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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives Systems

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 Selection, Gourami Feeding, Gourami Disease, Gourami Reproduction, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish,

Mollies and Gourami's: headed for disaster? 6/19/08 Hey crew, <Hello> You're site is beautiful and as a fellow website/ forum administrator, I can appreciate and enjoy lengthy pre-email checklist. <Sad that it is necessary.> I'm hoping this isn't a repeat. I am a college student who recently moved into my own (very tiny) apartment. I have always been fascinated with aquariums and planned to get one as soon as I got my own place, but have nearly zero previous experience, besides the handful of goldfish I won and promptly killed as a child at the fair. So about 3 months ago I waltzed into Petco and on the recommendation of the 'fish expert' I purchased a 5 gallon Marineland hexagon tank with a cartridge and bio-wheel filter and light attached to the hood, gravel, 2 flat river rocks, 2 good sized plastic plants, a small castle that has two caves. <Tiny> I set up the tank with bottled spring water and waited a week for the water to cycle. It passed the water test and I purchased (as suggested) a paradise fish, an Opaline Gourami and two Black Mollies. <Oh no> It was at this point (big mistake) that I decided to do my research and read through Freshwater Fish for Dummies. I now know the tank is way too small and our tiny Black Mollies need a tank with some salinity and are being bullied by the now much larger Gourami's. <Really it is too small for all of these fish, the paradise fish reaches about 4 inches, the Gourami about 6. The hex tank is probably not much more that about 8 inches wide I think.> One molly died a day or two after we brought it home and just wasn't eating from day 1. Now, 3 months later the remaining Molly has large white patches and white flakes coming out of her gills, which my research tells me is Columnaris (a common petstore Molly disease). I have been treating it for about 3 days with Maracyn 2 (as recommended on a few websites) and the patches have disappeared for the most part and the Molly seems fine. <Good, although the Maracyn most likely nuked your biofilter, so lots of water changes here.> The two Gourami's seem to be thriving. <For the moment, as they mature aggression will most likely follow.> They have grown inches and have gone from nearly white to very dark and rich in color. They seem to get along great and are very active and fun to watch, but they continue to bully the Molly who retreats to the castle cave or plants. <Expected.> I do a 25 percent water change on Sundays and change out a cup of water twice during the week. The tank is kept super clean and I use only spring water. I feed them color promoting flakes, veggie tablets and freeze dried blood worms in small increments throughout the day and I fast them one day a week. <Good> I literally do not have space in this apartment for another, or a bigger aquarium, but I plan on moving and getting one next year. Am I just wasting time buying medicine and special veggie food for this very stressed out Molly. <Probably, they are very sensitive in freshwater, best to find him a new home.> Will it just continue to get sick in these conditions? <Most likely.> Is it suffering or can I make this work for another 8 months? <Does not sound like he will last that long, can he be returned to the store?> I just want to know if I am torturing this fish by keeping it in this tank or can I keep it this way as a temporary situation? <It will most likely not survive much longer in this environment, and once it is gone the other 2 fish may turn on each other.> Am I a horrible person for doing this to these fish? <Not as long as you take steps to rectify the situations.> Give it to me straight please. <No holding back.> Cheers - Jacqueline <Chris>

Moving time for Gouramis?  03/15/2008 Hello Crew, <Leanne> I have a seven gallon FW tank that is well planted and contains two Gouramis (one Gold, one Opaline) <... need more room than this> and three Albino Cory Catfish. I'm not sure of the filtration rate but the water seems to pump though fairly smartly. Ammonia is zero, Nitrites are zero but I have not tested for Nitrate. When I first got this tank, as a first time fish keeper, I sought extensive advice from the LFS. They assured me that this size tank was fine for this setup and actually suggested I get several more fish. <Ah, no> Having done some reading I now realize that this tank is far too small, so the obvious option is a bigger tank. However, my two Gouramis currently get along fine. I suspect they are both females as they both have dorsal fins that are of an elongated oval shape and not pointed. <I see> They do chase each other very occasionally but most of the time they swim together and hang out together peacefully. I suspect that the small size of the tank may have discouraged them from establishing territory. <This is likely so> So, my question is should I leave (what appears to be) well enough alone or should I relocate the whole setup to a larger tank? <Mmmm> By moving all my fish to a larger tank, would I be encouraging territorial behaviour in my Gouramis that they have not yet exhibited? <Not likely... and with more room/space, other fishes could be introduced that would greatly lessen probable aggression... And be a lot more fun for you> Thanks very much for all the great work you do. Kind regards Leanne <Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Adopted "Brackish" Aquarium - Combining BW/FW Fish 12/23/07 Hello Crew, <Hi Jess, Pufferpunk here> I have recently adopted a 29 gal aquarium from a friend( by recently, I mean I've had it for about 2 months). She had a GSPuffer in it along with 2 dwarf Gouramis and a blue paradise Gourami. The sides of the aquarium were so thick with algae and other gross things that you couldn't actually see through the glass. Obviously, I have cleaned and spruced up a bit (a giant piece of petrified wood and some hardy FW plants have been added and the nasty plastic children's toys were removed). I have read on your website, the GSP is actually a brackish water fish and the gouramis are a strictly FW breed I am at loss as to what to do. The GSP isn't doing so hot, he is still a dark olive color except a bright green patch on his head. I'm not entirely sure of what to do. If I raise the salinity the gouramis would almost certainly die and keeping it where it is now is hurting the GSP. I was thinking about stealing a 10 gallon tank from my mother and turning it into one of their homes, but then neither will have enough room. I am at a loss as of what to do, please help. <If the puffer is still small (under 2"), you can keep it in the 10g tank for a short while but over 2", it will need a 30g tank (I suppose the 29g will suffice). Otherwise, I guess you will have to move the gouramis in the 10 gallon tank. Be sure you read up on cycling a tank before moving any of them. Get yourself a good liquid test kit, to keep an eye on ammonia & nitrite (should be 0 at all times) & nitrate (should be below 20). Also pH, which should be neutral for the FW fish (around 7.2) & alkaline for the puffer (around 8). Have you read this article? It will tell you all about the care & feeding of the puffer. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/BrackishSubWebIndex/gspsart.htm Also check out more info on puffers at: www.thepufferforum.com. In addition, there is plenty of information info about your gouramis at our site. You will probably want to upgrade them some time soon.> Thanks, Jess PS, buying a larger tank is hopefully in the distant (as in after I have graduated college) future but that's not going to be for another 3 or so years. <In that case, you may want to find homes for either the gouramis or the puffer. ~PP>

Gourami/tank troubles 07/23/07 I have been reading your site to try to find out what to do for my tank, but I think that I have several problems going on, and I'm not sure what to do. I don't want to start dumping things in to fix everything, especially when I'm new at this. <OK.> 1st problem. Overall alkalinity is high. I assume it is because of our extremely hard water. the pet store said that theirs is always high too. <Almost never a problem. Freshwater fish are very adaptable. Provided you do water changes around 50% per week to keep the water chemistry stable, and use adequate filtration to keep the water quality high, the fish don't usually care. It's a mistake to get hung up on water chemistry unless you're keeping fishes that need specific environments, like Lake Malawi cichlids or blackwater rasboras. Most of the common stuff, barbs, gouramis, angelfish, etc., are very adaptable. Better still, choose species that *like* your water chemistry, so the "problem" becomes a virtue, and you have healthier fish that are easier to breed.> 2nd: pH tends to be high, always registers blue on my test kit (7.6, but it could be higher, as that is the highest this test registers). I'm not sure how to get it down. I've been doing regular changes (20%) at least weekly, but sometimes more often than that so that my fish will be okay with the high pH levels. I've also tried Proper pH 7.0, but it hasn't brought it to the correct level. Do I keep adding it until it is to 7.0 or 7.2 somewhere sufficient, or will that disrupt the nitrogen cycle I'm trying to establish? <Again, don't bother. If you don't understand water chemistry, and you're finding it a struggle to master, don't try and change it. A pH of 7.6 is fine for most standard community tropicals. Far better you do big water changes each week to keep things stead (i.e., by diluting nitrate accumulation and the background acidification in aquaria that happens anyway) than you add potions that you don't understand. Once you're up to speed on the hobby, it's fun to set up another tank to experiment with. Get some Apistogramma dwarf cichlids or something and then play with water softeners and pH adjusters to get the chemistry those fish want and then watch them breed. For now, forget about it. You're more likely to stress the fish by bouncing the water chemistry about. Above all else, remember pH is only an indicator, and fish don't feel it. If the pH goes down to 7, but the total dissolved solids (the minerals in the water) stay high, you've achieved nothing at all. Invariably, fish want either acid + soft water, or alkaline + hard water. These things come in pairs. You can't focus on the easy one, pH, and ignore the difficult one, hardness.> With our new tank, I'm trying to get the nitrogen cycle established, so I think that I need some alkalinity so it can be converted to nitrites to nitrates, but I don't want to damage my fish. <No no no. Alkalinity is derived from hardness minerals, nitrates from ammonia produced by decay and metabolism. The two things are unrelated, except to say this: in very soft, acid water, biological filtration doesn't happen. But that's to do with the tolerances of the bacteria involved. For your purposes, there's no connection. Mature the aquarium using the method you prefer. Some folks like fishless cycling, others a few hardy fish like danios. Either way, proceed with care, and monitor ammonia and nitrites regularly until everything has settled down.> It has been over a month now--should the nitrogen cycle be established by now? I haven't had any prob.s with high nitrites or nitrates. <The ammonia to nitrite part of the cycle is usually done within a month of setting up, and the nitrite to nitrate part within 6 weeks of setting up, but that's if you're using a "with fish" cycling method. Things are different if you're adding bacteria cultures straight to the tank (e.g. Bio Spira or some filter media from another aquarium). But ultimately this is all theory: all that matters is the results from your ammonia and nitrite test kits.> I have a ten gallon tank with 2 gouramis (one bright orange and one lighter orange--male and female of same species) and 1 cardinal tetra. Before the gouramis, I had seven cardinals, but they all died except one. (probably high pH?) The one left seems to be well adjusted and doing great. <The cardinals will die off very quickly in immature aquaria. Water chemistry is largely irrelevant. I've kept them in "liquid rock" where the pH was around 8.0. But they are delicate fish in new tanks, and they are also sometimes sensitive to Neon Tetra Disease. The dwarf gouramis are nice fish but famous for being stricken by a viral and/or bacteria set of diseases called Dwarf Gourami Disease, so watch them carefully.> Prob #3: Whitish cottony growth all over the tank--esp. on the artificial plants. Some on the glass. We had the problem before, and couldn't get rid of it, so we started over--disinfected the tank and everything in it, and started with new water (thus the nitrogen cycle issues) Is this a normal fungus? Should I try to get rid of it? How? With our old tank, my husband tried some things like Jungle Fungus Clear, but it didn't fix the problem. <Not fungus, since fungus usually grows only on organic materials that are decaying, like dead fish or wood. This is likely bacteria, a sign of poor water quality and a lack of cleanliness. Check water quality values (nitrite and nitrate especially) and act accordingly. Siphon out any leftover food in the tank. Clean dirty objects like rocks and plastic plants under the hot tap, but avoid using soap, try to just scrub them clean. Do 50% water changes per week. Make sure you have adequate filtration: the filter should provide not less than 4x the volume of the tank in turnover per hour (you will see a litres- or gallons- per hour quote on the filter).> I noticed just a little of it on one of our gouramis (orange one with deep orange fins) now. <That's fungus or Finrot. Treat immediately. There are commercial preparations that deal with both, and that's perhaps best here.> Every time I do a water change, I let the new water sit with Water conditioner in it before adding it to the tank. I was adding Top fin Bacteria supplement, but don't always add it with water changes now, since I am assuming that the tank already has bacteria introduced into it. should I be adding a little of it with each water change? <No. Once the tank is cycled, the bacteria look after themselves. Adding "top up" doses of bacteria is a waste of time, and indeed many of these bacteria supplements seem to have to practical value at all anyway.> Has it caused the cottony fungus? <No.> Should I add aquarium salt? <No.> My guess is that the Top Fin water conditioner already is replenishing electrolytes--does aquarium salt add other things? <No.> Would my water become too salty? <Yes.> We have a water softener in our house because of our hard water--does that have an effect on the fish? <Arghhh!!!! No, don't use softened water from a domestic water softener. Use the drinking water tap, i.e., the unsoftened water. Domestic water softeners -- despite their name -- don't soften water. What they do is replace "temporary" hardness (carbonates for example) with "permanent" hardness (such as chlorides). The goal here is to switch the kind of hardness that furs up pipes and appliances with the kind of hardness that doesn't. While that's fine for washing and plumbing, it's terrible for the fishes because they get stuck with this bizarre and very unnatural set of water chemistry values. Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwh2oquality.htm > Problem 4: Our gouramis were eating fine when we first purchased them, but now the bright orange one stays down in the back corner, and isn't eating. (The other is more active and eats fine.) It seems to have a long bulge near it's back fin. It also has had whitish stringy feces from the beginning, when we first got it. (I've read several people on your site mention that as a symptom) Does it have a bacterial infection? or a Parasite? Has the fungus affected it? <Ah, this Dwarf Gourami Disease. This fish will die. And so will the other one. As I seem to write once a week, and as is pointed out in virtually every fishkeeping magazine on a regular basis, Dwarf Gouramis produced in Southeast Asia especially are exposed to a bacterial and/or viral set of diseases that cause the same symptoms: loss of colour, loss of appetite, lethargy, open sores, death. There's no treatment. It appears to be 100% contagious in small tanks. Remove the sick fish to another aquarium and try to provide optimal conditions if you want, but frankly you may as well destroy it painlessly now and hope the other fish isn't infected. Buying Dwarf Gouramis is a TOTAL WASTE OF MONEY in my opinion and the only reason the fish farmers get away with producing these sickly fish is that inexperienced aquarists (unfortunately) keep buying them. Until that stops, those farmers won't change their ways.> Is it the pH level that is affecting it? it didn't seem to be affected by it before). <No.> I have been feeding them color-enhancing flake food, once or twice a day, and I try to not feed them more than they will eat in about 5 min.s. <No, loss of appetite is a normal symptom. Nothing you can do.> Thanks for your time in helping with our tank issues-- Angela <Since you are almost certainly going to lose both gouramis, can I make a suggestion for the future? Since you have hard, alkaline water, why not choose fishes that prefer such conditions. Livebearers, gobies, glassfish, rainbowfish among others fit into this bracket. Have a read of this: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwhardness.htm . Hope this helps, Neale>

Salt in FW tank 7/9/07 I just had a question about salt in freshwater aquariums. I was wondering if gouramis will do ok with salt in the aquarium. I'd like to keep my fish healthy with some FW salt. Thanks for all the help. <This is a simple one to answer. No. Do not add salt. The labyrinth fish group is a classic "primary freshwater fish" group, that is, one that has evolved in freshwater and has a low tolerance for salt. One a very few species naturally occur in brackish waters (the two I know of are Anabas testudineus and Osphronemus goramy). All the others require freshwater conditions, and mostly soft/acid conditions at that. Adding salt will be more or less stressful to the majority of gouramis. Now here's some more advice. There is no reason, none, to add salt as a matter of course to a freshwater aquarium. Tonic/aquarium salt doesn't raise the hardness or pH, so it doesn't help livebearers or African cichlids. Salt was used historically to compensate for poor water quality, because sodium chloride reduces the toxicity of nitrite and nitrate. But unless you have a really badly maintained aquarium, this shouldn't be an issue. Tonic salt is simply repackaged cooking salt sold at an inflated price to gullible and inexperienced aquarists. Even if you need salt to treat disease, as with whitespot or fungus say, you could simply use non-iodised cooking salt for the same effect. And even then, you'd be using the salt as a short term treatment, not a permanent part of your maintenance routine. Unless you are keeping brackish or marine fishes, you shouldn't need to add salt to the tank, and in those situations you'd be using marine salt mix, not tonic salt. Cheers, Neale>

Re: Gouramis? Sys.? 5/4/07 Hi Neale! <Hello Ruth!> Thanks very much for the reply. I did mean acidic lol...typo! I will definitely go with your advice here! Two quick questions though, if I cover a lot of the surface with floating plants, wont my other plants suffer from reduced light? <Depends on the plants, but the idea is to crop the floating plants back regularly so they're only providing a bit of shade. Floating plants tend to grow extremely rapidly (absorbing nitrate in the process) and once settled in you'll be cropping them on a weekly basis.> I don't really want to replace them for low light plants as they are quite well established now. <Should be fine. Choose floating plants like hornwort that don't create too much shade.> The Corys I have are Peppered and Julii, will these grow to be too large for 15 gallons? <Wild-caught peppers can get to around 7 cm or so, but the tank-bred forms seem to be quite a bit smaller. Both species should be fine in 15 gallons, but I'd heartily recommend upgrading to 20 gallons or so.> I have got a 3 foot tank to upgrade to if I need to, although my other half wont be too happy..!  :o) <But your fish will be *so* much happier!> Thanks again! Ruth <Cheers, Neale>

Compatibility question  4/18/07 Hello, <Hello.> I have a 55gal tank that has 5 Gourami and 4 dwarf Gourami along with a catfish and a Pleco. I used Dolomite and some crushed coral as the substrate to elevate the PH. <Why? None of these fish need hard/alkaline water. The gouramis in particular want soft-ish water between pH 6.0-7.0. Take the dolomite and coral sand out and replace with plain washed gravel. This will lower the hardness/pH and also darken the tank, which will improve the colours of the fishes. Most freshwater fish "fade" their colours in tanks with a light substrate.> The current PH is around 7.8. I would like to add some less aggressive cichlids to the tank. <No. Absolutely not. The gouramis will be hammered by the cichlids. Exceptions might be made with angelfish and some of the dwarf South American species, but that's about it.> Would I be able to add (2) Yellow Labs and (2) Powder Blue cichlids or should I stick to the Gourami family? <The "family" isn't the issue, water chemistry and temperament are. With gouramis, your safest companions are medium-sized non-nippy barbs and tetras, Corydoras catfish, small bagrid catfish, glassfish, rainbowfish, halfbeaks, hatchetfish, and so on. Avoid anything territorial or aggressive, including most cichlids, "sharks", etc..> Thanks, Joe <Cheers, Neale>

Gourami's current too strong?  - 11/09/06 Hi. I love this site... a wealth of aquatic wisdom! Please give advice on my tank... I have a 50 gallon tank with a Aquaclear 110 (previously the 500) hang on filter. The filter is set to it's minimal output. A few days ago I added three gorgeous gold gouramis to my tank not knowing that these fish much preferred a slow current. I added a nice few floating plants to the water (silk) to try and make them comfortable but I'm still afraid that the faster moving water will have them stressed out and basically unhappy in their new home. Should I bring them back to my LFS? Or, is this filter simply too much for a 50 gallon tank? <Mmm, should be fine> Also living in the tank are 5 tiger barbs (so far not nipping the gouramis), 1 black ruby barb, 1 rainbow shark, and my 7 year old Chinese algae eater Al (he has chased the gourami's a few times but nothing serious...he's still feisty for an old guy). <Do keep your eye on Al> Any tips on what fish I could add for my community tank? Thanks, Shelley in Newfoundland <Patience and observation at this point. Bob Fenner> Planted aquarium/ labyrinth fish question  - 10/25/06 Hi Crew, <<Hello, Sean. Tom>> First off, let me say that I am quite impressed with this site. I have literally spent more than three months doing research, since I am planning on setting up a reef tank in the near future. After finding your site, I have decided to wait a few more months so I can do even more research before "diving in." But, I digress... <<Glad to hear weve been of help to you in your pursuit, Sean.>> I have an empty 24g tall aquarium, and six gouramis (4 three spot and 2 paradise) that could use some extra space, and an idea that I thought I would run by you guys (since, as far as I can tell, you guys know everything about aquaria). <<Collectively, Seancollectively. :) >> Would it be possible to run a "low oxygen" planted tank, with no added aeration or filtration (essentially a "closed system" except for water changes and food)? Here's my rationale: 1. Plants absorb CO2 and release O2 <<Yes>> 2. Fish absorb O2 and release CO2 <<As well as ammonia>> 3. Nitrifying bacteria are primarily anaerobic <<These bacteria cannot multiply or convert ammonia/nitrites without oxygen and plenty of it.>> <i.e. actually aerobic. Denitrifiers are almost entirely anaerobic. RMF> 4. Gouramis, as labyrinth fish, are well-suited to lower oxygen environments <<The term well-suited carries the connotation that these fish can/will thrive in such an environment, Sean. Boils down to the difference between surviving and thriving.>> 5. Plants absorb nutrients and dissolved organics from the water <<Plants will utilize ammonium (NH4+) and nitrates. They dont utilize ammonia (NH3) or nitrites and these two, as you know, are the compounds that will damage/kill fish.>> Here's my proposed setup: 24g tall aquarium 3-4" sand bed submerged powerheads for water movement 2X36w, 10,000K PC lighting LOTS of aquatic plants I think I was inspired by mud/macro filters for reef systems... the plants would act as my "filter," absorbing excess nutrients and waste from the water... <<Marine systems arent my area, Sean, but keep in mind that there are micro-/macro-organisms at work in reef systems that allow for the type of filtration you make reference to. Not so in FW systems>> Would this even work? Would I be dooming my fish to certain death? If this is even feasible, can you recommend a "cleanup crew" for this setup? <<In my opinion, Sean, there are some holes in your plan that dont make this viable. Foremost among these is that there would be insufficient oxygen levels for the beneficial bacteria to do their job. Even a cursory perusal of filtration systems will highlight the importance that oxygen plays in the establishment and productivity of these bio-colonies.  Second, the bacteria are not mobile and inhabit surface areas only. By comparison, the sponge media, as an example, in a typical filter provides many thousands of times more surface area on the bacterial level than that provided on the surface area of the aquarium itself. If the ammonia and nitrites held in solution dont happen to wander by the surfaces occupied by the bacteria, they wont be converted. Last, while youre correct that plants will utilize nutrients/dissolved organics, what they wont "utilize" is what's going to be problematic for your fish.>> If this won't work, it wouldn't be a problem to go the "conventional" route, but I'm a bit of a geek, and I thought I might try something a little out of the ordinary. <<Nothing wrong with that, Sean, and I certainly give you credit for all the research time youve put in. For what its worth, I do occasionally run across references regarding systems similar to what youve suggested but these are on a much larger scale that what youve proposed and done only by very advanced aquarists.>> Thanks for your time, and for the wealth of knowledge you guys (and gals) provide. Sean <<Not a problem, Sean, and thanks for writing. Tom>>

Blue Gourami Stuck On Filter Intake   8/31/06 For the past few days, I noticed my blue gourami's sides seem to be sunken in or as if he has become skinny. He is in a 29 gallon tank by himself. The water parameter seem to be fine and I feed him dried bloodworms (his favorite). Could this be internal parasites? How can this be treated. I found him 4 days ago sucked on to the intake of my filter (I thought he would be gone). He seemed unable to swim with control at first, but now his swimming seems to be better.  What do I do? Thank You < I think the trauma from the filter intake has damaged some internal organs. Gouramis have all their organs in a tight little bundle in front under the fish. They could have been pushed around all over the place and damaged. If he is getting better then I think time will tell if he recovers completely. Cover the intake with a sponge insert or strained to prevent further injury.-Chuck>

General habitat questions re Mastacembelids, Gouramis   7/26/06 Hi from New Zealand. Im planning to purchase 3 striped peacock spiny eels and have been searching the internet for 3 days solid trying to gather information. <Is about, but not easy to find... the Net will be much better... soon> Most sites contradict another one so Im all confused. I plan to have 9 Gouramis in the tank as well and two fake rocks that have lots of hiding places, some fake plants, low watt lights, Eclipse Aquarium Hood, and some walnut gravel as it has very small smooth pebbles. How many gallons will the tank need to hold? <Mmm, the "bigger the better"... at least 200 liters...> What dimensions do you suggest? <More "flat" than tall and narrow... to provide surface area for gaseous exchange, habitat for these types of fishes> Am I on the right track with my plans? I just want to get it right so the critters dont suffer. Thank you in advance. Emily <Please read here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/matacembelids.htm and here: http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm and the linked files above. Bob Fenner> Pink Kisser, Damaging Lips?  7/22/06 <Hi Matt, it's Pufferpunk again> Hey, sorry I email you guys and gals so much but I seem to have unique tank problems from time to time.  First I would like to say I am only 14 (I did not see any relevance before, however I do now) yet I am the caretaker of my families fish tank, therefore I have little control of what goes in/what comes out simply because my parents pay for everything.  It even took me some time to get them to get the Bio-Spira.   <You're doing a fine job!> Anyway, as I stated previously our Pink Kissing Gourami was aggressive, he/she had become considerably less mean.  Lately though, I have seen him/her repeatedly "kissing" my Striped Peacock Eel, the kisser is fed PLENTY so he/she isn't going hungry.  So I guess I'm asking, are a Pink Kisser's lips damaging to eels like a plecostomus might be?  I don't want anything happening to Gonzo (my eel) as he is my obvious favorite--he even eats from my hands now :-).  The kisser is about 2.5 - 3 inches if it matters. <When a kisser "kisses" it is actually a sign of aggression, not affection.  Any fish that stresses out another fish is bad.  You could try telling your parents they grow to a foot long, maybe they'll return it.  ~PP> Thanks in advance again, Matt  

Gouramis... sys., beh. Hey crew! First I want to thank you in advance  for a give advice. My tank 10 gallon Ph 7.2 ammonia 0 Fish 4 Cory cats 4 zebra danios 3 paradise gouramis 1m 2f 2 blue 3 spot 1m 1f 2 golden 2m <Your tank is too small for these...> 1 pleco <And most species of this> lots of plants and hidey holes  My fish all exist peacefully I have seen no aggression  at all  <You will> and though they are young and still small I  do believe they behave great.  My problem is my paler golden gourami he suddenly started acting reclusive after i discovered he was a he and the tonight he  started doing some crazy circles would stop&;shape and float to the bottom of the tank he stopped the circles and was  hiding in corners then my other fish got aggressive towards him.  I watched this for awhile and the moved him to  ;my twenty gallon in a breeder net with two expecting guppies. he just lays there and I  don't now what to do. Please help me. Tomorrow I am going to my LFS anything i should pic up much love and thanks Ally <Mmm, hopefully this is just a temporary behavior anomaly. Trichogaster gouramis do have a tendency toward such when young. You're going to need at least a thirty or so gallon system for the fish species you list. Bob Fenner>

Gouramis-Brackish Fish?  3/30/06 Hi, <Hi Karen, Pufferpunk here> I am new to brackish water aquariums.  I was hoping you could tell me if the blue paradise Gourami is ok for a brackish tank?  If so how brackish? The tank is at 1.015 Specific Gravity.  Is that too high for them? <No, Gouramis are freshwater fish.  What kind of fish do you have in there now?  How big is the tank?  Are you using marine salt?  ~PP> Thank You, Karen

Re: Gouramis in Brackish Water?  - 03/30/06 Dear Pufferpunk, I have a 10 Gallon tank with 2 Black Mollies and a Violet Goby (Dragon fish).  I am using Instant Ocean Marine Salt. The Dragon goby is small right now but will be transferred to a larger tank in about 6 months.   <Good to hear!  See if your dragon likes algae wafers.  Mine loved them.> The pet store has the Blue Paradise Gourami marked as "requiring salt."   <I have no idea why.  They are totally FW fish & won't appreciate salt in their tank.> I put them in my brackish tank after acclimating them and the next morning they were floating on the top.   <Not surprised--you have a lot of salt in your tank with a SG of 1.015.> They were not dead, so I put them in a hospital tank with very low salt and they have since perked up and have their color back. I will not put them back in the brackish tank but will slowly acclimate them to the freshwater tank.  Thank you very much for your help. Karen <Sounds like you are trying to take good care of your fish.  Try looking up the species you are interested in buying, before you buy them.  A lot easier on the fish! =o) ~PP> Overstocked Tank - What To Add?? - 01/08/2005 I have a 5 gallon tank with one red paradise Gourami, 3 small danios and three small algae eaters and they have plenty of room <Mm, no, they don't.  This is too much bioload for such a small aquarium.  Paradisefish get rather large for such small confines, and danios prefer much more space for schooling....  as for algae eaters, the only suitable for a five gallon tank are Otocinclus; I do hope this is what you have.> but my Gourami is a bit of a grumpy old man because from time to time he will chase the danio around the tank but they are to fast for him. <Paradisefish are somewhat aggressive....  In this small tank, he's requiring all of it for his territory.  The other fish are "invading", in his eyes.  His behaviour will not change.  The danios - most any other fish, really - will always be stressed to the max trying to find a way out of the paradise's territory.  This really isn't a good situation.> I want to add a new fish to this tank <Mm, no, you don't; not for the fishes' sakes, anyway....> but I am not sure as what to add. <More space or less fish.> Any info you can give me would be great. <Either go for a larger system (the paradise would be able to establish a territory and leave space for others in a tank of 24" or more....  maybe 30"....) or re-think your stocking scheme (remove the Paradisefish, stick with just the danios and (hopefully) Otos).  These routes are your best bet.> Thanks for your time. <And thank you for your consideration.> Amanda Roberts <Wishing you and your livestock well,  -Sabrina>

Dwarf Gourami Stocking Density 10/31/05 WWM Crew-- <Jason.> I have a cycled ten gallon tank handy, and I wanted to try something new... What are appropriate stocking levels for Dwarf Gouramis? Would this system be too small for them? <You could get away with a pair in this tank, be sure to quarantine beforehand and keep up on maintenance.> Jason <Adam J.>

A red spotted albino Osphronemus Gourami I have a red spotted albino Osphronemus Gourami about 6" long. I am looking for information on him so I can better take care of him. I know he will get appx. 2' in length, but that is all, other that what I have observed. Right now I have him in a 30 gal. <Too small> tank and know I will have to transfer to a bigger tank. I have another tank, 125 gal , with assorted discus, 2 moonlight Gouramis, 1 pearl Gourami, 1 Synodontis catfish, and 1 Plecos. <Don't mix with the Discus...> Would the red spotted albino Osphronemus Gourami do OK in the 125 or would he eventually pick on the discus. Any information on him would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Donna C. <Please see WWM re... The "spotted" types are the same species as the wild type. Bob Fenner>

Gourami question Hi all, <Hello Mark> Can't say enough good things about the amount of help you've given us fish lovers. <You would, perhaps will do the same> I've got a 10 gallon freshwater tank.  Some fish have come and gone, but the mainstays in the tank are a 2 1/2 inch Gold Gourami and a 2 1/2 inch Iridescent shark. My problem is that I've recently begun to add fish to the tank...I added a 2 inch silvertip shark who gets along great with everyone one, but the Gold Gourami seems to be attacking a 1 1/2 inch Blue Gourami that I added. <Mmm, really, the root of the difficulty here... the size of the tank... too small> The Gold Gourami has always been aggressive to smaller fish (small leopard puffers and mollies).  I figured that adding a larger sized fish (the Blue Gourami) would help to calm the Gold Gourami down, but he just cant seem to break the habit of chasing all of the other fish around the tank. <It might work... to isolate the original... gold gourami... in a breeding trap, or even just a good sized net, hung on the corner of the tank... for a few days... This often re-sets the "dynamics" in a system> Barring total isolation of one, is there anyway that I can keep the gourami's together?  The attacking never goes beyond chasing and the occasional nip, but I'm just afraid that the stress will do him/her in. Thanks for the help, Mark <You are likely right... try the isolation trick... and if this doesn't work? Perhaps a larger system? Or a trade-in. Bob Fenner> Plant cover for Gourami in quarantine Hi! I was just wondering if it might be ok to float a leaf of romaine lettuce in a quarantine tank with a single Golden Gourami jut to give it some cover.  I don't have a plant to put in at the moment. Thank you, Steve <Hi Steve.  This may be more trouble than it is worth.  The leaf would have to be rinsed really well to make sure there were no pesticides on it.  It would not take it long to start decaying so it would have to be replaced frequently.  I would probably just pick up some plastic plants next time I was at the fish store. -Gage>

Kissing Gourami and plants (III, I think) We really must share a wave length or something because the day after I sent the last email I went to the petstore and bought more plants as Ivan the Terrified's Christmas present (Yes, I think the name is going to stick). <LMAO!> They're larger than the old ones and the tank now looks more like a jungle. He loves it. <Wonderful to hear.> I also started throwing a new slice of peeled cucumber in the tank every day <You can actually leave the peel on; it's probably the most nutritive part.  It would also be a good idea to "blanch" (drop into boiling water for 10 seconds or so) this and other fresh veggies you give him.  You can do a whole bunch ahead of time, then freeze them on a cookie sheet and put it all in a bag in the freezer, then you can just pull out a piece whenever you want.> and tried some spinach. Unfortunately, he thinks that the spinach should come in flake form; he won't eat it unless I chop it up for him. <Perhaps try frozen spinach?  It's usually already in pretty small pieces.  Might be easier.> Let it never be said that I don't spoil my fish. <I will not say that, I assure you!> Interestingly enough, the stuff on his tail has gone away. <With good water quality, mild cases of fin rot often clear up on their own.> I did full water tests per your questions about levels. Current standings: Nitrate: 20ppm; Nitrite: 0; Hardness: 300; Alkalinity: 180; Ph: 7.6. Temp is 78.6 F. <Not bad.  What about ammonia?> We have a well heavy in iron, but I'm not sure how to soften the water without messing with the alkalinity, which is also a little higher than I think he needs. <Really, this isn't of major concern for him.  Yes, it's a bit on the side of "liquid rock" (pretty hard), but that's not a huge issue for this tough species.  If you really, really want to lower it, you could do so with peat moss in the filter; this will stain the water a yellow-brown color, but that's only an aesthetic issue.  It will also lower the pH, but really, I think this is quite unnecessary.> Whatever the water conditions, the tail hasn't bothered him for 2 days or so now. <Excellent.> With different water at school, we'll see what happens with his condition later. <Is it at all possible to bring a couple of 5 gallon jugs of water with you, so you can make the change to school water a little more slowly?  Just a thought.> For the moment he's chasing bubbles around his tank and making kissy faces at me, so I'm guessing he feels pretty good. <Certainly sounds good!> Pictures of my little monster are forthcoming as soon as the film is developed. I will email them as soon as I can. <Cool.  Pics always make it easier to give a more accurate diagnosis, though I am pretty certain now that it is/was fin rot.> Until that time, thank you very much for all your help and happy holidays. Becky   <And Happy Holidays to you and Ivan.... the Terrified....  I'm still giggling.  -Sabrina>

Pucker Up!  (Kissing Gourami) Hi. I'm a complete newbie to fishkeeping and I had a couple of questions. <Welcome to the hobby.> Here's my situation. My 2 year old Pink Kisser, Ivan the Terrible, <Ooh, what a fitting name!> is about 5" long. He lives by himself in a heated (80*F/ 27*C) 10 gal. tank with fluorescent light and external filtration system set up in my dorm room. He's an only child and will probably remain that way. <A good plan with this fish, which can potentially become a foot long terror.  Until he's into a much large tank, he's best on his own.> I've got 5 or 6 plastic plants that he likes to hide behind and nibble on and a layer of natural gravel on the bottom so he can eat algae. <And eat algae he will - that's what those thick lips were designed for (among other things).> My first concern is diet. I feed Wardley brand tropical flake food as his main diet (a pinch 2-3 times a day), <Not my personal favorite, to be honest... and really, this fish should be fed much more in the way of greens than 'community' type flake foods.  Frozen algae preparations, sushinori, romaine lettuce, blanched zucchini/cucumber, shelled peas....  Spirulina flakes, if necessary.> supplemented with 2-3 Wardley Betta pellets a day for color (pet store recommendation, but he doesn't seem to like it) <I think this is probably unnecessary, to be honest.  Betta food is usually a high protein food to mimic the live goodies they would eat in the wild, whereas kissing Gourami feed primarily on algal matter and plants (and the occasional aquatic invertebrate).  If you want him to "color up" a bit, perhaps a "color/red enhancing" cichlid food could be fed very sparingly.  Again, unnecessary, IMO.> and the occasional fresh cucumber slice or spinach leaf. <Ahh, good.  I would make this a lot more than occasional - these and the other greens above should be his staple.  Be sure to blanch fresh veggies (drop into boiling water for 10 seconds or so), or he may possibly develop some internal disorders.> My main concerns are the balance between his flake food and what he needs nutritionally. The flakes are 46% protein, 5% fat, and 4% fiber; main ingredients are fish meal, wheat flour and soy protein. He's growing like a weed, so I don't think he's severely deficient in anything, but I'd like an expert opinion. <I really feel like he could do better with more greens in his diet, and less high protein foods.  Better to match as closely as possible what these fish were designed to eat in nature.> Secondly, a health/disease issue. About 2.5 weeks ago, Ivan developed a white flaky condition on his tail and only on his tail, which led me to rule out fin rot. <Can you describe this in further detail?  I'm having trouble picturing a white, flaky tail....> He also started rubbing on the filter intake nozzle in the tank. The rubbing I attributed to a breeding behavior since I turned up the heater when the weather got cold. (They cuddle with their mates when they're... um... *happy* and a swift change in temp. will cause that, or so I'm told.) <Though I don't know much about the breeding habits of this species, I would definitely be concerned with this scratching.> He didn't have the white spots associated with Ick, but I opted for Ick treatment and it went away after about 3 days. <Through most of its lifecycle, ich is not visible.  It could very well be that he had the very beginnings of an ich infestation.  More on ich here:  http:// www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm .> I did a 1/3 water change and put in a new filter cartridge on Wednesday, then left him for 4 days with a vacation feeder while I went home for Thanksgiving. <Personally, I don't much like the slow-release feeders.  They may alter the pH some, in some cases, and IMO, aren't terribly nutritious.  Might want to invest in an automatic feeder, that you put flake/pellet food in, which will release the food you choose as often as you set it for.> When I came back Sunday, the white flaky stuff was back just as bad as it was before. I stopped filtration again, <You can leave the filter running (for circulation/physical filtration), just remove any carbon or cartridges containing carbon.> treated for Ick and it went completely away. Two weeks later, I'm home for Christmas and he came with me. I did a 50% water change, put in a new filter cartridge, vacuumed his gravel and wiped his plants to keep the algae from getting too thick. He's doing all his regular fishy things, but there's a tiny white flaky patch on his tail again. <I don't think we're quite on the same wavelength, here....  I really can't envision this flaky patch.  Is it small?  Large?   How small/large?  In spots?  Opaque?  Fuzzy?  Flaky as in peeling, like a sunburn?  Look kinda like cauliflower?  Feel free to get very descriptive.> I think I've established that its not Ick or it wouldn't keep coming back after a full treatment and he'd have white spots elsewhere, which he doesn't. <Please do check out that link on ich; the full life cycle of ich is about two weeks (though this is dependant upon temperature), and for most of its life, is not treatable.> What the heck is this and how do I fix it? <Please do write back, and describe the heck out of this, if you can.  I'm very sorry I'm not clearly picturing this.  Ah, in fact, if you can email us a photo of the fish/flaky patch with your description, that'd be even better.> Would you suggest any changes in setup other than tank size, which I can't do anything about until I get a bigger living space? <Woah....  I said we're not on the same wavelength, but you read my mind!  Okay, I won't say anything about tank size here, just that he'll end up topping out around twelve inches ;)  You might want to think about giving him a constant supply of anacharis/elodea to nibble on - in fact, that'd make a *perfect* weekend feeder for him when you're gone!  More greens, as above.  I also wonder at your water conditions (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH), as the only thing at all that I can think of as "flaky" is Lymphocystis, which is a viral condition, brought on by poor water quality (often prolonged exposure to high nitrates) and can be recurring.> Any feedback would be appreciated. <Here's something that you might enjoy:   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm .> Thanks!  Becky        <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Nip and Tuck Gourami Chuck, Thanks for all of the info. We bought our fresh water fish "marine food" because we are dummies. :) Since you wrote me back, we have tried to redeem ourselves by buying them food designed for fresh water fish. We also added 4 panda Corys and they are adorable. You were right about the Gouramis. Sometimes now, they will even take a peaceful swim together. They still have an occasional fight where they do this weird swimming dance... they flip on their sides and swim around each other. But the nipping/chasing has lessened considerably. We also bought new cleaning supplies. An extra heater and two new pails so we can let their water condition over night and change 50% the next day. Last time, I didn't let it condition well enough and their ammonia level went up. I won't do that again! Anyway, our next project is to give them a cave or somewhere else to hide when they need to. I'd prefer some natural rock. I know I'm limited on space. We have a small silk plant too. It's about 8 inches long and probably an inch wide but I could cut it or fold it into a corner. I have some very smooth rather flat rocks I am thinking of using to build a cave. What do you think? Or do you know of a site we could safely buy rocks or a cave from? There's not much here at the pet stores. < Gouramis really don't like caves. They prefer floating plants. If you do want to build a cave out of rocks then make sure that the rocks are safe for the aquarium. Some rocks leach salts that play havoc with the water chemistry. Place the rocks on the bottom of the tank and not on the sand. Some fish undermine the rocks and they end up caving in on them.-Chuck> Thanks again for your help, Chuck. We greatly appreciate your insight and information.  

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