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FAQs on Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives 2

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

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

Ctenopoma acutirostre   7/31/08 Bob here is another small piece I penned for the BB, sending it along to you because I didn't see a article on the main page.  Adam Jackson  <Ahh, thank you. Will post, with credit to you, and perhaps a pic of my own. BobF>

General questions about Gourami  4/19/08 Hello! I came across your website today while I was looking for information about Gouramis. I'm quite new to fish ownership, so please excuse any stupid questions I might pose. I started off with a small tank, only 20L (which I believe is only about a really tiny 5 gallons...) <Way too small for practically any tropical fish. Almost any problems you have will come down to the tank, so your NUMBER-1 priority is replacing this with a system at least 20 gallons in size. Ten gallon and smaller tanks simply aren't easy for inexperienced aquarists to maintain or stock properly.> I have a Silvertip Tetra, 2 Corys and a 'Gold' Three-Spot Gourami. <All completely non-viable in here. While I'm happy to help explain any specific problems, none of these fish will last long (or be happy!) in here for any length of time. So "fixing" the problems is a waste of your time (and likely their lives). The Silvertip tetra MUST be kept in a group of six or more specimens and easily needs a "long" 20 gallon (in metric terms, that's something like a 75 gallon tank not less than 60 cm in length). The Corydoras need something similar, and should certainly be kept in groups of 4-6 specimens, minimum. Three-spot Gouramis are BIG fish when mature, around 10-15 cm, and even a 20 gallon tank is too small for a territorial male. When mature, males of this species are incredibly aggressive and disruptive.> P.H. level is 7.0 and has never gone more than 0.2 up or down. <Still WAY more pH change than happens in an aquarium properly set up; small tanks are intrinsically unstable, and this is one aspect of the problem. Instability = dead fish.> There's only one plant as previous ones were eaten... <No, not eaten. They died, and then decayed. Tanks as small as the one you have almost never come with strong enough lights for plants to grow. Furthermore, inexperienced aquarists are often sold non-aquatic plants, often under such names as "umbrella ferns" and "dragon plants" and the like. As with fish, you need to research plants *before* purchase, otherwise you WILL be sold junk. An informed shopper is a successful shopper.> I have yet to pick up an ammonia kit, and should be getting one tomorrow. Last week one Cory cat died, so I wanted to ask about that as well. It just became quite listless, and would often 'fall over' onto its side. It showed no signs of disease, and I did see it eat, though perhaps not as much as it used to. <Likely chronically bad water quality, insufficient water movement, inadequate oxygenation. Or multiple causes. Anyway, no surprises here.> The other fish seem fine though, which brings me to my actual question. Near its tail, my Gourami seems to have some kind of 'bubble' in its body. Like a clear lump that looks like a bubble...I was just wondering whether it's something to worry about, <Yes... likely an incipient bacterial infection of some kind.> or whether I just haven't noticed that part of its anatomy. It's quite young, I believe, only 6cm long (not even 3 inches), if that's any help. <Still needs treating with a reliable antibacterial/antibiotic (NOT Melafix/Pimafix).> I do water changes every week, and I always remove uneaten food. Thanks, Kit. <Water changes every week don't even begin to come close to solving the problems you have here. If you're one of the people who gets offended by me saying "everything you're doing is wrong" I apologise for hurting your feelings in advance. But yes, you are doing everything wrong, and the chances of success are virtually nil. None of these fish will be happy in this system, even if by some miracle they survive. They MUST HAVE a 20 gallon/75 litre aquarium to be even close to happy and healthy. Your move. Cheers, Neale.>

Re: General questions about Gourami  4/24/08 I wasn't offended, although I was hoping I wasn't doing everything wrong. <Don't worry, we all start by pretty much doing everything wrong. Myself included! What matters is that we learn, and do our best to change.> I'm unable to afford a huge tank, unfortunately (I'm still a student), so I have no choice but to keep going with this one. <Fair enough. But do understand you're whistling into the wind a bit, and things are unlikely to ever settle down perfectly. Big water changes and a good filter can help, as will taking care to not overfeed. But eventually you'll want a bigger tank as your interest (and wealth!) increases.> The silvertip tetra, by the way (I forgot to mention this) wasn't originally mine. I only have it because it was being attacked by the other tetras my friend had, so she asked me to take care of it. <This happens. I have a single Diamond Tetra in one tank for much the same reason.> I was actually aware that tetras do better in groups but I wasn't about to overcrowd the tank that much. <A valid deduction, and yes, likely the "lesser of two evils".> Thank you for your time and very detailed advice, and I am sorry you had to encounter such an inexperienced person. <Not at all unhappy to help the inexperienced; that's what we're here for. But I do hope you are able to fix things eventually. Your hobby will be a lot more fun once you have a roomy aquarium, stable water quality, and healthy fish. Cheers, Neale.>

Sab's Betta macrostomas, ongoing trials  2/22/08 Also, Bob - The Betta macrostomas look to be doing very well. Long story short, we sacrificed a couple Rasboras and found that the disease issue was a *very* virulent Pseudomonas, and also was resistant to Kanamycin (which it shouldn't have been.... creepy!). Three of four chocolate Gourami and the two Betta macrostoma survived treatment and so far seem to be doing great. In fact.... the male has been holding eggs for eight days now - another six or so more, and we might have some macrostoma kids, if everyone stays healthy! A couple adequate images of the male is attached, and one of the female, and one very poor image of the male with a big fat mouthful of eggs. Please feel free to use them on WWM if you wish, or if you would like higher res images, I'll gladly send. I'm still learning the use of this camera for aquarium photos, and it's just *so* tough to get sharp pics without throwing a ton of light on the tank....! -Sabrina <I do hope you're planning on writing all this up...! BobF>

Red honey Gourami, Trichogaster chuna, gen. care   - 11/20/07 Hello Crew, <Hello Mark.> Currently I have 20 gallon moderately planted tank with following fish: 2 golden rams 6 harlequin Rasboras 4 Oto cats I'd like to add 2 Gouramis, preferably honey. I've never kept Gourami before and I'd like to ask few questions: Do I have space to add any fish? <In terms of water quality, yes. But the Rams may take exception to competition for space at the bottom, and will beat the life out of small Gouramis.> Are Gouramis and rams compatible? <In my opinion, no. I don't personally consider labyrinth fish (climbing perch, Gouramis and Bettas) to be compatible with cichlids. They demand similar resources, but cichlids tend to be more aggressive. There are exceptions to this, but as a rule, I personally recommend keeping one or the other except in really big tanks.> Will Gouramis destroy my plants? <No.> What is red honey Gourami? <It's a tank-bred variant of Trichogaster chuna, or maybe a hybrid between Colisa lalia and Trichogaster chuna, or even a plain vanilla Trichogaster chuna that's been "juiced" up with colour-enhancing foods. Opinions vary. In any event, they're cranked out of Southeast Asia and have a less than stellar reputation of hardiness and longevity.> Are they hardy fish? <No. Even plain vanilla Trichogaster chuna are delicate fish in anything other than soft, acid water. Fancy varieties would be a notch or two down from even that.> What kind of fish would you recommend for my tank if Gourami is a bad choice? <I'd perhaps look for things to live at the *top* of the tank, where the Rams won't be going. Small livebearers, such as Endler guppies, aren't an option because you need soft, acid water for Rams. The high temperatures Rams need (26-30 C) cross Danios off the list, too. But certain killifish such as Aplocheilichthys normani might be an option, as would Nomorhamphus spp. halfbeaks. Hatchetfish can work very nicely in well-maintained tanks, though they are somewhat delicate at first and tend to be nervous unless kept in reasonable numbers (six at least).> Thank you for your help, Mark <Cheers, Neale.>

Gourami Questions    3/27/06 Hi there! I need expert help with these Gourami questions: I have 8 Gouramis now: The females are 1 opal, 1 pearl, 1 gold, and 1 moonlight The males are  2 powder blues, 1 red flame honey, 1 opal They are in a 29 gallon planted tank with a  2 inch albino Chinese algae eater. <Keep your eyes on this last... can/often become aggressive> There was some aggression going on but that went away after a few weeks. 1. Will the males breed with any female or do they have to be the same color? <Have to be the same species... two are... Colisa lalia... which ones?> 2.Is there such a thing as a "female powder blue" or is it just the male that will have such a nice color? <There are females... at times they're not sold as they are not as attractive and do "stir up trouble" in otherwise all-male settings> 3.The Chinese algae eater has recently been chasing some of the Gouramis around nipping at them. Is this normal or should I get rid of it? <I would get rid of it, pronto> 4. I am considering moving them all into a 50 gallon when they get larger. If I want to have them in a new tank with a different species of fish, do you have any suggestions on what species is the most compatible with them and also the most colorful? Thank You in Advance! <Yes... posted on WWM, though not easy to access... w/o reviewing the "Compatibility" SubFAQs files by group, species... There are many choices here though... I would look into smaller barbs and Danios and catfishes from the same geographic region as your Gouramis here first. Bob Fenner>

Gourami questions = D   2/23/06 Hi Everyone! <Jenn> I want to thank you again for all the help you have given to myself and others in caring for our fish! If only the employees at the pet stores had the knowledge that you do! <... in time> As a new fish mommy, I have really developed a liking towards Gouramis and I want to learn as much as I can to keep these fish alive and healthy for as long as possible; with your help of course! I have a 29 gallon tank with 5 Gouramis. Two are powder blue, one is a dwarf, the other 2 are pearl or opal (I can't tell the difference. They are unlike any I have seen on your website. They are white with a lace look to their fins and light gray stripes on their bodies with just a hint of black. <Likely a variant of Trichogaster leeri> They also have red to their eyes and their bodies are outlined in a thin red line.) Well after reading some posts here about how to determine their sexes, I figured out all 5 of them are male! Which would explain a lot of their aggression to each other.) But I thought Bob Fenner said this was not a good mix, that there need to be more females in the tank than male. With 5 males already in a 29 gallon, how many females should I get so that the tank is more harmonious? <About the same number> Also, I have 5 live plants in there. Being that they use these plants as a source of food, should I take some of them out so they aren't overfed? <Not likely. I'd leave all in> One more thing, I have a single Very Pregnant Platy in a 10 gallon by herself. Its been at least 4 weeks of pregnancy and no babies. I read on this site that they are ready to give birth when her birthing area is all black. Her birthing area is filled with reddish orange egg looking things and there is a very small black dot off to her side. (She is yellow and very see through.) Is she still ready to give birth at any time or does that black dot have to be down there when she is ready? Thanks Again! Jennifer Groenendaal <May have given birth, eaten the young... Could be "just fat" in appearance. Bob Fenner> Anabantoid group link to add 8/26/05 Hi, <Hello> My name is Marleen Janson, and I'm the editor of 'Osphronemid' my Anabantoid club's newsletter. <Ahh!> I was searching for information about the genus Colisa, and found your article about Anabantoids on http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm The club's members would be very interested in it, so I was wondering if I may use it in the newsletter.  If my request is inappropriate, my apologies in advance. You can check out our club at our website. http://www.internat-anabanassoc.org <It does appear you are a non-commercial enterprise, and hence welcome to post my content: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/WWMUsePolicyStmt.htm> Sincerely Marleen Janson Editor <Thank you for your efforts. Bob Fenner>

Killer Kisser? Hey Bob, <Walt> Thanks for your quick response. Unfortunately, I believe that my one Kissing Gourami may be heading into the "unholy terror" camp (especially at meal time). He is particularly fond of chasing one of my female sunburst mollies... but he does this only during feeding and the molly goes right back to eating after the chase. <Mmm, keep your eyes on that fish... and your others... for "hickeys"> However, he is being downright aggressive to his fellow Gourami at all times. As soon as he sees him he'll continue to chase him until his "victim" takes refuge among my plants. I am starting to get worried because for past two days I have noticed the "victim" sulking with clamped fins among my plants or hiding near my filter intake. This morning he refused to compete at all for the peas I fed them. I am not a big fan of exchanging fish once I bought them (I kind of feel like I'm bringing them to the pound) but I feel like I may have no choice. Any suggestions? Thanks again. Sincerely, Walt <There is some value in trying temporary isolation, floating the mean fish in a plastic "colander" (spaghetti strainer) or large-enough breeding trap/net in the tank... for a few to several days... This sometimes "takes the spit" out of the offender... Bob Fenner> 

Helostoma kissingmaximusi I was planning on buying a breeding net anyway considering most of my females appear to be gravid. I'll run out and buy one and isolate the "killer kisser" and see what happens. I'll let you know in a week or so if there was any curb in his aggression. Thanks again! Sincerely, Walt <Real good. Bob Fenner>

Deceased Kisser Hello! Thank you for all your previous help. As you might have guessed, I have another question. I'll give you some background before I ask it.  <Okay> Tank: 44 gal. pentagon, well planted with 20 small community fish (4 platies, 3 pairs of differing mollies, 2 beacon tetras, 2 diamond tetras, 2 serpae tetras, 2 Botia dario, and 2 kissing Gouramis.  Water: ammonia-0; nitrite-0; nitrate-20ppm; pH-between 7.7-7.9; total hardness 170ppm CaCO3; All tested regularly (including this morning).  I woke up this morning to a dreadful sight. One of my kissers was deceased and wrapped around my external power filter's intake. Because he looked perfectly healthy before I went to bed, I cannot figure out what happened. I do, however, have some possibilities I would like to run by you.  <Go ahead> I e-mailed you before about an aggressive kisser that was relentlessly chasing the now deceased kisser. I isolated the aggressive fish in a breeding net for five days. During that time the now deceased fish began to act much healthier... no more clamped fins, no more hiding, eating better, etc. Then I let the aggressive kisser out of jail and I honestly think his aggression got worse! <Unghhh> Naturally he took most of it out on his brother kisser. I read that adding a third kisser might calm down the aggressor so I went to my LFS and purchased one. No luck. So, I returned the bad fish to the LFS. This all took place in the last two days. Is that enough stress to have killed an otherwise healthy looking fish? <Yes... I wish I would have encourage you, in advance, that if the aggressive fish didn't "behave" on being re-introduced to trade it back in...> I feel I must add that I am not that adept at catching fish in my net. <Use two, take my advice, much, MUCH easier> When I was trying to catch the aggressive kisser, first to put him in jail, then to return him to the LFS, I may have caused far too much commotion for the fishes well being. Could this have been a factor? <Yes> Also, I recently added my monthly replenishment of Tetra Flora Pride to the tank. I only used half of the recommended dosage. Could this have stressed the fish? None of the others seemed to mind. <I don't think this would be much of a stressor, no> I mentioned that the fish was stuck to the filter intake. I have a Whisper Advanced Power Filter 30-60 with the extra sponge for increased bio-filtration. It supposedly filters up to 300 gallons per hour. I read that a proper unit will filter the entire volume of a tank four times in an hour, so I leave it on at full power. Could the fish have gotten stuck on the filter and unable to escape? Or is it more likely that the fish died and then got stuck to it? <Not likely at all... freshwater fishes are smart/er than folks give them credit for... and strong... think of how hard they are to catch!> Finally, I must mention (in case you haven't guessed) I am quite obsessive about my new hobby. I check the water regularly, reach in a couple of times a week to remove dead plant leaves and the occasional snail. Is it possible that I am overly involved and causing undue stress on my livestock?  <Mmm, I would limit your in-tank sojourns to once weekly> Any help you can provide, as always, is greatly appreciated. Sincerely, Walt <Likely just a "bully" fish at play here. Bob Fenner>

Re: Deceased Kisser Thanks again for the advice. I am sorry about all the questions. I honestly thought that I had everything figured out before I set up my tank. I took about eight books on freshwater aquaria out of the library and read them over like I was preparing for an exam. But, once again, I have found that real life does not mimic text, and I have a seemingly limitless number of questions. <This is so.> Anyway, I have permanently solved the "killer kisser" problem. I brought the original aggressor back only to find my other kissers becoming aggressive after he was gone. I brought them all back and I have decided never to invest in them again! I honestly do not know why they are listed as "peaceful" community fishes in so many books. <As with most bold statements, a few qualifiers should go along...> With the store credit I received from the kissers I have added to my collection of mollies, which brings me to my next question. How much salt is necessary in the water to keep mollies at optimal health? <A level teaspoon or so per ten gallons> In my 44 gallon, I have about 5 teaspoons, far below the recommended dosage for use as a "general tonic". I would increase it, but I am worried about the effect of aquarium salt on my live plants. How much salt is healthy for mollies, but not dangerous to plants? Thanks again! <I would not put anymore than the above in here. Bob Fenner> 

Pink Kissing Gouramis not eating My kissing Gouramis which I purchased two days ago are not eating flake food or brine shrimp.  The tetras and mollies I have in the tank with them eat fine.  It is a 55 gallon tank and the temp is fine.  What can I do to get them to eat? < Give them a few days to get use to their new surroundings. When they get hungry they will eat. There are actually very good algae eaters and are often seen "kissing" plants and rock when they are actually eating algae.-Chuck>

Re: Pink Kissing Gouramis not eating I didn't' find any info helpful there, and they are still not eating. Please help. < With no external symptoms then I am going to assume that they may be in the early stages of an internal bacterial infection. The best way to treat this is with Metronidazole. Do a 30% water change and service the filter. Vacuum the gravel if it has not been done in awhile before treating the tank.-Chuck>

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> Shy Gold Gouramis Hi there: I recently purchased 2 Gold Gouramis, both of which I believe are female, to cycle my new 20 gallon hexagonal aquarium. I heard that they were a hardy fish and I enjoy their colors. Before I even bought my tank, I read 3 aquarium books cover to cover to make sure I would have the best chances of success. None of these books, though, contain sufficient information on the "shyness" of certain fish. After combing your site, I was wondering why my Gouramis are hiding from me! It's only been a few days, but I know they are healthy (at least externally) and the water quality is good. Are they just stressed from the big move? <Likely a factor... as well as their general retiring nature> Will they come out from behind the plants/rocks when I add more fish in the future? <Likely much more so> One seems to be fairly stationary at the bottom and is occasionally followed by the other, who stays near the top. They sometimes come out in the open when they think I'm not looking, but retreat as soon as they see me. Thanks for your time..... Ben <Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner>

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

Kissing Gourami behavior I have three Kissing Gouramis and one of them continues to lay sort of side ways.  It will swim, however when it is still it looks like it is laying on it's side.  Do you know what the problem is. Thank You Cassandra <Mmm, some individual Kissers do "sit on the bottom" a great deal. If the fish is eating, appears fine otherwise, I would not be concerned. Bob Fenner>

Dwarf Gourami compatibility in a 10 gallon tank I'm setting up my first tank (10 gallons) and I'm trying to pick out a group of fish that will get along and be happy. Ideally, I'd like a Blue Dwarf Gourami, a couple of Sunset Fire Platys, a small school (5 or 6) neon tetras, and an Oto or two for housekeeping. Obviously this will be a little on the high end of the inch/gallon rule but I'm prepared to make more regular water changes. Will these fish all get along? <Should, yes> Will 10 gallons be enough for them not to feel crowded? <Mmm, not much, no> Also, will the Gourami become aggressive since it is by itself? <Not likely... Colisa lalia can be picky, but mainly this happens with a mix of sexes/individuals of their own kind> I made that mistake while cycling my tank with a single red eyed tetra who constantly nipped at the two smaller platys that it shared the tank with. Thanks so much for the assistance. <Thank you for writing, expressing your earnest concern. Bob Fenner> 

Gourami Getting Beat Up Hey guys, need to know if I can put my 4 inch Gourami in my 80 gallon with swordtails. Thanks, I got a Jack Dempsey picking on him in the 90. < Your Gourami will have a greater chance of survival with the swordtails than with the Jack Dempsey.-Chuck>

Why can't we Gouramis be friends? Hi there, <Hello Ross> I have a small freshwater tropical tank with two blue [three spot] Gouramis. I bought the first one a few days ago, and added the second about 24 hours ago, thinking that the first one could be lonely, and no-one likes to be lonely. <Mmm, not everyone...> However, the first one [Mr. Fish], now just attacks and torments the new one non-stop! I believe they may be a pair [purely by accident], as Mr. Fish has a noticeably bigger, more pronounced dorsal fin, and his head and back are more angular. <Good description... likely the first is a male> When he attacks, he changes from a blue-tinged silver to quite a deep blue marbling. Poor Mrs. Fish spends most of her time trying to seek refuge behind the filter, and I think her tail fin may be getting torn. Is there anything I can do to stop this quarrelling? Or are they just sorting out who's the dominant one? I'm reluctant to add more fish as the tank is only 30 litres. But at the same time I don't think Mrs. Fish is going to last very long under all this stress... Thanks for your help, Ross Dougall. <I would put Mr. Fish in a floating contraption... a breeding trap or just an all-plastic colander for a week or so and see if this calms him down... do this NOW. Bob Fenner>

Gourami-Betta compatibility Hi, I recently got a male Siamese fighter in a 2 foot tank and thought he looked lonely in there, so I put in some more plants for hiding spots, and got several dwarf Gourami and placed them in with him. So far they seem to be getting along fine doing their own thing. I figured that if the Gourami were going to show any aggression putting a 4 in they would hopefully take it out on each other and not the Betta. I shall let you know how it progresses. <Please do... sometimes Gouramis and male Bettas mix, sometimes they don't. Bob Fenner> 

Gourami Breeding, or not I have spent the last 3 hours looking through and searching you site for info on breeding golden Gouramis. I couldn't find squat. Anyway, I have a male and female set of goldens in a 30gal tank that they have had to themselves for about 3 months. I have noticed in the last few days that the female has started fighting the male for food. Actually, fight is a strong word. She's racing him to the food. And she's gotten really round. On top of that, the male sits on the bottom of the tank unless it's time to eat. Then he seems to wait his turn for food. Is this normal behavior for golden Gouramis? Do I need to remove the babies once they are free swimming? I'm used to dealing with my many different kinds of cichlids and have never had my Gouramis breed. I need help! And advice. Thanks, Becca <Try here. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm  Don> 

LFS? Better Explain the Acronym! Why we Can't Breed Powder Blue Gouramis Thanks for the answer on Rams. What is the LFS? Also I do have another question. How do you know the sex differences in the powder blue dwarf Gourami? Hope to hear from you again! Karrie <LFS refers to local fish store. Powder Blue Dwarf Gouramis are a line bred fish. They are simply regular dwarf Gouramis with all the red bred out of them. I don't think they export females, but I am sure that they would breed with a normal silver colored female dwarf Gourami.-Chuck> 

Sick Gourami, worm? Protozoan? Flagyl Hi there, <Hello> I have a Gourami that has developed a red pimple like sore on his head, which has a white string coming out of it. It seems apparent that it may be a worm, but I thought it was fungus and am using fungus cure. Just finished the second dose and no improvement shown. The other 5 Gouramis are fine, and the sick one is eating fine and behaving normally. Should I give this Fungus Cure more time, or should I switch to another method?  <This is very unlikely a fungus... perhaps a Octomita infection... you could treat with Metronidazole... Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm.  Bob Fenner> 

Territoriality in small tank Hi Bob and crew, <David> Four days ago I added a pair of Colisa dwarf Gouramis to my 12g, well-planted tank, which is also home to a male Betta and an SAE. Betta doesn't even seem to notice the SAE, and was very tolerant of some Rasboras I had in there before. However (as I might have expected had I read your FAQs before buying the Gouramis) the Betta is being quite aggressive towards the Gouramis.  <Happens> For the first 2 days this was just occasional displaying behavior, but over the past couple of days, as the Gouramis have started swimming around more, Betta has been hounding them regularly. No outright fighting yet-- in fact, if the Gourami is resting in the brush and refuses to budge when the Betta approaches, the Betta will simply park himself very close and keep an eye on the Gourami. If Gourami is in open water, Betta will display, flick his tail, give chase. <I see> So this is just intimidation so far, but I am concerned it will escalate, plus it is obviously stressful to all parties. Gouramis are starting to peck at each other now too. <Also typical behavior> Before I return the Gouramis, or (sigh) get another tank to isolate the Betta, I am wondering... if Betta's behavior is likely to mellow over time, or to escalate? <Good question... have seen both... But I am inclined to suggest you wait/see here... If the animals are not actually physically damaging each other... likely no real problem> ... if controlled overcrowding might help (prevent Betta from trying to establish territory)? <Good question too... I would not do this... overcrowd that is... as too likely your Betta will retreat into oblivion... look to getting some small "ditherfish" though... Maybe some Endler's or Platies (livebearers) or small Danios or my three fave tiny barbs (Oligolepsis, Golds, Cherries)... a trio of any of these ought to do the trick. Bob Fenner> 

Re: Territoriality in small tank "Ditherfish"... I like that.  <Not original... don't know if anything I know is...> You say that barring physical damage this aggression isn't overly harmful, but isn't this stressful, for the Betta as well as his victims?  <Mmm, not really... stress up to a point is natural, desirable...> One of the Gouramis seems to have a mild case of HLLD-- probably came with it, though I didn't notice, but seems like stress isn't going to help him heal... thoughts? <Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/hllefaqs.htm  and beyond... Bob Fenner> 

Gouramis Cleaning Clown Loaches Hi, two of my clown loaches have whitespot. They are still very active, feeding ok. Treated the tank and the whitespot is slowly going. When I fed my fish tonight I noticed that my Gouramis and mollies were nibbling on the flanks of the clowns, and the clowns were letting them do it.  I have never seen this before, are the other fish feeding on the whitespot and will they get it?  200 litre community tank. Thank You. Ade <Think the Gouramis are just "nibbling" period. Will "get it". Have you read our pitch on ich?: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwich.htm Bob Fenner> 

Gourami Well Hi! I have a couple questions. We just bought a 10 gallon tank. We have 2 Gouramis, 5 neon tetras, 2 guppies, and 2 platies. My female platy sits at the bottom of the tank inside the little rock thing and wiggles back and forth. <Mmm, not all the time I hope... should be out and about> If any other fish try to come in there she makes sure they don't come in (except for the tetras). I don't understand why she is doing this and was hoping you could help. <Strange behavior> My second question is about my Gouramis. They are the same kind (don't ask me which one... only been doing this for 4 days now). <Good idea to write all down... save in a sort of "log"> One is bigger than the other. The larger one was in there for the first 3 days and then I added the smaller one today. The larger one is CONSTANTLY chasing the other one. It will stop for maybe, maybe, a minute or two and then starts back in. I figured this would stress them out. <You are correct... a ten gallon isn't big enough to afford them rest> Do you know why it does that or what I should do about it? <Natural behavior... ensures there is adequate food, habitat... Short answer... I would remove one of them or get a larger tank> The people at the pet store said I should add the 2nd one because the 1st one was chasing my guppies all over. Now it has no problem with the guppies and is after the other Gourami. If you could help that would be GREAT! Thank you, Tonya <Choices up to you... all these fish are not compatible... in your size system. Bob Fenner>

Aggressive Gourami 7/14/05 Hi Crew, The troubles started last week with the addition of the new male robin Gourami <Is Colisa lalia... RMF> <Mmm, am unfamiliar with this common name> to our 40 gal tank. It housed 2 golden zebra loaches, 8 neon tetras, and a female robin Gourami for almost a year. Thinking that she needs some companionship (her original partner has died a few month ago) we bought this male robin. Initially, she started picking on him, chasing off food, and off good spots, etc., which can be explained as she is almost two times bigger than him. In two days the situation has changed, actually, it has not changed much, but mirrored. Now it is our old Gourami that is being chased, she does not eat much, hides in the corners, and looks fairly depressed. To add to the confusion, yesterday I noticed a strange behaviour from them, which seems to me sexual in nature. They stay together side by side; the female curls around the male and they stay for a minute or two, and then slowly swim in different direction looking slightly disoriented. After this the usual pecking continues. I am in a bit of a loss: whether I should bring the male back to the fish store, as female would not survive under such stress, or it is just the way their courtship is, or there is something I can do to make it work? Thank you, Kostya. <Mmm, you might try adding more plant or other hiding material, temporarily sequestering one or the other in a floating breeding trap, specimen container... even plastic colander... to see if they "calm down", otherwise I'd return the newest one. Bob Fenner> Colisa on hunger strike  07/02/05 Hi crew, <G'morning> I have a pair of Colisa lalias in a 12g tank-- male and female-- along with an SAE, a male Betta, and a trio of platies.  For the past few days the female Colisa has been hiding out in a corner and hasn't been coming up to eat.  I've been able to get her to eat by pushing some food down to her, so I think that she is just being "shy".  She tends to get chased around by everyone else.  This was a problem when I first got the pair, but she's been doing fine for a few months now, and this has just been happening just in the past few days.  I did some replanting recently so perhaps this has triggered the problem. Tank chemistry is good... What can I do to minimize the aggression towards the female Colisa? <Get a larger tank, add more plants, decor for her to hide amongst> The male Colisa, SAE, and Betta all dump their aggression out on her.  What about getting a third Colisa-- I've heard that these do best in trios? <Not likely to work> If that's the case would I want 2M+1F or 1M+2F?  Or would it be better to try adding another trio of dither fish? <Perhaps this last will help... something fast like small Danios, Rasboras...> On another topic, I've been interested in adding an A. agassizi, but I'm getting conflicting advice on compatibility.  I know they are territorial with each other but not sure about compatibility with other dwarf cichlids like Colisa and the Betta.  What's your experience been with these? Thanks, -Dave <Generally mixable in a system, with a grouping of species as you list. Like warmer, softer water than your other livestock though. Bob Fenner> Help! Sick Blue Dwarf Gourami Hi there-- <Hello> Recently I've had nothing but trouble with my 3 gallon Eclipse tank-- <Very hard to keep such small volumes stable> A bumblebee goby just died on me (had some kind of mouth fungus), <This is a brackish water species...> and now my Neon Blue dwarf Gourami has come down with something nasty-- the past 2 days I noticed his stomach started to bulge out, with his right side bigger than the left, and he suddenly became inactive, floating head up in the top corner of the tank. When he did start swimming around, he would swim like he had a twitch, and then occasionally slap his bulging left side of his stomach against the side of the tank, making a small *thud* sound. <Not good> I read up on your homepage and in the Gourami FAQ it sounded like a bacterial infection, so I searched local LFS's and bought the only medicated food I could find, called Anti-Bacteria, by Jungle. I gave that to him for two days, did a 33% water change, and he seemed to get better, even pooping more constantly (although it was a bit stringy). <Good choices of action...> I wake up this morning to see that his stomach is still bloated, more evenly, and now he is having trouble swimming. He seems to be weighed down by his stomach, struggling to swim over things and bumping into décor as if he was an over-weighted zeppelin. I just caught him resting on the aquarium floor, almost sideways(!!), breathing heavily. Other that the stomach, he appears to have no other external symptoms. <It's likely you read re this genus' trouble seasonally... particularly this species (Colisa lalia) "falls apart" in the warming months...> Please help quick! I don't wanna lose another fish... Terry <Please take another read through the Gourami FAQs files... And search for the Bumblebee Goby on WWM... you could try using Epsom Salt here, but I do not give your fish good odds. Bob Fenner> PS tank profile, Ammonia 0ppm, PH 7.2, Alkalinity 80ppm, Nitrite 0ppm, Nitrate 30ppm (after water change) Tank inhabitants-- Gold Dojo Loach, 2 glass shrimp, 1 Amano shrimp, 1 Oto (and the Gourami)

Dwarf Gourami not eating Your site is great! Unfortunately I still have questions. I'm trying to save my little dwarf blue neon Gourami. <Fire away!> I think he may have internal parasites, and not sure how to administer medication, since he will not eat at ALL. The last time I can remember seeing him eat was at least a couple of weeks ago. He was being bullied by a larger dwarf Gourami.. to the point that every feeding the bigger one would chase him and he may have stopped eating back then. Took the big one back and got a female hoping he would be happier. Now she is wonderful and eating voraciously, and he is ill. He has the long white thread hanging most of the time... swims little, and eats nothing that I can see. Other than that nothing visibly wrong with him. There is some green algae, could he be surviving on that? I don't see how he's alive. <Is this fish exceedingly thin?> Main question (assuming it is parasites): what med.s would you recommend feeding him, and any suggestions as to how to get him to eat it? <Yes... Metronidazole/Flagyl. Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/metranidazole.htm and the Related FAQs linked above> I've heard there is a new anti-parasitic gel out that is good. Could I do a quarantine with the gel and hope some of it will get into him by way of him swimming in it?? <Mmm, no, needs to be ingested> Today I got some anti-parasitic pellets, secluded him in a midsized net with the food, no dice. I even put a tiny piece of minced garlic in there with him (have been told it can help appetite)! Do you think I could continue secluding him in the big tank to treat him, or will this stress him further? <Not likely beneficial> Tank situation: 29 gal tall, 6 mo.s old, everything has been fine to this point. Have done irregular water changes every few weeks. Probably need to step it up, as nitrates have crept up to @30+. Nitrites are completely 0. Besides the two Gouramis there are: 4 zebra Danios, 3 rosy barbs, and 1 Bristlenose catfish (@3-4"). (BTW I was sorry to read that the dwarfs are so disease-prone  :-( ... tank is too small to get the bigger ones... and they are so sweet!) <Mmm, actually... this tank could house some of the larger genera, species of Gouramis... more peaceful ones> Help, please? Thank you in advance!! <I would "lace" some of the more desirable foods (frozen/defrosted bloodworms, live brine shrimp, daphnia...) with the Flagyl... and keep offering, hoping this fish will take it. Bob Fenner>

Re: Dwarf Gourami not eating > <Is this fish exceedingly thin?> No, he isn't. Wasn't. He died today! :-(((  He was plenty full-looking, which is another reason I thought parasites. The last few days he not only wasn't eating, but was really lethargic (in the corner 24/7) and then this morning he was TAIL UP! Had also noticed some 'furriness' along one side, I think it might have been scales coming off? Poor guy. What do you think the chances are something spread to the others? <Mmm, actually depends on how closely "related" the others are... if this is/was a tank of Colisa genus Gouramis, particularly this species (lalia) there would be real troubles...> None of the others got a hold of him or anything, but I'd hate to have another one do the same. Should I treat the tank with anything? <I would not> Thanks, Jennifer <Please hold off getting more Gouramis till later in the year (a few months). There is a seasonal pandemic... Bob Fenner>

Blue Gourami Aggression I have a blue Gourami fish and just the other day it started chasing around my 2 Bala sharks. When I bought them they were in the same tank. And the Gourami doesn't seem to care about the other fish in there. I did hear that blue Gouramis can be territorial but at the same time peaceful. Do you think that the Gourami is really out to kill the Bala sharks? Nick <Well, some Trichogaster Gouramis do "turn mean", but Bala Sharks are fast and smart... able to stay out of the Gourami's way... if the tank is large enough. Am sure you're aware of how large these minnow-sharks get, their propensity for jumping... Bob Fenner>

Parrot Cichlid With Gourami I have had a Gourami and Parrotfish for over three years now living in a 20 gallon tank. The parrotfish has always bullied the Gourami, but most of the time they get along fine. My parrotfish has been acting very strangely over the past week - moving the rocks around in the bottom of the tank (HUGE pile on one side), and today he was swimming up and down the side of the tank in an agitated manner - I actually think he tried to "jump out" tonight. My husband also noted the parrotfish was "attacking" the Gourami the other night. The parrotfish is showing signs of stress with black marks showing up on his fins and body. My Gourami hasn't been eating regularly and I just saw tonight has a single swollen blood-red eye. I purchased Maracyn 2 for the tank under the guidance of a pet store worker. I have not tested the ph or the ammonia and the temperature has spiked in the tank to over 84 degrees - we put the a/c on in the room to help cool the water down. Should I  try to test the ph and treat the water while I am using the Maracyn 2? Not sure if I needed that after reading all the articles on your site, so I don't know if I should stop treatment and balance the water or do both. Help! Victoria < Your parrot cichlid has now established the entire 20 gallon tank as his territory and will defend it from all other fish and probably from external sources like humans walking by. The injury is probably from the parrot attacking the Gourami. At 84 degrees the fishes metabolism is elevated and this could make them more aggressive. Don't worry about the ph but watch for ammonia spikes because the antibiotics will probably affect the good bacteria used to break down the fish waste.-Chuck>

Re: Parrot Cichlid With Gourami, Sick Gourami What can I do to help out the poor Gourami? His eye seems to now have "popped" - it's no longer blood read and clear - there is a tear in the bubble and stringy black items are coming out. Is this a normal healing process? Should I move him to his own tank to heal and treat with Epson salt? I am still using Maracyn - Two and the ph was fine, but as you said, the ammonia was up... the water temp is 80. Thanks so much for your help! Victoria Barba < Move the Gourami to his own tank. If you see exterior signs of bacteria then I would recommend treating with Nitrofurazone. Internal bacterial infections with not visible signs of bacteria except the popped eye need to be treated with Metronidazole.-Chuck>

Re: Parrot Cichlid With Gourami, One Eyed Gourami Thanks very much for your info. It seems that my fish has lost his eye. It is an empty socket now. There is a very weird scar across that side of his head though. I can only imagine what trauma happened to that eye. Can't believe it happened so fast. I really appreciate the advice you have given so far. My Gourami is in a tank by himself, eating now and bumping into the plant that is in there. Should I remove all obstacles and/or should I place him back in the tank with the Parrotfish - his home for the last three years? He seems to be looking over at the Parrotfish like he's lonely. Will the Parrotfish attack him? The water is now at a healthy 74 degrees in both tanks. Again, I appreciate your continued correspondence. Victoria Barba Colema < Fish that have been injured tend to draw attention to themselves but acting strange. This strange behaviour implies a weakness that will attract fish looking for a quick meal. I would keep your Gourami separate if you wish to keep him.-Chuck>

Gourami Loss         Hi there, I have a 100G planted tank setup with Angel Fish, Guppies, Mollies, Plecos, Platies, and Tetra's.  I keep a regular check on my chemicals, and have always found that Ammonia, Nitrate, and Nitrite to be at or very close to 0.0  My pH stays at a neutral 7.0.  I have had these numbers verified by three other sources.  About every three to four months I lose most, if not all the Gourami's for no apparent reason.  I then began checking my other chemical with additional test kits and found that this corresponded with a very high (off the scale) amount of Phosphate.  I usually do about a 30%-40% water change every three weeks with a dosage of Seachem "Neutral Regulator".  I found that if I do it more often or a larger amount, I lose the Angel Fish.  I currently run two Tetra Tec PF500's (I got a good deal on price) with "Chemi-Pure", "Phos-X", "Bio-Max" and the other slots taken up by the standard filter media.  I believe that the latest losses were due to me forgetting to change the "Phos-X" in time. My questions are: Are Gourami's particularly sensitive to Phosphate ?  Also with the loss of the Gourami's, I have no other loss... <Not particularly sensitive... and given your otherwise healthy livestock (thank you for the complete list), am given to comment that the root problem here is likely the initial health of the Gouramis themselves. Put another way, the other types of healthy fishes you have cover the spectrum of useful water quality that Gouramis enjoy/tolerate... and they are way too often bunk nowadays... Dying easily, imported, often "goosed" (treated with hormones to "color up") from the orient. Many do "just die" mysteriously... especially in seasonal changes in temperature> Is there a better way to Phosphate in check ? <Yes... to get, use a Reverse Osmosis device or other chemical (contactor) device. Some input here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/h2opurifiers.htm See the links at top> Any suggestions on equipment or maintenance changes ? Many Thanks... <Please see WWM re (the freshwater Subweb)... Storing make-up water for a week or more in advance of your use might do all here to remedy the situation... Bob Fenner> 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>

Gouramis strange behavior I have six Opaline Gouramis in a 55 gal. tank with 10 Zebra Danios, 6 Black Skirt Tetras, 2 medium Plecos, 1 Apple Snail and 1 Baby Whale, my water parameters are fine, I check them once a week. My question is the Gourami's are displaying a behavior I have not seen before, they will gather in the middle of the tank at the top and move back and forth, then one or two will turn themselves straight up and down in the middle of the tank and the others will swim over and nip at them. They will then all swim around together for awhile, then they'll do the same thing, I was wondering if this is normal or do I have something to worry about. <Is normal, but rarely observed... as most folks keep just one, perhaps two specimens> They get along with everybody in the tank in fact they just ignore everybody else and do their own thing. One thing I just noticed  there is one blowing bubbles at the top of the tank,  am I looking at the possibility that they trying to breed? <Yes indeed> Any help with these questions is greatly appreciated and you guys have a wonderful and helpful site Thanks Jim <Welcome. Thank you for writing. Bob Fenner> Pregnant Gold Gouramis I just bought a pregnant Gold Gouramis and I have it separated from the rest of my fish. What do I do now? Thanks, Katie <... what do you mean? Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/anabantoids.htm and the Related FAQs linked at top. Bob Fenner>

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