and the same goes for your gouramis... Just read up on these guys, and know what to look out for and be able to spot signs of trouble.>
I have a Tetra Whisper EX30 filter,
<After a quick Google search, plus use of a calculator (I don't really "do" math!) I see that this is turning over the tank's volume about 5.3 times per hour. This is acceptable; however, please note that as your fish get larger (especially if both angels survive), you may need more turnover.
Also, please look into filtration -- meaning, please read about mechanical, biological, and chemical -- and understand that many hang-on-back filters just don't do it all:
 The only one I can recommend, having used several of them for a while, is the Aqua Clear line of filters, which do provide (or, at least, provide room) for all types of filtration.>
and every Wednesday I put in a bottle of API Stress Zyme.
<May as well buy yourself a sandwich. Or, better yet, some test kits. Can you provide Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels? How about pH and KH?
What temperature are you keeping this tank at? There's a lot of information that's missing here, but I don't recommend spending money on this stuff. Either your water quality is where it should be, and you've done everything right, or it's not, and you need to fix it, and not through use of a chemical.>
A few months ago, an ignorant PetSmart employee said I could a Betta into my tank, (I did not yet have the angels.) and it was strangely fine except for the fact that he was terrorizing my Gouramis.
<Are both labyrinth fishes... I can understand his problem. I have been in chain pet stores and assured that a male Betta couldn't be kept with anything, which is, I guess, the opposite of your issue. However, research is key here: they can be kept with some fish; however, keeping them with other labyrinth fishes is definitely a no-no, unless you're breeding Bettas, and then, only for a short period of time, if you want everyone to be happy. In the end, comes down to your judgment (or lack thereof).>
I got him out and noticed they had paler colors and they lost their feelers. That has since gone away, their colors came back and their feelers were almost grown back.
<Can you give me a timeframe on all of this? How long has the tank been setup, and how long since each species was introduced, etc.?>
However, lately, one of my gouramis has become paler in color, lost almost all his progress in growing his feelers back, (the other one's are back completely) the other Gourami is being mean
to him,
<Possibly both males, or one is simply sensing weakness in the other?>
resulting in some of his tailfin missing, and he camps out in the corner of my tank all day except during feeding time, where he eats just as well as he did before. He has lost the blue stripe on his chin and in place, has gained 2 or three navy blue, almost black patches. I have sent a picture, please respond.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWsubwebindex/dwfgdis.htm
and related links, which can be found above. Many of the Dwarf Gouramis brought into the U.S. carry a virus which results in death, and isn't treatable. This virus can be transmitted between Gouramis, but not to other fish. Let me know if the symptoms you read about in WWM "Dwarf Gourami Disease" sound similar to what you're seeing in your own fish. This disease can't be treated, but if you suspect it is the case, the fish should be removed and euthanized to prevent, if possible, illness in the other fish. However, first, please do look to water quality. You're not providing information as to these parameters, so there's no way for me to really know if this is an issue. Lastly, he's been beat up, and he's having trouble recovering, and the other Gourami isn't making it any easier. This, alone, could be causing his behavior. Do you have an established quarantine tank? I would allow this fish the chance to heal before determining whether he suffers from the incurable dwarf Gourami disease, or just needs some time to get "back on his fins," so to speak.
While in the QT tank, I would go ahead and treat with Maracyn, as per the instructions on the package, for bacterial infection, in the case that this is, indeed a "regular" bacterial infection, brought on by stress or poor water quality, and not the dreaded "Dwarf Gourami disease." What I'm saying is that this fish has been through a lot, and now he's getting picked on, and without knowing the length of time you've had both fish, it's impossible to know whether the photo you sent indicates this disease, or some other bacterial infection. I wouldn't give up on him yet, but would, instead, attempt to treat him, by himself, in a quarantine tank.
Due to the survival rate of these fish when they are imported, it would be easy to take a pessimistic approach; however, you obviously care about this fish enough to write, so I'm offering you information I believe will help him if it's possible to help him. Please do write back, with the information requested earlier, if you have any questions after reading.
Re: Orange Dwarf Gourami Issues   4/2/10

First of all, I would like to thank you for responding so quickly.
<You're welcome!>
Usually when I e-mail groups like this, it takes weeks, if at all, for them to respond.
<Ahhh... well, we realize that fish need help quickly... we volunteer here so we can help folks *and fish*, and in then end, it means we respond quickly!>
Anyway, I put him in quarantine and he hasn't made any progress.
<I'm sorry to hear. Were you able to discern from reading whether or not this was the Dwarf Gourami disease?>
The nitrate is 20, the nitrite is 0, the pH is 6, KH is 40, and GH is 60.
I do a partial water change every Tuesday.
<This is high Nitrate for a QT tank with one Gourami. pH is low... I experienced problems with keeping my biological filter active at this low pH. I'm not saying it could happen to everyone, but did happen to me... what of Ammonia? Then, KH, which I'm normally used to seeing on a 0-12 scale, looks strange. If you have any KH at all, pH shouldn't be 6 (on most tests, 6 is the lowest registered, which means your water could be really, really soft and the pH is very low, either due to dissolved waste or low pH, KH out of the tap). Are you using strips? Would you consider taking a sample to an LFS and having it tested? It might help us determine what's going on here... these results just look weird.>
I got the Betta late February or early march, and had him in for 2 weeks with 2 females. The first week he had ich, but I was able to treat it.
<The Betta? No matter, if he was in the tank with the other fish, all should have been treated.>
The Gourami started acting weird 3 or 4 weeks ago.
<Okay, so have you treated with an antibiotic within the time he's been in quarantine? Please let me know what you used. If it was a "dependable" antibiotic (and by this I mean no tea tree oils, etc.), then this is either Dwarf Gourami Disease, or you need to try another antibiotic. I'm not sure if you ever diagnosed this as anything, or what you used to treat. Please write back with this information. Good to hear back from you!

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.>

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