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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives Stocking/Selection

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

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

One of the original aquarium fishes... Macropodus opercularis, the Paradisefish.

Replacing a gourami "show" fish        6/15/19
Hi everyone... I just wrote you the other day about a suddenly picky Trichopodus trichopterus with respect to diet... sure enough, I found her dead this morning.
<Oh dear.>
4 years old, 3" (body) long, and recently slowing down a bit, I was not surprised, yet I kept the water clean etc. just in case. Sad. It was a good run for her.
Now, I have five mature cherry barbs (Puntius titteya) and two, year-old Synodontis nigriventris catfish in my vertical, 15-gallon tank.
<Both nice species, though 15 gallons is a mite small for Dwarf Synodontis.>
I would like to occupy the upper level of the tank with another gourami. I figure a (pair of?) Trichogaster labiosa could be a good choice, since I see your team recommends them often.
<They are certainly robust and undemanding.>
I'm worried, however, about the aggressiveness of the catfish.
<Can't imagine Synodontis upsetting Trichogaster labiosa, given space enough for both. >
Perhaps a Trichopodus leeri?
<Another excellent species, though that much bigger, so less obviously suitable for a 15 gallon system.>
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated... Thank you! --Matt
<Can you obtain Ctenopoma? Microctenopoma fasciolatum for example is a tough, attractive fish that places few demands on the fishkeeper, though it will need frozen/fresh food, not flake. Some of the large Betta species might also work, such as Betta pugnax. These are gentle fish, but should be fine with Cherry Barbs, and provided the Synodontis are well-fed, these latter shouldn't bother them much (they can be fin-nibblers if hungry).
Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Angelfish... Not; Gourami stkg.        7/16/14
Thanks Neale, just to recap....I think you said that I should only have one male gourami total in the tank even if I had 2 or more different types of gouramis? And if I get a lone angel and it happens to be a male, will it fight with the male gourami over territory since it is a small tank?
<Best to have only one species of gourami in small volumes. Bob Fenner>
Thanks again
James Hall

A quick pearl gourami question   5/16/13
Hello WWM crew!  I am so thankful for your website and the time you spend answering our questions.  That said, I do not want to waste your time so I will get right to it.  I have a 25 gallon tank with an AquaClear 50 that has been running for approximately 6 months.  My ammonia is 0, Nitrite is 0, Nitrate is between 5 and 10, temperature is 76, and Ph is 7.0.  I have 4 peppered Corys (plus a couple fry and juveniles), and three Otos.  Five days ago I added a female pearl gourami.  She is coloring up beautifully, and although a bit shy, still interesting to watch.  I was under the impression that gouramis would be comfortable kept singularly,
<Mmm, though not nearly as interesting...>
but am second guessing my sources when I see how shy this particular gourami gets when I approach the tank.  I am wondering if it would be in this fish's best interest for me to return her, and if so, do you recommend a particular gourami that would do well by itself?
<Well, smaller species would be happier in this setting, though still better in groups... Colisa lalia (given you can find healthy specimens); C. chuna... Do see the Anabantoids (stocking/selection FAQs) sections on WWM>
  Would a few of the smaller gouramis be a better choice for my tank size?
<Ah yes. Bob Fenner>
 Thank you in advance,

centrepiece fish suggestions please, Gourami, Colisa stkg./sel.   1/10/12
I've read a lot of clear and useful information on your site and its been really helpful for me as a beginner to the hobby.  I have a 120l Juwel Rio 125 tank with std filter and plants Cabombas, vasilleria, java moss, Amazon sword, and crypt, its been up and running for about 7 months now following a fishless ammonia cycle which took what felt like ages!  I have 4 Cory cats, 1 BN Pleco, 3 female platies (i removed the male as they wouldn't stop breeding), 8 cardinal tetras and 9 x-ray tetras, RCS and a pearl gourami.  I had 3 dwarf gouramis but they all died within 2 months of each other, I did research at the time but since then I have read a lot about the ?Iridovirus and wont get these again its a shame as they look great. 
<Yes, a shame>
Following this I replaced them with a pearl gourami which was great but about a month ago I had some Whitespot, which may have come following an ammonia spike after remodeling the plants as they grow so fast.  I treated with Interpet white spot, this appeared to clear up but them another week or so later I noticed some whitish patches on the body and fins of the pearl gourami and a slight bump on his lip.  I watched it for a few days and the bump got bigger and whiter (a bit fluffy looking) so I treated with Myxazin for mouth rot.  However the gourami stopped eating and kept getting worse with what looks like an open sore, he also shied (sp?) away from other fish.  Then the pearl gourami appeared to get bloated and died this all took around 4-6 weeks.  I change around 15l-30l of water twice a week. 
My question can you suggest a centrepiece fish to replace the pearl gourami around the same size and nice colouring, I may get another pearl but would like to know some other options, which are compatible with the cherry shrimp as I read a lot about chilids which look good but they apparently eat RCS quicker than they an breed. 
<Yes... And seeing as you're a gourami fan... I am a huge fan of the larger members of the genus Colisa for centerpieces in the size, shape system of yours...
Do look for the Thicklip (C. labiosa) or Giant (C. fasciata)... as a smaller pair to start>
Also, when I have to remodel the tank should I remove all fish to a container or do it while there in there as it kicks up a load of sediment from the bottom and I don't really vacuum the gravel other than a bit over the surface when I do water changes because I don't want to damage roots of the plants?
<Best to do such remodeling in steps.... not totally dismantling/disrupting the entire system if at all practical>
Many thanks, think I got all the spelling okay apologies if i missed any
<Cheers, Bob Fenner>
Re: centrepiece fish suggestions please   1/11/12

Thanks for the reply great suggestions your superstars!
<Ah, welcome. B>

new gouramis, sel.     10/12/11
Dear Crew.-
I'm kept successfully for two years my Aquarium (10 gallon tank) with eight(8) cardinal tetra, 2 Cory-Pandas, 2 Cory arcuatus , 1 Cory- julii and three sparkling gouramis. Last two weeks I begun to set a 30 gallon tank to go forward in this amazing hobby.
My plan is enlarge the community adding more Cardinals tetra, other Cory cats and finally for what is my concern...put in my new tank two Honey sunset gouramis or eventually two Pearl gouramis.....is this one correct or the gouramis can be extremely aggressive with the others individuals?.....
<The Sunsets may be/come too aggressive here; and this system is too small for this species in time... Start them at a small size (under two inches) and you should be fine. The Pearls are generally easygoing>
Thanks in advance
<Welcome! Bob Fenner>

African Labyrinth fish, sel./stkg.    8/4/11
Hi crew,
A while ago I was in contact with Neale about adding to my 60L community of 6 fairly rowdy Dwarf Neon Rainbowfish and 2 Atyopsis shrimp (now 1 shrimp unfortunately) Tank vitals - 27-28 deg C, NH3 = 0, Nitrite = 0, GH = 4, pH = 7.4).
At the time, Neale recommended either Microctenopoma ansorgii or Microctenopoma fasciolatum as good (and final) possible additions to the tank. After much searching around Singapore and waiting, a LFS has advised me that they have both Microctenopoma ansorgii and Microctenopoma congicum in stock. I've done a lot of looking around for info on Microctenopoma congicum on your site and the web but can't find a lot - to your knowledge are they similar in looks and requirements to Microctenopoma fasciolatum?
Thanks a lot crew - as always top-notch website (especially the writing - takes a scientist to know a bunch of scientists!),
<Hello Duncan, and thanks for the kind words. Microctenopoma congicum and Microctenopoma fasciolatum are identical in terms of care, so pick whichever is available. They do vary in colouration a bit, and the Microctenopoma fasciolatum on sale recently are more steel-blue compared to the reddish-brown of Microctenopoma congicum, but photos on Google suggest that this distinction may not always hold true. There are definitely differences between males and females, too. Frankly, I have a hard time telling these two species apart. Microctenopoma ansorgii by contrast is somewhat demanding in terms of water chemistry, and it is also a much shyer fish, so approach that species with care. It's a lovely fish, but does need the same sort of care you'd give Apistogramma rather than a standard Ctenopoma. In any event, there's not much on Ctenopoma published online, but there are some good books, e.g., Jorg Vierke's excellent 'Bettas, Gouramis and other Anabantoids'. Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Labyrinth fish   8/4/11
Thanks a lot for your quick reply Neale,
<No problem.>
Could you please specify what water chemistry parameters ansorgii require, given that they are fussy in this regard?
<Avoid extremes, but tend towards the soft. So, let's say, something like 2-10 degrees dH, pH 6.0-7.0. Most of the other Ctenopoma will be happier across a broader range, even quite hard water.>
Given that my Melanotaenia praecox are fairly nutty at feeding time, should I just go for the congicum because the ansorgii are likely to be out-competed at feeding time due to their shyness?
<M. ansorgii certainly won't be happy. They're a lot like Apistogramma, so what you want are smallish tetras or Rasboras alongside them. On the other hand, M. congicum shouldn't have too much trouble picking off bloodworms and whatnot from the substrate.>
Thanks so much,
<Cheers, Neale.>
Re: African Labyrinth fish   8/4/11

Hey Neale,
Just picked up a copy of Jorg Vierke's book that you recommended for GBP6.00 on eBay - and most of that was postage! Awesome! Don't know how long it will take to get to Singapore, but I can't wait! Thanks so much for the tip.
<Glad to help.>
By the way, I'm planning on setting up a 4ft X 2ft X 2ft tank at the school that I teach at (secondary science teacher).
<Me too.>
I understand keeping different species of Anabantoids in the same tank may well be a no-no given their territoriality (assumption based on semi-related FAQs on WWM that I've searched).
<Does vary, but many of the Ctenopoma will get along just fine.>
I'm not planning on including Trichogaster trichopterus in this set-up.
Would this assumption hold true for Anabantoids from different continents?
For example, would keeping M. congicum, M. ansorgii, C. acutirostre with Trichogaster leeri be asking for trouble?
<That combo should be fine. All these species are fairly easy-going, and given space, and a few plants to break up territories, they should keep out of each other's way.>
Or am I wrong and do different species of Anabantoids, even from the same continent, mix reasonably in the same tank? I know my newly-purchased book will probably give me the answers I seek, but I can't resist asking now given the wait that may be involved.
<Really, with labyrinth-fish, the thing is to avoid known troublemakers, like male T. trichopterus.>
Cheers and thanks for fielding all my questions - promise to not ask any more for at least the next week,
<Good luck, Neale.>

Sparkling Gourami? Hlth./sel.   -- 10/20/09
Hey there!
You have helped me in the past with Dwarf Gourami questions.
Unfortunately, I lost the 2nd one. As much as I love them, I'll heed the warning and not try again.
My question today is about Sparkling Gouramis (Trichopsis pumilus) I have the chance to get a few of these little beauties. Is this species also susceptible to DGD?
Say the word and I'll steer clear.
<Both Trichopsis species are very robust, Trichopsis pumilus and Trichopsis vittatus. The main thing is that they're kept with appropriate companions.
Being small and gentle, they're easily bullied by other fish, and can lose out at feeding time.>
If they're safe, would they do ok in a 20g with 2 Corys and 5 male guppies?
<Corydoras, yes. Male Guppies, maybe. Does depend on how "feisty" your Guppies happen to be. In theory they should be fine, and in a big tank with lots of floating plants, e.g., Indian Fern, the Trichopsis should be okay.>
How many would you recommend?
<I'd allow 5 gallons or so per specimen, and that assumes floating plants.
These fish stay close to the surface. They're air-breathers, and very small, and can't hide away comfortably anywhere else.>
Again, many thanks for your website and advice. :)
<Happy to help. Cheers, Neale.>
re: Sparkling Gourami?
Awesome! It's great to know they're not susceptible to that horrid disease.
My guppies are pretty rowdy. Sadly, they don't sound like a good stock option for this tank.
<Perhaps not. As I say, it depends on how well the tank is planted at the top level. In a 20-gallon tank your options are a bit limited, to be honest. So if your Guppies are wont to throw their weight around, you might
elect to either move them onto another, single-species tank, or else leave the tank as it is.>
Thanks for the quick response!
<Cheers, Neale.>

Follow up question re: dwarf gouramis, other Gourami sel.  2/5/09 OK...we put our dwarf Gourami down with advice posted on your website, he went peacefully. Then we bought a 55 gallon tank and it took only a few days to cycle thanks to adding bacteria, a Eco Bio Block and old gravel/media from the new tank. It looks pretty empty because we only have: two small silver dollars, one vampire shrimp, six Rummynose tetras, one scissortail in our 55 gallon tank. In our old 10 gallon we have put a few red cherry shrimp, mandarin orange shrimp, mystery snails and our latest our new purchases: 3 silver Hatchetfish in quarantine awaiting transfer to the big tank. I think I will keep the old 10 gallon as either a quarantine tank or a shrimp/snail only tank as I love them both. Anyway, we do miss our dwarf Gourami and are interested in pearl gouramis. We saw some lovely full grown ones in the store today and wondered how hardy they are. Are they prone to this Iridovirus or other maladies? If so, is there a Gourami which is hardy and appropriate for our community tank? Thanks, Melissa <Hello Melissa. Pearl Gouramis, Trichogaster leeri, are essentially hardy fish and do not contract Dwarf Gourami Iridovirus. The only problem they are prone to is Finrot, if kept with nippy fish that attack their long fins. Otherwise they are easy to keep. Quite a peaceful species, too. One of my favourites, and an excellent choice given your tank and its residents. Other good choices are Thick-lipped Gouramis (Colisa labiosus), Banded Gouramis (Colisa fasciata), and Moonlight Gouramis (Trichogaster microlepis). Though not beautiful in terms of colour, the Snakeskin Gourami (Trichogaster pectoralis) is a wonderful gentle giant and extremely hardy. The one Gourami species to approach with caution is the Three-spot Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus). Although females are peaceful, males can be very aggressive. I don't recommend it as a community tank species, despite being extremely widely sold in lots of colours, including the popular Blue Gourami and Yellow Gourami varieties. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: Gouramis (Selection) [RMF, any comments on Marines?] 2/5/09 Hi Neale, Thanks for answering, it's very kind of you guys to donate time to answer what must be hundreds of e-mails. <Happy to help. Besides, questions about Gourami selection make a change of pace from sick Bettas in unheated bowls, sick Bettas in unfiltered bowls, and sick Bettas in unheated, unfiltered bowls.> See, we bought the silver dollar (Silver) and dwarf Gourami in December and put them in a 10 gallon tank together, they bonded from the beginning, swam together, investigated things, ate together, the Gourami defended him from other fish who made the Silver nervous. But when the DG got sick and died, we got him another small SD named Nemo (ok my four year old son "helps" name the fish I know they're not great names but if you've ever had a four year old boy you know how these things go). But Silver and Nemo haven't bonded a whole lot, they both do their own thing. <It's always dangerous to use human behaviours to interpret animal behaviours. If nothing else, my cats would feel very insulted if I took their behaviours down to the level of hairless apes like me! But joking aside, animals don't work the way we do, because each species operates in its own very different world. Silver Dollars and Dwarf Gouramis are not likely to become "friends" as such, though I admit that innate schooling behaviour may cause different species of fishes to group together where choices from their own species are lacking. Some fish will also learn to follow other fish because they benefit in some way. Angelfish often follow livebearers because they know the pregnant females drop little packages of live food (i.e., babies) every once in a while, and I had a Scat that learned to stay close to an Archerfish during feeding time because the Archer would spit down crickets and other bits of food. So it's always best to stay firmly in what we know. In the case of Silver Dollars, they're schooling but hierarchical fish. In groups of six they generally behave properly, but in smaller groups you can get bullying and other aberrant behaviours, precisely like those you're seeing here. Solution? Add more Silver Dollars.> After the death of the DG coupled with the move to the large tank Silver has gotten shy and skittish and seems sad. Nemo who is much younger and smaller swims all over the tank and they sometimes hang out but not like the DG and Silver. The personality of the DG seemed to bring Silver out of his shell and get him swimming around so that's why I was thinking of a pearl Gourami. <I'd get more Silver Dollars first (making sure they're the same species, there are several!). Pearl Gouramis won't bond with Silver Dollars, or at least, I can't think why they would.> The scissortail schools with the much smaller but similar in looks Rummynose tetras and is LOVING all the room to swim. The rummynoses are bright cherry red and happy all the time, very active and playful. The vampire shrimp has been with us a month now but we don't see him much, he is very shy and nocturnal but absolutely beautiful. <Vampire Shrimps are Atyopsis gabonensis, right? Agreed, a lovely animal. But don't forget to feed it. Contrary to what retailers might say, these aren't really scavengers. They do need particulate food of some sort. Liquid fry food is ideal, but finely powdered flake or even hard boiled egg yolk will do. Make a suspension of food in a small container, and squirt a few drops into its "fans" periodically (ideally, daily) using a pipette. Algae wafers, fed at night, should also help.> So, my three questions: given what I've told you is it better to get a pair of pearl gouramis (male/female) or a solo? If solo, is a female or male better? <I think the question of Gouramis is irrelevant to the Silver Dollar situation. In terms of shopping for Pearl Gouramis, a singleton, a pair, or two females/one male will all work out.> Second, even though it's only been three days in the quarantine tank, our silver Hatchetfish all look fine. Is a week in quarantine enough? Are they compatible with our other tank inhabitants as well? <If they're feeding in the quarantine tank, and don't seem stressed, I'd certainly leave them at least another week, but after that move them into the big tank.> Third, I'd like our next tank to be saltwater but am nervous about setting it up and inhabitants. I've heard damselfish are quite hardy, are they good "first fish" to have after the initial cycling is complete before adding other marine fish and invertebrates? If not, which are some hardy, easy to care for, colorful and small sized marine fish we can use for a beginner tank (probably a 20-30 gallon)? <Really a question for Bob F. Would highly recommend buying or borrowing his 'Conscientious Aquarist' book before doing anything else. There is an excellent "cook book" section at the beginning outlining setting up your first tank. Basic marine aquaria (i.e., without corals and the like) are pretty easy to put together and maintain, especially if you understand water quality/chemistry through experience of freshwater fishkeeping. But you absolutely must read up thoroughly before spending a penny on livestock or hardware. In the meantime, have a browse here at WWM; there's a tonne of marine aquarium stuff, perhaps even more than freshwater: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm> <<A forty gallon is a much better, size, shape to start with... Marine systems differ in a few ways from freshwater... One profound way is their "stability" physically and chemically... as a function of the size/volume of the seas... Starting with "too-little" tanks can be a great hindrance in keeping the water viable, and too-limiting in reducing stocking possibilities. Please read here at your leisure: http://wetwebmedia.com/marine/setup/marsetupindex1.htm Bob Fenner>> Thanks, Melissa <Most welcome, Neale.>

Malaysian Trumpet Snails and Male to Female fish ratio 11/04/2008 Hello all, Hope things are going well for you today. Kind of gloomy and rainy here. I am considering adding some Malaysian trumpet snails to a 75 gallon fw aquarium. I have read of all of the benefits they can provide, but do I have to worry about them not getting enough detritus for their food source and dying? <No risk at all. In fact overfeeding is why people end up with crazy numbers of these snails. In a clean tank you basically get a healthy constant number limited by food availability.> Also, I have read that if this type of snail dies there is no requirement to remove it as it will not foul the tank. Is that correct? <Pretty much.> My other concern is with male to female ratio of certain fish. I am planning on stocking my tank with gouramis for a slow moving fish to occupy the top as well as banded rainbowfish for the middle. Please tell me how many males to females of each of these I need please. <Rainbowfish are best kept in equal numbers of males and females. The ratio of Gouramis depends on the species. Colisa spp. are often kept in pairs without problems, and the same can be said for Trichogaster leeri and Trichogaster microlepis. Trichogaster trichopterus is a bit more tricky; males are quite short tempered. They're best kept one to a tank, with as many females as you want. In a big tank you could keep multiple males, but make sure there are at least twice as many females.> Thank you so much for all you do to make aquarium life better for people like me. James <Happy to help, Neale.>

Gouramis (Selection; behaviour)   10/14/08 Hello Crew, Hope things are going well for you. I am in the process of setting up a 75 gallon freshwater tank and was thinking of having a Gourami species tank. <Can look very good. Numerous species to choose from, though as always I warn people not to waste their money on Dwarf Gouramis (Colisa lalia) and to be aware than male Three-spot Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) can be extremely aggressive. Do also remember that both these species occur in regional/artificial forms such as Neon Gouramis, Blue Gouramis, Yellow Gouramis, etc. That's why I recommend you use Latin names for a project like this, so you know precisely what species your talking about.> I would like to know which types would get along best together and what the ratio of male to female should be if that matters. <Yes, it does. Most male gouramis are territorial, so if you want to keep multiple specimens, get six or more of each species to "dilute" any aggression, and preferably keep twice as many females as males.> If it does matter, is it easy to tell the males from the females? <Usually very easy. Depends on the species of course in terms of specifics. Among Three-spot Gouramis (Trichogaster trichopterus) males have longer dorsal fins than the females. Moonlight Gouramis (Trichogaster microlepis) are sexed differently, by the fact males have orange pelvic fins rather than white ones. And so on. There are many excellent books on Gouramis and Labyrinth Fish/Anabantids generally, and I would consider purchasing/borrowing one prior to doing anything else essential. There's much information here at WWM as well.> Thank you for your help. James <Cheers, Neale.>

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

Gourami question 06/15/08 Hi, And thanks for your support and very informative web site. I went through a quite to few trouble - try to keep dwarf Gouramis, but never had any luck. I love that fishes and would like to try again. Is any of Gouramis ( smaller size is preferable) easy to keep, will tolerate pH 8.1 -8.2 ? I really would like to have a couple in my 55g. Thanks Larissa <Hello Larissa. Most of the "other" Gouramis will do well in your aquarium. Dwarf Gouramis are uniquely feeble and worth avoiding. If you want something similar to the Dwarf Gourami, both Colisa fasciata (the Banded Gourami) and Colisa labiosus (the Thick-Lipped Gourami) have the same red/blue stripes. Both are in the trade, though not as widely sold as Dwarf Gouramis. The Three-Spot Gourami (Trichogaster trichopterus) is another hardy species, though males can be aggressive. The yellow ("Golden Gourami") and blue ("Blue Gourami") are the two widely traded varieties of this species. Personally I have a great fondness for the Moonlight Gourami (Trichogaster microlepis), a peaceful, all-silver species that looks great in a shady tank with lots of plants. It is very hardy and doesn't become as territorial as the Three-Spot Gourami; on the other hand, it does get a little bigger. All of these would be perfectly at home in a 55 gallon system. I hope this helps, Neale.>

No question, just a thank you... and Colisa lalia sel.  -- 10/28/07 Dear Crew, I am very new to the hobby, starting a 30 gal FW tank about 2 months ago. In doing research before putting the tank together, I stumbled upon your web site and have found it to be extremely informative and helpful. I believe that the reason my fish are happy and healthy can be directly attributed to finding the answers to any questions I had by searching for them and reading your site. I find myself coming here everyday and reading the Daily FAQ's, even if the question doesn't pertain to my particular situation. I have also found many of the articles you have posted very interesting. I can't begin to tell you how much I have learned about keeping fish since I've started visiting your web site. <Thanks for the kind words, and I'm glad you're enjoying the site.> So, while I have no question for you today, I would like to extend a huge THANK YOU to all you do for us that love our "wet pets". I have complete confidence that if I ever have a question that can't be answered by a search , I can ask and know that you will offer your knowledge and expert opinion, which I trust emphatically. <We appreciate you taking the time to pass on these thoughts.> My little community tank: 7 Red Eye Tetras 2 Dwarf Gouramis 3 Zebra Danios 3 Julii Corys 1 Banjo Catfish ammonia-0 ppm nitrite-0 ppm nitrate-20 ppm Respectfully yours, Jennifer <A nice collection of fish. The only possible problems are the Dwarf Gouramis and the Banjo cat. The Dwarf Gouramis are a fine species if healthy, but the quality of stock is very poor, and a high proportion of specimens from Southeast Asian fish farms are infected with an incurable viral disease. Keep an eye out for this. Optimising water quality and providing a healthy, balanced diet will go some way to ensuring success, but if things do go wrong, don't blame yourself. I personally recommend against Dwarf Gouramis *unless* sourced from a local breeder. Banded Gouramis and Thick-lipped Gouramis are, in my opinion, better bets. Banjo cats are lovely animals, but resolutely nocturnal and often starve to death in home aquaria. So do feed at night time, and do provide a mixed diet not just catfish pellets. Frozen bloodworms and frozen Tubifex are probably the ideal, but small bits of chopped seafood would be useful too. Good luck, Neale>

Dwarf gouramis?  hlth.  -- 08/26/07 Hi! i was will be getting a pair of flame dwarf gouramis fo my 10 gallon. I have done alot of research and know that gouramis catch disease very quickly. i was just wondering what medication would be good to use when i first get them. I know they can have internal diseases and want to get rid/prevent it.) <Greetings. Dwarf gouramis -- Colisa lalia -- are indeed extremely prone to bacterial and viral diseases collectively known as "Dwarf Gourami Disease" (DGD). These are a problem because of how the fish are farmed. The odds on a standard, store-bought dwarf gourami getting DGD is better than 50% unless the fish is kept in soft, acidic water at slightly higher than average temperature (~5 degrees GH, pH 6.0-6.5, 25-28 degrees C). Even under these optimal conditions, there's no guarantees your fish won't come down with DGD. It's really as simple as this. Now, as for treatment -- there isn't any. None. Zilch. Nada. When a dwarf gourami is infected, particularly with the viral form, well, that's it. The best you can do is destroy the fish painlessly. There's no recovery, and antibiotics (naturally, this being a viral disease) have no effect whatsoever. Nor does adding salt to the tank, prayer, or sacrificing a cock at the altar of Asklepios. Commercially-bred dwarf gouramis are, in my opinion, a total waste of time and money. Far, FAR better to buy one of the similar but infinitely more robust species like Colisa labiosus or Colisa fasciata. These have the same basic colour but are about a third to a half as big as the Dwarf gourami. Obviously they are not really suitable for a 10 gallon tank, though a mated pair might be OK if the tank was a "long" design with plenty of floating plants. If you really want to use a 10 gallon tank for some labyrinth fish, consider one of the smaller Betta species (perhaps the delightful "peaceful betta" Betta imbellis) or one of the droll little "talking" gouramis, Trichopsis spp. Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: dwarf gouramis? Now Trichogaster leeri...  -- 08/26/07 thanks so much! i might try though... what about pearl gourami? <"Trying" Dwarf gouramis is how the Southeast Asian fish farmers get away with mass producing disease-ridden livestock. Inexperienced aquarists think their next attempt will be successful, so retailers keep buying them from their wholesalers, and their wholesalers keep ordering them from the fish farmers. If the newbie aquarists stopped buying dwarf gouramis (except from local breeders) then the demand would vanish and the Southeast Asian fish farmers would have no choice but to change their farming methods. At the moment, one recent scientific study (J Go and R Whittington, 2006) found the incidence of Dwarf gourami iridovirus in dwarf gouramis exported from Singapore to be a staggering 22%! Since the disease is EXTREMELY contagious, once an infected fish is in a wholesaler's, retailer's, or hobbyist's aquarium, that infected gourami will infect all the other dwarf gouramis. Just imagine if 22% of the people around you were infected with TB or Smallpox... how long do you think you'd be healthy? That's why I am so adamant that the demand for Dwarf gouramis dry up, so that this rotten aspect of the ornamental fish trade can be eliminated. Anyway, as for the Pearl gourami -- Trichogaster leeri -- this is an excellent gourami. It is peaceful, attractive, and very hardy. Because it is a medium-sized fish (around 12-14 cm when mature) its minimum space requirement is for a "long" 20 gallon tank (i.e., a tank at least 60 cm long). Obviously more is better. While it naturally comes from soft/acid water environments, in the aquarium it does not seem to be at all fussy, and here in Southern England it does very well in hard/alkaline water. Long lived, i.e., 5-10 years. Doesn't get "dwarf gourami disease" and basically hardy. Hope this helps, Neale>

Re: dwarf gouramis? Now Honeys... Gourami sel.... what's next?  -- 08/26/07 wow. feel bad for those poor little dwarfs! what about honey gouramis? (i would like to stick with my 10 gallon) and also, what if the dwarf gouramis don't come from Asia? If i ask my LFS (awesome store, very friendly, fish look great!) if they come from Asia, they say no, the fish look good....? (i love dwarf gouramis!!!=)so funny!) sorry for all my questions! I want to be a good fish ''mommy''! <Greetings. If the Dwarf gouramis don't come from Southeast Asia, then there's less change that they suffer from Dwarf gourami disease. The ideal is if they're locally bred (they aren't difficult to breed, so your local fish club might be able to help you there). Tropical fish shops may be able to tell you where their stock comes from. Many order directly from exporters in Southeast Asia, South America, or wherever. But a lot of stores get stuff through "middlemen", importers, and so the store might not know precisely where their livestock comes from. If you *do* want to try dwarf gouramis, then you need to know the signs of Dwarf gourami disease. Fish suffering from this begin by being lethargic, off their food, and shy. As things get worse they develop ulcers and patches of white dead skin, often looking a lot like they have finrot. Then they die. If even one single fish shows these symptoms, then assume they're all infected. I personally wouldn't buy dwarf gouramis EVER except from a local breeder... but it's your money. Honey gouramis are resistant to the disease (as are most other gouramis) BUT they are intrinsically more delicate fish. They need soft/acid water, period. If you don't have that, they're likely to be short-lived. I honestly cannot recommend the alternatives too highly: Colisa labiosus and Colisa fasciata. These are easy fish that look like Dwarf gouramis but can be practically guaranteed to last for years. Being a bit bigger they're also less shy, and easier to tame. They're quite commonly traded, and not difficult to find. Please look them up in your aquarium book. Hope this helps, Neale> Re: dwarf gouramis? Sel.   8/28/07 thank you so much! I'll ask and if the dwarfs are from Asia, I'll get a different gourami. You guys rock! <Sounds like you have a plan. Good luck, and thanks for the kind words. Cheers, Neale>

Gouramis? Sel.  - 05/02/07 Hi Crew! <Hello Ruth!> I have a 15 gallon tank with live plants and wood etc. The Ph is 6.4, the GH less than 6, the KH is 0, Ammonia 0, Nitrites 0 and Nitrates between 10 and 25. <Sounds a nice tank.> I guess this is quite alkaline and soft for a lot of fish! <It's actually a little acidic...> In the tank are 4 Danio Rerio, 5 Cory cats and 4 Japonica shrimp (I add Iodine 1 drop per week for these great guys!). <Some nice fish there. Which cories do you have though? Some species get a little large for a 15 gallon tank.> I really want to get a centerpiece for the tank and was looking at Gourami, maybe Colisa lalia or Trichopsis Pumila? Would these be appropriate fish for tank size and water type? <Definitely go for Trichopsis spp. There are two species in the trade, and either would be nice. I have a great fondness for Trichopsis vittatus; though not quite so colourful as Trichopsis pumilus, it is very noisy! Colisa lalia was a nice fish but for various reasons most stock seems to have very poor longevity.> I'm concerned for the shrimp as I know they may be considered food by most? Is there enough room for a pair of the said Gourami or is it better to have, say, a single male? Any advice is greatly appreciated! Love the site as well! <Trichopsis spp. are generally very tolerant of one another provided there is plenty of plant cover at the top of the tank, which is where they like to hang out given the choice. Your main problem won't be the shrimps but making sure the danios don't steal all the food before the gouramis eat it. Definitely do-able, but using floating plants to keep the danios away from the gourami feeding patches will be useful.> Many thanks, Ruth <Cheers, Neale>

Adding after Upgrade We've got a 20 gallon tank, newly established (converted from a 10 gallon tank) that has 4 black tetras, 2 tiger barbs, a golden algae eater, 2 hatchet fish, and we just introduced 2 juvenile albino Corys. All of our fish are fairly small, the longest being the golden algae eater, about 2 inches. We recently saw some neon blue dwarf gouramis at the pet store and thought they were very nice looking fish, but were concerned because our black tetras tend to get nippy when they see larger, bright or shiny fish. The 2 barbs (contrary to standard tiger barb behavior) are pretty much completely oblivious to other fish except each other, and the hatchets just hang around the top. Do you think the dwarf gouramis would have a problem in this setup or not? Greg and Debbie <Many tetras can be a little nippy but the Gouramis should be OK. Not sure how long since the upgrade, but wait at least a month before adding any more fish. You should be testing to ensure you are cycled. If all is good then go ahead and add the gourami. Another pair of Corys would be great. They like being in large groups. Get all the same species. Don>

Osphronemus Gourami Hi Fenner, I'm currently located in Houston and have been looking for some Osphronemus Gourami, but I couldn't find any. I'm not sure if you stock these fish at all, if not would direct me to stores or farms where I can get some. <Hmm, the true Gourami... shouldn't be that hard to source locally... even "albino" ones... Have you checked with your local fish stores? Look up a larger specialty one in your area and ask them if they'd "special order" one/these for you... almost all shops have a mechanism (order book) for placing such requests. This is what I would do... if there are troubles, delays in delivery... they will be able to rectify it. If no luck this route, please re-contact me. Bob Fenner> Thank you so much, Lap

Neon Blue Dwarf Gourami I will setting up a 15 gal tank and plan on having neon blue dwarf Gouramis in it and was wondering how many I should have.  I know that the Gouramis are very territorial in nature and should I plan to put only 5 or 6 in them.  I will have a lot of hiding places and will solve the problem of them beginning territorial. <These are called "Dwarf Gouramis" but they can still get 2-3 inches long so even 5 or 6 is probably too many. The blues do tend to be one of the least aggressive but in a 15 gallon tank, no more than 3 or 4 is recommended. Ronni>

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